Tales from Rhos-on-Sea
THE CAYLEY FLIER
The Cayley family were prominent local landowners who left their mark in many of the local street names.
Sir George Cayley was an eminent inventor and arguably the true pioneer of aviation.
As long ago as 1853 he managed to build a machine that could carry the weight of a man. This glider was called the “Cayley Flier” and paved the way for the Wright brothers powered flight in 1903.The “Cayley Flier” flew for about 900 feet before crash-landing. This was the first recorded flight of a fixed wing aircraft in history.
Interestingly Sir George did not take the risk of actually flying the plane himself (he
was 80 at the time.) Instead he ordered his unfortunate coachman John Daly to fly it for him. Understandably John Daley was not too impressed by this great scientific breakthrough, but was more concerned about the danger he was put in as pilot. After
undergoing this alarming experience he proceeded to resign on the spot, reputedly with the words “please, Sir George, I wish to give my notice. I was hired to drive , not to fly”- a not unreasonably reaction.
Sir George has been given very little recognition for his great breakthrough and is far better known in America.
The stream that runs through the golf course was a navigable river in ancient times, probably with a harbour. Prince Madoc was alleged to have sailed from here with two ships in 1170 to discover America 322 years before Columbus! Tradition tells us that he returned some years later to tell of his discovery of a new land. He then collected a fleet of ten ships loaded with colonists, and was never seen again.
Although the legend cannot be proved, a commemorative stone in Mobile Alabama
marks the place where he is claimed to have settled.
The golf club's real claim to fame is that it was the landing site of the first aeroplane to land in North Wales. The plane, a Farmer Racer biplane, landed just 100 yards from the club house on 10th August 1910. The pilot Robert Lorraine had taken off from Blackpool with the intention of landing at Holyhead and then try and cross the Irish Sea, but bad weather forced him down, putting Rhos-on-Sea into the history books.
Thanks to Ian Reid from the Rhos-on-Sea Heritage Trail and our
member Mike Griffiths for the initial idea.