The history of the Welsh love spoon
According to Welsh folklore, these ornately carved spoons were traditionally made from a single piece of wood by young men as a love token for their sweethearts to show affection and intentions for his loved one.
The earliest surviving example, displayed in the Welsh Folk museum in Cardiff, is dated around 1667, although the tradition probably dates back long before that.
The love spoon originated from the “cawl” (soup) spoon. Over generations decorative carvings were added to the spoon and it lost it’s original practical use and became a treasured decorative item that would be hung proudly on a wall. Over decades certain symbols came to have different meanings.
Sailors would often carve love spoons during their long journeys, which is why anchors would often be incorporated.
No other country in the world produced such a variety of design and carving techniques and the young men put a great deal of time and thought into their creations. Wales was a poor society whose youth could not afford presents of expensive jewellery and therefore they would do their utmost to create as beautiful spoons as possible.
At that time, practical skills in a husband would have been very desirable and a beautifully carved spoon would demonstrate the young man’s skills. The carvers would attempt to create more and more intricate designs as they vied for the attractions of a certain girl. The more complicated and difficult to carve a design, the more it would symbolise the depth of the creator’s love and desire to labour on behalf of his loved one. It is also possible that the size of the spoon would reflect the carver’s love but the spoons do vary considerably in size from 8cm to a metre in length.
Lovespoons are one of the most unique Celtic or Welsh gifts available.
Although the Welsh lovespoon is the most famous there are also traditions of lovespoons in Scandanavia and some parts of Eastern Europe, which have their own unique styles and techniques.
- Wheel Supporting a loved one.
- Leaves Love grows
- Stork and baby New baby.
- Ring Together forever.
- Knot Everlasting and together forever.
- Key and keyhole Home together, my house is yours and security.
- Horseshoe Good luck and happiness.
- Hearts True love.
- Harp Traditional Welsh symbol.
- Flowers Affection
- Dragon National symbol and strength/protection
- Diamond Wealth and good fortune
- Daffodil National symbol and sign of affection
- Cross Faith and marriage
- Birds Two lovebirds
- Bell Weddings
- Anchor Security and the desire to settle down