New book by Will Cross – Evan, Lord Tredegar, Final Affairs

“Evan, Lord Tredegar: Final Affairs

The Aftermath: The Welsh Peer Poet

& Pleasure Seeker” : By William Cross

ISBN 9781905914326

£8.00 inc p&p. UK only. Direct from the

Author or on Amazon. Limited copies

Available until end of July 2017 only

The  Highlights of the book

12- page Introduction “ The Rise and Fall of the Morgans

of  Tredegar House”

40- pages of correspondence from  National Archives

records on the proposed sale of the Tredegar  Estates,

including attempts to have the National Trust take over

the property in c1950

The Newport  District Valuers’ Report of the state of

Tredegar  House in 1950 with details of all rooms, grounds,

& history

 

The complete 12 page Catalogue for the sale of Honeywood

House, Rowhook, Dorking the last home of Evan Morgan

and his mother, Katharine, Viscountess Tredegar

 

Photographs from Honeywood House, including the prized

Chinese panels owned by Evan Morgan

 

A short tribute to Katharine, Viscountess Tredegar

 

6 -page narrative (with unique photographs ) of House parties

and guests at Tredegar House in the 1930s

 

Contact / Enquiries William Cross  williecross@aol.com

EVAN MORGAN’S ROLLS ROYCE FOUND IN USA

From Will Cross and Monty Dart (and sincere thanks to Glynn and Nick Williams)

Will Cross, biographer of Evan Morgan informs us:

“When an e-mail (last Autumn) began “This is in strictest confidence!” the hair on the back of my neck began to rise a bit. When the plea for secrecy

adds, flatteringly “I’m certain you’re the best person to assist!” then the

narcissism of the writer inside me is all ears.

The item was a piece of breaking news that the source (a journalist)

understandably wanted to keep others mitts off from knowing the full details of the story until he was ready to reveal it to the world.

As the disclosure is now released into the public domain, I’m authorised to let the proverbial cat out of the bag! The subject is Evan Morgan, 4th Lord Tredegar, spendthrift, poet and playboy.

The latest news story is not about Evan’s darker frailties none the less the

story is a wonderfully interesting piece, especially as I (and I know there are many others too in the Friends of Tredegar House ) who remain hopelessly devoted to Evan Morgan, Lord Tredegar, and just about everything connected to him and his contemporaries.

Evan was of course  also known as Viscount Tredegar the last but one  of the coal baron Morgans to make Tredegar House, Newport, South Wales, UK their family seat and main homestead.  The House (currently undergoing extensive repairs to the roof) now survives and thrives in the hands of the National Trust. Evan is one of the treasures of Tredegar House when (and if) some of the guides and volunteers recount accurate and reliably sourced stories about him.

The newest Evan Morgan revelation is highly amusing after the discovery of one of Evan’s Rolls Royce motor cars in the USA.

The e-mail advised:

“A friend has bought a Rolls-Royce first built for Lord Tredegar in 1936. It’s in the United States and undergoing some very traumatic/dramatic changes – which with hindsight are in keeping with the dynasty – and the car will be unveiled soon.

As a journalist, I am producing an editorial for magazine/print use and have lots of technical history for the vehicle but am desperately seeking relevant images and pertinent details.”

The journalist at the centre of the enquiry introduced himself as Glynn Williams, MBE, a name well known in the motoring world and a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers.

I replied to the e-mail from Glynn saying that I would be delighted to help if I could and (to ensure more certain additional support) I summoned up a Tredegar House insider, my writing partner Monty Dart – who knows the machinations of Tredegar House and its people, and who strives to maintain integrity on Morgan family facts.

Monty and I did just that immediately, we orchestrated a trip for Glynn and his wife “for Evan vibes” and photographs around Tredegar House and grounds, including, the stables/ garages and forecourt where the fleet of Evan’s cars  were once housed –  Monty’s husband Tom Dart joined us too and added his own expertise.

According to the late George Evans (who was chauffeur to Evan from 1941-45) “Lord Tredegar had two Rolls Royces, a Hotchkiss   and a Daimler … also a Ford van for picks ups and shopping.  Evan had motorcars too including an old Vulcan model.

Evan always had luxury cars, when not being driven about he drove himself albeit erratically, Toad of Toad Hall was more accomplished.  In 1920 Aldous Huxley portrayed Evan as the fictional Ivor Lombard in his novel ‘Crome Yellow’ whizzing round the country driving a car.

One servants story is of Evan turning up once at Tredegar House in a green sports car – which was too wide to be garaged – Courtenay (Evan’s father)  wouldn’t have it anywhere and the car was never seen again. Another servant said when Evan’s car came into the vicinity of the House it would be clocked at the front entrance gate, a telephone call would be put through from the Lodge to the Hall Boy, who would go upstairs on the roof and put the flag up, and so it was flying when Evan arrived.

