Cobdens Hotel, Capel Curig
Cobden's Hotel, Capel Curig
This hotel was known as Tan y Bwlch before the lease was taken over in 1890 by Frank Cobden, one of the most celebrated cricketers of his age. The photo shows him (centre, seated) outside the hotel.
Tan y Bwlch means “under the pass”. The hotel is in a gorge where the Llugwy river turns 90 degrees as it passes the north-eastern corner of the hard rock which forms the mountain called Moel Siabod. Thomas Telford had to build his coach road (today’s A5) on a ledge well above the river. The hotel was built alongside the road soon afterwards.
Today Cobden's is home to more than 1,000 Pipistrelle bats, best seen as they emerge from the eaves at dusk in summer. Measuring only 4cm from head to toe, this is the smallest type of bat in Britain.
Frank Carroll Cobden (1849-1932) was born in Marylebone, London. He became renowned as a right-arm fast bowler. His greatest feat was to rescue his university team, Cambridge, from defeat in the annual Varsity match in 1870. Oxford University had scored 175 runs and needed only four more to win the match – and had three batsmen to spare. Thanks to Cobden’s determined bowling, the three were dispatched for just two runs. The match ball is displayed inside the hotel.
The Varsity match was one of the most high-profile cricket matches in the world before the advent of international test cricket, and Cobden’s heroics in 1870 were discussed and analysed for generations afterwards.
He lived half of his life in Capel Curig. He was declared bankrupt in 1900. He claimed to have spent £500 rearing pheasants and improving facilities for shooting guests who, in the event, stayed away because of the war in South Africa. The hotel was sold in 1907 and the license transferred from Frank Cobden. He died in Capel Curig aged 83. His grave is in St Julitta’s Churchyard.
There have been many tales of ghosts in Cobden’s Hotel. Some people claim to have seen the ghost of Miss Cobden, Frank Cobden’s spinster sister, dressed in green.
FOOTNOTES: Recollections about Frank Cobden
With thanks to Harvey Lloyd of the Friends of St Julitta's
Postcode: LL24 0EE