Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Busy Time

A little update:

'Unexplored Tredegar' has been confirmed. Every Saturday in August, another chance to see the parts of the House that are not usually open. Tours at 1pm and 3pm. Tickets to be booked in advance on (01633) 815880

'Torchwood' the Doctor Who spin-off starring John Barrowman is to be filmed at the House. There is also the possibility of 'Dracula', a new BBC version of Stoker's gothic classic, (scheduled for Boxing Day), also using Tredegar to film. There has been much speculation among staff as to who should be the new Dracula. For what it's worth, some of us tend to favour Richard E Grant for the role. All shall be revealed no doubt.

Update - so much for Richard E Grant - it seems that the role of 'Dracula' will be played by Marc Warren (Hustle, Band of Brothers, Oliver Twist) with 'Lucy' already confirmed to be Sophia Myles (Thunderbirds, From Hell, and who was last at Tredegar House to film the Doctor Who episode 'The Girl In The Fireplace' when she played 'Reinette')

The Murder Mystery is now sold out. I'm very pleased about this. The script is in (another devilish one, by the incomparable Goff Morgan); it is 1923 and on the day of the Balaklava Dinner, Lord Tredegar is murdered. It is up to the guests to interview the suspects and solve the mystery. I am to play (inevitably, perhaps) that most innocent of creatures, the Hon. Evan Morgan.

The Ruperra Castle situation is becoming critical. The owner has submitted plans. They involve apartments for the castle, and a series of houses to be built around it. Time is running out for the birthplace and home of so many Morgans. It is easy to imagine a Ruperra Compound like Cefn Mabli. But would that just be the thin end of the wedge? So often initial building projects like this open the door for future development. I would urge all who are concerned about this to contact me. Something must be done soon, or it will be too late.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ruperra Woodland Festival 2006

Pat Moseley supplied me with an excellent photograph of 'King Charles I' posing by the new Ruperra panels to accompany the following press release, but I can't seem to upload them. I shall work on it.

King Charles I paid a return visit to Ruperra Castle on the weekend of 8 /9 July after an absence of 350 years. To greet him was the present Lord Lieutenant of Gwent, Simon Boyle, patron of Ruperra Conservation Trust.

King Charles walked along the drive at the back of the castle, still known as the King’s Drive, to get a view of the castle where he had stayed for four nights in July 1645 desperately seeking help for his cause from local gentry. His Majesty noted that the building was in a very sorry state compared with the ‘castle fit for a king’ that he had stayed in.

He also walked about among the stall holders at the Festival and watched members of the public trying their hand at rug weaving in the Pyefinch marquee, at old methods of carpentry and at building an otter holt under the direction of John Bell. He saw the Coed Hills artists building an oven outside their yurts, and visited the Orienteering tent from where children and their parents were directed to a delightful tree trail in the woods. The youngest children went on an animal picture hunt which they thoroughly enjoyed.

King Charles’ entourage of Sealed Knot members demonstrated 17th life in their encampment and let visitors try out the Civil War weaponry. Guided by the advice of a 17th herbalist, King Charles had his own food and drink provided by his valet so he did not partake of the lovely cakes and teas and coffees on sale at Ruperra Trust’s cabin where members of the Trust worked hard raising money. He saw the splendid art and written work prepared by local schoolchildren for the launch of a book ‘Serving under Ruperra’ and he posed for a photograph by the new Ruperra panels all funded by the Heritage Lottery.

Friday, July 14, 2006

A Tredegar House Murder Mystery

Here is quite a unique opportunity. Care to spend an evening at Tredegar House, have dinner, and then solve a sinister murder mystery? Well here is your chance.

Lord Tredegar has been murdered and the suspects are waiting to be questioned. The finger of suspicion points at the Morgan family itself!

Who could have done such a ghastly deed?

Was it Lord Tredegar's taciturn and often grumpy brother?

Perhaps it was his young and ambitious nephew?

His wild and unpredictable daughter?

His eccentric wife?

Or perhaps it was his own son and heir?

All shall be revealed.......

Transport yourselves back to the 1920's where Tredegar House holds a secret of murder and betrayal. You will be able to interrogate the suspects in the stunning staterooms throughout the house, where the mystery unfolds.

A three course supper will be served in the Brewhouse Complex, where you can discuss evidence and decide 'whodunnit' with your fellow detectives.

All will be revealed by the costumed characters before the evening ends.

£30 per head, includes 3 course supper.

All ticked to be booked in advance on (01633) 815880.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Happy 113th Birthday!

113 years ago today, the last member of the Morgan family to live at Tredegar House was born.

Evan Frederic Morgan, 4th Baron, 2nd Viscount Tredegar, Knight of the Holy Sepulchre, Knight of the Constantinian Order of St George, Knight of St John of Jerusalem, Knight of Malta, Knight of the Cape and Sword to Popes Benedict XV and Pius XI, (among other titles) was born on July 13, 1893.

Some quotations on Evan from certain notables:

"The inimitable Evan Morgan, poet, painter, musician, aristocrat and millionaire. The unique fairy prince of modern life."
Aldous Huxley

"A fantasy"
Nancy Cunard

"The one person I know who CAN give a party."
Aleister Crowley

"A little red absurdity, with a beak of a nose, no chin, and with the general likeness to a callow but student bantam cock that has run to legs and neck."
Virginia Woolf

"The re-incarnation of Rameses. He must posses cosmic secrets."
Ronald Firbank

"A character straight out of fiction"
Barbara Cartland

"A birdlike sort of man. Possibly because his mother, the dowager Lady Tredegar, built the biggest bird's nest in all the world...She apparently hatched nothing in it except - who knows - Evan?"
Gore Vidal

"There seems to be much wrong with him."
Sir Caspar John

"He tinkers."
H.G. Wells (when asked about Evan's intelligence)

"Sometimes suffers from a too volatile fancy in conjunction with an overactive tongue."
Augustus John

"He should not have lived in this century. He should have been born in a doge's palace."
Sir Walter Monckton

He was a quite extraordinary man. For all those who would sneer and degrade Evan Morgan in his lifetime, there would be an equal or greater army who would defend and sing his praises. They would speak of a man who fought a constant battle against pomposity and dullness and routed the pair of them. They would speak of acts of great kindness. Of an incomparable host, raconteur and friend. Of a man who was always surrounded by laughter, because he generated it himself. Fearless, impetuous and eccentric to the point of madness, he always lived life on his terms. He was the sort of person who made life more interesting, more fun, more exciting.

He was a poet, novelist, artist, musician, gourmet, pilot, occultist, papal chamberlain, collector, arts patron, bird tamer, journalist, parliamentary candidate, diplomatic attache, Major in the military, part of the secret service....the list goes on and on.

He preferred fantasy to reality and who could really blame him? His outlook on life seemed to be: on to the next adventure, the next horizon, but, never, ever, stop moving, not for a second. He always moved quickly and was very agile, (Augustus John suggested his movement was very bird-like) and appeared to be constantly restless. Perhaps he was. The lines that best sum up Evan Morgan (and perhaps the era in which he lived) for me, come from Tennyson's Ulysses:

How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!

Evan Morgan was never in any danger of rust.