The results of the incredible new work on Evan’s Rolls Royce are in the links at the end of this account, with splendid photographs from Nick Williams (son of Glynn) who was  invited out to Mexico and USA to witness the car’s transformation and report back to his father. Although the text is not without some howlers in places on the description of Evan’s persona the revamping of the car and Nick’s tantalisingly epic photographs of the inside and outside of the new vehicle are all that matters. Absolutely stunning shots.

The team of Sam and Derek Hard from Hard Up Garage, Street Toys in Juarez, Mexico and Michael Lightborne in Elpaso have executed an amazing, fearsome job on the motor, which was unveiled at the SEMA show in Las Vegas last year. Albeit purists will bury themselves in oil slicks over the fate of a Rolls Royce from1936, a vehicle that was Evan’s pride and joy ridden his faithful chauffeurs John (Jack) and George Evans. I think Evan would have been chuffed to run gunshot or ride side saddle with these clever guys, they reek of the very same spark, bravado,the same daring, the same bohemian qualities as our beloved Evan at his best and worst.

Stand by for further news if and when the car goes into a major auction in the USA. Who knows there may be a chance of the car being included in a UK sale or on display. I understand the prospects are being investigated.

What a dream just to have been involved in cleaning Evan’s mudguards or shining up the beautiful car mascot.

Either way we shall not see the like of it again.

Will Cross and Monty Dart

6 February 2017

https://nwvt.myportfolio.com/rolls-royce-rat-rod

http://cars.barcroft.tv/lord-tredegar-rolls-royce-rat-rod-sema-las-vegas-custom-car

New Book – Further Letters and Prose Pieces with Anecdotes about Evan by ~Will Cross

 

 

Mann, Cathleen; Evan Frederick Morgan (1893-1949), 2nd Viscount Tredegar (2nd Creation); National Trust, Tredegar House; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/evan-frederick-morgan-18931949-2nd-viscount-tredegar-2nd-creation-156489

NEW BOOK

by

Will Cross and Hon. Evan Frederick Morgan

Synopsis of the book.

Evan, Lord Tredegar  Further Letters and Prose Pieces with Anecdotes about Evan

This second literary compilation from Evan Morgan’s biographer William
Cross offers more interesting letters and several curious prose pieces
that adds weight to those already swept into the anthology “ Evan, Lord
Tredegar, Selected Letters, Prose and Quotations: The Mystic Muse of Evan
Frederic Morgan” ISBN 978-1905914-33-3, published in 2015.
Among the letters included are those to the Welsh artist Augustus John, to
The Archbishop of Cardiff, Francis Mostyn and to Marie Stopes who was
involved with Evan and others in the campaign to try to secure a pension
for Lord ‘ Bosie’ Douglas. Other nuggets include two odd-ball letters
featuring Evan from Aldous Huxley – his friend from the tragically
insecure days spent at Lady Ottoline Morrell’s Garsington Manor during
the Great War. Here too are the letters from Evan to Frances Stevenson,
David Lloyd George’s private secretary and mistress; Frances later dubbed
Evan “ a hopeless liar and thoroughly degenerate”. The new prose pieces
include Evan’s essay on “ Youth”, his personal views of what men and
women of the 1920s would have made the ideal Prime Minister’s inner
Cabinet, and a curiously vain piece about “ This Age of Vulgarity” as
well as an equally heady essay entitled “ I Believe in the Roman Catholic
Church”. Light relief is provided with a cache of anecdotes about Evan
some true, others that need to be treated with caution.
This very limited issue is a ‘must have’ title for Evan fanciers as well as
anyone studying the past, social history and eccentric personalities of
the era of the pre – WW2 world not only amongst the privileged classes.

 Copies available by post direct from author are £7.00 including p &p UK only. The book is also on AMAZON.  Limited Issue Signed by the Author.

ISBN 10 1-905914-38-5 ISBN 13 978-1-905914-38-8
Published by William P. Cross
Book Midden Publishing
58 Sutton Road Newport Gwent
NP19 7JF United Kingdom

