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The French soldiers are said to have mistaken the women, seen at a distance returning from work in the fields, carrying pitchforks and wearing red shawls and tall Welsh hats, for a detachment of British "redcoats", whose uniform included tall black hats or shakoes.

This is a possible misconception as the Welsh hat, in the form we know today at least, didn't exist as such, until much later.

A derived meaning of Welsh hat is an ancillary stack, usually black in colour and slightly conical, attached to the funnel of a ship to ensure cleaner disposal of exhaust from the engines.

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It has proved very difficult to date silk Welsh hats; they were certainly being produced in significant numbers during the 1840s and it is possible that they went out of production only a decade or so later.

Unlike other fashionable hats, the Welsh hat may well have been worn by its owner for many years and then passed down to succeeding generations.

Unfortunately, it probably will not tell you if he is married or divorced, or if it does, its coverage is limited to only a few states, such as Florida and Texas, that make such information easily available through databases.

nation and ethnic group native to, or otherwise associated with, Wales, Welsh culture, Welsh history and the Welsh language.

The names "Wales" and "Welsh" are traced to the Proto-Germanic word "Walhaz" meaning "foreigner", "stranger", "Roman", "Romance-speaker", or "Celtic-speaker" which was used by the ancient Germanic peoples to describe inhabitants of the former Roman Empire, who were largely romanised and spoke Latin or Celtic languages.

The same etymological origin is shared by the names of various other Celtic or Latin peoples such as the Walloons and the Vlachs, as well as of the Swiss canton of Valais.

There is much anecdotal evidence to suggest that women in rural Wales had taken to wearing Stovepipe or Top Hats manufactured for men, by the 1790s as this article on the ceredigion county council website attests.

Quite why the women in this one corner of the British Isles chose to adopt this traditional male headgear is unknown but it has been suggested that they were imitating the tall riding hats they saw gentlewomen wear while out riding.

Two main shapes of Welsh hat were made during the 19th century: those with drum shaped (vertical sided) crowns were worn in north-west Wales, and those with slightly tapering crowns were found in the rest of Wales.

The hat may have developed from a number of types of tall hat including the riding hat, which ladies wore during the early part of the 19th century, (as illustrated in the Llanover prints) but no evidence has been discovered which explains why, during the late 1830s, the tall hat with the stiff, flat brim, which is unique to the Welsh hat, replaced the other types of men’s hat worn by many rural women in Wales at the time.

Welsh hats for children are made of felt and are normally worn with a cotton or lace cap underneath or may have lace attached to the underside of the brim.

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