I started researching the life of Evan Morgan, Viscount Tredegar, believing, as most always have, that he was little more than an entertaining dilettante, the Playboy Poet, a Marquess of Bath of the 1930s and 40s. With his menagerie of exotic animals, his notorious week-end house parties at Tredegar Park, his various Roman Catholic roles including Papal Chamberlain, and his friendship with Aleister Crowley, he seemed an interesting figure, but one, perhaps, more intent with staving off boredom than anything else. A man with only a passing interest in his many hobbies.
I have now found this not to be the case.
Especially where the occult is concerned.
Yes, Crowley enjoyed Tredegar's princely hospitality. Yes, they flattered each others poetry. Yes, Crowley was impressed with the 'Magick Room' at Tredegar's ancestral home. Yes, Crowley befriended Tredegar's secretary Mrs Sutherland.
This has been known for several years.
What hasn't been known is just how deep into the occult Evan Tredegar actually was. At the same time as being FRIENDS (not just a chamberlain to) to Popes Benedict XV and Pius XI, and, at one time, close friend and, in some ways, intellectual influence to the man who became Pope Paul VI.
That, in itself, is enough to make anyone pause for thought. But it all becomes a little more complicated and fascinating than that.
To that end, I am trying to get in touch with anybody with information on the occult circle around Ernst Rohm and Rudolf Hess in the early 1930s: I am particularly interested in Sir Francis Rose, Lonsdale Bryans and Peter, 2nd Viscount Churchill.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Please don't hesitate to contact me,
Just a heads up to all who might be interested in this strange, yet curiously unknown, aristocratic occultist:
I will be at Treadwells on July 26th, giving the following talk:
26 July 2007 (Thursday)
Crowley’s “Adept of Adepts”
The Eccentric Occultist Evan Morgan
7.15 for 7.30pm start
Tonight Paul Busby, biographer, introduces us to an almost-unknown occultist and eccentric, Evan Frederic Morgan, 2nd Viscount Tredegar (1893–1949). A friend of Aleister Crowley, Morgan was (as Busby has discovered) actually a practitioner of the art magical. Crowley himself called him “Adept of Adepts”. Morgan was known in his own day not so much for his occultism but, in aristocratic society, for his extravagant lifestyle, and wild week-end house parties, which attracted the likes of Aldous Huxley, H.G. Wells and Augustus John as well as The Great Beast. This eccentric also kept at the house a menagerie of animals including a boxing kangaroo, honey bear, baboon and macaw. Tonight’s speaker has recently written a biography of Morgan, and has discovered a great deal about the man’s magical practice. Tonight he reveals his findings and in so doing provides a greater insight into the life in the 1930s of the work of Aleister Crowley, as well as allowing a fuller appreciation of the nexus of ideas and personal links that made up the the 1930s British occult community.
Many thanks for the update: it sounds like it's going to be a fascinating talk. Sorry I can't be there.
Members may find additional material of interest at the Tredegar blog: http://tredegarhouse.blogspot.com/
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What I find interesting about Tredegar was that his family name was Morgan, a lineage that claims descent from the ancient Llewellyns of Pembroke. Now it was a Llewellyn daughter that married the Norman de Clare, creating them Earldom of Pembroke which was an incredibly important focal point of Occultism in English history. The de Clares themselves were not only involved with the assassination of William Rufus (both an occult and political event), but went on to part fund the Templars in England, and through marriage passed the Earldom of Pembroke on to William Marshall, who became the real power behind the Templars in this country and played an important role in the Barons revolt. This lineage passed on to the Herbert family eventually, who were instrumental in backing the Sidney Circle and Shakespeare's little cabal. This last connection links in with my earlier observations on the School of Night.
By the 19th century their doesnt seem to be much occult interest in the Herbert line, but nearby in Cardiff Castle, a former Herbert property, we find the Earl of Bute and his Occult activities, closely related to those of his relative Lady Caithness. Around this time the Morgans show signs of Occult interest, culminating with this gentleman. I can only assume his ancestry linked him into this lineage in some way.