evan 1

NEW BOOK BY WILL CROSS – LOIS INA STURT

LOIS COVER worked on

Lois Sturt, Wild Child : A Glance at Hon. Lois Ina Sturt, Viscountess Tredegar

New Book By William Cross : Now Available £8.00 Post Free UK

From the age of the flapper, with vivid yarns of those Bright Young Things comes the poignant tale of British high society wild child, the Honourable Lois Ina Sturt, a dazzling, single minded,one-off personality who was dead by the age of 37. Sibling of the enigmatic, hedonistic peer Lord ‘Naps’ Alington, the family pile was the magical Crichel Estate in Dorset. The blond, tubercular Naps was matched only in devil may care attitude by his younger sister Lois, a delectable, quixotic creature,an accomplished actress and dancer, a clever painter who studied at the Slade School of Art and had her own art studio in Chelsea. She also became a successful race horse owner and breeder of Great Danes. But Lois’ story is largely untold. She was deemed “fast” and “high-spirited”: Lois wanted to knock the stuffing out of convention and achieved this by engaging in several long love affairs, generally with older, married men. She was for four years the lover of the much older Reggie Herbert, 15th Earl of Pembroke, and an intimate around the string of unapproved-of good-time girls chasing Prince George, the ill-fated Duke of Kent. In 1928 Lois entered into an arranged, madcap marriage de convenance with the homosexual Hon. Evan Frederic Morgan, heir to the Viscount Tredegar and died suddenly in Budapest in 1937, a victim of long years of alcohol abuse and insane slimming treatments. Author of previous titles on several forgotten Society figures of the 1920s and 1930s, William Cross presents all the humorous anecdotes, coupled with fascinating, yet often sad facts on the boisterous life and times of Evan Morgan’s first wife Lois, Viscountess Tredegar. Incredibly, Lois may boast a blood connection to the current heir to the British throne. ISBN 10 1-905914-31-8 and ISBN 13 978-1-905914-31-9

Published by William P. Cross through Book Midden Publishing 58 Sutton Road, Newport, Gwent NP19 7JF, United Kingdom   £8.00 Post Free UK until 31 December 2014

OVERSEAS ORDERS PLEASE USE AMAZON Cheques/ POs payable to “ William Cross”

 williecross@virginmedia.com

 A new book from William Cross, FSA Scot on Lois Sturt, actress, painter and first wife of Evan Morgan, later Viscount Tredegar. Lois died in Budapest in 1937, aged 37. She was one of the brightest of the Bright Young Things, but doomed because of her quest for fun and high living. Lois was Viscountess Tredegar from 1934 -1937.

A link to article from The Daily Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/art/62799/ambrose-mcevoy-portrait-of-lois-sturt-exceeds-estimate-at-dreweatts-saleroom.html

FOLLOW BLOG ON LOIS STURT

 http://lois-sturt.blogspot.co.uk/

Image 2

Lois by Tony Wysard (1907-1984) Caricaturist & Fashion Editor

Image 1

 

 

 

 

LOIS COVER FOR FOTH

 

 

 

 

Opening of the Alexandra Dock Newport

liberty

In this photo Prince Arthur is in the front, Courtenay is behind him and Evan is behind Mather-Jackson (Lord Lieutenant) who is wearing a top hat. It was the day after Evan’s 21st birthday.

I have recently been involved in an exhibition to commemorate the 100th  anniversary of the opening of Alexandra Dock by the Duke of Connaught. It was one of Courtenay’s proudest moments – as Liberty sailed into the Dock (most of the Morgan family were aboard) and Prince Arthur cut the ribbon.  I still don’t understand how you put a ribbon across a dock. Let alone cut it when you are on a boat!  I hope you enjoy this animation by the children of Pillgwenlly Primary School.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Frl88o75HnQ

The film refers to the Newport Dock Disaster – this is an 8 min film about the event

the original is about 45 mins    watch  it here      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEVB_nlobgk

 

 Monty Dart

 

 

 

Reunited

Martyn,Elizabeth,Paul

Martyn,Elizabeth,Paul
At the Edeny Gates

Hi Annie and Monty
Annie a big thank you for the photo’s you sent me.

Article for the website.

August 15th 2013 is a day I will always remember. I received an email from Annie Parker,
ref an email she had received through the website from Elizabeth Rassmussen who
lives with her husband Paul in the United States.

Elizabeth’s sister & brother had visited Tredegar House & had seen the photo of John Evans the chauffeur (my grandfather) on the wall.

Her sister mentioned to Elizabeth about this & Elizabeth sent the email to the website.

After a couple of days Annie passed on Elizabeth’s email address to me. I was then able to send an email with the family history which goes back three generations of working at Tredegar House.

Elizabeth & I have been in contact ever since

Elizabeth’s connection to the Evans family is through John Evans’ older sister; Lucy who married William Henry Lyons in Newport. They had three children – Elizabeth’s father Hayden Desire Lyons plus two Daughters. Hayden then married & moved to Birmingham. He was an oboe player in the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra…

I happened to mention to Elizabeth about a talk at Tredegar House about the servants in the 1900,s by Monty Dart which was on June 11th.  I was overjoyed when Elizabeth & Paul said they would be coming over to visit family & friends & would be visiting Newport for two days and could
to come to the talk & also to meet up for the first time. I travelled up from Christchurch in Dorset &
met up with them at her brothers in Bristol. They then travelled with me to Newport.
In the evening we went to a wonderful talk by Monty who used some of my photos.
Elizabeth’s brother & sister from Bristol also came over, also my brother from Newport.

The next day I took Elizabeth & Paul to see the house that the Evans family had lived in for over 120 years.

Elizabeth was taking a photo of the house when the owner walked up to us.we explained about house and the connection to us.
We then were invited inside what is now one large house. It used to be four cottages.
To sit in what would have been Nan & Pops lounge for the first time in 40 years for me &
Elizabeth it was so wonderful.
In the afternoon we were invited by Monty & Annie to go around Tredegar House & the
gardens, we were overjoyed. We then went back to my brother & sister in laws for the evening. What a wonderful 2 days.

