Thomas Pennant and the Welsh and Scottish Tour (1760-1820)

“I beg to be considered not as a Topographer but as a curious traveller willing to collect all that a traveller may be supposed to do in his voyage; I am the first that attempted travels at home, therefore earnestly wish for accuracy.”

Thomas Pennant, May 1773.

This four-year AHRC-funded research project, launched in September 2014 and jointly run by the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (CAWCS) and the University of Glasgow, will explore Romantic-period accounts of journeys into Wales and Scotland. Our focus is on the writings of the Flintshire naturalist and antiquarian Thomas Pennant (1726-1798), whose published Tours of both countries did so much to awaken public interest in the ‘peripheries’ of Britain. We aim to open a window onto the vivid and often entertaining accounts of scores of ‘curious travellers’ who headed for the edges of the British Isles in search of the primitive, the picturesque and the sublime–and often found the foreign, and the unsettling, surprisingly close to home.

Drawing of an owl.This website will develop over the course of the project as a portal to the project as a whole, linking through to a wide range of texts, databases, bibliographies, educational material for schools, pictures, pod-casts and other resources. To learn more about our aims and our planned outputs go to About the Project.

We will share our work in progress through a wide range of public talks and events, from international academic conferences to local events in museums, libraries and village halls. We are also asking people to get involved in Pennant Walks, following sections of the Welsh and Scottish itineraries. For information on past and upcoming activities see our Events page.

Cader Idris.Romantic-period tours are a wonderfully rich resource, opening out into many different topics, from art and archaeology to natural history, politics, literature language and geology. We are keen to hear from any groups or individuals with an interest in Thomas Pennant or travel writing in this period: please contact us.