A Margam Castle Story
Throughout history, many illegitimate kids were born to illicit affairs between aristocrats and the women who worked in their households. Back in the day, being someone’s biological son was just not enough to inherit his fortune…today, things are a bit different.
Our story began at 1994 when 65 years old Ken Matthews from Swansea decided that he want to learn about his origins. Ken was born in a workhouse and was adopted. His adoptive parents were already dead, so he had to start searching by himself until he discovered the identity of his mother (who apparently died in 1988), and Ken even found the fact that he had two half-sisters.
His mother, Ivy Pinn was born in Margam village in 1910. When Ken travelled to the community and questioned some of the old people who knew his mother, they told him that she was a chambermaid in Margam Castle. Then he received another piece of shocking news from those who worked in the Castle in those days. According to them, Ivy had a very long affair with non-other than John Talbot Fletcher, the last owner of the castle.
Now that Ken had the name of his mother (and possibly his father) he expected that it would be easier to find his adoption papers, but those were false hopes… apparently his records “disappeared” but what was even more interesting was the fact that his adoption case was heard on a Tuesday, while the court was not even in session, as the court worked only on Friday, but what was also interesting to discover was the fact the court magistrate was none other than John Fletcher’s dad…
Ken dug deeper. He started to learn more details about John Fletcher. According to the locals, the relationship with his mom stretched well over 12 years, while John was already married (but with no kids). Strangely enough, two days after Len was born this marriage was annulled (not ended with a divorce).
John Talbot Fletcher was the last Talbot to live in Margam Castle. The young aristocrat was the last descendant of the extremely wealthy Talbot family, with a fortune that was estimated in £400M.
It was time for Ken to meet John himself who was well into his nineties. The two men met only once, but as soon as Ken mentioned the name of his mom, John Fletcher looked at him at disbelief and refused to continue to conversation. Ken tried to meet him a few more times, but Fletcher refused, and six months later he died.
The Talbot fortune was now inherited by distant relatives of John, but Ken did not give up and he tried to appeal to the court to run a DNA test, but then he discovered that Fletcher was cremated, and for some reason, this process took place immediately after his death (nd not 10-14 days as it usually takes, and although Fletcher lived in Essex, the cremation did not take place in the local Crematorium but in Hertfordshire…the ashes were scattered in his ancestor estate in Scotland, making it impossible to run DNA tests.
So was Ken the illegitimate son of John Fletcher? Was he the sole heir of his fortune? This is probably a mystery that will never have an answer…
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