Martyn Evans

Elizabeth and Paul

Elizabeth and Paul
At the Dining table
In the Brown Room

Tredegar House Late Night Friday

IT’S THE WEEKEND: Getting a taste of the party past of Newport’s Tredegar House

9:51am Saturday 7th June 2014

With Thanks to The South Wales Argus and Jen Mills for use of the article and Photos

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LOOKING THE PART Annie Parker strolls in with the Edeny Gates, behind.

Visitors to Newport’s Tredegar House have been getting a taste of the mansion’s decadent party past, as JEN MILLS discovered.

TREDEGAR House: the champagne is flowing, jitterbug music is playing and women in strings of pearls and flapper dresses dance across the floor into the arms of their partners.

It’s a scene that was once the standard in the decadent stately home owned by the notoriously decadent Evan Morgan, the second Viscount Tredegar, who held lavish all-weekend parties when he urged guests to skinny dip and take on his boxing kangaroo.

Except this scene didn’t take place at one of his 1930s get-togethers, but just last Friday, when a group of dancers put on their glad rags and took the house back in time.

On the last Friday of every month in summer, the house is taken over by dancers who do the Charleston, lindyhop and twist, while decked out in fabulous vintage outfits they sourced mainly from vintage shops or eBay.

Last Friday (May 30) was the first of this year’s dances, and the house looked beautiful.

The Trust is mixing the old and new together, putting on the dance just for the joy of it but also because the stately home was once a party-place and holding a dance does as much to preserve its memory as trying to find the original material the curtains were made from.

Chris Edmunds, from St Julians, one of the guides at the house with a special interest in the 1930s, was offering guided tours to visitors or any dancers who wanted a time-out. “You can be in no doubt we’re having a party here,”, he said. “Why? Evan Morgan. He was famous for his extravagant and often outrageous country house weekends here throughout the 1930s. Evan got to know all the rich and famous in London, went to parties with them and invited them here, such as Ivor Novello, Prince Paul of Greece and the actress Tallulah Bankhead.”

One of the dancers on Friday’s guest list was John Powell, 64, from Chepstow, who came along with his wife Claire for the dance. “I have been dancing for about eight years,”, he said. “It’s a good social event. We have a lesson or two a week and we have a dance a week.”

He came along with the other members from his dance ground, the Lydney Lindyhoppers. With so many of the group from Gwent, it’s a testament to their love for dancing that they’re willing to travel so far to get their dancing fix.

Their dedication is also shown by the clothes they wear, really putting in the effort. “We usually dress up in 40s or 50s clothes”, John said. “I get mine in vintage shops but the men have a job to find stuff.”

In his musical note patterned braces he was concerned he hadn’t quite nailed the fashion of the time, but cut a dapper figure nonetheless.

Although he has danced in many different venues, Tredegar House was something special he said. “We wanted to come to see this house – we were going to come this afternoon and we’ll definitely come again. It’s a good stress relief. I wish we started earlier.”

His wife Claire Powell agreed, saying: “Most of us started dancing around eight and a half years ago and it’s just taken over. We absolutely love it.”

Fellow dancer Christine Holliday, from Monmouth, has been donning her dancing shoes for slightly longer, saying: “I have done it about 14 years. It has been fantastic. It makes you feel happy. Sometimes I could be really tired but as soon as I get up there and I hear the music, it’s like a whole new energy comes through. You just feel the music. It keeps your mind active although sometimes you have a great dance and the next day you get out of bed and feel very stiff.”

She added that dancing could have benefits for many people: “It would be nice for more youngsters to come. You see youngsters on the street and they don’t know what to do with themselves.”

It’s not just 1940s music that they enjoy dancing too; in fact any kind of music can do, as long as the beat is right.

Merv Morris, 63, from the Forest of Dean, said: “You can dance to modern stuff. As long as the beat is right, it can be anything. Imelda May, Tom Jones…”

His friend Nigel Price, 63, from Llandenny in Usk, goes a step further towards modern pop, adding: “We had Aleesha Dixon at our wedding. It’s a really good beat.”

Friday’s party at Tredegar House was a stylish affair, but the National Trust weren’t able to recreate all of the original party atmosphere of the Morgan household, no doubt partly because of health and safety laws.

Our guide Chris outlined some of what guests might expect at one of Evan’s shindigs: “Parties like this didn’t come cheap. He had a boxing kangaroo called Somerset. Young men were invited to take on the kangaroo – and of course, it always won. He also had a honey bear called Alice. She was extremely tame and was allowed to wander the grounds quite freely. Then there was Bimbo the baboon. If he got bored, Evan thought nothing of letting Bimbo around the bedrooms. Imagine you have had a long evening partying and you come back and there’s Bimbo the Baboon in your bed.

“There was also skinny dipping in the lake. He would encourage the men in particular to strip. Princess Olga used to put the blinds down when that started.

