CARDIFFREMEMBERED How an old war horse helped to inspire films and great poem
THIS week we take a 12-mile trip to the town, or city as it is today, which according to Andrew Hemmings’ Secret Newport, was a powerhouse of Britain’s industrial revolution.
The author shows how Newport left behind its Roman and medieval past to develop into a modern commercial and industrial centre.
Having researched, albeit in a small way, the life of Godfrey Charles Morgan, First Viscount Lord Tredegar whose equestrian statue stands in front of Cardiff City Hall, I was interested to read the piece “Sir Briggs – The Original War Horse”.
Although the book doesn’t say so, this horse was at one time known as Mr Briggs and, as the author relates, had carried Lord Tredegar in the famed, but ill-fated charge, of the Light Brigade at Balaclava which inspired Lord Tennyson’s famous poem and several feature films.
I believe Sir Briggs, which had won a steeplechase at Cowbridge races, was “knighted” by Lord Tredegar after the bloody battle in which 188 soldiers died and 335 horses were killed.
Sir Briggs was struck on the head by a sabre.
Lord Tredegar’s racing colours were purple and orange and he often rode in races against his brother Colonel Freddie Morgan.
Incidently, the fine bronze equestrian statue by Cardiff’s Goscombe John – his first attempt at an equine sculpture – cost £4,000 and was erected in 1909 some four years before Lord Tredegar died.
Three famous authors from Newport featured in the book are Arthur Machen, Leslie Thomas and William Henry Davies, who is best known for his memoir The Autobiography of a Super Tramp.