When you’re the most controversial member of what the Duke of Bedford once described as the
“oddest family I have ever met,” you’re bound to make our list of Welsh eccentrics. Enter Evan
Morgan, otherwise known as the 2nd Viscount of Tredegar, a controversial aristocrat notorious for
his gloriously risqué party tricks, exotic pets and dabbling in the occult.

A truly eccentric spirit

Born in July 1893 to a wealthy, aristocratic family that already boasted an eccentric pedigree it was
perhaps inevitable that Evan would grow up to be non-conventional. In fact, his mother was well
known for her extreme enthusiasm for ornithology, to the point where she believed herself to be a
kingfisher and built a human sized nest to sit in. Growing up against this unusual backdrop, Evan
developed into a complex, controversial and often contradictory individual whose scandalous
shenanigans were the talk of society.

Snubbing convention

Evan discovered same sex relationships whilst at Eton and was well known throughout his life for
enthusiastically pursuing his passion for men from all walks of life, once even being rumoured to be
a paramour of King Paul of Greece. He also married twice. However, neither union – one with the
equally eccentric daughter of Lord Adlington and another with Olga Dolgorouky, a Russian princess –
was a success.

Morgan’s religious beliefs were especially contrary. On the one hand, the Viscount professed to be a
devoted Catholic, to the extent that he become chamberlain to Pope Pious XI and would frequently
travel to the Vatican.

Conversely, at the same time he also became entranced with black magic, even becoming close
friends with the ‘wickedest man in the world,’ notorious and feared occultist Aleister Crowley.
Known in high society occult circles as ‘Black Monk,’ Viscount Tredegar would take part in secret
rituals and try to communicate with the dead (often the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley for some reason).

A colourful character

In the 1930s and 40s Evan’s wild parties and lavish spending were the talk of high society and local
gossips. He also became known for keeping unusual pets including an anteater, a bear and a
kangaroo called Somerset with whom he’d dance to impress company.
Perhaps his most famous (and favourite) party trick involved Blue Boy, his pet macaw, who he had
carefully trained to inch up the inside of his trouser leg and poke its head out of his flies. A feat that’s
rumoured to have caused more than one genteel society lady to swoon in horror.

After what could certainly be described as an ‘eventful’ life, Evan Morgan died of cancer in April
1949 at the age of 55. A man of complexity, extremes and eccentricities whose singular spirit lives on
in the stories that remain. And one that would definitely have livened up the distillery bar whilst
sipping a gin cocktail and waiting for Blue Boy to make his infamous appearance.


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