‘Sex and the Tudors’ was the subject of the guest speaker at the Powys Radnor Federation of Women’s Institutes annual council meeting at Knighton.

The speaker was Lesley Smith, the curator of Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire. She gave a somewhat fascinating and humorous talk about the sexual exploits of the Tudors, not just Henry VIII having had a good time but so did a lot of other people according to the records. Lesley, dressed in a stunning Mary Queen of Scots outfit, showed examples of early contraception including a metal chastity belt used to ensure that whilst the men were away the ladies did not stray. Conception, prostitution and gay sex featured in her address.

Lesley Smith told those present about her costume and how the gentry were able to ride horses in such voluminous attire. She also explained about early forms of leather condoms and pointed out that the first condom was found in Tutankhamun’s Tomb. She also told of early forms of contraception using lemons and limes. However, before she began her address she advised the ladies in her audience that if there was anyone present that was of a nervous disposition or was easily shocked this talk was not for them and they could leave.

No-one left and it was still a full house at the end of her talk. After her address Anne Newton of Llangunllo WI gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

County Times:

The event took place at the Knighton Community Centre where the federation chairman Liz Watkins opened the meeting and welcomed delegates from the 28 institutes in the Powys Radnor Federation together with guests including Ann Jones the national vice chairman of the Women’s Institute and Mair Stephens, chairman of the Wales committee before inviting Lesley Smith to address those present.

Members heard a report of the past year’s activities in the Federation given by Cheryl Price, the federation secretary. A number of awards were made during the meeting for sporting activities, the annual quiz and the recruitment award for the club gaining the most number of new members during the year which went to Chatterbrook WI. Other awards went to Dolau WI for the quiz, and Aberedw for the WI bowls competition. A financial report for the year was given by Ida Davies the county treasurer.

WI advisors certificates were presented by Ann Jones the national vice chairman to Marion Greaves of Howey WI and Anne Newton of Llangunllo WI.

Refreshments for the afternoon gathering were organised and provided by members of Llanfair Waterdine WI led by their president Margaret Clugston.

A vote of thanks was given to Isabel Morris and members of the membership committee for organising the afternoon’s event.