Fanny Browne was born in Bridgwater in 1824, the daughter of Mary and John Browne. Fanny was to marry George Talbot but it is by her remarkable donation to the National Trust that we remember her. In married life, Fanny owned a property at Tyn-yffynon, high on the mountains overlooking Barmouth on the Welsh coast, with beautiful views of the Mawddach estuary and the magnificently towering Cader Idris mountain. Here we find the Cliff of Light or “Dinas Oleu” as it is called in Welsh.
Fanny had a particular love of this four and a half acres of rough grazing enclosed in dry stone walls, set on the cliffside above Barmouth on the Mawddach estuary. She felt a responsibility to protect it as long as it remained in her ownership.
When her only son died, Fanny was devastated and lacked an heir for her estate. Amongst her circle of friends was Hardwicke Rawnsley, who with Robert Hunter and Octavia Hill, formed the National Trust. Fanny seized the opportunity donating Dinas Oleu as the National Trust’s very first property, an inspiration for others to follow from the generous lady from Bridgwater.
Text Copyright © 2008 Roger Evans