MORGAN family, of Llantarnam, Monmouthshire

The importance of this branch of the Morgans of Pen-coyd, claiming descent from Cadifor Fawr, begins when WILLIAM MORGAN (died 1582), of the Grange of Cefn Vynoch, acquired, in 1561, the dissolved abbey of Llantarnam, with its appurtenant manors of Wentwood and Bryngwyn, from William, earl of Pembroke (died 1570), to whom it had been granted by Elizabeth in 1559. A new mansion was built from the stones of the abbey, but it appears to have been maintained by Morgan as a place of pilgrimage, and his house was used for the celebration of mass, despite which he became sheriff of his county in 1568 and represented it not only in Mary's Parliaments of 1555 and 1557 but also in Elizabeth's of 1559 and 1571.

His son, EDWARD MORGAN (died 1633), succeeded him in the House in 1584 and 1586, and as sheriff in 1582; his daughter Florentia married Sir William Herbert of S. Julians.

The marriage of his heir, THOMAS MORGAN, to Frances, daughter of Edward Somerset, 4th earl of Worcester, drew the family further into the camp of militant Roman Catholicism; for although she appears to have been brought up a Protestant, she had been 'reconciled' to Rome by Fr. Robert Jones, and she was a generous supporter of the Welsh Jesuit mission, while Worcester's influence on the Privy Council enabled her father, by moving about more freely than the law allowed to recusants, to serve as a link with scattered Catholic bodies like those in Flintshire. He received a pardon for declining the new oath of allegiance in 1612, on paying a composition fee of £100.

Thomas's son, Sir EDWARD MORGAN, who had been educated at Jesus College, Oxford (matriculated May 1616, B.A. July 1619), was instrumental in fixing the Welsh Jesuit headquarters at Cwm, Herefordshire (1635). In the second Bishops' War (1640) he was given a military commission and allowed to raise contributions from his co-religionists - activities that provoked heated debate in the Long Parliament, to which Charles I retorted by making him a baronet (12 May 1642), and renewing his commission in the Civil War, where he was captured at Hereford (18 December 1645). The Rump disallowed the baronetcy (17 February 1652), and as a Royalist in arms his estate (worth £911 a year) was sequestrated and not finally discharged (9 November 1654) till after his death (24 June 1653). His sister Winifred married Percy Enderbie, author of Cambria Triumphans.

His heir, Sir EDWARD MORGAN, 2nd bart., became a Protestant, and so made possible a resumption of the parliamentary activities of the family, the 3rd bart., another Sir EDWARD MORGAN (died 1681), representing the county in 1680-1.

On his death without male heirs the estate passed out of the family, and the baronetcy to a younger son of the 1st bart., Sir JAMES MORGAN, who retained the ancestral faith despite a Protestant wife, and remained a non-juror after the Revolution of 1688. On his death (before 1727) the title lapsed.


Published date: 1959

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