A part of the Tredegar House story that is often overlooked these days is the pre-Restoration Period building. One wing remains of three that formed the grey stone edifice John Leland described as “A very fair place in stone”. This is what remains of the home of Sir John Morgan who accompanied Henry Tudor to Bosworth Field and helped put him on the throne of England. This was when the Morgans became respectable and they remained firm royalists from then on; even after the end of the Tudor Dynasty. King Charles I stayed as an overnight guest in 1645. The wing has changed considerably since then, but still gives a wonderful contrast to the later redbrick building.
Occasionally, it is possible for visitors to see inside parts of the wing, and the Still Room and surrounding parts of the House are within the Fifteenth Century structure that became part of the service areas. What may well have been the Great Hall of Sir John and his family became the Servants Hall in later centuries. The ceiling in here had disappeared by the time the Hall had been handed over to the servants and the upper windows brought in much more light. The ceiling was replaced during the 1970s after Newport Borough Council took over the care of the property and began a programme of restoration and refurbishment.
For a short a while the Hall became a bar and the restored upper room was designated as being an Education Room for school activities. However, in recent years it became more of a store room. For me, however, it is one of the most interesting rooms in the House. By last week it was completely empty. It has been cleared in anticipation of its new role as office space and I took the opportunity to have a look at a very interesting wall.
The wall is almost a chronology of the development of the wing showing blocked up windows, fireplaces and doors. The large fireplace corresponds to a similar one below it, the doorway would have taken people out to a external staircase and there is still a chimney in place.
When this part of the House was completed the residents were still thinking defensively and there were no windows looking outwards, the light came from windows looking inwards onto a central courtyard.
This is a large part of the history of Tredegar House and the Morgan family who lived here. It is a pity that it is not open to the public, but it would be a logisitc nightmare to try and include it on the visitor route and so utilising it as desperately needed office space does make sense. However, I do hope that some specialist tours may still be allowed to peep in from time to time.