The parties started on a Friday and finished somewhere the following Monday.

It was a really wonderful time. The people of Newport had no idea what was happening in the house.”

Many may not be aware of the Trust’s new parties either, or of the thriving dancing scene.

Nigel’s wife Bev, 54, said she started dancing in Usk and was hooked ever since. “I thought it’s something with my husband we can share,” she said. “We love it. We have built up a large circle of friends. We all go to dances, we dress up. We still do lessons and demonstrations.

“We started having lessons in Usk, but there was poor attendance. Lydney is a 40 minute drive for us, but every week on a Wednesday we have driven there for five or six years.”

The activity has become more and more a part of life. “In Abergavenny they do vintage festivals and we were once asked to do a flash mob”, she said. “We came out from the audience and suddenly started dancing.”

She has even started teaching, at a Dance Blast class in Abergavenny.

Although there were no excesses to the level of Gatsby or Viscount Tredegar immediately obviously at Friday’s affair, she said the social side of the dancing scene was excellent, with everyone friendly and welcoming.

After the party was over, she said, the group planned to go to the Greyhound in Llantrisant.

In her white dress with black detailing at the sleeves and flapper headress, Bev certainly looked the part. “I got my dress from Coast,” she said, “and the headband is from Accessorise. I do look up genuine 40s or 50s clothes on eBay.”

Her husband kept the standards up with a dicky bow and matching yellow pocket square, sourced from Extons of Raglan, he said.

The powerhouse teacher of the group, 60-year-old Lyn Crossman, was exhausting just to watch as she hopped and jived around the floor. “They just dance now. They don’t need teaching,”, she said. “This is my first time at Tredegar House so we were excited. We don’t usually get dressed up quite as elaborately. I’d like to come back.”

She said anyone should come along and try – but especially the men, as “there’s always a shortage of blokes at dances.”

The event is held on the last Friday of each month from May to September, with the house and grounds open until 9pm. Anyone can come along for no additional fee and there is no need to book.

Guests don’t have to join in the dancing, but could simply sit out in the grounds enjoying the summer sunlight and imaging the scene that once went on as the party

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IN STEP Lyn Crossman, right puts the ladies through the routine

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Claire Powell observes the floor

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Claire and John Powell put on the style

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Couples show off their dancing skills

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Dressed for the occasion

Link to The South Wales Article

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/11263596.IT__39_S_THE_WEEKEND__Getting_a_taste_of_the_party_past_of_Newport__39_s_Tredegar_House/

Two New History Books with Morgan Connections

image001

A NEW BOOK November 2013

The Williams Family of Maesruddud House (now known as Maes Manor Hotel) Blackwood

This book traces the history of the Williams family who by a, system of purchasing, inheriting and probably the most important method, marrying, over a period of nearly 400 hundred years assembled an estate of at least 23 farms in the old parishes of Bedwellty and Gelligaer. In the early 1800s the family fortunes greatly increased because of the coal that lay beneath their lands, furthermore some towns were built on their farm land. The town of Pontlottyn in the Rhymney Valley was virtually built solely on Maesruddud estate land. One of the sons of Maesruddud became one time vicar of Undy ,near Newport. His son EDMUND KEYNTON WILLIAMS went to Oxford with the intention of also taking Holy Orders, but he entered the army and had a distinguished career, finally, as Sir Edmund Keynton Williams, he concluded his military career as General of the Central Division of the Madras Army, East India. He was made a Freeman of the Borough of Newport in 1816. But, back at Maesruddud, the family fortunes increased and in 1894 the old, but substantial, farmhouse was replaced by the present day building. The house was built by Edmund Davies Williams who died in 1895, his estate was valued as the equivalent to £4.5 million in today’s money. In his funeral report it was said that his nephew, Edmund Williams Tom Llewellyn Brewer of Dan y  Graig House near Christchurch, Newport was the next male heir to the Maesruddud estate; in 1907,by Royal license, he was allowed to take the additional surname of Williams. The photographs below are, left to right, Maes Manor hotel, and E.W.T. Llewellyn Brewer-Williams in his uniform as a Deputy Lieutenant (of Monmouthshire) outside the Great Castle House, Monmouth.

   image002                                    

Mr Brewer-Williams was called to the Bar (The Inner Temple) in 1894, but he never practised as a Barrister. He did not need to work because of his fairly substantial income from the Maesrudud estate. Instead he maintained a flat above a jeweller’s shop in Vigo Street (which is just off Regent Street) London. He had an “arrangent” with Willie Bertolle, the jeweller; Brewer-Williams had the cash and Bertolle the expertise and reputation as a jeweller. Bertolle had in fact made Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubille bracelet; he supplied,in 1923, the Queen mother’s engagement ring. In 1947 he gave the remains of the nugget of Welsh gold, which had been used to make Royal weding rings, to the present Queen Elizabeth II when she married the Duke of Edinburgh. Brewer-Williams and Bertolle had a very comfortable life style, they travelled around the world together.

