Colby's key figures

Pamela and Peter Chance at Colby Lodge

It all started with John Colby and coal, but there have been a number of key individuals at the estate since.

John Colby

John Colby (1751-1823) was a landowner in Pembrokeshire who came to this area in the 1790s to mine coal.

He was Lieutenant Colonel Colby of the Pembrokeshire Militia and Governor of Haverfordwest Castle at the time of the Last Invasion. He led the local militia against the last French invasion of Britain in 1797.

The militia marched through the night to Fishguard where Sir John Campbell of Stackpole took the French surrender.

Samuel Kay

Samuel Kay, a pharmacist from Stockport who used to holiday in Tenby, bought the Colby estate in 1873 and he's the person who really began planting the garden.

In 1920 Samuel Kay’s daughter, Mrs Crosland and her husband, inherited the lodge. Her family put in ponds and planted extensively in the woodland garden.

Elidyr Mason

In 1960 Colby passed to Miss Mason – her memorial is on Long Lane.

She sold the house and walled garden to Pamela and Peter Chance in 1965, but retained ownership of the woodland garden and wider estate.

Miss Mason died in 1979 and left both the woodland garden and surrounding land to the National Trust.

Pamela and Peter Chance

Pamela and Peter Chance purchased Colby Lodge and the walled garden in 1965. They continued the planting, as well as building the gazebo and commissioning a piece of trompe l’oeil artwork.

In 1979 Peter transferred the ownership of the house and walled garden to the National Trust. The Chances died in the 1980s and left a legacy to allow a mass planting of rhododendrons.

In the east wood you’ll find a memorial obelisk with the initials IOC, hinting at Peter’s real name, Ivan Oswald. His wife Pamela's memorial is a circle of metal pillars in Long Lane on the opposite side of the valley.

Tony and Cynthia Scourfield-Lewis

Tony and Cynthia Scourfield-Lewis took on Colby Lodge and walled garden in 1985. The couple helped transform the walled garden into the formal setting you see today, planting and creating the ornamental layout.

The walled garden returned to our care in 2010.