Old water fountain, Amroth

acc-logoLink to Welsh translationOld water fountain, Amroth

The fountain displayed at the seafront was part of the water supply given to the village in 1929 by the Croslands, owners of nearby Colby Lodge.

James Charles Herbert Crosland and his wife Gladys inherited the lodge and estate from her mother. You can see their initials, either side of ‘1929’ in Roman numerals, on the fountain. James was an engineer from Manchester who had served as a Colonel in the First World War.

The fountain was installed at Coed Mor, near today’s car park. It was not of great use because lead pipework brought the water to the village, making the water unhealthy to drink. The fountain was refurbished in 2020 by local shopkeeper William Thwaites while his shop had to stay shut in the Covid-19 lockdown. It was placed in its current position in 2021.

Colby Lodge was built by John Colby, who bought the lands in 1787. He was Governor of Haverfordwest Castle at the time of the last invasion of Britain by the French near Fishguard in 1797. He marshalled the local militia to repel the invaders.

The area became known as Colby and was extensively mined for premium anthracite coal. Children as young as five worked in the narrow coal seams underground. Girdles around their bodies were attached to chains for them to drag carts out of the mines, crawling on all fours. Accidents and illness were common. Those unable to continue working at the mines often went to the workhouse near Narberth.

In stark contrast, John Colby’s riches grew. In 1803 work began on building his new residence, Colby Lodge, overlooking his mines. It included features from designs by the noted architect John Nash, and the work was overseen by Nash’s clerk of works.

After John Colby’s ownership, the house was used as a private school. In 1852 it became a “hydropathic establishment”, offering a “cold-water cure” to invalids. The lodge was bought in 1873 by Samuel Kay, a Lancastrian chemist, who started planting the gardens for which Colby was to become renowned. His daughter was the Gladys who donated the water fountain.

Later owners gifted parts of the property to the National Trust – see the footnotes. Follow the link below for visiting information.

With thanks to Mark Harvey

Postcode: SA67 8NG    View Location Map

Website of Colby Woodland Garden

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Footnotes: Post-war Colby Lodge owners

In 1960 Colby passed to the Croslands’ niece, Miss Elidyr Mason, who subsequently bequeathed parts of Colby Gardens and other land in the area to The National Trust. Colby Lodge and its walled garden were sold in 1965 to Pamela and Ivan ‘Peter’ Chance, who was chairman of auctioneer Christie’s of London. They continued planting the gardens and installed artworks and sculptures.

In the east woods of Colby Gardens they installed two cast-iron gates from Tenby’s Sion House, designed by John Nash and destroyed by fire in 1938. They enjoyed showing off their residence to London friends, and held many social events there. In 1979 they gave the lodge and walled garden to the National Trust along with a bequest to pay for a sumptuous planting of rhododendrons.

The trust sold the lodge and walled garden to Tony and Cynthia Scourfield-Lewis in 1985. They discovered c.1,800 discarded bottles in the grounds and house – relics of the Chances’ parties! The couple helped to transform the walled garden into the formal setting you can see today and donated it back to the trust in 2010, selling Colby Lodge in 2016.