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A Tour Through History for International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is here again and we thought it would make for a great time to do a little trekking through history! Our sites are located in some of the most scenic and storied corners of the country, so you’re never far from a spot with a harrowing history. In the spirit of this annual Women’s Day tradition, we decided to look at some of the most famous and interesting women of yore that happened to live or work near some of our Wigwam locations. 

For anyone who loves a bit of historical tourism, consider this a jumping off point for some lovely places to start. Wigwam sites allow you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the landscape and architecture of some of the most stunning parts of the world, where you can adventure and learn. Today, we’ll tell you the legendary tales of four women from the UK’s past, and the Wigwam site nearest to them where you can stay to immerse yourself in their stories. 

Alice Hext, a garden-developer and nature-lover from St. Austell

Alice Hext was a philanthropist and lover of nature. She was most famous for developing sports, gardens, and social activities in the Cornish area, with her most famous venture being the Trebah Garden on the northern side of the Helford River at Trebahwortha, near Mawnan Smith. 

Hext was born in St. Austell in 1865 and became the owner of the Trebah Estate and leisure garden near Falmouth. She made great contributions to the area and was heavily involved in the care and keeping of her community.

She was a passionate advocate for the education of children and young people and dedicated herself to furthering good causes in that realm. She served as Justice of the Peace from 1921 and 1939 and enabled hundreds of young women to seek employment and betterment through their lives.

A cob and thatch arbour in the Trebeh Garden was restored after her passing, and named “Alice’s Seat” in her honor. A beautiful area to visit and walk in, the Trebah Garden is situated near our Bodrugan site. Take a short day trip from your Wigwam hideaway to explore the history of this passionate woman and enjoy the beautiful garden she left behind for her community. The Wigwam experience will allow you to immerse yourself in nature just as Alice Hext would have wanted. 

Mary Morris, first female doctor, from Aberystwyth

Mary Morris was the first female doctor from Aberystwyth whose final resting place was her former home in Aberyswyth. Growing up in Wales and studying medicine at the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth, Mary Morris went on to become the first female doctor from the area. She overcame great amounts of doubt, discrimination, and general condescension throughout her career due to being a women, but never let it slow her down. Her fierceness in the medical field empowered her to be active in the battle for Women’s Suffrage.

She was a fierce and involved activist for women getting the vote, and became a powerful organiser and speaker. She gathered Suffragettes in her home to prepare for processions, spoke to rooms crowded with not always agreeable men to inspire their support, and furthered the cause for all women at the time.

She was honoured for her services in Women’s Suffrage by planting a tree in Anne’s Arboretum (also called Suffragettes’ Rest), and was remembered as an excellent medical practitioner, skilled speaker, and militant suffragette.

If you wish to learn more about the famous Mary Morris, a stay at our Aberystwyth Wigwam site will put you in the perfect spot for exploring. You can visit the town, see the sites, and even try to find her former home. 

Frances Hoggan, the first woman doctorate was from Brecon

Born in Brecon, Frances Hoggan (née Morgan) was also a Welsh doctor and in 1870 became the first woman from the UK to receive a doctorate in medicine from any university in Europe.

The Council of the “Worshipful Society of Apothecaries” did not allow Frances to complete her exams because she was a woman, so she travelled to the University of Zürich and completed her five-year long medical course in just three speedy years. In March 1870, she became the first British woman to obtain an MD degree, and was the first female doctor in Wales.

She travelled around Europe practising medicine and spent several years in London at the New Hospital for Women. She married George Hoggan in 1874, and the pair became the first husband-and-wife general medical practice in the UK. She was an accomplished researcher and wrote papers arguing for the rights of mothers in maternity and parenthood, and advocated for publicly funded women's medical service for female patients in India.

She was a social reformer, a campaigner, and a trailblazer for women in the medical field. She dedicated herself and her work to furthering equality in all aspects of life, and her birthplace was honoured in March 2023. A plaque has been placed at her birthplace in Brecon, which is the 11th purple plaque in honour of Welsh women’s remarkable achievements. 

Take some time walking through the town of Brecon and see if you can find its location! Stay in our lovely Brecon Wigwam site and visit Frances Hoggan’s plaque in town. 

Duffy, a famous singer from the Llŷn Peninsula

Duffy (Aimée Anne Duffy) is our third accomplished woman coming out of Wales, and a much more contemporary one at that. Born in Bangor, Duffy was brought up by her parents in Nefyn. When she was just fifteen years old, she began singing with local bands and spent the next years developing her bluesy sound and impressive voice. 

In 2003, she appeared on Wawffactor, placing in a surprise second. She worked multiple jobs while writing her first album, and eventually hit number one the charts in 2008. Duffy went on to write more, sing more, and develop her sound, and eventually became an international breakthrough success in the 2000’s and 2010’s. There was a good period of the early 2010’s where one couldn’t go anywhere without hearing her infectiously catchy hit, “Mercy.” 

Her success continued into the 2010’s with Duffy releasing more of her signature bluesy-pop tunes, until eventually branching into acting and sponsorships and other roles. 

In 2011, Duffy was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Bangor University.

Perhaps her musical prowess was inspired by the beauty of the Llŷn Peninsula that she was raised on. Venture to Wales to see this beautiful landscape for yourself, and stay in a cosy cabin at our Llyn Peninsula Wigwam site while you’re there. 

Flora MacDonald, saviour of Bonnie Prince Charlie, at Portree

Flora MacDonald’s story is a classic in Scottish folklore, and it may even be the one that inspired the famous Skye Boat Song. 

Flora MacDonald was born on the island of South Uist in 1722 to Ranald and Marion MacDonald of the Clan MacDonald of Clanranald. In June of 1746, she was on a visit to Benbecula when she came across Bonnie Prince Charlie and a small group of aides taking refuge after the Battle of Culloden. He was being pursued by King George II’s army, and they had no way to escape.

At just 24 years old, Flora made the brave decision to help Bonnie Prince Charlie in his crossing and assembled the necessary boat, crew, and permits needed to sail to safety in Skye. In the summer of 1746, they sailed to Skye and landed on what is now known as Prince’s Point. 

Bonnie Prince Charlie was able to flee to France, but Flora was eventually found out. She was imprisoned in Oban and eventually the Tower of London for having helped the young Prince, but returned to Scotland in 1747. 

In the 1880’s, her story was immortalised in the Skye Boat Song. A classic and beloved tune of Scottish folk history, and an amazing story to accompany it. If you wish to immerse yourself in the beauty of Skye and see Prince’s Point for yourself, book a holiday at our Portree Wigwam site. The photos will speak for themselves!

Come Visit the Sites of Storied Past

We hope that this small adventure into the histories of some famous women has inspired you to seek out more information about wonderful ladies of yore. 

Avid history lover or otherwise, there’s always tons to see at our Wigwam sites. Our locations are dotted all over the most beautiful parts of the country, allowing you to get close to the best parts of history and nature. With so many locations to choose from, there’s a Wigwam right where you want to be. 

Book your next adventure today, and come discover beautiful stories and landscapes that have inspired legendary women for centuries.