James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Sally (aka Sarah) Danby (1938 - 2013)

Ruth & twins aged 2 Sarah (known as Sally) Danby was born on 21 July 1938, at 1.40 p.m., 70 minutes before her twin sister (Sally said she never let her twin forget that she was the eldest!). They were treated in a rather quaint, old-fashioned way by their mother; when they were very little they would be brought down to their father to say “Goodnight Papa” and then taken back up to the nursery. Sally said how, as a child, she was afraid of Ian and that he was always rather distant from them; he never went on holiday with the rest of the family and he struggled to relate to her. She could not remember when he did not drink as she grew up and then it became worse; they were never very close until he stopped. When she was older, she recalled being placed second twice and third twice at hunter trials and, instead of congratulating her, Ian made her feel a failure for not coming first.

Danby twins young Ruth and their nannies educated the twins at home - Ruth insisted that they should be told reasons for facts rather than be taught to learn by rote - which gave them little contact with other children, though when they were a little older they got to know her drama students and acted with them.

The twins had their first birthday in the “Mothercraft Home” in Princes Street, Edinburgh where they were looked after for about six months while Ruth was acting. Sally’s earliest memory was of the white jacket she wore and got dirty on the train journey down from Edinburgh. Her father’s sisters Margaret and Helen then looked after them for some months.

They moved to Trafalgar House in Wiltshire when they were less than three. Stella’s family was distantly related to Horatio Nelson whose grandson owned the house; Stella and her mother lived in the north wing. It was a very grand residence and the twins were cared for by a succession of nannies – nanny Hale (hated by Sally), nanny Trout (a local lady) and nanny Luthy who cared for them until they were about eight years old.