NO ‘SHRINKING VIOLET’ By Monty Dart

 

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No ‘Shrinking Violet’ by Monty Dart

The Hon. Violet Wilhelmina Morgan was born on 23rd September 1860 at Ruperra Castle. She was the daughter of Hon. Frederic Courtenay Morgan and Williamson. From a young age she became a keen horsewoman, in fact she followed the male Morgans in their love Charlotte of outdoor pursuits, hunting and shooting. In the portrait by John Charlton at Tredegar House, she can be seen on horseback, sitting behind her father Frederic – with a view of Ruperra Castle in the background. (Click here for painting at Tredegar House) She produced a book of hunting sketches in 1890 a copy of which is in Newport Reference Library (see link at the end of this article). On 28th August 1894 Violet married her first cousin once removed, Basil St John Mundy, at St James Church, Piccadilly, London. The wedding was described in the Cardiff Times – ‘the bride wore a wedding gown of the richest white duchesse satin, trimmed with antique Brussels lace’ ‘The hymn ‘Near my God to thee’ conducted her, accompanied by her father, to the chancel rails. She looked handsome in a wedding gown of the richest white duchesse satin, artistically trimmed with antique Brussels lace, and full court train of the newest design. Her fine tulle veil covered a small wreath of orange blossoms intermingled with myrtle, her only ornament being a diamond and turquoise brooch, the gift of the bridesmaids and she carried a choice bridal bouquet of white blooms, the principal part being of white heather, specially grown and sent from Scotland for the occasion, tied with satin streamers en suite. There were only three bridesmaids (nieces of the bride) Miss Daisy Hoare, Miss Violet Hoare and Miss Rose Hoare daughters of Mr and Mrs C. Twysden Hoare of Bignell, Bicester* who wore gowns of white Indian muslin, with cream Valenciennes lace over green satin. They also wore hats to match, ornamented with wide lace brims and loops of green satin ribbon. The bridegrooms present to them, as a memento of the occasion was pearl and gold swallow safety-pin brooches and ‘nosegay’ of selected pale pink carnations tied with streamers.’

  • Violet, Daisy and Rose were the daughters of Blanche Frances Hoare (nee Morgan, daughter of Frederic Morgan and Charlotte Williamson)

Basil her bridegroom was a Major in the King’s Own 15th Regiment of Hussars.  In 1895 they were in Ireland with his regiment where their son, Frederick Charles was born on 8th March. He was to be their only child. In 1916 ‘Freddie’ was wounded. He was awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry and devotion to duty, yet he returned to the seat of War, and was killed on 26th October 1917 and is buried at Duhallow, Ypres.

As Katharine Morgan, Lady Tredegar lived apart from her husband Courtenay for most of their married life, Violet as Courtenay Morgan’s sister often took the role of ‘Lady Tredegar’ at Morgan family gatherings and public occasions. Violet and Basil Mundy had a home in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, where she was to live for the rest of her life.  He died on 26th August 1926 as a result of injuries sustained in the Boer War. Violet was described in ‘Fifty Years of Racing at Chepstow’ by Pat Lucas). ‘Tall, usually dressed in black…she was as capable of putting a ferret down a rabbit burrow and handling a 12 bore gun as she was as following the hunt with nerve and skill which would put any hunting man to shame.’

This photo of Violet and Courtenay was taken at an annual ball at Tredegar House.

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Violet was greatly respected in Thornbury where she and her husband Basil are buried. The last time I visited there the grave was a mass of fragrant wallflowers. Nearby is the grave of her companion Mary Mallis, ‘In loving memory of Mary for 42 years – faithful servant and beloved friend of Violet Mundy. 1870 – 1931’ When Violet died on December 22nd 1943 she left generous bequests to Thornbury

‘The Hon Mrs. Violet Wilhelmina Mundy of Thornbury, Glos. Widow of Major B. St.J. Mundy, who died on December 22 aged 83, left £52, 876. She left after certain bequests the residue as to £6,000 for a recreation ground, park or pleasure ground for Thornbury: £500 to the church council of Thornbury. For repairing of the parish church: £100 to Almondsbury Hospital: and after the payment on the duties on these three bequests, the remainder to Bristol Dog’s Home, Bristol General Hospital, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol Eye Hospital, Muller’s Orphanage, Bristol and the Waifs and Strays Society.’

