Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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MORGAN , JENKIN (d. 1762 ), Independent minister .

The date and place of his birth are unknown; Thomas Rees thought he had good grounds for placing it in the neighbourhood of Caerphilly ; Richard Bennett ( Blynyddoedd Cyntaf Methodistiaeth , 194-5) thought he hailed from the Vale of Neath , and added that he had been member of Blaen-gwrach congregation under Henry Davies ( 1696? - 1766 ) (q.v.) . It should be noted, however, that his name does not appear in the list of Blaen-gwrach members in 1734 , contained in J. Rufus Williams 's reprint of ‘ Henry Davies's Pocket-book ’ — and it may be significant that the place of his ordination was Watford , near Caerphilly . Morgan was one of Griffith Jones 's ‘circulating’ schoolmasters . In Feb. 1739 (letter by Lewis Rees — q.v. — printed by Bennett , Meth. Trefaldwyn Uchaf , 14-16), he kept schools at Llanbryn-mair , Llandinam , and Llanwyddelan (all three are named in Welch Piety for that year, but the schoolmaster is not named); at Mochdre (op. cit., 16-17) he was arrested, and bound to appear before the next quarter sessions. Before the end of 1739 he had a school at Nantydeiliau ( Llanuwchllyn, Mer. ). By 1740 he was keeping a circulating-school in the kitchen of William Prichard ( 1702 - 1773 ) (q.v) at Glasfryn Fawr, Caerns. On a visit to Bala in Jan. 1741 (he had gone there to escort Howel Harris to Caernarvonshire ), he was nearly dragged into the lake by a persecuting mob. Harris , in his diary in Feb. 1741 , hints that Morgan was not having a happy time at Glasfryn , but he advised him to remain there, and indeed Morgan found a wife in the neighbourhood, one of the daughters of Tyddynmawr , Tudweiliog — this was the house in which Evan Williams ( 1719 - 1748 ) (q.v.) of Cwmllynfell , later on, was hidden in a chest from his persecutors. In Feb. 1742 Morgan and Richard Tibbott (q.v.) were arrested as vagabonds and sent back to their native parishes, being locked up for the night at each shire town on their way ( Cylch. Cymd. Hanes M.C. , iv, 13-14, i, 25).

But Jenkin Morgan returned to the North, and as William Prichard had been driven to settle in Anglesey , he too went there. By that time the early concord between Independents and Methodists in North Wales (as elsewhere) had suffered some eclipse. An Independent church was formed, in 1744 , at the house of a yeoman named John Owen , Caeau Môn , in Cerrig-Ceinwen parish, and Morgan was ordained as its pastor at Watford, Glam. , in June 1746 Thomas Morgan ( 1720 - 1799 ) (q.v.) was there and Edmund Jones and Lewis Rees (qq.v.) preached . Morgan received grants from the Presbyterian Fund Board from 1757 till 1751 and from the Congregational Fund Board from 1747 till 1762 . He figures in 1747-50 in Wesley 's Journals as having acted as interpreter for Wesley . Soon after 1745 he bought a holding named Tynyraethnen in Cerrig Ceinwen , where he kept a school , and on a part of this holding, in 1748 , he built the meeting-house of Rhos-y-meirch ; we hear of his journeys to South Wales to collect money for this chapel. On 16 Feb. 1762 , when himself living on a holding named Trehwfa (there are two of that name), he sold the chapel-site to the congregation — possibly this indicates a feeling that his end was approaching. At any rate, he d. in that year ( Thomas Morgan , printed in Y Cofiadur , 1923 , 15); the last entry of his name in the records of the Congregational Fund Board is on 7 June 1762 . Thomas Rees conjectures that he was then 45-7 years old.

Sources:

  • Trysorfa Ysprydol yn cynnwys amrywiaeth o bethau ar amcan crefyddol, yn athrawiaethol, yn annogaethol, yn hanesiol, &c., ynghyd ag ychydig farddoniaeth , Caerleon , 1813 ;
  • Robert Jones (Rhoslan) , Drych yr Amseroedd ;
  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , ii, 457-9;
  • E. B. Jones in Llawlyfr Undeb yr Annibynwyr yn Llangefni , 1923 , 1923 (valuable records);
  • R. T. Jenkins , Hanes Cynulleidfa Hen Gapel Llanuwchllyn , 1937 (indexed);
  • and the other references given above.

Author:

Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959