The Edwardian era saw the growth of spectacular hats. Women always wore hats out of the house, and going out with an uncovered head was not respectable behaviour – even the poorest of women had at least one hat.

In the 1900s women’s hairstyles supported decorations with all manner of fake fruit, flowers, ribbons, and feathers. So these ladies were probably in their Sunday best, and not decked out for Easter.

The Easter bonnet was the last survivor of a custom of wearing new or at least refurbished clothes for Easter and buying luxury items at the end of Lent. Decorating the hat was also appropriate to the festival.


These ladies were arranged for the photograph in the west doorway of St Mary’s Priory and Parish Church, with the vicar, Percy Treasure, seated in the centre. But most of the ladies' names and their church organisation remains unknown. If you can identify anyone, let the Museum know.

Text by the curator of Monmouthshire Museums. Photograph from the collections of Chepstow Museum ©Monmouthshire Museums.