Lady Of Mystery

Rachael The Mystery Lady

Article and Photos By Monty Dart

Lady of Mystery

 Where did she come from? Known fondly as ‘Rachael’ by the gardeners at Tredegar House,

The statue in the corner of the Cedar Garden is a lady of mystery.

The volunteer hosts are developing short Garden Tours and it would be interesting to know her origins.

Rumour has it that she was brought to Tredegar House by the Nuns of St Josephs

But do you know the how she came to be there? Let us know.

 

 

Spring 2013 has arrived –
the Hellebores are in flower despite the recent snow

Christmas at Tredegar House 2013

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Christmas at Tredegar House

Join us this Christmas as we deck out Tredegar House

With lavish Victorian decorations for a special celebration

of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’.

 

Take a wintry walk through our gardens to the house where there will be music and merriment throughout, with traditional activities for the whole family. Visit Santa who will have a gift for all the children (additional cost of £2.50).

Explore the bedrooms and meet our ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future…but beware!

Scrooge might be just around the corner.

There will also be food and craft stalls in our courtyard so pop down to pick up a festive treat.

Event details

  • Booking Not Needed Tickets for admission and Santa visit can be purchased at Visitor Reception, opposite the car park.
  • Normal Admission Charges Apply
  • Suitable for Groups
  • Wrap up warm – scarves and mittens will be essential to enjoy the festivities across the whole site.
  • Assistance Dogs only are welcome
  • Don’t forget to visit our shop to pick up some last minute festive gifts and decorations. Before you leave nip into the Brewhouse tearooms to sample the delicious seasonal treats on offer.
  • Lift to ground floor of house only.

Price: Adult £7.50, Child £4, Family £21, Per Item £2.50 (Santa Visit)

 Dates: 30 November 2013 11:00am and 1 December 2013 11:00am

Dates: 7 December 2013 11:00am and 8 December 2013 11:00am

Dates: 14 December 2013 11:00am and 15 December 2013 11:00am

Dates: 21 December 2013 11:00am and 22 December 2013 11:00am

More Information: Tredegar House Office, 01633 815880, tredegar@nationaltrust.org.uk

St. Joseph’s Convent High School Reunion Friday November 16th 2012

Michele Lewis (Left) & Paddy Landers (R) sporting the old summer boater & winter felt hats worn many years ago. Both Michele and Paddy are members of Friends of Tredegar House. Paddy is also a N.Trust Host Volunteer working at Tredegar House.

 

REUNION OF “OLD Girls”  by Michele Lewis

On Friday November 16th 2012,  a cold wet blustery day, the serene surroundings of Llantarnum Abbey echoed to the sounds of “Old Girls” of St. Joseph’s Convent High School Tredegar House. The invitation was extended to all girls from the 1951-1966 ears. 

This Old Girls Reunion, the first for nearly 10 years was the culmination of months of hard work by the organisers.  Michele Lewis, Paddy Landers and Veronica Walsh, who had spent the previous 6 months contacting old girls from around the globe and arranging the afternoon at the Abbey. 

At first it was likely that there would only be about 15 in attendance but this number soon crept up to 75.  Girls came from Germany, Ireland and all over the country.  The squeals of delight as friends met friends unseen for many years were heard all over Ty-Croeso.  For many who could not attend previous reunions it was the first time they had met since leaving school.  Very quickly the groups mingled; looked at photos, exchanged addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses.  All were delighted to watch a film of the school taken in the early 60’s by members of St. Mary’s Camera Club.

The Sisters welcomed everyone with open arms as many of them not only taught at the school but were old girls themselves!

A happy day was enjoyed by all and for many of the old girls the Mass, dedicated to the deceased staff and pupils of the school, in the Abbey’s lovely chapel was a fitting end to a memorable day.

Godfrey Morgan, Viscount Tredegar Opening the Transporter Bridge

 

Here is a photograph of Godfrey Morgan, Viscount Tredegar on the opening day September 12th 1906. When the big day arrived, the rain was relentless, as you can see in the photograph, everyone has an umbrella.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Monty Dart the archivist for the Friends of Tredegar House.

 Recently I received an intriguing email from America

 ‘I am the current Historian for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology’s (SDSMT) American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) chapter.  Our chapter recently acquired what appears to be a cigar cutter from the Newport Transporter Bridge.  An alumni of SDSMT bought this cigar cutter at an antiques store and had it on his mantle for several years.  In 2007 he donated it to SDSMT.  He recently sent us a letter and was wondering if we still had it.  We found it.  The alumni would like us to get it to someone who will appreciate it, hopefully its rightful owner.’

 Attached was a photograph of a magnificent silver cigar cutter with a request to know more about the Transporter Bridge, Godfrey Morgan and Tredegar House. I was pleased to send the American Society of Engineers a film about Tredegar House and coincidently, as I am also the archivist for The Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge I could send details about the Bridge and the Opening Day.  This is where the cigar cutter comes in, it was presented to Godfrey as a memento of the opening of the Transporter Bridge by the Contractors – Alfred Thorne Ltd. This newspaper article mentions it as a ‘silver controller’. It was so called because the little handle that opened the cutter is an exact replica of the handle Godfrey used to start the Transporter Bridge!

 Just a week after our initial correspondence by email I received a surprise parcel from America. Our generous friends from South Dakota had sent the unique artefact, a real piece of Newport history.  I have accepted it ‘on behalf of the people of Newport’ and the Friends are discussing where best it could be displayed.

 

This animation of both the cigar cutter and the Transporter Bridge in action

was made by Tom Dart for the FOTH website.

