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

Friends of Tredegar House Talks 2017

 images

 2017 Talks

All talks & AGM will be held in
The Morgan Room at Tredegar House

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF TIMES
Entrance of £2.00 for members £3.00 for visitors

Wednesday 22nd February – 2 p.m.
Speaker – Rosemary Scadden
Subject – Welsh girls in Service between the wars

Wednesday 22nd March – 2 p.m.
Speaker – Sue Powell
Subject – My memories of Tredegar House

& surrounding area from 1945 – 2012

Wednesday 26th April – 7 p.m.
Speaker – Chris Barber
Subject – Journey around Monmouthshire

Wednesday 24th May – 7 p.m.
Speaker – Don Balkwill
Subject – Forgotten Gadgets

Wednesday 28th June – 7 p.m.
Speaker – Monty Dart
Subject – Leslie Thomas Newport author film of his early life in Newport

 Wednesday 26th July – 7 p.m.
Speaker – Graham Duke
Subject – Air Traffic Control

 Wednesday 27th September – 7 p.m.
Speaker – Graham Jarvis
Subject – 100 years of theatres around Newport

 Wednesday 25th October – 7 p.m.
Speaker – David Harrison
Subject – Dylan Thomas Centenary

Note new time for talk listed below

Wednesday 22nd November – 2 p.m.
Speaker – Paul Busby
Subject – T.B.A

 

 

————————————-

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News from America

News from America from Monty Dart

lady

image002         It is always thrilling when we greet our American cousins at Tredegar House and we love to hear their connections with the Morgan family. Readers of the website will remember the acquisition of Godfrey’s cigar cutter that turned up from South Dakota – see that article here

http://www.friends-of-tredegar-co.uk/?s=cigar+cutter

An interesting email arrived from Janice Fix – ‘I’m trying to find out information for my aunt who has a document that is a lease of property from Lord Tredegar what she says looks like it’s on vellum.

She spoke with someone from the local library and said that these documents were a dime a dozen. She said the lease is for property at 4 Gainsborough Street, Mile End, not sure if that is correct or if it is supposed to be near Tredegar Square.

I can’t locate anything near Tredegar Square.  She would like to donate it but not sure who to contact.  She doesn’t remember where the document came from or even that she had it.  If you would be interested in the document, please let me know and she would be more than happy to forward it to you.’

Thank you. Janice Fix

What was this document doing in America? It is sad that this document was described as ‘a dime a dozen’, someone had seen fit to conserve it but why?

Carolyn Fix goes on to explain how it ended up in her possession

The document in question is a deed of sale for a property Godfrey Morgan, Lord Tredegar owned in London dated 5th August 1862.

We know that the Morgan family owned property and land all over London.

terrace hous

             An example of the houses around Tredegar Square

 

lady

Carolyn Fix – Janice’s aunt

Carolyn is now coming up to 94 years of age and this is a photo of her in a WAC uniform as she was a WAC during WWII and is still active in meetings and luncheons for WAC Veterans. This is her story.

‘Sometime around the end of November, 1977, I went to the Estate sale of Cleveland Fisher in Manassas, Virginia.  I was interested in some books and bought a few in a box lot.  Since it has been some time, I believe the document was included in that lot from the estate sale.  We’re not sure how Mr. Fisher came to own it, but he was known to collect old things.’

INDENTURE

Lease 77 ¼ years to 1938 – 4 Gainsborough Road, Hamlet Mile End, Stepney, Tredegar Square to Widow Mrs. Sarah Broodbank

The document measures 26.5 X 22 inches on vellum (two pages).

‘I didn’t remember having the document until recently while looking for something.

My niece Janice Fix, of New Jersey, USA, looked up the names on the document and found that it was possibly related to the Morgans and Lord Tredegar and from there, she found Friends of Tredegar House and was in contact with Ms. Monty Dart.  We are happy and excited to have the document back where it belongs. We hope that the document is being enjoyed as part of the history of Lord Tredegar.’

Carolyn Fix of Vienna, VA, USA.

Looking at the area now it is filled with £1,50000 houses and there is even a public house named ‘Lord Tredegar’ though Gainsborough Road has since disappeared.

pub

 

image010

‘Portrait of Lord Tredegar on an inn sign in Lichfield Road. Lord Tredegar, formerly Sir Charles Morgan of Tredegar, owned an area of land in the area. Between 1820 and 1832 buildings of a superior class were erected around what is now Tredegar Square. They still stand out from much of the surrounding housing. Lord Tredegar has a pub, a square and a street named after him, for there is also a Morgan Street nearby.’ From www.exploringeastlondon.co.uk

But what of Mr Cleveland Fisher – what connection if anything did he have to the Tredegar Estate?

The 1930’s USA census shows Cleveland Fisher lived with his parents in a house worth $3500 – check this site for values. https://www.measuringworth.com

image012

1930 Census – USA

He was born September 22nd, 1918. November, 1977 and passed away in Manassas, Virginia at the age of 59.

What was his connection if any to the Morgan family and Godfrey in particular? I’m still checking American newspapers and articles so watch this space.

