Axe-wielding Welshmen dressed as women: no, this is not just a normal night out in Swansea. The early 19th century was a tough time for farming communities in the south west of Wales. Of an evening, farm labourers would disguise themselves as women and attack the toll-gates which were springing up throughout the countryside. Ostensibly, the toll-gates financed the maintenance of roads, but frequently the money was diverted to other purposes and usually the rates extracted were extortionately high. The Bible-reading Welsh took their cue from words in Genesis: "And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them".
The riots took place over the period 1839-1843 and led to some reduction in rents and toll-gate charges. They also left their mark on the Welsh psyche and are considered to have inspired other uprisings since.
This tea towel would be ideal wielded by a man dressed as a woman; or by a woman dressed as a man; or any combination you like, just as long as you keep fighting for the rights of the working classes!