 

 

Link to Mary Courtney MBE 101st Birthday and Presentation

of Cigar Cutter to the Mayor(click here)

If you would like to know more about the Transporter Bridge visit  via the link  in Sites of Interest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transcript of Interview by M.R. Apted and Mrs B.M. Evans, 15th February, 1973

 

Courtenay Morgan (Lord Tredegar) with his sister Violet Mundy who used to act as The Lady of Tredegar House. Katharine Morgan, Lady Tredegar rarely visited the House, preferring her homes at Honeywood House, Dorking or in London

What about Lord Tredegar and the Servant’s Ball?

His sister was always with him – Mrs. Mundy, the men would line the one side and we would line the other side in the hall. It was the length of the hall when we started the dance.

Going right back to the beginning of the dance, did you get a formal invitation with a card? Did invitations go out before the dance?

Oh, yes, and you had an invitation. You could invite someone, you see.

You’d get an invitation on a card, which would invite you to bring someone to the ball as a partner?

Well, of course, we didn’t exactly have the cards, but I think there was the invitation cards going out for people, you see, but I don’t think I ever had a card. I don’t think I did, but there were invitations sent out for people you could invite.

Now, Mr. Seyama (Gardener) is obviously not a dancing man.

No. No, Oliver didn’t go much.

You probably went to a lot, did you?

I went to every one.

What did you do about a dress? I mean, you knew it was coming up. What did you do about a costume?

They were beautiful dresses.

Did you make it yourself or did you have it made?

Oh, no, I used to buy them. Oh, they were beautiful dresses. They all had long dresses, you know, marvellous dresses they were, and it was a lovely ball, and it was beautiful.

And it started at 8 o’clock?

It started at 9 o’clock. As the clock struck 9, His Lordship was there, and then,  of course, up the sides and down the middle, we used to call it. Roger de Coverly (a dance). He’d start the ball then, and the last dance – I always danced the last dance with my husband – he wasn’t my husband then, but after. At 6 o’clock in the morning, when the stable clock struck 6 it would end. We’d go through the whole night, the whole night.

Coming back to the beginning, when the clock struck 9, you all went in. Now, was His Lordship there?

We were already lined up for His Lordship to come to take the head of the thing.

So the clock struck 9 and he came down the stairs?

Yes.

Now what about the tune? Is Oliver right about the tune?

Well, I think Oliver must have been right. I forget the name, you see.

But he was right in saying you were all lined up?

Oh, yes, yes, yes. All the men up one side and all the girls the other side.

Was this mostly people from inside the House or were there a lot of people from outside, people who worked on the estate?

Not in the first dance.

I see. Well, who was in the first dance?

Mostly all the estate people in the first dance with His Lordship, all the estate people.

And, then, after that, the other guests could come in?

Well, then, after that, people took the floor, you see – everybody.

What sort of music was there?

Oh, we used to have Mr. Wallace from Cardiff and his band, him and his sons – I think it was his sons in the band. He was there always for the ball, and he used to play for the weekly dances, as well, that we had.

What about refreshments? You didn’t go right through until 6 o’clock with nothing?

Refreshments? You never saw anything like it – marvellous. In the Housekeeper’s Room – everything was laid out there – in the Housekeeper’s Room. That was for the refreshments. Your supper was in the kitchen.

You mean that, during the dance, there were refreshments in the Housekeeper’s Room?

Oh, yes, next to the Servant’s Hall.

So that was where all the beer and wine was?

All the wine and fruit and everything you could mention.

And you could go in there any time?

Anyone could go in any time. Of course, there were people there to see what you wanted and that, you know. And in the Still Room, they used to have their coffee – whatever they wanted there.

What about supper?

The supper was in the kitchen. You’d go in for supper…..well, I suppose you’d call it supper.

Was there a special time for supper?

Oh, only a certain time for that. You had tremendous dishes down the whole side, the whole length of the kitchen, and everything was cooked there, of course, in the kitchen; everything was cooked in the kitchen.

And people just went in within the time and they helped themselves?

People were told the time for their supper, you see. For a lot of years it was just standing up…..I forget, but we used to have sitting down at one time, years ago.

People helped themselves from the table – a sort of buffet idea?

There was food on the table, but there were people there to see what you wanted. There was different foods, you see: joints of beef – you never saw nothing like it, never; you never saw a table like it, and everything free.

Then at 6 o’clock in the morning, the bell went and you went straight off back to work?

Well, at 6 o’clock in the morning, the last dance was played, and that was it. The stable clock was striking 6 as we came out of the ballroom.

So you went out of the ballroom at 6 and went straight back to work?

Had to go to work after. Had to go to work after. Yes. The Victory Ball – when we had The Victory Ball – that was after the 1st World War – I don’t think I undid my hair for three days.

Why? Because it was so beautiful, you mean?

Well, we hadn’t the time, you see. Oh, yes, it was marvellous. That was a lovely ball, that was, the Victory Ball he gave.

And what were the weekly dances?

Oh, they were lovely. Just among ourselves and that, you know.

Every week on a Saturday or something like this – a regular thing in winter was it?

Well, it would all depend when Mr. Wallace could come. Now, usually, it was Friday; I think it was, if I remember right.

Now, as I’ve gradually been getting the picture: you arrived in 1913, so you had a period before the war, you had a period in the war itself, and you had a period after the war, and then, of course, as a wife, you were on the estate. Were there big differences between the period before the war and the period after the war, or was it very much the same?

No, no, very much the same. No difference at all, not what you could call difference. No, it was all much the same. Everybody went on the same.

Then you were living in one of the estate houses after you were married, were you?

Same house I’m in now.

Yes, so your husband was working as chauffeur, and when did he retire? How long was he there?

