The Kentwood Pembrokes

This affix has a distinguished place in British dog history.

Kentwood Pembrokes from the 1950's

The kennel was founded between the wars by Marjorie Godden who developed a successful line of German Shepherd Dogs (Alsatians as they were then). For many years, the kennel was known for dogs with distinctive, unusual head markings.
Like a number of Shepherd people, among them Thelma Gray, Mrs Godden was drawn to the Pembroke Corgi, then rapidly rising in popularity, and Kentwood Red Rose, a daughter of Ch. Bowhit Prince, arrived in the early years of the war. Then came a male, Kentwood Forest Fire, by Am Ch Spring Robin.

Sonnica Godden, 1944

Marjorie's young daughter Sonnica proved to be a very clever dog person. After the war she gradually took over the showing and breeding of the Shepherds and went on to produce four generations of champions, culminating in the first of the breed to take BIS at Crufts, homebred and owner-handled Ch. Fenton of Kentwood.

Fenton of Kentwood (at 12 months)

The first postwar Welsh Corgi League championship show was held together with the Cardigan Association and there Sonnica fell for Withybrook Brock, who proved to be the cornerstone of the breed's revival. She obtained a bitch, Kentwood Red Petal, who gave her a wonderful start, producing Ch Kentwood Dewin, another great sire, when mated to Brock, plus many other big winners. The Kentwood Cardis were on their way and an extraordinary line of champions was built up, continuing until Sonnica's death (1996). She was a special person and deeply mourned wherever Cardis are bred.

Ch. Kentwood Copper

Marjorie had a brief flirtation with Smooth Dachshunds after the war, and later dabbled in Poodles, but she remained best known for her Pembrokes. Her first champion was Kentwood Copper, by her Rozavel Headstrong Hero ex a daughter of her original pair. Sadly he died young, I think in an accident. I know his body was preserved - I'm not sure if it can still be seen at the museum at Tring.

Kentwood Fairy Tale

In previous posts I've featured the great post-war males Ch Knowland Clipper and Ch Sonec of Rode. Marjorie mated a daughter of Clipper to Sonec and came up with Ch Kentwood Fairy Tale, much admired in his day. He won the CC at the League show in 1957 under Rosemary Lee and then BIS two years later at the 21st birthday show judged by Thelma Gray. He sired Vi Palmer-Cummings' first two champions, Barney and Beretta of Braxentra, and through these, Carnival of Cowfold, Medloyd Mascara, the Stokeplains and others has left a lasting mark.

Pembroke pupppies, 3 months,
by Kentwoood Gay Cornerake out of Kentwoood Fairy Flute

The kennel near Oxford had a strong stud team in that era. A few years younger than Fairy Tale was Ch Kentwood Cogges Woodpecker, of rather different breeding and I suspect of a different type. He was bred by Rosemary Lee and as a sire was one of the most successful sons of Ch Maracas Masterpiece. His dam was by Stormerbanks Supersonic ex a dual CC winning bitch who combined Thelma Gray's two imports from Barbara Fallass in the USA, Am Chs Robinhood and Tormentor of Andely. Woodpecker's UK champion progeny were Winifred Busby's first two champions, littermates Chs Winrod Rob Roy and Rhapsody, Joan Wadge's Ch Whielden Copper Penny, Daphne Irlam's Ch Stokeplain Loveday and the first made up by Idris Jones, Ch Belroyd Jenny Wren. In addition, Stokeplain Lovelace and Wennam Snowbunting produced champions. At the age of 11, he was used by Kathleen Haley to sire one of her early litters and his son Ashbarton Laughing Cavalier is tail male ancestor of a high proportion (possibly a majority) of today's winners worldwide.

After this the Kentwoods weren't seen so often in the Pem rings, though breeding continued and there were a number of overseas champions. Moving forward to the mid '80s, and Mrs Godden came up with a lovely bitch, Kentwood Magic Moments, by Ch Kilvewood Over The Moon ex a bitch with many generations of Kentwood behind her. Those of us who appreciate breed history and continuity were delighted when Sonnica piloted her to a well deserved title.

Marjorie outlived her daughter by quite a few years, this indomitable character being one of the last links with the prewar show scene.
A touching tribute to Sonnica, from a Cardi perspective, can be found at https://www.cardicommentary/Kennelstories/kentwood.htm.

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