The Return of John Morgan
Sadly, he's only come back in portrait form, nothing too ectoplasmic. The portrait had been away for roughly eighteen months for restoration, and the ludicrous Charles the 2nd poodle hair-do that later Morgans' added to the picture has now been removed. Perhaps this will give John a more cheerful aspect to his haunting now that he doesn't look such a berk!
How John became identified as top candidate for haunting is a strange tale in itself. Two summers ago Paul, our resident expert, was approached by a member of the public on a free-flow day (when people can just wander through the house un-guided), who asked him a number of peculiar questions - such as "Is there a blocked off safe in the house?"
It transpired there was, hidden away from the public, in the back of the walk-in safe in the Old Library. This was a surprise to me, as in my nine years of working there I'd never spotted it! When Paul asked how he knew about it, the answer was almost as peculiar - he'd dreamt it!
This was the start of our long association with Gafyn Cromwell, who discovered his psychic gifts with us, and has continued to give us his imput to the tours ever since. One of the first things we did was invite Gafyn down for the day one Sunday, and Paul and I followed him through the house taking copious notes, and a lot of very startling stuff came to light (more of which later). But it was when we entered the Master's Bedchamber that everything upped a gear!
Gafyn started to pace. "I feel really frustrated!" A limp started to appear. "And my back's killing me. I've got a vile taste in my mouth. Bitter! And I'm choking! I can't breath properly! " Finally, his left hand went up to his face. "And I've gone blind in this eye! I can't see out of it. It's misty!"
I couldn't make head or tail out of this, frankly. I thought that the choking might be a reference to the attempted murder that occurred in the room in 1677, but as for the rest - no idea. Paul, however, was wearing a sphinx-like expression, as of a man in the know who's not saying anything. Alan Hall was guiding another tour through the house behind us, we adjourned to the landing above the Bachelor Staircase to compare notes, when Paul said, "I know who that is! It's John Morgan."
Paul explained that John Morgan, father of Sir William Morgan, Knight of the Order of the Bath, was the man who had got Tredegar House in order the first time round. He'd married his cousin Martha Morgan, who'd owned most of Breconshire, and had created a vast estate. He's sorted out the family finances, got the cash flowing in, got the political patronage lined up, and died before he could ever enjoy it! More importantly, when he died he'd been a physical wreck, and blind in one eye!
John doesn't feature much on the tours of the House; he installed the Edney Gates in 1716, and that's about it. The only person to know about John is Paul; and the only way he'd found out was by opening a box in the National Library of Wales that hadn't been opened since it was deposited there by the last Lord Tredegar in 1951!
So, we're quite happy to claim that John is the frustrated occupant of the Master's Bedchamber that has contributed to it's unpleasant reputation over the years, and we're very pleased to have him back with us.