The Kentwood Cardigans - 1948-1996Sonnica Godden was born into a doggy family and had been familiar with her mother's Pembroke Corgis since the late 1930's, but first became enamoured with the Cardigan when they attended the joint show of the Welsh Corgi League and the Welsh Corgi Association (as it then was) held at the London Scottish Drill Hall, Victoria, in June 1946. This was the first post war Championship show for the breed. Withybrook Brock was fourth in the Open Dog class, but Sonnica determined that this was the type of dog she liked and was going to have. Through the good offices and with the help of Mrs. Macdonell, she obtained a red bitch from Mr. Wild, a granddaughter of his Ch. Quicksilver registered as Red Peter. The Kennel Club agreed that this was perhaps an odd name for a girl and she became Kentwood Red Petal.
She was mated to Brock and in the first Kentwood litter produced Ch. Kentwood Dewin - Sonnica was off to a flying start. He was introduced at W.E.L.K.S. in 1949 and took the CC from the puppy class. During that summer he won 4 CCs and his title while still a puppy, and won 9 CCs in all. He was widely used, siring 7 UK champions.
Petal's next litter was by Ch. Hannaford Budge, a Brock son, the star this time being the brindle bitch Ch. Kentwood Curigwen. A second litter to Brock produced the brindle dog Ch. Kentwood Adwyth. In 1954 Petal was mated to Ch. Withybrook Caesar and this produced the red dog Ch. Kentwood Marc and the brindle bitch Ch. Kentwood Myfanwy while the dog Kentwood Mel won 2 CCs.
In the early 1950's Sonnica also had and made up the red bitch Ch. Felcourt Enchantress, a close relative of Red Petal, and bred some useful stock from her, and the kennel also housed Ch. Withybrook Jill.
Petal's success as a brood bitch was echoed by her daughters. Curigwen had four litters by Dewin which produced the brindle bitch Ch. Kentwood Ceinwen, the red bitch Ch. Kentwood Cydwen and the black brindle dog Ch. Kentwood Cymro. He won a total of 21 CCs, a record beaten only by his son Ch. Parmel Digger, one of four champion offspring he sired here. Cymro was adopted by the Association some years ago as the ideal model for the breed, and those who knew him have never changed that opinion. There were several other good animals from this mating including Kentwood Corwynt who sired much good stock for Mr. Toomer.
Myfanwy had two litters by Dewin which produced the tricolour bitch Ch. Kentwood Hawen and the tricolour Kentwood Dilys who gained her American title and produced in her turn a spate of Springdale winners for Hal Nelson, including Ch. Springdale Droednoeth. By Kentwood Mervyn, Myfanwy produced Ch. Kentwood Rhydlyd, a brilliant red dog who took Reserve in the Non-Sporting group at Three Counties Show in 1962, while by Kentwood Selwyn she produced Ch. Kentwood Sian. Selwyn and Mervyn were both sons of Ch. Kentwood Cydwen, Selwyn by Withybrook Loyal and Mervyn by Ch. Kentwood Hannaford Jose.
Jose, by Ch. Hannaford Merich, was bought in as an outcross, and sired useful stock at Kentwood and for other kennels. These included Kentwood Perllys, a Cydwen daughter, who appears in several Kentwood pedigrees and Ch. Kentwood Eirwen, a sable bitch owned by Mr. & Mrs. Cutler, one of only two Kentwood bred animals to be made up by other kennels in the UK, out of Kentwood Violetta of Veryan, a Dewin daughter. Violetta was also the dam of Ch. Kentwood Nevin, sired by Adwyth.
Another outcross introduced blue merles to Kentwood, Kentwood Rozavel Blue Badge, by Withybrook Loyal out of Ch. Rozavel Blue Rosette, won 2 CCs for Sonnica, and out of Ch. Kentwood Hawen sired the blue Ch. Kentwood Brenin.
Ch. Kentwood Sian played an important role in the second half of the Kentwood story. By Ch. Kentwood Cymro she produced the brindle dog Ch. Kentwood Emrys and by Kentwood Gareth (Dewin x Perllys) she produced the tricolour Kentwood Perl, winner of 2 CCs. Emrys sired Ch. Kentwood Heulwen out of a Brenin x Perl daughter: Heulwen was bred by Mrs. M. F. Davis. Emrys and Perl produced Kentwood Mali who mated to Willowbeach Danny Boy produced the light red bitch Kentwood Pansi.
Ch. Kentwood Heulwen mated to Bridgemont Suseman, by a full brother of Danny Boy, produced the dog Ch. Kentwood Arnallt and his litter sister Ch. Kentwood Anwyl, unfortunately never bred. Pansi mated to Ch. Joseter Mudwin produced Ch. Kentwood Taglys; mated to Arnallt she produced Ch. Kentwood Bethan. Arnallt mated to Taglys produced Ch. Kentwood Elwyn and Ch. Kentwood Edwin, made up by Teresa Maddox, and in a later litter Kentwood Gwenda also at Salvenik.
Ch. Kentwood Bethan was mated to Ch. Downholme Silversand of Joseter, to produce Kentwood Luc and Lyneth, both gaining their titles and making important contributions to breeding programmes in the USA, while Lowri stayed at Kentwood to carry on the line. The last to date of the Kentwood champions is Ch. Kentwood Madoc by Arnallt out of the outcross bitch Beckrow Beauty of Kentwood. Kentwood Garth, by Madoc out of Kentwood Nerys, a daughter of Arnallt and Lowri, is to date the last of the CC winners, having 2 CCs.
The record of Sonnica Godden's Kentwood Cardigans is amazing. Over 47 years, 92 litters were bred, dogs from only 9 others were brought in. 423 dogs were registered. Sonnica made up 23 UK champions, having bred 20 of them; two others of her breeding won their UK titles. An exact count is difficult, but her total of CCs won in the breed appears to be 160, perhaps even a few more. About 35 dogs, at the last count, were exported and gained their titles overseas.
Kentwood Champions: Hawen, Crymro, Rhydlyd, Myfanwy and Cydwen
We have not attempted in this history to list or trace the influence of Kentwood in other kennels, the champions, winners and breeding stock sired by Sonnica's dogs nor the descendants of her bitches in other hands. It was profound. All Cardigans, I would venture to say without exception, derive from Kentwood stock.
It is unlikely that Sonnica Godden's achievement will ever be equalled or even approached. Yet though the measure of her achievement is so impressive and etched for ever in the record of our breed it is more for the manner of her achievement that we will remember her and miss her in the years to come.
Text published in the CWCA Handbook 1995/96 and reproduced with the kind permission of the author.