Welsh Love Spoons
In days gone by, Welsh suitors used to give the girl of their choice a hand-made wooden spoon as a token of
their affection. Some of these Welsh love spoons were quite intricate with stylised symbols such as a heart, an
anchor, cross, a lock, a dragon, a vine or a keyhole. There are quite a lot of messages that can be sent on Welsh
love spoons, see the page elsewhere on this site for more details.
Welsh Love Spoons
The love-struck young man would hand carve a heart on a specially made wooden lovespoon to show that his heart
was hers. A keyhole would be an indication of his desire to share his home with her and, assuming that their love
and lives would become inextricably intertwined, he would carve a vine on the spoon too. When the spoon was
finished, he hoped that she would accept it and his heart as well.
However, he knew that accepting his token of love, was by no means an indication that she had accepted him. He
knew that there were several women in the village who had already amassed a small collection of lovespoons even
though a woman could only marry one of her suitors.
And so, as his lovespoon, believed by many to have originated from of the Cawl Spoon, ( Cawl - an early Welsh
broth, and staple part of the diet) neared completion, the time for acceptance or rejection would soon be upon him
She did accept him and they spent many happy years together, the love spoon that had brought them together all
those years before had taken pride of place upon the wall of their living room. Now, it had passed through the many
generations that followed, keeping their love alive and everlasting.
How old is the oldest known lovespoon? That question can never be answered as love spoons are rarely dated, so
it is impossible to accurately date them. There is a lot of information on the lovespoon at the Museum of Welsh
life at St. Fagan's in Cardiff and the collection there has one spoon dated back to the 1660's, as well as many
other fine examples. One thing is sure though, the carving of lovespoons is a part of Welsh Culture going back many
Now though, lovespoons are seen more as a memento of Wales, be that as a result of a trip to Wales, or for an
exile longing for the green and pleasant land, still called 'Home'.
Whilst the carving and giving of lovespoons by young men has not survived the test of time, and many of the
lovespoons bought today are machine made, who knows, maybe one day, the old custom of carving a love spoon for the
one you love might re-emerge from the distant past and become part of Welsh culture again. Welsh love spoons are a
unique Celtic, and especially Welsh, craft.
Mini lovespoons for wedding favours are, typically, smaller versions of lovespoons that are handed out by the
bride and groom as mementos to their guests. These are hand-made, like the love spoons.
by +Owen Jones