In 1909 Mr Brewer-Williams married a very young widow by the name of Etienne Dunbar, she was age 30 and had a daughter who regrettably spent most of her adult life in care because of mental health issues. In the 1930s Mr & Mrs Brewer-Williams loaned many paintings, items of furniture and porcelain to the Newport Museum. Following the death of Mr Brewer-Williams in 1945 the loan was converted to a donation, there are now nearly 1000 items held at the museum which form the Brewer-Williams collection. Foremost amongst the collection is a leather bound book containing sketches by Turner.

Mr Brewer-Williams  bequeathed the estate to his wife, but there is a distinct possibility that he had an amount of jewellery stashed away in London. Etienne, died in 1960, by then she had moved out of Maesruddud House. She set up a trust for the lifetime of her daughter, and upon her death the trust went absolutely to Dr Barnado’s charity.

Thank you Newport Museum for your invaluable assistance

THE BOOK, 199 pages, is available from the author, David Mills for  £8.50 plus postage of £1.50

Contact david.mills1947@hotmail.co.uk or tel. 02921401684 or 07816604234

———————————————————————————————————————–

 

2

A New Book

THE HISTORY OF THE TREDEGAR MINERAL ESTATE.

Whilst researching the history of the South Wales Iron and Coal industries with a view to writing a local history of the village of Aberbargoed, a village in the Rhymney Valley and its roots, including Pontaberbargoed, a chance visit to Tredegar library in 2011 and a meeting with Janet Carn the librarian, turned up a set of old books named “The history of the Development of the Tredegar Mineral Estate”, a narrative written by J. Hopkins Thomas in 1933/34. Mrs Carn referred to them as “The Skip books”.

Further enquiries revealed that the books, along with other materials, had been thrown into a skip in Mynydd Y Garreg, near Llanelli, in 2002, after the death of the owner of a house in that village.

Fortunately, the books were discovered before they could be dumped and were sent for safekeeping to Tredegar library where they remained until Mrs Carn brought them out for inspection.

 At the time, some notes were taken but it soon became apparent that the information contained in the books was virtually unique as it did not appear in any other local history book. From then on, several visits to the library over a two year period with a camera meant the every page was copied one by one and transcribed into “Word” documents. It was in the summer of 2013 that I sought permission from Janet to publish  a new book based on the old narratives. This was granted and the book appeared in early October 2013.

This first book, called “The History of the Tredegar Mineral Estate” covers a large number of leases granted by Sir Charles Morgan and his son Charles Morgan Robinson Morgan to a variety of coal owners and prospectors in Monmouthshire and Brecknockshire from the early 1820’s up until 1934. It also describes in detail, the negotiations and wrangling that led to the granting of the leases. The second book, which has not yet been published, will be named “The History of the Tredegar Mineral Estate in Glamorganshire”. The publishing date has not yet been set. It will, however, follow the original narrative very closely with some additions based on information that was not available at the time of writing in the same way that book 1 was produced.

The book is available by post from the Publisher, Park Mile Publications, details 01443 822649, from the Author,(email gw0giq@hotmail.com), from the Winding house at New Tredegar and on Amazon. It is priced at £10-95 plus £2-80 postage.

W. Smith

Hilary Barrett interview with John Watkins, who worked at the house from 1950 -1956

In 1950, at the age of 15, John Watkins started a 5 year Apprenticeship as a Maintenance Fitter in the Tredegar Park Workshops which were situated in the Home Farm complex of the Tredegar Estate. He completed his apprenticeship and worked on the estate until 1956.

He had been born and brought up in Pencarne Cottages, Coedkernew. A tenanted cottage on the Tredegar Estate.  The cottage had no electricity, running water or indoor toilet. A family of frogs lived in the well in the garden. His mother cooked on a black lead grate and candles and oil lamps were in use to light the cottage. John shared a bedroom with his brother and grandfather. The rent on the cottage was 3s 6p a week.

His father ran his own business building farm carts but had previously worked on the estate and had driven the first estate lorry – a Morris Commercial vehicle which operated out of the Tredegar Estate Rhiwderin workshops. This lorry conveyed workers to undertake repair work on the estate farms.

The iron work for Johns’ fathers carts was undertaken by the Tredegar Estate blacksmiths. It was on an occasion that Johns father was visiting the workshops that they mentioned they needed an apprentice in the blacksmith and fitting shop. John was taken on to learn his trades.

There were 2 adult engineers and 3 apprentices in the workshops who undertook all maintenance work within Tredegar House and the outlying buildings and grounds.

He worked a 46 ½ hour week, including Saturday mornings. 8am to 5pm (30 mins lunch with no other breaks during the day). He had one weeks holiday a year and earned 9 old pence per hour in the first year. In 1956 when he left estate employment John was earning 3s an hour.

