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LIVES OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE
The E.J. Boys Archive

Added 5.6.2012. Extra material added 24.7.12, image links added 4.9.16. New Charge account added 29.9.18.

IN PROGRESS — NOT FOR PUBLICATION

Line portrait of Godfrey Morgan

Captain Godfrey Charles MORGAN (later 1st Viscount Tredegar) — 17th Lancers

Birth & early life

Born in Ruperra Castle, near Cardiff, on the 28th of April 1831, the son of Charles Morgan Robinson Morgan, 1st Baron Tredegar, and his wife Rosamund, daughter of General Basil Mundy.

More on General Mundy, the pirate Henry Morgan, and other ancestors...

Baptism


Cartoon of his baptism
"Godfrey Charles Morgan was baptised here on May 4th, 1828."

"I believe that all classes, including the Nonconformists, have a real love for the old Parish Church and its grey tower, beneath the shade of which so many of their ancestors are laid. Here at Michaelston-y-Vedw we have a fine historic building, erected about 1130. I may tell you that one of its old parish registers contains an interesting entry. It is that "Godfrey Charles Morgan was baptised here on May 4th, 1828."

Eisteddfod, Cefn-Mably,

September 15th, 1897."

["Wit and Wisdom of Lord Tredegar", 1908. However, the year appears to be wrong since he was not born until 1831). CHECK. ]


Photograph of Ruperra Castle
Ruperra Castle, Godfrey Morgan's birthplace (date of photograph unknown)
Photo of Ruperra Castle in 2001

Ruperra Castle, photographed in 2001. It has been left derelict ever since a fire caused by faulty wiring in 1941, but there are now [2012] moves to restore it. See references in the footnotes.

Educated at Eton, 1843-48.

Service

Cornet in the 17th Lancers: 13th of July 1849.

From the 1st of April 1850, and also during the Crimean period, his servant was 874, Private Benjamin Dobson, 17th Lancers. In one of his letters home to his mother, Morgan wrote

"I deeply regretted having to send Dobson back to the Crimea. I have grown very attached to him. He is more like a close relation than a servant, so well does he look after me."

Lieutenant, 17th Lancers: 31st of May 1850.

1851 Census

Tredegar House, Duffryn, Monmouthshire.

Charles Morgan, 57, Baronet.

Rosamond Morgan, 42.

Selecia 12, Godfrey 18, I.Y. 16, Ellen 9, Georgiana 6, Mary and George 4. Seven children in all.

35 servants are also shown.

Captain, 17th Lancers: 22nd of April 1853.

Fanny Duberly mentions Godfrey Morgan's riding prowess in her diary [check — were they in Varna?]:

Friday, 23rd [June] — The 17th Lancers got up some pony races to-day, over a tolerable course of a mile. Captain Morgan won gallantly, on a pony for which he had paid 50s."

Captain Morgan served in the Eastern campaign of 1854-55, including the battles of the Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman, and the Siege and fall of Sebastopol.


Painting by Charlton of Captain Morgan at the Russian Guns

Rode in command of "B" Troop during the Charge and afterwards assumed temporary command of the regiment.

Retired by the sale of his commission on the 12th of March 1856.

On the 2nd of June 1863 he filed an affidavit in the Calthorpe-Cardigan law-suit in which he stated that he "remembered Captain Morris of the 17th Lancers suggesting that Lord Cardigan should attack the Russian cavalry which was retreating after the Heavy Brigade Charge."

Major in the Royal Gloucestershire Yeomanry Cavalry: 20th of May 1856 — 5th of May 1875.

Honorary Colonel in the Monmouthshire Engineers Militia: 9th of December 1885.

For a number of Morgan's accounts and recollections of the Charge, and other military experiences, follow the link.

Medals

Entitled to the Crimean medal with clasps for Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman, and Sebastopol, and the Turkish Medal.

He was presented with his Crimean medal by Queen Victoria at a ceremony on the Horse Guards Parade on the 18th of May 1855.

His name was written in in the Nominal Roll of those present now in the Public Record Office, but was also in a similar list in the United Services Magazine for June 1855.

Further detailed medal information archived.

Commemorations

In 1909 a life-sized equestrian statue of Godfrey, First Viscount Tredegar, was erected in Cathays Park, Cardiff. The sculptor was W. Goscombe John.

Equestrian statue of Godfrey, First Viscount Tredegar, 1909

Equestrian statue of Godfrey, First Viscount Tredegar, Cathays Park, Cardiff, 1909
Equestrian statue of Godfrey, First Viscount Tredegar, Cathays Park, Cardiff, 1909.

"Gorsedd Gardens Road, Cathays Park, Cardiff.

Bronze equestrian statue of Lord Tredegar as he was in 1854 in the uniform of the 17th Lancers on pilastered plinth of Darley Dale stone. Bronze reliefs depicting the Charge of the Light Brigade. At one end of plinth portrait stone relief, encircled by a wreath of oak-leaves depicts Lord Tredegar as he was at the time the statue was unveiled. At the opposite end of the plinth encircled in a laurel wreath are the Tredegar arms and motto.

