TREDEGAR HOUSE, NEWPORT
Map Reference ST28NE
Grid Reference ST28838523
Unitary (Local) Authority Newport
Old County Monmouthshire
Type of Site MANSION
Broad Class Domestic
Period Post Medieval
Site Description Tredegar House stands on low-lying level ground west of the river Ebbw, on the western fringe of Newport. Until l95l the house was a private home, the principal residence of the Morgan family, who lived there from the early l5th century onwards. A substantial stone manor house was built on the site in the late l5th or early l6th century, of which only a small part, the south-west wing of the present house, survives.
Between about l664 and l672 the present grand mansion was built by Sir William Morgan. It is a large two-storey square house built around a small courtyard. It is constructed of red brick, with a pitched slate roof (originally higher, and surmounted by a cupola and balustrading) with attic storey. The main entrance is in the middle of the north-west side, with a fine doorway flanked by spiral twist columns supporting a broken split pediment. The elaborate stone porch on the north-east side is a l9th-century addition. The architect of the house is unknown.
Apart from some internal rearrangements, the lowering of the roof, and the addition of the north-east porch, there were few subsequent alterations to the house. The house retains an exceptionally fine interior including a 17th century black marble fireplace, original oak panelling with exceptional carved detailing, an original 17th century plaster ceiling and a rare surviving Baroque closet in the master dressing room.
In l859 Sir Charles Morgan became the first Baron Tredegar. In l95l the last of the Morgans, John Morgan, sold the house to the Sisters of St Joseph for use as a Catholic girls' boarding school. In l974 house and grounds were purchased by Newport Borough Council.
Brewhouse (Nprn43375). RCAHMW AP945158/65-70
[ADDITIONAL:] The Restoration mansion and Tudor service wing have been sampled as part of the National Tree-ring Dating Programme. The results have been reported in Vernacular Architecture 42 (2011), pp. 115-16:
(a) Service wing primary timbers [= The Tudor House] Felling date range: 1544-74
(b) Service wing reconstruction [= The Tudor House] Felling date range: 1624-54
(c) West range of the mansion. Felling dates: Winter 1666/67, Winter 1670/71, and Winter 1671/72
Tredgar House is an exuberant brick-built mansion with baroque detail, ‘one of the outstanding houses of the Restoration period in the whole of Britain’ (Newman). The present mansion is thought to have been built by Sir William Morgan sometime between 1664 (when he inherited the estate) and his death in 1680, but documentary confirmation is lacking. The identity of the architect is unknown but the design of Tredegar House was clearly influenced by Sir Roger Pratt’s Clarendon House. Tree-ring dates obtained from the king-post roof demonstrate that the mansion was nearing completion in the early 1670s. It is reasonable to suppose that it was begun not long after 1664.
Part of the earlier storeyed house survives as a service wing. The range of dates obtained from its trusses (some charred) indicate reconstruction of the roof after a fire. The date range of the primary timbers of the Tudor house is 1544-74 with reconstruction in the first half of the C17th, after a fire, between 1624-54.
The lavish stable range remains to be sampled. Description in John Newman, 2000, The Buildings of Wales: Gwent/Monmouthshire, 422-8. Dating commissioned by RCAHMW with the assistance of Emily Price, Curator. Tree-ring dating by Dan Miles, Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory.
(R.F. Suggett/RCAHMW/July 2011)