Oh, well, you see, during the war, they had to work anywhere else – the last war I’m talking of now. Well, I don’t know what age he was when he retired – 70, I suppose.

But he retired early in the war?

Oh, no, after the war, but during the war, you see, they had to go and do war work. He was still with Tredegar, of course.

So you were directly connected with the estate, right through?

Oh, yes, until the 1930’s.

And when he retired. Was this still Evan Morgan’s time?

Oh, yes, he was still at Tredegar then.

But he wasn’t there when John was here?

Oh, no – John Morgan, Lord Tredegar? No, not then. He’d finished then, you see.

So he really finished in Evan Morgan’s time?

Yes, I suppose you would say that.

Now you started back in 1913. How did you come to Tredegar yourself if you weren’t a Monmouthshire girl?

Because I was with the Countess of Leven and Melbourne before I came to Tredegar – Viscount Portman’s daughter.

In London?

Yes, in London. And a cousin of mine was a Housekeeper at Tredegar, and they wanted a 4th housemaid – a 3rd housemaid, and so, of course, I took the place, and that’s how I got there, you see.

When you got there, was anybody a bit jealous because you were related to the Housekeeper?

No, no, no-one. No-one.

How did the House work? You had men staff, you had women staff. Did the men all come under the Butler and the women the Housekeeper?

Yes, that’s right. We were all under the Housekeeper and the House Steward.

How many women were there – you were the 3rd?

We were 5 housemaids.

Starting at the top, you had a Housekeeper. Then what?

Yes, we had a Housekeeper. I was a 3rd. I went down to Tredegar for the 2nd, and, you know, the 2nd housemaid that I took the place of, she was 70, the head housemaid was 80 – that was the old servants, nothing to do with us, but the ones that I took the place of. And, of course, when Courtenay, Lord Tredegar came into it, they left then. Of course, that was the old servants belonging to the old Lord Tredegar (Godfrey).

You had a Housekeeper and you had housemaids.

A Housekeeper, 5 Housemaids, and how many in the kitchen? 6, I think. Of course, the kitchen weren’t under the Housekeeper: the kitchen was under the Cook or the Chef, at least then, when we went.

So would the Housekeeper be responsible for the kitchen side?

No.

Would the Chef deal directly with His Lordship in fact?

Yes, the Chef dealt directly to the dining room.

Now, as a Housemaid, you didn’t have anything to do with serving at table, that sort of thing; it was looking after the rooms.

No, nothing at all. The House Steward used to sit at the head of the table, and, of course, the Butler and footmen all followed down the one side. Housekeeper, Housemaids (kitchenmaids never used to come to the big table), the still room maids used to, and the laundrymaids, of course: there were 3 in the laundry, I think it was, or 4 in the laundry, and 1 in the dairy.

Now would all these girls come under the Housekeeper?

Yes, they’d come under the Housekeeper.

So she was a very important person?

Oh, yes, yes, yes, she was, very.

So this was, in fact, your aunt?

Cousin.

Your cousin, when you went there. Now she presumably wouldn’t have a uniform, would she?

Oh, no. A uniform? She didn’t wear one. Not like we did. I think she wore print dresses though. I forget. But she had no cap, nothing of that.

What did you as a Housemaid wear?

I used to wear the print dresses and the caps.

This was a print dress with an apron – during the daytime?

An ordinary dress, you see, a print dress. Oh, yes, and an apron. And then, in the afternoon, you used to have black, you see. You used to have your black dress to put on in the afternoon.

Now were all the print dresses the same or could you choose your own print?

Oh, no, you could choose your own print. Oh yes, you could get your own dress, of course.

And then, in the afternoon, and evening…

You had your black dresses, of course, the same, and the cap: those that were on duty, of course.

Were these supplied by the House?

No, you got your own.

Was there any difference when you were promoted up the scale? Where did you finish up as – no. 1 housemaid?

Yes, I was head of 5 when I left Tredegar.

Now, did that make any difference to what you wore? How did people know you were the boss?

No, no.

Now, was there a big difference in your duties when you started as No. 5 and you finished as No.1? What difference did it make as you went up the scale?

Oh, well, of course, you had different jobs, you see. You wouldn’t have grates to do, nothing of that to do.

Now, when you started, you lived in the House?

Tredegar House? Oh, yes, always.

Are these the rooms in the top storey now?

Yes, on the top landing.

And you had a room to yourself?

Yes.

I know earlier on you had sometimes 3 maids in a room.

That was in the room beyond me. That was the under-housemaids, you see, there.

So you had a room to yourself?

Oh, yes, I had a room to myself, always.

What time did your day start?

Oh well, it all depends on what work we had to do. Of course, sometimes we were up at 6, you see, and then you would usually finish in the afternoon, about 4 or half past, before tea.

Then when you got up – there was no running water presumably – did you have a jug full of water in your bedroom?

Oh, yes, there was always water in the bedrooms, and, well, the bathroom wasn’t very far away, you see.

And whose job was it to keep the bedroom tidy? Did you keep your own room tidy?

Oh, yes, you would keep your own room tidy. We would, of course we would, and see to all the water and everything in our place.

So you then got up at six-ish?

Yes, we had to, sometimes.

And you put your print on, and it was your job to do the grates and lay the fires and light the fires?

That was the under-housemaids; the under-ones would do that, you see; the 4th housemaid would do that, mostly.

And then you would all have your breakfast together at the same time.

Yes, we had our own room for breakfast.

Now, we’re talking particularly about the room that belonged to the housemaids. You had your own room where you had your own breakfast. Was this on the top floor?

Yes, right on the very top.

And you had your breakfast there.