Erected by the county of Glamorgan 'as a tribute of respect and affection'.

The work was unveiled by the Earl of Plymouth on the 55th anniversary of the day on which Lord Tredegar led a troop of XVII Lancers in the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava. Godfrey Charles Morgan (1831-1913) was MP for Breconshire from 1858 until 1875 when he succeeded his father as 2nd Baron Tredegar. He was created First Viscount in 1905.

Inscriptions

Incised on west side of plinth: GODFREY / FIRST VISCOUNT TREDEGAR / ERECTED BY THE COUNTY OF / GLAMORGAN AS A TRIBUTE / OF RESPECT AND AFFECTION

Incised on east side of plinth: UNVEILED ON THE 55TH ANNI- / VERSARY OF THE DAY ON WHICH / LORD TREDEGAR THEN CAPTAIN / GODFREY CHARLES MORGAN LED / A TROOP OF XVII LANCERS IN THE / CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE / AT BALACLAVA

Incised on north side of plinth: DEUS NOBISCUM QUIS CONTRA NOS (Transl: If God be for us, who can be against us?)

Incised on south side of plinth (either side of stone medallion): 19 09

Signatures

Statue base, right-hand side: W. GOSCOMBE JOHN. R.A.

Statue base, left-hand side: A.B. BURTON FOUNDER. THAMES DITTON

Each relief signed: W. GOSCOMBE JOHN. R.A. Sc.

Incised on lower part of plinth at rear of work: W. GOSCOMBE JOHN R.A."

[Public Monument and Sculpture Association / National Recording Project, http://pmsa.cch.kcl.ac.uk/pmsa-database/11711/, accessed 27 July 2012]

"The commander of the French Army said of the Balaclava Charge that it was magnificent, but that it was not war. I do not know what the French general called war, but my recollection of the charge is that it was something very nearly like it. I have to thank the Power above for being here now, fifty-five years after the charge took place. Whether this statue will commemorate me for a long time or not is of little moment, but I know it will commemorate for ever the sculptor, Mr. Goscombe John."

Unveiling of equestrian statue of Viscount Tredegar in Cathays Park, Cardiff, on 55th Anniversary of the Balaclava Charge, October 25th, 1909.

["Wit & Wisdom of Lord Tredegar", 1911]

"One day I accompanied a young lady to her carriage on leaving a public function at which I had officiated. The band struck up a martial air, and I stepped actively to the time of the music. Remarking to the young lady that the martial air appealed to an old soldier, she said, "Why, Lord Tredegar, were you ever in the Army?" That is the reason why I think we should have memorials and why I shall be very glad to have this picture in my house."

Speech at the presentation of a portrait of his statue in Cathays Park, Cardiff, September 19th, 1909.

[Wit & Wisdom of Lord Tredegar, 1911]

Postcard of statue of Godfrey, First Viscount Tredegar, Cathays Park, Cardiff

Postcard of statue in Cathays Park, Cardiff, 1910.

Statue of Godfrey, First Viscount Tredegar, Cathays Park, Cardiff

Statue in Cathays Park, Cardiff, 1909.

Statue of Godfrey, First Viscount Tredegar, Cathays Park, Cardiff

Statue of Godfrey, First Viscount Tredegar, Cathays Park, Cardiff.



When the Fun Fair came to Cathays Park.

Photograph by Stephen Andrews, 11.1.2019.

(Click on image to enlarge)
Statue of Godfrey, First Viscount Tredegar, Cathays Park, Cardiff

Sir Briggs, Godfrey Morgan's mount in the Charge.

Life after service

Made Sheriff of Monmouthshire, 1858

London Gazette, 3rd of February 1858, announcing Godfrey Morgan's appointment as Sheriff of Monmouthshire

Godfrey Morgan's appointment as Sheriff of Monmouthshire, announced in the London Gazette, 3rd of February 1858.

Member of Parliament for Breconshire from 1858 to 1875.

1871 Census

Kelmarsh Hall, Kelmarsh, Northamptonshire.

Godfrey C Morgan, 39, visitor, Member of Parliament, born Glamorganshire.

He is described as a guest of Richard C Naylor, landowner, his wife and family.

20 servants are also shown.

Succeeded his father as the 2nd Baron Tredegar on the 16th of April 1875.

"Unlike his father, Godfrey spent most of his time at Tredegar House. He took more of an interest in local politics and society and was regarded as a great philanthropist. He could afford to be. Godfrey had never married, there were no children and his lifestyle was simpler than those who preceded and succeeded him.

He was also the owner of land that was bringing industrial wealth and had interests in much of the economic infrastructure in the area. By the turn of the Century there were around a thousand farms paying rent to the Tredegar Estate. Godfrey's net daily income was in the region of a thousand pounds.

[Source: http://tredegarhouse.wordpress.com/author/steffellis/ (accessed 13.3.2013).]

1881 Census

39, Portman Square, Marylebone.

Lord Tredegar, 50, Peer Legislator, born Glamorgan.

His mother, brother and sister, and ten servant, are also shown.

