This is a little extract from one of the books garnered at Hay-on-Wye last week -" Welsh Country Upbringing" by D Parry-Jones, printed 1948. He is writing of his childhood at the turn of the century . . .
"Round the farms came at regular intervals the stocking woman, a small, frail, gossipy little body, much under the influence of religion and, especially, of the revival then raging through Wales. She moreover undertook, as part and proof of her renewed faith, work on behalf of a temperance society in which she was quite as successful as in her legitimate business. There were many feet to cover and many drinkers to reform. As a potential member of this latter class, I was myself, with all my brothers and sisters, rescued at the tender age of twelve. Well do I remember my very determined resolution to abjure this form of wickedness and, in proof of my enthusiasm and conviction, did, again in the company with my brothers and sisters, some missionary work in that direction by learning one or two temperance pieces and reciting them in the Penny Readings. She was assured always of a good long rest at our home and a cup of tea, for my mother dearly loved to talk about religion. As to the attitude of my father towards her I think he liked her well enough when she confined herself to her primary business, but he became very impatient when the sideline was being pushed, possibly regarding it as a dig at him for he had his glass of beer - and enjoyed it.
'Sally'r Sannau' (Sally of the stockings, for that is the name she went by), was the last in our parish to ply that trade. Like the bidder, she too, has gone! She belonged to a fraternity that at one time walked far into the counties of England, following their trade - even as far as Oxford. Two hundred years ago they carried messages from one home in the district to a son who was at the time a minister near that city. I often try to picture what the lot of these poor women must have been, for they were exposed to terrible hardships and dangers. It rained, I suppose, in those days as it does now. Where did they get their clothes dried, where did they put at night, or were there kind people in those days that took pity on the poor? Sally, the last of them, has passed out of sight round the corner of the road, she walked alone, none came after her; light and frail of body she was eminently fitted ot be the ghost of all her sisters that had pilgrimaged before her."