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Archiver > CLWYD > 2003-04 > 1049837165

From: Miles Ellis <>
Subject: Re: [CLWYD] Re: CLWYD-D Digest V03 #115
Date: Tue, 08 Apr 2003 22:26:05 +0100
In-Reply-To: <>

On 26/3/03 1:05 pm said:

> For what it`s worth this is the only knowledge I have about Coed Coch. When I
> was a lad (about fifty years ago!) Coed Coch was owned by a Miss
> Broderick/Brodrick? She became quite famous world wide for her breeding of
> Welsh Mountain Ponies and the stud is still famous today. It is a very large
> estate situated on the outskirts of Betws yn Rhos in the village of Dolwen
> and the large house is perched up on a rise above the grounds. Coed Coch was
> previously owned by the Wynne family who`s lineage goes back to the year dot.
> Now I don`t know the relationship between Miss Broderick and the Wynnes but I
> would reckon it`s quite close. The parish records of Betws will be held at
> the Ruthin archives.

From the late 1940s until the early 1970s the manor house at Coed Coch was a
small boys' preparatory school (a private school for boys aged from 8 to
13). I was there from 1951 to 1955 and well remember Miss Broderick and her
ponies. Sometimes we tried to ride some of the ponies bare-back - although
we were not supposed to do so!

The school was called Heronwater, and was established by Keith Gaskell with
about 70 boys. Quite a large part of the estate was used by the school for
various purposes; apart from games fields we also used the lake for
swimming during the summer, while another part of the grounds had a natural
theatre where the boys used to perform some of Shakespeare's plays, directed
by Mrs Gaskell, for their parents during the "half-term" weekend in the
summer term - definitely the best way to introduce boys to Shakespeare.
Coed Coch means Red Wood in Welsh, and the estate did have a number of quite
large redwood trees.

Keith Gaskell was a keen supporter of the Boy Scout movement, and the 70
boys were divided into four patrols, rather than the more usual 'houses'.
The extensive grounds were, of course, ideal for scouting activities, and
every Sunday afternoon we were turned loose in the woods with two potatoes,
two slices of bread and two matches each, and encouraged to light fires to
cook our bread and potatoes. Despite the fires and the stream that ran
through the woods no-one ever got hurt, but I am sure a 21st century Health
and Safety Inspector would have heart failure at the sight of 70 small boys
engaged in this way every week!

After Keith Gaskell's death the school was soon closed and the house was
subsequently used as some form of "retreat" but I don't know the details.

As the above may indicate, I have very fond memories of the five years I
spent at Coed Coch 50 years ago!

Miles Ellis

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