 

 

image006Violet Mundy on the white horse December 21st 1907 – with Captain Walter Lindsay on the left.

 

image007      The grave of Violet’s ‘beloved servant and friend – Mary Mallis’ who is buried in the Thornbury Cemetery’- ‘Brave, Unselfish and Loving’. A wonderful citation for a beloved member of the Mundy household. Mary Mallis followed Violet from her position at Ruperra Castle.

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Ruperra Castle

 

The grave of Violet and Basil at Thornbury

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Violet’s heritage at Thornbury – the Mundy Playing Fields.

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In researching this article, I came across a description of the Mundy’s.  http://www.thornburyroots.co.uk/families/mundy-violet/. Excellently sourced you can see a digital booklet of Violet’s Hunting Sketches and a Pathe News film of the tragic race in the Epsom Derby when her horse Avenger fell. Violet was described in the hunting world as ‘Hellcat’ Mundy – she did not suffer fools gladly. She was a product of her time, – she was feisty and fearless, so different from the latter day Morgans who abandoned the Morgan pursuits in the countryside for nightclubs and fast living.

 

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/

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

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LOIS COVER FOR FOTH

 

 

 

 

Newport and Caerphilly bridge the gap

Newport and Caerphilly bridge the gap

From News Wales

Section Environment | Published on 12 Oct 2011

Newport and Caerphilly’s mayors yesterday met in the middle of a historic bridge which links their areas.

Iron Bridge, near Draethen, was built over the River Rhymney in 1829 but was closed to the public in 2008 because of its deteriorating condition.

It has now re-opened following a programme of restoration carried out by Newport City Council and Caerphilly County Borough Council with grant funding from Cadw, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Countryside Council for Wales.

Newport’s Mayor Councillor Margaret Cornelious, who walked from the city’s side of the bridge, said: “For almost two centuries, people used this bridge to cross the river until it sadly had to close because of damage to the structure.

“I am extremely pleased that it has been restored to its former glory and I hope it will be enjoyed by walkers for many generations to come.”

Councillor Ron Davies, Caerphilly’s cabinet member for regeneration and planning joined the Mayor, Councillor Vera Jenkins, at the ceremony.

He said, “I am delighted to see this magnificent structure restored to its former glory once more. The bridge’s restoration has generated a lot of local interest and means a great deal to communities on both sides of the river”.

The 16-metre span cast iron bridge was built on the estate of Lord Tredegar who commissioned it to provide access for horse-drawn vehicles and pedestrians from Ruperra Castle to and from the church at Lower Machen and the surrounding area.

It forms part of a circular walk which takes in other places of interest including Ruperra Castle, St Michael and All Angels, Plas Machen and Craig Ruperra summer house.

Reference Books

Two Ruperra books.

Some Estate members worked at Ruperra and Tredegar House

these books are a useful guide

Serving under Ruperra 1900-1939”  by Pat Moseley, is based on tape recordings taken in the 1980s and 90s of employees and local people who knew and worked on the Ruperra Estate, once part of the great Tredegar Estate of South East Wales. There are plenty of pictures of people and their homes, and an index to help you look for your relations who may have been employed from 1900 up to the Second World War. by Colonel Freddie Morgan and Courtenay, Lord Tredegar.

 

Ruperra Castle – War and Flames 1939-46 “  by Pat Moseley is taken from the memories of locals and a procession of soldiers’ regiments sent there for training from the beginning of World War II, through the burning down of the Castle, to the end of the War and the decline of the Castle. There are plenty of pictures and recordings and an index to help you find if your relations were there.

Both books are available from Pat Jones-Jenkins at Areithin ,  Heol Ton,  Ton Kenfig,   CF33 4PS

Email patjonesjenkins@googlemail.com or Telephone 01656 741622

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Excellently researched using the Tredegar Park manuscripts held at the National Library of Wales and local newspapers this book is useful for those interested in the running of the Estate. It also contains names of farmers, estate workers, farms and cottages.

 

TREDEGAR – The History of an Agricultural Estate 1300 – 1956’ by Roger Phillips

ISBN 1 85421 096 3

This book is out of print but sometimes crops up on antiquarian book sites

There seems to be one at Powys Libraries and Archives (click Here)

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2012 Friends of Tredegar House