WAGES, PRICES, AND SOCIAL IMPROVEMENTS IN CARDIGANSHIRE, 1750-1850 One of the reasons for the increase in the rates raised for the relief of the poor in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was the failure of wages to keep pace with the general rise in prices. This article attempts to survey the wages received by labourers, the prices of provisions in Cardiganshire over a period of a hundred years, and the attempts to offset the effects of this imbalance between wages and prices by setting up Friendly Societies, investing in Savings Banks, and even emigrating. Lewis Morris provides useful information concerning wages in the parish of Llanbadarn Fawr in 1755 in his 'Answers to the Queries of ye Society of Antiquaries of London': The wages of Headservant in a farm, a Plowman, etc. is from £ 3. 10 to £ 4. 10 a year. Second servant £ 3, cartmen etc., 3d. Servant 40s. A shepherd boy 25s. or 3s. a year. Maidservant-Headservant £ 3 a year, second servant and dairymaid who feeds ye Cows in winter 50s. or 55s. 3rd maid 30s. Spinning and Carding per day 2d. and victuals. They sometimes hire for half a year, sometimes for a year, but never for a Quarter.' Labourers for ditching etc. 6d. a day on their own victuals, 3d. and victuals. Carpenters 6d. or 8d. and victuals, or 12d. their own victuals. Masons 12d. and victuals. Some 18d. Taylors 6d. and victuals. 2 The practice of paying a labourer's wages partly in kind and partly in money was an old custom and was to continue throughout the period under consideration. Hiring labour on particular days of the year was also an old custom and was closely associated with the fairs held in the larger villages of the county. Lewis Morris refers to 'Duwllun y Cyflogau' when the farmers of the neighbourhood of Llanbadarn Fawr met on the first Monday in May and November to hire servants. In 1750 there were 150 lead-miners in the parish of Llanbadarn Fawr. By the 1760s the number in the county had suddenly risen to 2,000 with the working of the Cwmsymlog and Esgair-mwyn mines. The miners at Esgair-mwyn 'earned from Is. to 14d. a day, labourers 8d. to lid., coopers and carpenters 13d. per day, and 9s. a week was paid to blacksmiths. All pieceworkers were paid subsistence rates of 9s. every three weeks'. Carriers of lead ore were a privileged class. In 1754 the carriers at Esgair- mwyn were local people and were paid a shilling per ton-mile and could earn 14s. for every ton carried to Aberystwyth. The work, however, was