Oh, no, we had our own room for breakfast over the kitchen. Our sitting room had to go upstairs on the first floor.

So probably the Housekeeper had a sitting room?

Oh, yes, she had her own in the Housekeeper’s Room, and the housemaids had their own. And, of course, the kitchen staff was in the kitchen – they had theirs in the kitchen, and the still room maids had theirs in the still room.

Just the Housemaids had theirs upstairs. I see. Then what did you do in the morning? Was it mostly keeping the rooms tidy?

Oh, yes, seeing that all the rooms were straightforward and everything, and everything done properly. Oh, yes, it all had to be done in the morning, and then, of course, in the afternoon – I suppose some had to be finished off in the afternoon. But you had your time in the morning to get all your important work done, first thing in the morning. Now, you had to do the dining room, drawing rooms and all things like that. You’d do all this before breakfast – before breakfast.

That’s the public rooms, you might call them?

That’s the dining room, drawing rooms, front hall and everything. All the downstairs rooms. They all had to be done before breakfast. After breakfast, you went upstairs and seen to the bedrooms.

Now did you have specific rooms to do or did your job vary from day to day?

No, you had your own rooms to see to, the same pretty well every day. I don’t see that it varied much at all. You had your work to do and you knew what work you had to do.

Who gave you your orders? Would it be the Housekeeper?


The Housekeeper.

And she would…

She would see that that was all done, you see. She would see that the girls did all the work.

So that, by mid-day, all the ground floor had been done, and all the house had been done, really.

Oh, yes, and upstairs, pretty well. Oh well, I daresay there would be bathrooms and that after lunch, really, to see to, but all the main had been done before lunch.

Oh, did you get a break in the morning? Did you get together for a cup of tea at 11 o’clock?

Oh, yes, you could do, about 11, yes, if you wanted it, in our own room.

And what about lunch?

For lunch you would go to the Servant’s Hall. You would all go to the Servant’s Hall for lunch.

Was there just one big  table down the middle?

Oh, yes, that’s right. Well, it was the whole length of the Servant’s Hall, pretty well, anyway. But I think the Catholics, of course, the nuns, I don’t know them now, but I used to know them because they used to come up sometimes….but I think they’ve still got the Ball floor down, haven’t they? I don’t think they ever took it up, did they?

No

No, I thought not.

Then you had this one long table. Were there benches down the sides or chairs?

I suppose you would call them benches.

3 or 4 people to a bench?

Yes, they’d sit on the one long stool, you see, then they’d be another one, right down the length of the table.

Did the Steward have a chair at one end?

He had his at the top of the table.

And the Housekeeper at the bottom?

The Housekeeper sat next to the Steward.

So he was the top man?

Yes. The Housekeeper would sit next to the Steward, on his right. All the men down the one side and the girls on the other.

Apart from the Housemaids, who else would sit on your side of the table?

I think the still room maids. There was only the still room – the kitchen maids didn’t come into the hall at all. There was us and the still room, I suppose.

What about the dairymaids and people?

Oh, yes, the dairymaid and the laundrymaids, they used to come up. Of course they did.

How many Housemaids?

Well, there was the 5 of us, you see.

How many still room?

There were two still room maids, head and the 2nd.

How many dairymaids?

There was 1 dairymaid, and the laundrymaids – now, let me see, I don’t know whether there were 3 or 4 laundrymaids, I can’t remember, but, anyway, they would all sit on the same side. The housemaids would be in first…..no, I think the head housemaid, the head still room, and, I think, the head of the laundry, they used to come first, then the others would follow down.

On the men’s side, then who were on the men’s side?

There would be the Butler, the under-butler, the 1st footman, the 2nd footman, and, now then, did the Hall Boy come before….yes, the Hall Boy would come after, I suppose.

Now, for your lunch, did you have the whole meal in the hall, or did you eat the meat course in the hall and then go back to your room for pudding?

Oh, no, no. They had the meat, the joint, the tremendous joint that was brought in at the top, which the House Steward used to carve – all the vegetables, of course. Then, when you had the pudding, you would take your own pudding to your own sitting room. We used to take ours to the housemaids’ room.

You’d get your pudding from the table and then go off to the housemaids’ room?

You’d go up to your own sitting room. You’d finish your meat, you see, vegetables and everything, on the big table, then you’d leave that table, go to your own place.

Was there a sort of formal beginning to the meal? Did anyone say grace?

The House Steward did.

Was there a bell to call you to the meal?

No, there was no bell, but then, you knew the time and you knew your seat was all laid out.

Then, at the end of the meal, you went to your own room. At the end of the meal, you went to your own place. What did you do in the afternoon?

What did we do in the afternoon? We had work to do in the afternoon.

You went back to finish off the bedrooms and bathrooms?

Oh, yes, after you’d had your tea or whatever you wanted and your pudding, you would go and start your work, usually about 2 o’clock.

Which was…tidying up the rooms?

Well, yes, tidying up the rooms and doing what you’d have to do – the odd jobs, you see. You’d do the main jobs before.

Then things like putting the flowers in the rooms: did the gardeners do that or did they bring them to you to prepare?

Oh, upstairs, the housemaid had to do that. They would bring them in. The gardeners would bring them in, and you would have to put them in vases, you see.

Then as you went up the scale and became more important, did that mean that you then took over His Lordship’s room?

Oh, yes, I used to do His Lordship’s room.

Presumably the little ones didn’t?

No, well, they used to do the grates and all things like that. And, of course, there was the menfolk’s rooms, the footmen’s rooms – the footmen’s wing (they had their own wing), and the under-housemaids had to do the footmen’s rooms.

But you would be responsible for keeping the important rooms clean?