 All members of the engineering staff worked in the blacksmiths forge and did all the forge work apart from shoeing the one horse that was left on the estate. There was a shoeing iron, 3 anvils and bellows (which were later replaced by a big blower which fed the three forges). The workshop was situated in the buildings now occupied by Isca Woodcrafts.

John had to turn his hand to any remedial or new work that was needed and remembers how Tredegar House was left bare after the building and contents were sold in 1951. He was then part of the conversion team installing plumbing and electrical wiring and turning rooms into classrooms.

He states the nuns were “pretty good to us” “although the boarders were warned to keep away from me after I had taken some for a ride on my motorbike in my lunch break”!

“Nothing changed” on the estate when the nuns took over.  “The farm was still working in the 1950’s and possibly for another 20 years, after which there a was compulsory purchase order for part of the grounds for the building of the new Duffryn school”. “The gardeners were also kept on in employment by the convent”.

There was a rick yard and a poultry farm in front of the estate workshop (with thatched roofs) and John remembers, when food was still under rationing, locking the chickens in their shed until they had lain an egg for his dinner.

Potatoes grown on the estate were stored within clamps in the rick yard area and sold in sacks to local shops. Local labourers picked the potatoes in season.

“In the orchard behind the workshops were lovely fruit trees. Pear trees grew up the walls. “

There was an Apple House in the kitchen gardens used for storing all the ripe apples.

Where the car park now exists was the sports ground for staff, overlooked by two sports pavilions, and surrounded by chestnut trees. After the war when there was no timber available to be purchased these pavilions were dismantled and the wood used for repairs in the house

The open sheds over looking the sports ground housed the farm equipment – tractors and combines.

During WW11 John remembers American Forces being billeted in corrugated iron Nissan huts built on the sports ground. “There were military vehicles parked all over estate land, around the lake and as far as the eye could see. There were sentries posted at the entrance to the estate. The forces were being prepared for the Normandy Landings and there were men sleeping in vehicles. Along Forge Lane were French and Canadian troops, with tanks and tank carriers. Behind the walls were stacked cans and cans of petrol”.

John remembers one day during that time when 5 small planes circled over the area and came into land alongside his cottage. American jeeps came to meet the passengers and took them away to Tredegar House where they were negotiating the Normandy Landings. Sentries were left on duty to guard the planes. Johns’ parents allowed the sentries to sleep on the floor of their cottage. John remembers the cocoa the soldiers provided.

One morning John when walked to school and the area was like a ghost town – the forces had all left for the beginning of the Allied Invasion.

After the war the “War Agriculture” set up base in the Nissan huts. This was a government led initiative which hired out plant to farmers for ploughing, hay making and seeding to grow food during the rationing years. Johns’ boss bought a big charging system to charge batteries for the “War Ag”. One of Johns’ jobs was to use a small valve charger in the workshop to charge radio batteries for the local residents.

After the war the Nissan huts were also used to provide housing for demobbed soldiers and those without housing.

In the fields opposite the estate worked Italian and German prisoners of war. They were very clever people and would barter for pieces of clean board to use when making willow baskets. They would also take 2 shilling and half crown pieces and tap the metal out to make “nice rings”. “One German blacksmith prisoner made the farmer many unbelievable things”.

In the 1950s, when there was still running water to the mill, the engineers attempted (but failed) to get the old Mill machinery working. They did however repair the laundry machinery for the convent. “The washing tubs were like half beer barrels, it was so long since they were in use they were leaking and had rusted bands. They had to be re banded with new bands made in the workshop”. “We made flat strips on the anvil and measured and riveted them together, fitted them and then took the barrels to the lake to soak and swell them”.

“There was also a big ironing machine which went back and forth. It was full of bricks to weigh it down”. “There was a Bendix paddle operated washing machine which had an open motor on the side and open gears driving it it”. “There were lots of people working in the laundry”.

John describes a bell with a rope pull over the porch of the Brewhouse. There were servants quarters downstairs in the Brewhouse and a games room upstairs in the Morgan room, with table tennis and a snooker table.

The weigh bridge outside of Brians House was not working in the 1950’s.

The Barrett family lived in Home Farm cottage.

The Carpenters shop was situated at the end of the Great Barn. He made the cart wheels which were then taken to the engineers shop for banding on the large metal circle which lay outside the workshop, but now lies outside of the Great Barn doors. The carpenters shop business eventually

became private and did work for local schools as well as Tredegar House. Bert Marsh was the Head Carpenter. “He was a fine carpenter with an unbelievable tool chest”.

Next to the carpenters shop, the last door at the end of the Great Barn was Alan Rees’ cart shed. “Alan was quite a character and lived in the Lodge at one time”- “Alan moved anything with his cart and took ashes away from the boiler house. He sold cigarettes and wheeled and dealed out of his shed”.

Horse drawn sleighs hung from beams in the barn next to Alans’ shed. They were still there after the house sale but the rest of the house was bare.

There were Indian canoes and a gondola on the lake and on the side of the lake, now grown over, was a “massive fire pump incase of fire in the house”. It worked the emergency points – around the outside of the courtyard were red boxes with stand pipes and fire fighting equipment. 

