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Women of Plas yn Rhiw, The

Manylion a Disgrifiad y Llyfr | Book Details & Description

  • Author: Mary Allan
  • Publication Date June 2005
  • Format: Paperback, 184x124 mm, 152 pages

The story of Mrs. Constance Keating and her three daughters Lorna, Eileen and Honora, who bought a ruinous manor-house in Llŷn and set about its restoration and eventual transfer to the National Trust; their contribution to the community life of Llŷn is explored along with an appreciation of their passion and vision.

Gwales Review

Sat in the garden on an unaccustomedly warm autumn afternoon, I read The Women of Plas yn Rhiw in one sitting. Whether this was because I have a great love for the Llŷn peninsula, or my innate fascination with the eccentricities of the British people, I cannot be sure – probably both.

This delightful little book by Mary Allan should, in my opinion, be titled 'Honora of Plas yn Rhiw' for, in truth, the other ladies are of mild significance against the ebullient personality of Honora, the youngest Keating sister, who dominates the book. This is not to disregard her sisters Lorna and Eileen, their mother and the family's staunch and ever-supportive friends, who come and go through the portals of Plas yn Rhiw, a house the Keating sisters restored and then handed over to the National Trust for posterity.

Unexpected snippets of social history are recorded from the years Honora was involved with the National Council for Mother and Child Welfare, and from the time she spent as matron of Panshanger, a home for girls who found themselves pregnant whilst working in the Armed Services. It was not really until later life that the eccentricities of the sisters became apparent, though the decision to have a bed on wheels made for their ailing but lucid mother, which the sisters were then seen to push around the countryside, leaves much to the imagination.

It is surprising that the sisters, whose financial assets were managed from Nottingham, and whose various campaigns took them around much of Britain, whilst enjoying anything but robust health, lived in such a remote area and were able to travel at all. They were keen benefactors of the arts and in this book many interesting and little-known events are recorded. However it is for Honora's, and to a lesser extent, Lorna's and Eileen's campaigning techniques and their desire to keep the peninsula green, that the women of Plas yn Rhiw will be remembered.

Norma Penfold