1891 Census

Tredegar Mansion, Duffryn, Monmouthshire.

Godfrey C Morgan, Lord Tredegar, 59, born Michaelson, Mon.

24 staff are also shown.

1901 Census

Tredegar Park, Monmouthshire.

Godfrey C Morgan, Baron Tredegar, 69, Lord Lieutenant.

including 21 servants.

Became first Viscount Tredegar in December 1905.

Made Newport's first Freeman, 19th of April 1909.

Also made a Freeman of Cardiff, where a large equestrian statue was erected in Cathays Park in 1909.

1911 Census

Tredegar Park Mansion, Duffryn, Mon.

Rt Hon Viscount Tredegar.

21 servants are also shown.

He did not marry and had no children. The viscountcy became extinct, and the barony and baronetcy passed to his nephew, Courtenay Charles Evan Morgan. The house was sold to Newport Council in [1974?]. In April 2012 it opened as a National Trust property (link below).

The precipice of Matrimony

"You have heard things said about Matrimony. It is an annual occurrence at this dinner, until I have become like a man who can walk along the verge of a precipice and look down without falling over. I have looked so long without a desire to plunge, that I am able now to look over without any danger of falling."

The Tredegar Show, December 17th, 1867

[Wit & Wisdom of Lord Tredegar, 1911]

Death & burial

He died, aged 81, on the 11th of March 1913 at Tredegar House, near Newport, Monmouthshire.

Death registered

Godfrey C Morgan (Viscount Tredegar), 81, Newport M, March Quarter 1913.



Photograph of Godfrey Morgan's funeral cortege, 1913. Click to enlarge.
(Click on image to enlarge)


For an evocative article about his death and funeral, with a description of his life and background, and many examples of his philanthropy, follow this link: Obituary, "Cardiff Times and South Wales Weekly News", 13th of March 1913.

The large marble slab placed over the family vault bears only his name (among others), and the date of his death. This particular inscription reads: "The Right Honourable Godfrey Charles Morgan, Viscount Tredegar. Died March 11 1913. Aged 81."

There is no memorial, either, in the church itself, as there are to other members of his family. His brother, Frederick Courtney Morgan, who had served in the Crimea with the Rifle Brigade and died on the 8th of January 1909 at the age of 74 years is also buried in the same vault, together with his wife, Charlotte Ann, who died on the 30th of March 1891.

Steff Ellis again:

"The fortunes of the Morgans were at an apex when Godfrey died. So were the fortunes of South Wales generally, of course, with coal production at its peak. However, the iron, steel and coal industries of Wales were being threatened by the increasing competition of other European economies that had been developing and that of the United States of America.

The following year would see the world thrust into the tragedy of the Great War and all of its repercussions and socio-economic upheavals. However, the Morgans were about to go into a downward spiral of near self-destruction anyway."

[Source: http://tredegarhouse.wordpress.com/author/steffellis/ (accessed 13.3.2013).]

References & acknowledgements

Additional Census information for 1851, and 1871-1911, and registration of death, kindly provided by Chris Poole.

References

Obituary in the Cardiff Times and South Wales Weekly News, 13th of March 1913..

Steff Ellis, "Tredegar House: An unofficial look at Wales's finest Restoration Period mansion.} http://tredegarhouse.wordpress.com/author/steffellis/ (accessed 13.3.2013).

John W.H. Greeves, "A Horseman at War: An account of Captain the Hon. Godfrey Morgan (later Viscount Tredegar) and his charger Sir Briggs who took part in the Crimean War 1854 to 1855", Gwent local history: the journal of Gwent Local History Council, No. 68 (Spring 1990), p. 43-62. Accessible online at The National Library of Wales: http://welshjournals.llgc.org.uk/browse/viewpage/llgc-id:1337678/llgc-id:1339018/llgc-id:1339063/get650 (accessed 13.3.2013).]

Fred. J. Harris, "Viscount Tredegar — Soldier, Peer, Public Benefactor and Humorist", Cardiff and Pontypridd Glamorgan County Times, 1908. [Reference in Greeves (1990); as yet unseen.]

Lord Tredegar, "Wit and Wisdom of Lord Tredegar", published Cardiff & London: Western Mail, 1911. [Republished online in 2012 as a Project Gutenberg EBook accessible at www.gutenberg.org/files/39808/39808-h/39808-h.htm (accessed 13.3.2013).]

Links to images of GM et al

Summary: Oil painting on canvas, The Charge of the Light Brigade, the Battle of Balaclava, 25th October 1854 with Godfrey Charles Morgan, 1st Viscount Tredegar (1831 — 1913) sitting astride his Rearing Horse, 'Sir Briggs' by John Charlton (Bamburgh 1849 — London 1917), signed lower left corner, J C 1905. The 1st Viscount, as Captain of the 17th Lancers, astride his horse with his sabre raised. Other officers depicted are Lieutenant-General James Thomas Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, MP (1797-1868) and Lord George Paget (1818-1880). 'Sir Briggs' is buried in the grounds of Tredegar.

Note to follow up

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