Oh, yes, I had to see that they were all done.

And when did your day’s work finish?

Well, you would usually get dressed for tea, you see, 5 o’clock, and then, of course, afterwards you had to, after the dinner and that, you had to go round and tidy up the rooms, you see, all things like that.

When did you actually finish – at bedtime, really?

Oh, yes, it all depends what time, sometimes, perhaps about 9 o’clock, 8 o’clock, it all depends on what you had to do and what you had to see to.

Was there any sort of laid-down time – half a day a week off or…

No, no, no. If you wanted it, you could have it. If you didn’t want, you wanted to stay in, you could stay in, that sort of thing.

What about holidays?

Yes, a fortnight’s holiday.

A fortnight’s holiday which you could take when you wanted it?

Well, usually in the summer.

And how were the staff paid? Who paid them?

Oh, the House Steward, Mr. Perrott always paid us. Every month.

Were there any sort of special things? Did you get something at Christmas or birthday?

Oh, yes, we had presents at Christmas.

From His Lordship?

Yes, presents from His Lordship. Well, whatever – I suppose the Housekeeper would have to see to what to get.

What did you do with your holidays?

Well, I used to go to Dorset, of course.

Go back to your home, to where you came from?

Yes, always.

Where was it in Dorset?

Well, I suppose not very far from Weymouth, down that way.

You always kept in close contact with your family, did you?

Always.

Did you write to them regularly?

Well, I don’t know about regularly, but I’m always – we’re down there now a lot, because going on the motorway, it doesn’t take very long, so we often go there of a Sunday, or anything like that.

How old were you when you left home first?

When I left home altogether?

Yes. You went presumably from home into service in London?

Yes, I did. I suppose I wasn’t very old. I went with the Countess of Leven first. I was about 15 or 16, something like that.

And how long did you have with her?

I was with the Countess – I don’t know – I think I was 4 years with her.

Did you notice any big difference between the two houses or was it much the same?

There wasn’t a lot of difference, no. Of course, very big houses, you see, they’re all much more or less the same, aren’t they?

Then when it came to the end of the day or you were going out, how did you get into Newport before…

Well, we had to walk. We just had to walk, you see. And we used to walk across where these offices are now, in Tredegar Park. You know those offices, don’t you? What is it – Statistics?

Yes, I know, those new buildings which have just gone up.

Just gone up. Well, we used to walk around by the lake and walk right across there. I often think of it now when I pass it. To think it’s all built like it is, and we used to walk that way!

How did you get back here? Were you worried about getting back in the dark or did somebody escort you back?

Oh, we were never often out in the dark. No, you were always in, pretty well…

Were there any rules about being in, that you had to be in before a certain time?

Of course, the back door was always locked at a quarter past ten; quarter past ten the door was locked. So, if it was after half past ten, you’d have to ask permission – permission to be out after that time.

Now there were all sorts of jobs. You’ve suggested some of them. What exactly did the still room maids do?

Cake and bread.

Was all the cake and all the bread made in the still room?

All the cake and the bread wasn’t made in the still room. It was made in the bakehouse, but by the still room maids.

So they provided cake and bread. Most of the meat, I suppose would be bought, would it?

Oh, well, yes, they used to have their own sheep, their own mutton, you see, lamb and all things like that; but beef,  I suppose, they had to buy from the butcher.

Again there was a slaughterhouse at Tredegar.

A slaughterhouse. And a place by the kitchen where they used to hang all the meat and that.

Then the dairymaids, they were responsible for milk, cheese and butter?

Only 1 dairymaid; she used to make the butter but not the cheese. She didn’t used to make cheese.

What would happen there? The people from the farm would bring the milk to the dairy every morning?

Yes, from the Home Farm.

What about the laundry? Did all that go on all the time, or did you have a collection on Mondays, that sort of thing?

Oh, no, the laundry was all the time. They used to have a laundrymaid – a laundry man  to do the boilers and all that, and fill them and empty them, when the washing had to come out, you see. We always kept a laundryman.

So the 3 laundrymaids had a full-time job?

Oh, yes, they did all the washing and everything.

Including the staff’s – yours for example?

Oh, no, not the staff; the staff had to get their own done.

And how did you get yours done?

Oh, we used to have a laundry, of course. We sent it to the laundry in Newport.

So what did they do in the House Laundry?

Sheets, tablecloths, towels, everything like that, you see.

And the family’s laundry – what happened to that- His Lordship’s shirts and so on?

Oh, yes, they all had to be done. They would be washed and ironed and then sent up to the House in big laundry baskets.

What about brewing?

Oh, yes, there was a brewer in the brewery in my day. Only one man did the brewing and he would deal with the cellar. They had a big barrel of beer down there called ‘The Prince of Wales’.

Did the staff get a ration of beer?

Oh, yes, they got a ration of beer. Oh yes, yes, we always used to have it if we wanted it. We could always have a jug of beer. Whoever was down in the cellar at the time would draw it for us.

How did the bulk of the stores get to Tredegar? Was most of it brought to the House, or was there a car sent into town? Did the butcher call, for example, that sort of thing?

Yes, the butcher used to bring the meat, I think, but they used to have their town cart, you know, to go to town for different things. There was a man kept up for that, to go to town and get the stuff, whatever they wanted. The butcher used to bring his own meat, and, of course, if they wanted the greengrocers or anything like that, I suppose the Tredegar cart would fetch it.

Were there any special occasions you can remember?

They had Christmas parties for children, but for the grown-ups, the Ball was the main thing.

How much did you see of the family? If you met His Lordship, for example, did he say hello or…

Well, you always knew. You would never get in his way.

You just kept out of the way?

