Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Tredegar House

This is a test: 

How much can I remember about this place we visited three months ago? A bit, not much. Thank heavens for the Internet!

Great article on Welsh dragons (not that I got through it all...)

Where is it? Ummm...near our campsite in Wales? Oh yes, 'Monmouthshire'.

The house made me think of a heavily decorated cake.

Who lived there?  Can't remember his name, but one of the Bright Young Things I must look up. Oh yes, and they were related to Captain Morgan, the famous buccaneer - remember him? I've just learned that's also a brand of rum.

The place was decked out as for the wedding of William Morgan and Elizabeth Dayrell in the 1670s. Also, it being a bank holiday they had a Pirates Day with lots of activities and costumes for the kiddies...to honour the buccaneer.

What did I like about it? I'm always impressed by thick walls, leaded glass windows, rich chandeliers, and elaborate table settings, but I really loved the sumptuous bedrooms and enormous bathrooms. Also the stories about the interwar Morgan and his beautiful wives. It won't all fit into one post...

How will I share my experience? Pick my favourite photos (some of which have text to help out) and do some Internet research, which I always love.

Floral Brussels carpet made in Paris in the early 1800s. In the 1600s this room was
"the Drinking Room' (presumably for the men after dinner). In later centuries it became "the Morning Room" (used by ladies to pursue their lady like activities).

Why would I bother? Partly because others might enjoy seeing the place they may never visit, but mainly to document our amazing life. I come back to my own blog time and again. It's become more than a journal, it's nearly a reference for ideas, places and people that capture my imagination.

The Red Room, which once had 'gilt leather' hangings. I read in Fussell's book about uniforms (see 2014 reading list to the right) that the colour of the jackets worn for the hunt is called 'hunting pink'. Normal people would call it red. BTW, one doesn't say 'horse riding'; it's just 'riding'.

Becoming members of the National Trust was definitely a good move for us since we decided to travel around Britain in the motor home this year.  However, much as I love history and architecture, the grand houses begin to blend together into one large extravagance unless I capture some unique idea about the place. It is often about the people who built or inhabited, renovated or sold off these houses. They are mostly all arrogant, to be sure, but also clever, beautiful, sometimes creative, very often peculiar or unbelievably stupid. Sometimes it's the guide who takes us around who infects me with their passion for the garden, the family or the art on the walls. Now and then I find that I'm walking in the same place as Henry VIII, Charles II or Elizabeth I once did and I get a little shiver. Other times I see some little decorating idea I could copy or I'm awed by the detail of some lady's needlework. 

The 'hook' that Tredegar House gave me was not Captain Morgan, but Bright Young Thing, Evan Morgan. More about him later.


D A Wolf said...

Wow. This is a pretty amazing place. (And I love Captain Morgan's spiced rum... Though I doubt it's exactly the same as it was in his time.)

You've seen some fascinating places, Shelley. Thank you for sharing them with us. It's very cool.

sanda said...

How fortunate you are in being able to visit all those lovely places. And my experience also is that the places start blurring together after you've seen so many. But your blog is a great place to document and remember. Yes, nice to go back, reread and remember the experience you had there.

Beryl said...

What a fascinating place to visit. What does joining the National Trust do? Always enjoy your extra little tidbits - like not saying horse riding, it's just riding. (Rather like saying biking in the US usually means motorcycling.) And knowing I was walking in the same place that Elizabeth I did would give me chills too.

Shelley said...

Beryl - You can visit this website for more info about the National Trust http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/about-us/

Basically they support the conservation of grand old houses - a very expensive business - and joining gives one free entry!