History of Ty Collwyn

Ty Collwyn Waterfront Retreat

Sooke, British Columbia
phone: 250-642-6702
e-mail: info@stayinsooke.com

Ty Collwyn Waterfront Retreat - Sooke, Vancouver Island, BC

History of Ty Collwyn

Dr. Richard Felton was the first resident practicing physician in Sooke village. He went first to Jordan River in 1911, where he was on contract to the Vancouver Island Power Company and to the logging interests there. After the first year, he lived in Sooke. This substantial house, overlooking Sooke's outer harbour, was built as a residence for his wife and daughters Barbara and Marjorie. (Son Allan was born later.) The place was named Ty Collwyn; Ty is a Welsh term meaning 'house'. A small cottage was built at the corner of the family driveway (now Felton Lane) and Sooke Road, and this cottage served as his office.

Dr. Felton left to serve in World War I, and on returning after the war, he had the Richardson brothers build an annex onto the east side of his home. A letter written by Dr. Felton in 1969 tells us:
"The Annex was initiated by me to eke out a very, very, poorly paying practice. It was run by my first wife and myself- and consisted of four rooms and appurtenances."

A number of Sooke residents were born in this "lying in hospital". One of the women, Ann Arden, whose confinement took place at the Felton hospital, recorded in her diary during her two-week stay:

"November 19th, 1921, Saturday. Very cold. East Wind. Baby and I in a snug warm room with nice fire. Castor oil first course for breakfast. 11p.m. Mrs. V. Richardson came, baby born 12:45."

In addition to his practice, Dr. Felton served as the Health Officer and School Inspector for the area extending from Jordan River to Metchosin and the Highlands. He left Sooke for Victoria in 1926. His letter gives more details:

"My pioneering in the Sooke District was various and included the church, cemetery, water supply, new recreation hall, etc…Incidents such as the Indian village at Jordan River and the large halibut bed adjoining, from which was landed by far the largest halibut in my experience… the transportation to Jordan River by my family, the first 'rig' to try the trip over 'corduroy roads' beyond Kirby's or Coal Creek. Transportation to Jordan River was mainly by sea only in those days…"

After the Feltons, the Locke family lived in the house for a time. Mrs. Edwards owned the house during the 1930's, and she ran a guesthouse and a tea room, which she called Ty Collwyn. A number of young Sooke women found employment there. Subsequent owners have used the building as a family home, aside from Dr. Brown, who also used an office in the home to see his patients. Other owners or occupants have been the Carters, Smiths, Summers, Margaret Buxton, and the Maughans. Stan Maughan, a career serviceman and his wife Kay, a longtime Sooke and Metchosin area teacher, owned the house from 1947 to 1979. During this period, the house sometimes served as a boarding home for Port Renfrew students attending Edward Milne Secondary School where Kay Maughan taught.

An interesting feature of the house during the Felton time was a special vegetable kitchen adjacent to the main kitchen, where a Chinese gardener prepared vegetables needed for the household. Perhaps a remnant from this time, an opium pipe was reported found in the garden at a more recent date.

The one-and-one-half story bungalow has been extensively altered with many additions made, obscuring much of the original character. The original construction of the foundation, exterior and interior walls and windows are all uncertain. The foundation is now concrete, outside walls are clapboard covered with stucco, and interior walls are drywalled. The original cedar shingled roof is now duroid. A very old mantel and mirror that remains on one of the two fireplaces in the home came from England around Cape Horn. The Maughans made most of the alterations, including converting the hospital annex area into a two-bedroom apartment, which was used by Kay's mother, Jessie Robertson. The also added a den, closing in a porch and a verandah, and adding an indoor swimming pool.

-From "101 Historical Buildings in the Sooke Region"

John Henderson is the owner of the home today.