Oh, yes, you would never get in his way. No.

The ladies of the House: did you ever have any direct contact with them, or did everything come through the Housekeeper?

The Housekeeper – well, she was the one to contact us all. I didn’t see much of Lady Tredegar at all.

So, at the ball, who would take the head of the ladies there?

Oh, Mrs Mundy.

Now, who was she? She was the daughter..

His Lordship’s sister.

Sister. I’m sorry, yes, this is Courtenay’s sister.

Courtenay Morgan, yes. That’s the one I was with you see.

And she lived permanently at Tredegar?

No, no. She lived at Thornbury, Gloucestershire. She was staying there, you see. She used to come to stay.

So it was the Housekeeper who really ran the house?

Oh, the Housekeeper would have to see to it, yes.

Then, of course, there were a lot of men working outside, but presumably you didn’t have much to do with them – people like Mr Seyama?

Oh, well, he was in the gardens. Oh, yes, he was outside; he used to see the flowers, bring the flowers in, anything like that.

You say you remember him arriving?

Yes, I was in the dining room. I always remember him. I always say, ‘Oliver, I remember when you came to Tredegar, you were quite a boy. I remember I was in the dining room when you came in to water the flowers.’

You remember he came in as…

He came in as the lad. He was the fresh flowers lad, arrived at the place, you see, came in with his can to water all the flowers.

Can you remember your own first day, when you arrived the first time at Tredegar?

Oh, well, I don’t remember much about it. It was much about the same as it was when I left the Countess, you see.

You presumably came by train?

Oh, yes, I had to come by train.

And a cart would meet you?

Yes, the cart would meet you: a cart, a horse and a trap, I think it was that met us in those days. There was no cars much, was there, then? I forget, I forget…..or whether it was a taxi, I couldn’t tell you. It was one of them, I know.

Now your husband: had his family been on the estate for a long time?

Oh, many years.

Was his father on the estate?

His father and his grandfather before him.

And were they coachmen?

No, his father was Stud Groom, but what his grandfather was, I don’t know.

But anyway, there were at least two generations before?

Oh, they were all on the estate, yes. Oh, yes, his father was Stud Groom of the hunters, of the hunting stable. Mr Petty was the coachman of the carriage horses.

Now would he have lived in the little lodge near where you live?

Yes, the coachman used to live there.

And this is why it’s called Petty’s Lane?

Yes, well, it isn’t called Petty’s Lane, is it. I don’t think. Petty’s Cottage we used to call it, but I think it’s called Pencarn Lane now.

Now, your husband was a chauffeur. Was he a chauffeur right from the beginning, or was he with horses before he was a chauffeur?

Oh, I think he was with his father. At least his father used to give him a mount to ride, and that, and then Lord Tredegar put him to the Rolls Royce Co. to learn the cars, and that’s the way he came the chauffeur.

You mean he actually went up to Rolls Royce and stayed up there?

Oh, yes, yes, he had a certificate for the Rolls Royce driving.

He had the certificate for a very high standard or maintenance, I would think.

Yes, yes.

He went to Rolls Royce before you were married?

Yes, long before.

So you really got to know him when he was…

Yes, he used to drive the Rolls and everything.

And he would go off in the morning to maintain the car presumably, and to test the car.

Oh, yes, he would go down to the garage, of course, you see, and then, of course, if he was wanted, he would have to go.

Where did he have his meals – in the garage?

Oh, he used to come home, used to come home for his meals.

Now, you didn’t ever see old Lord Tredegar – he died before you got there, but Courtenay would be the one that you remember.

Yes, the one that came into it after the old Viscount had died, you see. Courtenay, Lord Tredegar, we called him.

What sort of man was he?

When I was with him, very nice, very, he was. Yes. Everyone knew you wouldn’t get in his way. You wouldn’t go and push yourself in front of him or anything like that. Oh, he was a very nice gentleman, yes, he was.

I always imagine that he went on living very much the same life as his uncle – with the hounds and the farm and all the rest of it, running it very much the same way as before.

That’s right. Oh yes, it was all the same. He never altered nothing of that, and he was a great hunting man, of course.

What about the First World War. Did that make a tremendous difference in the House? You had to manage with fewer people?

Yes, I think we were a little bit on the short side. I don’t know; I don’t remember. I don’t think there was a lot of difference, but a lot of them had to go to the war, you see. Well, my husband – he was in the Territorials before – but he had to go to camp then, to the Royal Gloucesters. He was in the Royal Gloucesters, that’s right, in the Hussars.

Did you come across Evan Morgan at all? You had left, of course, before he inherited.

Oh, yes, I’d left before, but he used to visit in my day – Mr. Evan, we used to call him then. But no, not when he became Lord Tredegar, I wasn’t there then.

No. Do you remember him as a boy?

I remember him as a young lad when he used to come, yes.

Did they divide their time between London and Tredegar?

Yes, they used to go down to London and they used to come to Tredegar.

Evan and his sister?

Yes, one sister, Miss Gwyneth.

They were brought up at Tredegar, were they, mostly?

Well, they were there. They used to visit Tredegar a lot, yes.

And, of course, Evan gradually reduced the connection with Tredegar, didn’t he? It was only opened at weekends. What happened when the family went away – did it affect the running of the House, or did you do it much the same?

When the family went away, you had a certain amount to do, you see – different jobs. Everything in the House would be covered up with cloths. We would clean all the rough stuff; the furniture and everything would be covered up.

Cleaning all the silver, I suppose, would be a special job.

That’s the footmen’s job.

 The footmen – yes

They used to have their own silver place up in the pantry. And they would wait at table too. But that was nothing to do with us. We used to take no notice of that, because we had nothing to do with the menfolk whatsoever.

