Pictured above are the two
sides of a Christmas card distributed by Doctor Atwood Thorne -
one time owner of the Mynde. We have to thank Betty Vickery (nee
Edwards) for letting us see this most unusual, probably unique,
item. It came to her via her uncle, Tom Edwards, who as a lad was
a gardener in the Mynde. Tom is sadly dead now - but thanks to the
marvellous publication "The Living Village"* his memories
"When I was sixteen I worked at the Mount, as they called
it then, for Mr. Williams. He was in the wholesale grocery business,
Thomas and Evans in Shaftesbury Street by the slaughterhouse.
He had lost some of his sons in the war, but I was at his funeral
and five sons, all priests, attended it at the Catholic church.
There was a path from the house to the church; it may still be
I'd been there about four years when he died and Colonel Thorne
bought it. He was a bachelor and lived there with his sister,
Miss Thorne, who was a doctor. In those days there was only the
one house. Since then others have been built in the grounds."
Cecil Davies remembers those days well. He lived in Tan House
Farm and, in addition to land that stretched as far as the Avon
Llwyd, his family farmed the paddock within the Mynde. They grazed
cattle there - to drive them from the farm to the Mynde they had
travel around Mill Street, up Castle Street and in through the
huge wooden gates in High Street. He says it wasn't a problem,
there was so little traffic then. He remembers there being two
or three gardeners working for Dr Thorne.
Cecil had never seen the Christmas card before but said it was
a good likeness of the Doctor. He recalled that Miss Thorne (Doctor
Thorne's sister) had a small detached villa built on the tennis
lawn in the grounds of the Mynde. This was later extended by the
Mynde's next owner - Mr. Geoffrey Dawson. Mr. Dawson bought the
Mynde in 1936 so our card is from some time in the early 30s.
In 1937 Mr. Dawson sold Mynde House to Mr. Frank Pratt and lived
in the house he had extended. This was the start of the break-up
of the estate. Since then two more houses have been built in the
grounds. It has been said that Frank Pratt was the first to call
the property "The Mynde" and that previously it was
called "The Mount" - but the text on the card proves
this obviously can't have been the case.
Returning to Atwood Thorne: in his later years, shortly before
his death, he became a close friend of Cecil's Father who at that
time was a local councillor. Cecil says that he offered to give
the Mynde to Caerleon Urban District Council to be used as parkland
and they turned it down! What a loss to Caerleon, just
imagine how this singular estate could have been utilised.
For more information about the pictures follow these links: picture
1 picture 2
* "The Living Village" by S G Deane,
Village Publishing, ISBN 0 9 46043 12 4, published 1984 - copies
in Caerleon Library.