His father received Charles I at Tredegar on 16th and 17th July 1645. Thomas Morgan of Machen and Tredegar, born c. 1590, was sheriff in 1661 and died 1664. He married first Rachel Hopton and then Elizabeth Windham of Sandhills, Somerset. By his second wife he had fifteen children. His fourth son John, of London, the merchant, was sheriff in 1697 and MP for the county in 1701.
He married Blanch Morgan of Dderw, Brecon, by whom he had five children. Blanch Morgan died 1673 and he married Elizabeth Dayrell, the widow of Sir Francis Dayrell, and a daughter and co-heir of Edward Lewis of Van. However this was a troubled marriage with problems arising over the sanity of Elizabeth Dayrell.
Whist they were still at school, a marriage was arranged between his eldest son Thomas (1664-1699) and Martha, daughter of Sir Edward Mansel of Margam. It was also agreed that his daughter Blanch would marry Edward Mansel, the eldest son of Sir Edward, but she died in 1682, aged 13 years. William Morgan had died in 1680 and his trustees decided that these weddings would still go ahead, but with another daughter in place of Blanch.
Thomas Morgan, the eldest son of William Morgan and his wife Blanch, was born 7th September 1664. He was MP for the County of Monmouthshire. All his children by his wife Martha predeceased him, and Thomas died in 1699, leaving his younger brother John as his heir.
John Morgan, born 4th March 1672, married Martha Vaughan, daughter of Gwyn Vaughan of Trebarried. He was M.P. for the Monmouthshire Boroughs in 1701 and for the county in 1708, Lord-Lieutenant of Monmouth and Brecon in 1715. He died 7th March 1719 and was buried at Machen. He inherited the Rhiwperra estate from his uncle in 1715.
To provide for his children, John passed on his lands and possessions as “settled” estates, his sons being tenants for life. William inherited the Tredegar Settled estate for his lifetime and Thomas the Rhiwperra Settled Estate, together with some other lands acquired in Glamorganshire, for his lifetime.
His Aunt Katherine, John the Merchant's sister, was granted the profits of the Rhiwperra estate until her death. She died in 1724 at Rhiwperra. An apocryphal tale is that her body was being taken to Machen for burial, but the party had to return as the River Rhymney was in flood, when she was found to be still alive.
William Morgan was born in 1700 and his brother Thomas in 1702. He embarked on a flamboyant life style, his annual expenditure in 1725 being over £37,000. He married Rachel, the daughter of William, Duke of Devonshire, in 1723 and died in 1731, leaving his wife with four young children. None of the male line survived, the second son dying in 1763 and Lady Rachel in 1780 at the age of 83. The Tredegar Settled Estate was inherited by William's younger brother Thomas, who had married Jane, a daughter and co-heir of Maynard Colchester of Gloucester. Thomas Morgan died in 1769. By Jane he had six children, of whom the eldest son Thomas died in 1771, the second son Charles in 1787 (who complained in 1773 that the Rhiwperra estate was worth only £7,000 per year, and the rental collection was lower than that) and the third son John in 1792, all without issue, and the male line was extinct. During this period, Rhiwperra Castle burnt down in 1783 and was rebuilt by 1792. A result of a long and costly legal battle between Lady Rachel Cavendish and Thomas Morgan was the effective reuniting of the settled estates of Tredegar and Rhiwperra. The estate was inherited by his daughter Jane (1731-1797), who had married Charles Gould of Pitshanger Manor, Ealing. Thomas Morgan had been Judge Advocate General, and his deputy was King Gould, father of Charles Gould. A condition of John Morgan's will was that Sir Charles Gould had to change his name to Morgan, which he did by deed patent in 1792.
Charles Morgan son of Jane Morgan and Charles Gould was born 1760. He was an enthusiastic agriculturalist. He married Margaret, daughter and heir of Captn. George Stoney, R.N. They had Charles Morgan Robinson, George Gould, (who lived at Rhiwperra until the death of his father,) Charles Augustus Samuel who became Rector of Machen (Rev. Augustus Morgan) and lived at Machen House; Octavius Swinnerton who became M.P. for Monmouthshire and lived at the Friars, Newport. In the nineteenth century, Rhiwperra became the home of the eldest son and heir of Tredegar, or for his brother after he had inherited the Tredegar estate.
married Rosamund Mundy, daughter of Major-Gen. Mundy. He was created Lord Tredegar in 1859. They had 3 sons and 4 daughters. Their eldest son Godfrey was at Rhiwperra when news was brought of the Chartists' attack on the Westgate Hotel in Newport in 1839, but he was said to have been more interested in shooting rabbits in the cabbage patch. Sir Charles died in 1875.
(brother Frederick Courtenay Morgan)
Godfrey is famed for his presence at Balaclava and the Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854. He was made the 1st Viscount Tredegar in 1905. Godfrey began to modernise Rhiwperra after the death of his brother Frederick in 1909, as Col. Freddy Morgan did not want any disturbance in his last years. Godfrey, like his brother Freddie, was well regarded by his tenants. He sincerely believed that with great personal wealth came social obligation and was a generous public benefactor, always willing to support good causes. There is an equestrian statue of him in Cathays Park in Cardiff.
Colonel Freddie was MP for Monmouthshire and lived at Ruperra until his death in 1909. William Beechey, his farm bailiff who lived at Ruperra Home Farm, entered in his diary on October 2 1900, “The Colonel returned to Parliament unopposed. Went up to the castle to hear him speak. A lot of people up there singing and dancing. Been in Parliament about 26 years.” Then on September 4 1901: “The Colonel got rheumatic in his arm.” September 26: “The Colonel not very well.”
Bert Stradling working on the estate as a young boy of 14 in 1906 said: “The Colonel and his daughter Mrs Munday, Violet used to hunt a lot. They were always in front of all the others. She used to come down in front of the house over that stile and up the field. She could ride and the old boy too! That's what ended his days. He'd stop in the saddle all day getting soaking wet and he had rheumatic then poor old boy.”
His daughter Blanche's wedding in 1883 is recorded in the Monmouthshire Merlin: “The newly wedded pair and their friends afterwards drove by way of the Draythen road to Ruperra castle, where about eighty ladies and gentlemen sat down to the wedding breakfast. Marquees were erected on the lawn.”
3rd Baron (Son of Colonel Freddie and brother of Frederick George Morgan).
He was married to Katherine Carnegie and after his uncle Godfrey's death in 1913, he inherited the estate and continued the modernisation of Rhiwperra, hoping that his son Evan would live there after his marriage. Courtenay (1867-1934) was more interested in sport than agriculture and the estate suffered somewhat. One of his plans was to link Rhiwperra Castle with the adjoining domestic quarters by a billiards hall. He owned the steam yacht “Liberty”, which opened the Alexandra Docks, Newport, in 1906 and served as a hospital ship during the First World War. He was created a Viscount in 1926.
James Lees-Milne in his book “Midway on the Waves” 1985, describes a visit to Ruperra with John Morgan after the Second World War. “This fine morning we motored to Ruperra Castle which the Welsh (sic) want to buy from John as a memorial to Welshmen killed in the war and vest in the Nat. (sic) Trust. I could not see any point in it at all From vestiges of remains it must have had rather nice Adam decoration ”