Upstairs in the stables there are carved names on the walls and there are also names scratched on the lead weights of the window sashes in the Nursery wing. (The sash cords were renewed in the early 1950s  – when John and his team also added their names).

During WW11 a 2 metre flat walkway was built around the chimneys to enable fire watching duties and John describes massive tube like structures for sliding down in an emergency from the upstairs rooms. In the 1950’s the estate had very large wind up fire escape ladders, used for undertaking repairs to the roof. These ladders had to be taken apart, with wheels taken off, to get them into the inner courtyard.

The main water tank on the roof was lined with lead and soldered. Galvanised tanks were later put inside this tank. There was a big cast iron boiler in the cellar which was taken apart in the 1950’s

The chandelier over the main staircase was re wired in the 1950’s. The chandelier was put on a trolley and taken to the workshop. It was originally manufactured to be used with candles and it proved a difficult task to thread the wires through the parts.

John states two of his jobs on a Saturday were to run the fire pump by the lake and to wind up the stable clock. This mechanism was on weights, with a big handle to pull the weights up. He also remembers walking through Cleppa Park Woods to the water reservoir to take  daily meter readings at the Filter House. He had to clean the filters and fill up the chlorine jar, which pumped chlorine into the water supply to purify it. This supply served the whole Tredegar Park Estate and surrounding areas, almost as far as Castleton.

John describes a big culvert running under the courtyard (big enough to crawl into). This became blocked in the convent days and had to be cleared – the nuns were cutting up telephone directories for use as toilet paper!

In the kitchen gardens was a sub station to provide electricity for the house – with the electricity cables entering via the back door. When there was a big event on in the House the engineers had to increase the electrical voltage by pulling out the trip switches. All electricity lines were open copper and dead birds would be found on the ground where they had perched on these wires.

John states Evan Morgan was “Nutty as a fruit cake”. He travelled in a chauffeur driven Humber Snipe car but the the family also possessed a French made Hotchkiss car and 2 Rolls Royce. During the war, when no petrol could be obtained, the Rolls were put up for sale for £25 each.

The hunting lodges were situated behind the stud farm in Church Lane Coedkernew. The stud farm was farmed by the Harris family.

There were two lodges off the Forge Lane entrance to the Tredegar estate. Tom David (footman) and his wife lived in one lodge and slept in the other. Every morning, on his way to school John observed Mrs David emptying the contents of their chamber pots into Tredegar House lake.

John also recalls passing “The Lodge” (a cottage located on the A48 opposite the present Greggs bakery). It was lived in by Jack Vaughan and his wife. John states ‘he was always dressed in top and tails – it frightened the life out of us as he looked like an undertaker”.

 There was a footpath to Ruperra castle directly from the gamekeepers cottage.

Tredegar House Engineering staff remembered by John Watkins

George King – Chief Engineer

Charles King (bosses son) was a trained engineer on the estate. He was 35 and had been in the army.

Bryn Phugh – Engineer. Left to go into the services. Became a police inspector.

Derek Street – Apprentice. Was killed in the forces.

Gwyn Bistow – Apprentice. ?lived in Tredegar Street Rhewderin

Jack Sidneys – WW11 veteran

Lionel Short – worked in workshop

Dorothy ……… worked in the engineering office. Had a cockney sort of accent

Other Estate workers

Allan Rees – Handyman/carter.

……. Allen – Head Gardener

Goff Rees – Gardener. Lived in Marshfield when retired. Father of Goff Rees

Oliver Seymour – Gardener

(John remembers the gardeners being permanently bent over when walking. There was no petrol for machinery, they had to dig the large gardens by hand.)

Bert Marsh – Head carpenter

Phyllis Short – worked in kitchen in Evan Morgans time. Sister of Lionel Short

J O Cullimore ran Home Farm,  his son Pat Cullimore then took over. He moved to Greg farm Forge Lane.

Courtney Williams – Land Agent for Tredegar Estate. Collected rents each month.

Evan Morgan & Aleister Crowley by Will Cross and Monty Dart

evan and crowley

Click photo for a larger view

 

Evan Morgan and Aleister Crowley

 

 

“Saw Tredegar’s Magick room far greater than I thought and he did expect me to talk to Frieda bout it!

My one idea was to get out before any harm was done!”

 

 

 

 

Aleister Crowley makes this startling comment on visiting Evan Morgan, Viscount Tredegar, a rich aristocrat, a homosexual and a Roman Catholic convert; he was also a Papal Chamberlain at the Vatican to two Popes. What of the rumours that the two joined in black mass rituals in country churchyards? Monty Dart and Will Cross are co-authors of several books on the Morgans of Tredegar House, South Wales.  The Viscounts early cult and black mass-influences, how he met Crowley, and the bizarre events that prompted him to invite Crowley to Tredegar House in the middle of the Second World War.

 

 

 

 

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