North West Wales

Jackdaw Society for those born within Conwy walls folds

Conwy
Image caption The jackdaws - the feathered types - used to nest in holes in the town's medieval walls

The Jackdaw Society is so exclusive you have to be born into it, but the days of this club formed in the 19th Century have come to an end.

A Jackdaw is someone born within the walls of Conwy, named after the birds which nest in the medieval ramparts.

With more hospital births outside the town, membership has dwindled to only a few people in their 80s and 90s.

Betty Pattinson, a Jackdaw and former mayor, said it was a sad day, but members were proud of the honour.

After a lull in activity, the society was reformed in 1976 to raise money for charity.

It has also held annual Christmas parties for the town's pensioners and children and given festive flowers to Conwy widows.

Mrs Pattinson said: "We're proud of being born within the walls of Conwy and proud of having helped the community.

"But unfortunately, through illness, many of us haven't been able to play our part over the past few years."

Mrs Pattinson recalled a high point in the society's history being a meeting with the Queen at Conwy Castle on the occasion of the Conwy river tunnel opening 20 years ago.

"It was a great honour," said Mrs Pattinson. "The Queen mentioned she'd just seen a jackdaw outside; a Morris dancer had dressed up as one!"

Folk stories

Mrs Pattinson was born on one of Conwy's oldest roads, Berry Street. Her father was also a Jackdaw and she said, instead of fairytales, she would be told folk stories about the town's history.

"He told me about a Jackdaw chair in the Castle Hotel, and whoever sat on it had to buy a round of drinks," she said.

"Then a few years ago, we learned about a Jackdaw chair up for sale in an auction in the south of England. It's got the Conwy crest and Jackdaw symbol on it.

"So we bought it and it's now on view in the Guildhall.

"It is a sad day to see the society come to an end. Someone else could form one like this, but it would never have true Jackdaws in it."

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