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Remarkable women – Petticoats of Power

Members of Bridgend Soroptimists have continued to meet throughout the pandemic, albeit virtually. At the end of June, we were delighted to welcome Heddwen Cadwallader as our guest speaker. Heddwen is no stranger to Soroptimists – as the daughter of one of our members, Cherry, she has fond memories of, as a youngster, serving coffee at committee meetings when Cherry was Club President.

Heddwen is now National Trust Collections and House Manager (Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion portfolio) based a Llanerchaeron in West Wales. Together with colleagues, she developed an exhibition called “Petticoats of Power” – a celebration of the women who have shaped the Llanerchaeron estate over the years.

© 2018 Gruffydd LI. Thomas. All rights reserved.

As she explained, “For generations, women played a critical part in the social and cultural life of Wales’ landed estates. Through their familial roles and networks, and as landowners in their own right, heiresses, cultural patrons, domestic servants, tenants and agricultural labourers, women were central to the functioning of estates and country houses. They often exerted profound influences on the identities and fortunes of individual estates, and could play a significant role in shaping the nature of interactions between the country house, local communities and wider aspects of society.”

Members thoroughly enjoyed Heddwen’s lively presentation, commenting on how remarkable it was that so many women played such a central role in the development of this, and many other, estates. It was felt that all of these women were Soroptimists ahead-of-their-time!