|The Vaughans of Trawsgoed * - near
Aberystwyth, West Wales.
*Eng. Beyond the Wood
Mansion is a fine country house surrounded by parkland and beautiful wooded
gardens. It was the home of the greatest landowners in the
county of Cardiganshire in Wales. The present house was built in the 17th
century with a Victorian wing added in the 1890's but the Vaughan family
can trace their occupation of the site back to the fourteenth century.
The history of the family is traced by Gerald Morgan in A Welsh House and its Family - The Vaughans of Trawsgoed (Gomer Press 1997, ISBN 1 85902 4726). This is not a book for the casual reader. Anyone with the Vaughan surname will will find it fascinating, especially since the Welsh origin of the name is discussed, but the book is really aimed at those with more than a passing interest in the history of the county and its aristocratic families.
Historian Gerald Morgan had full access to archives and family papers in the preparation of this book. The cooperation of the present Vaughan family has not prevented him from presenting a forthright view of the less than perfect behaviour of some of their ancestors. The second Viscount Vaughan's scandalous lifestyle put the Trawsgoed inheritance in jeopardy in the eighteenth century but this episode is explored just as fully as the career of Sir John Vaughan who died in 1674 as a highly respected parliamentarian and Chief Justice of the Common Pleas.
Although the story of a great land owning family, this book has a lot to tell us about the harsh conditions faced by our less fortunate ancestors in Wales over hundreds of years. It comes as no surprise that Wales lost so many of its best people to America and Australia when one pauses to consider the plight of the ordinary man and woman for most of the period covered by the book.
In summary, this is a specialist book with copious notes and an extensive
bibliography. It is an informed and lucid account of a family and its milieu
let down only by the indifferent quality of the illustrations. It deserves
a place in the library of any family or institution with a serious interest
in the history of Wales.