Monty Dart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

image003

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.

 

Palleg Manor and The Morgans of Tredegar House

Palleg

Article submitted by Monty Dart

‘Palleg Manor’– 1215-1915’ is a thesis completed over the last four years by James Burton,  genealogist and antiquarian local to Aberdare. He says  ‘As a genealogist I have been chipping away at the old block for 14 years so I have gathered much experience in the  field. To study one’s forefathers is to know yourself  and what lies in your future. My initial interest in the  Palleg Manor came from the fact that my 7th generation  forefather, Richard Owen born 1762 happened to be listed as  a farmer on Penllwyn Teg farm, Ystradgynlais in the 1841  census (proven by extensive research over 10 years). It was  exciting to discover this, but I had no idea of the  importance of being head of a farm, or that it had a rich  history of being part of a feudal manor dating back eons. This revelation came by my delving into the vast and well  preserved estate records of the Landlord’s Tredegar in  Aberystwyth library. So much history I uncovered that I  decided I must extract it all for the use of future  generations and solve a puzzle that was questing me, how  long had my family been there and did this manor stretch  back to the Norman times and beyond?! The Morgan family of Tredegar House were the longest recorded and last owners of  the Manor see ‘Manor of Tredegar, Chief Tenants of  Palleg Manor, Ystradgynlais 1747 –  1915’.

The thesis and much more can be accessed on James Burton’s website

http://www.spookspring.com/Palleg/palleg.html

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.

Evan Morgan

Evan Morgan, (July 13th  1893 – April 27th  1949) was known for his love of the Arts.

His paintings were exhibited at the Paris Salon and he was a keen poet, though it is fair to say that keen doesn’t necessarily mean talented!

He published a number of volumes of poetry – Fragments , 1916 ; Gold and Ochre , 1917 ; Psyche: an Unfinished Fragment , 1920 ; and A sequence of Seven Sonnets , 1920 At Dawn, Poems Profane and Religious , 1924 ; The Eel and other Poems , 1926 ; The City of Canals and other Poems , 1929.

 His poem ‘In Pace’ (In Peace) was dedicated to his sister Gwyneth. She died in mysterious circumstances – her body was found in the River Thames in 1924. Does the poem hold the mystery of Gwyneth’s fall from grace? A woman referred to in the poem as ‘That super-Cyprian, coarse-souled Sybarite, whose gross and vulgar hand struck at our joy’ was certainly held by Evan to blame for Gwyneth’s fate.

Evan was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature , In 1936 he established the Tredegar Lecture for the Society in memory of his father, Courtenay Morgan and he delivered the inaugural lecture. His subject ‘ John Donne – whom he described as ‘person of mystery, poet, lover theologian and mystic’.  He also addressed Foyles Literary Luncheons.

Evan’s poetry books for sale (many of his books were limited editions) can be found on such internet sites as Bookfinder UK or peruse some of his poems  free via these internet links.

http://archive.org/details/fragments00morgiala

http://archive.org/details/psycheunfinished00morgiala

 

Music and Poetry Evening 17th October 2012

The Bravo Four together with Lorna Pearson & Deputy Mayoress Chris Suller

 

A superb evening of entertainment was held in The New Hall at Tredegar House.

Over 60 members & guests attended and what a great evening it was.

The Friends raised £474 after all expenses.

The Bravo Four Barbershop Quartet opened the evening.  Their harmony and range was amazing.

We were treated to a number of popular songs and ballads, and some very amusing anecdotes.

The quartet was formed up in 1991 & has sung in Ireland, Germany, all over South Wales & England

and have even performed to the Monks at Belmont Abbey.

All their engagements are fund raising &, to date, have raised a staggering £30,000 towards their chosen charities.

At the interval the Friends provided light refreshments.

For second part of the evening we were entertained by Lorna Pearson.

Lorna is a humorous poet & storyteller.

The room was so full of laughter, but also there were poems which evoked wonderful childhood memories in us all.

Lorna inherited her love of rhyme and words from her mother Edith,

who from the time Lorna was very young, recited to her as she went about her chores.

Annie Parker.

Murder of former Gatehouse Keeper at Tredegar House

Local historian Steve Barber tells the story of The Murder at Tank Cottage

MURDER MOST FOUL AT TANK COTTAGE  in Bassaleg in 1909

Standing within the graveyard of Bethesda Chapel, Rogerstone is the weathered gravestone of Charles and Mary Thomas, who are simply described as having died in Bassaleg on November the 11th 1909.

             

  IN LOVING MEMORY

-OF-

CHARLES THOMAS

WHO DIED AT BASSALEG

NOV. 11TH 1909

AGED 82 YEARS

ALSO OF

MARY THOMAS

BELOVED WIFE OF THE ABOVE

WHO DIED AT BASSALEG

NOV. 11TH 1909

AGED 72 YEARS

 

The facts stated on the gravestone are basically true, but what it does not explain is how they died.  The unfortunate couple were, in fact, discovered brutally clubbed to death, with their heads battered almost beyond recognition, in their very own bed, at Tank Cottage Bassaleg.

