Saturday, April 22, 2006

A Little Peek Into The New Ruperra Book

The Staircase at Ruperra Castle (c1920s)

As the date for the launch of Pat Moseley's book 'Serving Under Ruperra' gets ever closer I thought it might be a nice time to post an extract. It is an interesting look at the upheaval caused at Ruperra whenever the Morgans decided to stay. The quotations come from a maid who worked at the castle and who, according to Pat, only went to work there because she was in love with the gardener! The Lord Tredegar referred to is Courtenay Morgan (1867-1934) 3rd Baron, 1st Viscount Tredegar.

" Then suddenly there would be a rush - ‘His Lordship is coming tomorrow with a little party.’ Then all the dust sheets would come off all through the place. The grates were enormous with great big stands, which had to be done with emery paper - that was the most horrible job ever! All the figures in the grates and the armour on each little landing had to be kept without a speck of dust on them, even in the cracks.

When Lord Tredegar had been shooting, pheasants would be hung up in the kitchen until they stank. The place used to be stinking of pheasants. How the cooks managed, I’ll never know. I had to help with the feathering and I used to cry because the maggots would be climbing up over my hands.

There was a staff dining room, the servants’ hall, very big with a huge table down the middle. When there was any big do the staff would come from Tredegar House and you sat in order of status. Of course I was at the bottom end of the table, wasn’t I! When Lord Tredegar came he brought a butler, 2 footmen and about 20 staff with him. Perhaps he’d only stay one night and there’d be all this upheaval! When he wasn’t in residence we were only four so we used the butler’s pantry for our meals. Of course we had to clear out of there when the butler from Tredegar House came. He took over then with the kitchen maids and scullery maids and you had to be on your best behaviour. We were the underdogs. We were ‘the Ruperra’ we weren’t ‘the Tredegar House.’ You had to shut your mouth and do as you were told. And believe it or not, if one of the Tredegar housemaids wanted something from their bedroom I was told to go up and get it. I was of the same status but it made no difference. They wanted to show their authority. One time after being sent all the way up those stairs two or three times for something trivial, I said ‘If you want it from upstairs, fetch it yourself!’ I was reported to Miss Watts and severely told off. By this time I didn’t care because my gardener and I had finished anyway!’

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Spooky Tales Resume

Just a quick reminder that Goff Morgan's Spooky Tales tours start up again on Friday 21 April at 7pm. Book your tickets in advance by phoning Tredegar House on (01633) 815880

Who knows, you might be able to celebrate the Queen's 80th birthday by bumping into the ghost of her ancestor King Charles I or His Majesty's elderly three-fingered host Sir William Morgan. If you do, be sure to point it out to Goff won't you?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Ruperra Book Launch (April 28)

(above print of Ruperra Castle by John Charlton - Godfrey, Viscount Tredegar's favourite artist - is available as part of a set from Jorrocks Books - other Morgan-ish items available are The Meet (Lord Tredegar's), The Portico and Colonel Morgan)

I received the following message from Pat Moseley of the Ruperra Conservation Trust. Hopefully, in the future Pat will be a regular contributor to this blog, to bring us all the latest news on that second Morgan home in South Wales, Ruperra Castle. I am greatly looking forward to the book launch and I hope to meet as many of you there as possible.

"On Friday April 28th 2006 there will be a launch of the book "Serving under Ruperra" at Ruperra Home Farm.

This event is funded by the Heritage Lottery Board's "Awards for All" scheme. Local school children will be providing written contributions and other entertainment and people who contributed to the contents of the book will be honoured.

This will be a lunch time event and if you would like to attend please phone 029 2088 5840 or email

The main guest speaker will be Dan Clayton-Jones, chairman of the Wales Heritage Lottery Board who was one of the founder members of Ruperra Conservation Trust. Several Assembly members will also attend as well as Caerphilly MP Wayne David. Newport's Paul Flynn MP hopes to attend also. There will be refreshments and a free copy of the book! Last orders please!"

Thursday, April 13, 2006

See You Monday!

The Friends of Tredegar House celebrated their 25th anniversary with a dinner held in the Morgan Room at Tredegar House last night. The main speaker was David Freeman, ex-curator of the House, who played a prominent part in the establishment of the Friends organisation all those years ago.

I think it is vital to kick-start the new season with a decent attendance at the Medieval Day on Easter Monday. I shall be there, so please come up and say hello if you get the chance. The readership of this blog always intrigues me. I have received e-mails from so many people, from so many different parts of the world, it is wonderful to know that Tredegar House still captures the imagination of so many.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The House Awakes

It is that time of the year again, when Tredegar House, after a winter of apparent slumber (in reality it has been a remarkably hectic close season) re-opens its doors to the public.

Visitors to the House will see some noticeable differences: the stairwell has been repainted and is now resplendent in Indian Yellow. It certainly brightens up that portion of the House. A new family portrait is now added to the walls at the top of the staircase, that of Thomas Morgan of Machen, a late 16th, early 17th century Morgan, who played a large part in the tale of the dynasty. Also, newly hung portraits of Sir Charles Morgan and his son, Sir Charles Morgan Robinson Morgan (the 1st Baron Tredegar) are now alongside those of their ancestors and descendants.

The Best Chamber has been completely re-painted as well. It is now 'Tallow', which is an off-white with a slight yellow tint.

School tours began once more on Monday, and, on Easter Monday (April 17th), the House will be open for a free-flow (no guided tours, you wander around at your own pace, and there are stewards in each room to answer any questions) Medieval day. Bowmen of the Rose, a 15th century re-enactment group will be present to add to the atmosphere. House open 11am-4pm. Prices: Adult £4, Newport Resident £2.26 (to be precise!), Concession £2.10,