James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Mary Elizabeth Duthie (1922-1994)

Elsie and Bill Duthie’s daughter, Mary Elizabeth Duthie, was known as Betty (see photos from her childhood). She was born on 12 February 1922 in Bayswater and initially shared a governess with several other Ifield children. She then went to Trevelyan, a girls’ boarding school in Haywoods Heath, where her cousin Ruth Wynn Owen was a pupil for a while. Her secondary education was at Bedgebury Park School in Kent but, aged 16, she was ill for a term with sceptic tonsils and left without taking her School Certificate. She subsequently studied for it at home, through the London Polytechnic.

Her love of riding grew from when she was taught to ride by her grandmother’s groom, Shorey, on Mary’s cob, Janot, kept primarily for Mary’s trap. She went on to have lessons at a local stable and owned her own pony, Penny, in the war years. For about twenty years from 1939, she always owned dogs and always Border Terriers.

Aged 17 in 1939, she was too young to join the services. She considered an agricultural course at Reading University but instead went as a pupil to a farm near Beaulieu in the New Forest. Later that year she moved with her mother to a small rented farm in Montgomeryshire which had about 6 acres of grassy paddock. It was here that her life-long interest in goats began. The farm was in the valley of the River Tanat and thereafter Betty retained the registered name Tanatside for her herd, despite the fact that after two years the family moved about the country to various farms. Her goats supplied milk for the household but her ‘goat business’ barely broke even and she survived on an allowance, with accommodation and a car permanently available to her.

Betty never married. She lived with her parents until their deaths and afterwards continued running the farm, Todcart Croft, Holmsburn, near Insch in Aberdeenshire until Arthritis forced her to sell up in 1989. She then moved to a cottage, Corglass Beag, Corglass, Blacksboat, Ballindalloch, Banff, attached to a farm in the hills of Spreyside owned by a goat-keeping friend. Here she lived until illness forced her to move to the Aberlour cottage hospital where she died of cancer in July 1994, aged 72.

Elsie and Bill Duthie’s son is still alive and there are other descendants.