When the family were away, did you get the same wages?

Oh, yes, just the same. Everything was included. All the food and board.

Do you remember Courtenay’s funeral?

Yes. He’d been abroad. He came home, he was taken ill in London and I think he died in London, but they brought him down to Tredegar. He’s buried at Bassaleg, you know.

They never seemed to use the front door of Tredegar House, is that true?

Yes, the front door was never opened, except for weddings and funerals. The side door was always used. I think that was in the old chap’s time too.

We call the rooms downstairs now the New Hall, the Gilt Room, the Brown Room etc.

Yes, we used to call them the Gilt Drawing Room, the Brown Drawing Room, the Front Hall, the Side Entrance (that’s the side door), and then, upstairs, the principal rooms were the Pink Room and the King’s Room. The others were nice, but these two were the best.

Courtenay – which was his bedroom? Was it the King’s Room?

No, he was never in the King’s Room. I think the Chintz Room was his.

Were there shooting parties. Was Courtenay a sociable man?

Used to be a few that came for shooting and the hunting. He was a very nice gentleman. A very nice gentleman.

Did you find working at Tredegar to be a happy life?

Yes I did.

Why? Why was it a happy life?

Well, I don’t know why it was happy, but there was such a lot of us, you see, and everyone seemed to be very sociable and everything together, you see, that sort of thing.

Yes, it was a little society?

You know, you didn’t seem to go against one another or anything like that. I never knew anybody get the sack. Nobody.

How did you get to know your husband, because he was an outside man and you were an inside woman?

That’s right. Then he used to come inside, just the same, sometimes. Of course, they used to walk in the back door, they never bothered. Yes, just walk in the back door whenever they wanted to.

And once it got accepted that he was your special man, I suppose everybody just didn’t notice?

Well, everybody knew him, of course. They knew him and they knew me. So that was it.

So George was born.

George was born at my home in Dorset. I went home with him. It was a bigger place down home, you see, than where I am now. I suppose that’s why I went, I don’t know. George grew up on the Tredegar Estate though.

Where did the estate children go to school?

Bassaleg. Then he got a scholarship and went to Partin Prythe (?) to be at school there for 3 years.

And then he joined your husband, really?

Yes, that’s right. Well, of course, I think he went with Dr Miller for a little while, then he went to the Force – the Police Force.

You mean he started at Tredegar?

He used to go down to Tredegar a lot. As a boy when he got to work….oh dear, I forget the little job he got at first, I think in a garage.

He went somewhere first and then he came to Tredegar?

Yes, he was at Tredegar for a little while, with Mr. Evan – or Lord Tredegar as he was then. It wasn’t with Courtenay, because he’s too young.

Did he join the Police Force during the War?

He wasn’t in the Police Force during the war because he was in Italy for three years. No, when he came out of the army he joined Newport Police, then he was in the Borough. Of course, its not the borough now – it’s the Gwent Police now – where he’s been ever since – nearly 27 years.

He’s very young looking isn’t he?

He joined when he came out of the army. He isn’t very old I suppose. When he was at home during the war he lived on the Tredegar Estate. He stayed with us until he got out of the army. Of course, after the army, he got married.

Well, I think I’ve taxed you enough.

 

Circa 1920-30’s

 This article was sent from Martyn Evans from Christchurch Dorset, formerly of Newport. Martyn is a member of Friends of Tredegar house. Martyn’s great great grandfather John Evans worked at Tredegar estate until his death in 1861 as a stud groom. John was the first family member to work at Tredegar House. His great grandfather George worked as a stud groom, followed by his son, John Evans. His grandfather and grandmother Beatrice Mina Louise Coombs met John whilst working at Tredegar House. They married in 1922 in Dorset. His Pop was chauffer to Lord Tredegar, Beatrice’s  cousin was Maud Williams housekeeper. Martyn’s grandparents lived at Tredegar Park Cottages opposite Cleppa Park also the two generations before them in the same house. Lord Tredegar gave them the house to live in until they died or moved out. His Nan stayed in the house until the early 1970’s, then moved to Dorset with her sister. Pop was a keen sportsman & used to play rugby for Newport for two seasons prior to WW1, he then signed up & was captured by the Turks in 1916.

 

Nan Evans at Tredegar House

Nan Evans at Tredegar House (click photo for larger photo)

 

 

 

 

Pop Evans

Pop Evans (Click here to enlarge photo)

 

 Link to Article about Pop

 

 

Aspects of Evan: The Last Viscount Tredegar

Aspects of Evan: The Last Viscount Tredegar

A New Book >From Monty Dart and William Cross

With a full transcript of Evan’s Court Martial for offences against the Official Secrets Acts

 

About The Book

 

Morgan, poet, artist, and escapist, the last Viscount Tredegar shocked his way through 

Eton, Oxford, Rome, North Africa, Bali, Canada and America.

The Bright Young Things of London’s Café Royal Society toasted him in aphorisms.

Ogling dowagers indulged him

Whilst his straight-laced  ‘hunting, shooting and fishing’ family was shaken by his escapades.

In the Great War he dodged rat-infested trenches on account of a weak chest.

Claiming he was renouncing pleasure and his birth right,

He turned to mysticism and Roman Catholicism, studying at Beda College, Rome,

Whilst acting as a Papal Chamberlain at the Vatican.

In WW2 he was working at Wing House, in the Special Section Carrier Pigeon Service.

An incautious comment in front of two visitors from the Girl Guide movement

They were at Wing House as part of a  publicity campaign for the Guides lead to his downfall.

The irony is, that Evan, who claimed a special affinity to birds,

Should be brought down to earth by a carrier pigeon!

