Tredegar House – home of the Morgans

Tredegar House in Newport, Gwent in South Wales is an impressive building, a testament to the wealth of the Morgan family who built it in the 17th century, adding to an earlier Tudor building on the site, parts of which can still be seen in the west wing.

20150618 016 Tredegar House

The north entrance to Tredegar House, through the stable yard.

20150618 123 Tredegar House

The remains of the Tudor west wing of Tredegar House.

Just a stone’s throw from Junction 28 on the M4 (hopefully better road signs to Tredegar House will be installed after the proposed re-modelling of the complex Junction 28 are completed), Tredgar is adjacent to a 90 acre public park, the remnant of what was once a huge estate attached to the house. While the principal entrance was originally on the north wing, you enter the house today through an impressive north approach.

Tredegar House has had a chequered history. Completed in late 17th century, it remained in the Morgan family for several centuries until sold off, with all its contents by the 5th Lord Tredegar, in 1951 when it became St Joseph’s Convent School. Eventually Newport Council took over the property until 2012 when the National Trust signed a lease for 50 years to manage the property and restore as much as feasible to its former glory. Several rooms on the upper ground floor are open to the public, as is a suite of rooms decorated in a 1920s-30s style on the first floor, and the extensive kitchens and courtyard at ground level, but are accessed as though descending into a basement. Some normally accessible rooms were closed last week due to health and safety considerations, because of mould in a couple and damage to a chimney in another.

The Entrance Hall

The Brown Dining Room
This is a most impressive room with carvings on the wall. Charles I stayed at Tredegar, and his face was incorporated into the carving as a caricature when the room was designed in about 1675 or so.

To the left of the fireplace is a portrait of Captain Henry Morgan, a distant relative of the Tredegar Morgans. Yes, the Henry Morgan of rum fame. He was a buccaneer, but eventually became Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica in the late 17th century. This portrait was painted around 1650.

Captain Henry Morgan (1635-1688) 'The Buccaneer'

Captain Henry Morgan (1635-1688) ‘The Buccaneer’

The Gilt Room
Beyond the Brown Dining Room lies the Gilt Room, and would have looked magnificent with the gold shimmering in candlelight. But all is not what it seems. The paneling is actually pine painted to look like walnut. And the ‘marble’ columns either side of the fireplace are also painted pine! The ceiling painting is a late 17th century copy of one in the Palazzo Barberrini in Rome, and depicts Pope Urban overcoming lust.

The King’s Room and the Red Room (1930s)
The second floor has bedrooms occupied by the family up until the death of Evan Morgan, 2nd Viscount Tredegar, son of the 1st Viscount, Courtenay Morgan.

The Blue Room

Below stairs

The gardens and outbuildings

Tredegar planOn the west side is a lovely walled garden with magnificent yew trees. There are also some impressive outbuildings to the northwest, including a couple of barns, stables, and what we assumed must have been the coach house.

As you can see from the photos, we had a glorious day weather-wise, and for us, traveling down from north Worcestershire, the 80+ mile journey was not a problem, on motorways and dual carriageways (divided highways) the whole way. We had seen Tredegar House featured a few times on the BBC’s Bargain Hunt as well as the venue for another programme, Antiques Roadshow. So we were pleased that our plans to visit came to fruition. All in all, it is certainly an interesting property to visit.

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