Gleanings in North Wales, with Historical Sketches

Name of traveller

Mark Luke Louis (1786-18??)

Reason for travel

  • immigrant from France after Napoleonic wars

Date of travel

undated, late 1840s to early 1850s

Bethesda is not recorded in history, but the extensive slate quarries have brought it to a great repute, and it is at present a neat little town, inhabited by miners and shopkeepers, and as to hotels and inns there is no scarcity, although we are no advocates for strong drink; yet on this dreary tract of the mountain, a public-house is a very welcome sight for the miner and weary pedestrian. (Louis 86)


  • architecture:
    • description of various architectural features on historical buildings, especially churches
    • Rhyl train station as one of the main attractions of the town
    • visits a great number of town houses and country estates
  • art: contains a number of sketches
  • customs:
    • praise of Welsh antiquarian pursuits and Welsh poetry
    • references to French poets and their borrowing from Celtic sources
    • mentions of eisteddfodau and music
    • critical of English condescension towards Wales, but praises English education
    • hospitable nature of Welsh hosts even towards strangers and foreigners
  • history:
    • detailed notes on history of visited towns and buildings
    • sees Welsh history as one of colonisation
  • industry:
    • visits the coal works and lead mines
    • notes on copper mining near Llandudno and on Parys Mountain
  • language:
    • stresses liveliness and sophisitication of the Welsh language, especially in scholarly pursuits
    • knowledge of Welsh as a great help to the study of ancient and contemporary languages
  • literature: frequently quotes from other travel accounts, such as descriptions by Thomas Pennant (1726-1798)
  • people:
    • claims friendship with Dic Aberdaron (Richard Robert Jones) (1780-1843)
    • references to Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
    • comparison between Owain Glynd?r (1355-1416) and Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)
    • cites inscription of a curious tombstone inscription that identifies Nicholas Hookes from Conwy as his father's 41st child and having himself fathered 27 offspring
  • recreation:
    • contains a number of adverts by local Welsh businesses specifically targetting tourists in north Wales
    • lists various inns and hotels where he stayed over night or took refreshments
  • terrain:
    • romanticised landscapes of north Wales
    • landscapes as source of inspiration for artists
    • Wales does not compare with countries he has visited on contintental Europe
    • comparison with the Hebrides
  • transport: travels on foot and by stage coach
  • compare with account of two earlier tours in 1820s and 1830s
  • click here to read the full account

Nationality of traveller


Language of publication


Gender of traveller


Type of publication

travel guide; travelogue


Louis, M[ark] L[uke]. Gleanings in North Wales, with Historical Sketches. Liverpool: W. Ellis and Co., 1854. Print.