This book will amuse and inform ‘Evanites’

With nearly 500 footnotes for scholars who wish to follow up his erratic but fascinating life.

An Extract from ‘Aspects of Evan’ : An Eccentric and a Fantasist

 

Evan Morgan was one of the Bright Young People. In the years between the two world wars of the last century he rejoiced in being a part of that irreverent faction of well-off, immoral pleasure seekers who sought unlimited thrills, with little care for the consequences of their own actions.  Stephen Fry’s film Bright Young Things  captures the high spirits and high jinxes of the toffs, like Evan, with nothing better to do with their lives than to indulge themselves and each other. Evan is seen by one historian as just an “onlooker”  ,  but he  cherished being  dubbed by another scribe  “ a leader and inspiration of the Bright Young People.”  He was always on “bowing terms”  with all the “fatuous, smirking male-flowers”  of that “gin-soaked, jazz-syncopated, frivolous time.” Evan surely remains one of the fabulous aristocratic eccentrics of that bygone age of the hedonistic 1920s and 1930s, when he was best known as the Hon. Evan Morgan or Evan Tredegar.  His own creation, he was a seemingly unstoppable fantasist whose antics are captured in anecdotes, references and footnotes in a galaxy of memoirs and diaries of his often more acclaimed and better achieved contemporaries.

 

http://evan-morgan-last-viscount-tredegar.yolasite.com/

Aspects of Evan published on 10 December 2012

Book Midden Publishing – ISBN 10  1-90591415-6/ISBN 13  978-1-905914-15-9

For further information contact William Cross, by e-mail

williecross@virginmedia.com

For anyone who desires a novel-size glimpse of  the incomparable Evan, he is caricatured in several books, for instance in comical terms as Ivor Lombard in Aldous Huxley’s Crome Yellow and more extraordinarily and farcically as the Hon. Eddy Monteith in Ronald Firbank’s satire The Flower Beneath the Foot.

This link will guide you to the digital book, which you can read on line or download.

http://archive.org/details/flowerbeneathfoo00firbuoft

So many people ask about the Morgan Genealogy

Tredegar House Emblem

There is a scroll on show within the house

Showing The Morgan Genealogy Up to Evan Morgan,

Please watch the film below made by Tom Dart for a look at the scroll and where to purchase it

Our official response to letter & subsequent article published in The South Wales Argus

 

A letter was published on the “your say page “of the South Wales Argus on Wed. 5th Dec. 2012   “The House is a Theme Park“. and a subsequent article published on 6th Dec. 2012 under  the title  ‘Stately home Friends’ fears as National Trust leaves them in the dark’ by Melissa Jones.

We totally disassociate Friends of Tredegar House from these views as these were published without our knowledge or consent.

Annie Parker

Membership Secretary of Friends of Tredegar House

Read statement below, from our Deputy Chairman of Friends of Tredegar House Monty Dart, which can also be viewed under “your say page” on the Argus web site under the title of “House is now a Theme Park”.

 

Friend of Tredegar House
2:39pm Fri 7 Dec 12

 For and on behalf of the Executive Committee of Friends of Tredegar House.

Friends of Tredegar House

With reference to the article ‘Stately home Friends’ fears as National Trust leaves them in the dark’ by Melissa Jones, published in the South Wales Argus, 6th December, pg 3.
We, the Executive Committee of the Friends of Tredegar House would like to advise the South Wales Argus and its readers that the person who wrote a letter (published 5th December) and who was subsequently interviewed and quoted as a ‘spokesperson’ for the Friends of Tredegar House, has no authority to speak on our behalf.
We wish to disassociate the Friends of Tredegar House from the views expressed in the letter and article.
Echoing the comments of the spokesman for the National Trust in Wales, Alun Prichard – the relationship between the Friends of Tredegar House and the National Trust is ‘fantastic’. For this reason we were particularly distressed by the comments made in our name.
Far from ‘dying a very slow death’, the Friends of Tredegar House are pleased to say that membership of our organisation has increased since arrival of the National Trust.
We invite the Editor of the South Wales Argus, Melissa Jones and the readership of the Argus to see for themselves as the Friends of Tredegar House and the National Trust Volunteers celebrate our first Christmas together.

Deputy Chair Monty Dart

Link to the letter

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/letters/10092716.House_is_now_a_theme_park/

 

 

A Toast For Lord Tredegar by William Downing Evans

House photo

William Downing Evans was born in Caerleon Monmouthshire in 1811. He had moved to Newport by 1837 and lived there until his death in 1897. In 1837 he was appointed Registrar of Births and Deaths for Newport and Deputy Clerk of the Board of Newport Poor Law Guardians – both positions being unpaid at that time.

In 1845 he made a clear case for the importance of implementing a proper policy on public health.
William was well known in his time as a poet, composer and painter going under his Bardic name of ‘Leon’. Read the book published by the South Wales Record Society: www.southwalesrecordsociety.co.uk

 

With thanks to Benjamin Robert Tubb, Finale Music Engraver

Owner of Public Domain Music,
Email: brtubb@pdmusic.org,
Website: www.pdmusic.org’
For permission.

 

 

Link to Ifor Hael and connections to the Morgans of Tredegar House

Bargain Hunt at Tredegar House

bargain hunt

 

The four programmes filmed at the Tredegar House are ready for transmission and will be shown

on BBC1 at 12:15pm on:

Monday 1st July

Wednesday 17th July

Friday 2nd August

Friday 16th August

(We recommend checking the Radio Times beforehand as times can vary slightly depending on last minute scheduling alterations)

Copyright © 2012 Friends of Tredegar House