Tredegar House in Newport, set in the beautiful 90 acre (360,000 m²) Tredegar Park, is one of the best examples of a 17th century Charles II country house mansion in the United Kingdom.
The home was originally built of stone and was very grand indeed, grand enough for Charles I to visit. Between 1664 and 1672, however, William Morgan decided to rebuild the house on a larger scale from red brick, then a rare building material in Wales, possibly to plans made by Inigo Jones. In his 1882 publication, local historian Octavius Morgan provides a plan of an intricate garden maze which was in place prior to the 1660s improvements and which probably dated from the time of Queen Elizabeth I.
The earliest surviving part of the building dates back to the early 1500s. For over five hundred years, it was home to one of the greatest of Welsh families, the Morgans (the same family as Captain Morgan) – later the Lords Tredegar – until they left in 1951. The Morgan family has since spread far and wide with some descendants changing their names through marriage or for reasons of anonymity. Families still using the titles of Lord or Lady, descending from the Morgan line, are said to be still living in Cardiff, in Gloucester/Cheltenham and in Dorset. Other descendants who have kept the Morgan name may be easier to track.
After 1951 the house was home to St. Joseph’s R.C. School until it was bought by the Newport Corporation in 1974, giving rise to its present status as “the grandest council house in Britain”.
Newport City Council provides guided tours of most of the house, covering many major rooms, the vast kitchens, its long history and the personalities involved.
There is an annual Tredegar House vintage car rally in the grounds every year to raise funds for Leukaemia Research. The first rally was held in October 1980 and raised £635. In 2007 the event raised nearly £45,000 bringing the total amount raised by the Rally since 1979 to nearly £576,000.
The House is approved for marriages and civil ceremonies.
In December 2011 the National Trust signed an agreement with Newport City Council to take on the management of the building, as well as the 90 acres of gardens and parkland, on a 50-year lease from 2012. The Trust said that Tredegar House was of “great importance” as many similar properties had been lost in the past 100 years. The National Trust provide free-flow access to the house, but have closed parts of the upstairs to the public.