 

Mr. Thomas who had only been a pensioner for just two weeks, had formerly worked as an assistant to the Woodman on the Tredegar Estate.  Prior to dwelling at Bassaleg the couple had lived in the Main Lodge of Tredegar House, on Cardiff  Road. Mrs Thomas, for some reason, decided that she did not wish to be involved with opening the entrance gates for visitors.  It was then decided to move the couple to a vacant cottage at Bassaleg.

 On Monday the 15th November, one William Butler, who was initially described in the South Wales Argus as being a 78 year old Crimean War veteran, was arrested and charged with the murder.  Butler had lived in Bassaleg from 1906, being employed at the Tredegar Arms to do odd jobs.  He was also known round Bassaleg as a general labourer and gardener.  He claimed to be a tiler and plasterer.  Investigations showed that his real name was William Clement and that he originated from Nebley in Gloucestershire, and was actually sixty-two years old.

It transpired that he had a past record of crime over a period of some 40 years, and had used the aliases Butler, Palmer, Clements and Brown.  His criminal record indicated that he had been sent to prison for theft at Glamorgan, Gloucester, Monmouth, Brecon and Winchester assizes at various times.

He had been lodging with the respectable West family, in a house now occupied by 22 Caerphilly Road, just two doors away from Tank Cottage.   Both Tank Cottage and the adjoining property, Woodland Cottage, were demolished after the murders, in 1910 and 1911 on the instructions of Lord Tredegar .  The site has been since built over by a single and more modern property, originally constructed for the use of the Curate to St Basil’s Church.

Butler had been charged with threatening behaviour to a young female member of the West family, and was due to appear at Pentonville Court Newport on Saturday the 13th November.  It was suggested that he hoped to steal money from Mr. and Mrs. Thomas to pay for his defence.  The Thomas’s were rumoured to possess a small ’hoard of gold’, but only a tiny amount of money had been found on Butler’s person.

 Some six weeks before the murder, when Butler had fallen out with the West family he moved to live at James Terrace, Pye Corner with a Robert Doody.  He had, whilst there, uttered threats against his former hosts the Wests, and one unlikely suggestion was that he stupidly hoped that they would be blamed for his  violent crime.

His trial, at Monmouth, took two days and evidence against him included  a cut thumb and a bloodstained coat.  On the 22nd February the jury took just ten minutes to find him guilty.  Mr. Justice Grantham donned the black cap and sentenced him to death by hanging.  It was reported that Butler furiously made denunciations against the witnesses and fought with his warders “like a ferocious caged animal”.

He later appealed against the death sentence but this was rejected on the 11th March, and he was subsequently executed at Usk Prison, by Messrs. Ellis and Pierpoint, on the 24th March 1910.  Right to the end, Butler, continued to plead his innocence.

The actual inquest on Mr. and Mrs. Thomas was held locally at the Tredegar Arms, where the Chairman of the Coroner’s jury was the well known Mr. John Basham proprietor of Fairoak Nurseries.  The weapon used to bludgeon the unfortunate couple to death was never found or identified.  The very water tank that the cottage took its name from was actually drained in the fruitless search.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas’s funeral took place in November 1909 and was fully reported in the local press.  The couple had been regular and respected members of Bethesda Chapel in Rogerstone, so the funeral took place there.  The cortege slowly passed along the roads between Bassaleg and Rogerstone, which were lined with many people who had travelled from miles around, and blinds on all houses were drawn as a mark of respect.  When the procession reached Bethesda it was found that the number wishing to attend the service was many more than the chapel could hold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This horrible double murder became so famous that eventually a ballad was composed – The Ballad of Tank Cottage, here it  is:

 

At Bassaleg, near Newport on a cold

November’s day

A double murder took place,

both victims old and grey

Through Newport and for miles around,

the news it quickly spread

How Charles and Mary Thomas, were

found murdered in their bed.

William Butler has been sentenced,

his time is drawing nigh

For the cruel double murder, on the

scaffold he must die.

That cruel crime at Bassaleg, filled

many hearts with gloom,

Found guilty, William Butler will

soon meet a murderer’s doom.

Though no one witnessed that foul

crime, the evidence was clear,

When he’s led forth to meet his doom

no one will shed a tear.

The story of that brutal crime, it

makes the blood run cold

He murdered that old man and wife

just for the sake of gold.

That villain was arrested, and there

can be no denial,

Before a Judge and jury he has had

a patient trial.

He need not look for mercy, no mercy

did he give,

Such villains are not fit to die, nor

are they fit to live.

The record of that old man’s life, is

one that’s full of crime,

And many a gloomy prison cell he has

entered in his time.

Against the laws of God and man, he

often went astray

But for his last and double crime,

Death’s penalty he’ll pay.

That double crime at Bassaleg will

long remembered be,

That Butler was the guilty man,

‘twas very plain to see.

His life must pay the forfeit, no use

to curse and rave,

The blood of his poor victims, calls

vengeance from the grave.

 

Copyright © 2012 Friends of Tredegar House