Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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MORGAN alias YOUNG , JOHN (d. 1504 ), clerk of parliament, and bishop .

Some doubt exists concerning Morgan 's ancestry. One pedigree ( Pen. MS. 131 , 251) traces his descent from Griffith Dwnn of Croesallgwn , Kidwelly , and this seems to be confirmed by the poet Ieuan Deulwyn 's reference to his being ‘ of the blood of the Dwn ’ ( Gwaith Ieuan Deulwyn , p. 50). But he is more usually thought to have been a brother to the lawyer , Trahaearn Morgan of Muddlescombe , Kidwelly , who was the son of Morgan ap Jenkin ap Philip , grandson of Llywelyn ap Morgan of Tredegar ( Dwnn , Heraldic Visitations , I, 21; H. T. Evans , Wales and Wars of Roses , 216-8). He was sometimes called ‘ Young ’ to distinguish him from another brother called John ( Catal. MSS. in B.M. 248). If John Morgan the bishop was indeed the son of Morgan ap Jenkin he was linked through his mother, Joan , daughter of David Mathew the elder of Radyr , with some of the best-known families in South Wales : the Herbert s ; the family of Dafydd Gam ; the Wogan s ; and the Dwnn s — hence perhaps Ieuan Deulwyn 's reference ( Trans. Cymm. , 1941 , 122-3). But it should be noted that he was not the brother of Richard III 's attorney-general , Morgan Kidwelly , who is often confused with Trahaearn Morgan .

John Morgan was educated at Oxford and became a doctor of laws , probably before the ruin of the Lancastrian cause at Tewkesbury in 1471 . His career before Henry VII 's accession presents difficulties. The absence of his name from any official records before 1485 and his rapid promotion after that date have led to the suggestion that he ‘must have been in exile with Henry [ Tudor ] and in his employment as chaplain or clerk perhaps both’ ( A. F. Pollard , Bull. Inst. Hist. Research , xv, 156-8). Alternatively, if an old but not altogether reliable biography of Sir Rhys ap Thomas (q.v.) may be believed, he must have been active in Wales before 1485 . This work ( Camb. Reg. i, 49-144) seems to suggest that he was responsible, with his brother, for winning over Rhys ap Thomas to Henry 's cause (ibid., 84-5, 88-90, 93, 96, 104-5). The difficulty is that in all these references he is described as the bishop of S. Davids , a position which he did not attain until 1496 .

That he was one of Henry 's most trusted supporters is shown by his rapid promotion after Bosworth . On 9 Oct. 1485 he became clerk of the parliament , in Nov. he appeared as a receiver of petitions , and later became a master in Chancery . Ecclesiastical preferment included the church of Hanslape, Bucks. , the deanery of Windsor , and the deanery of S. Mary 's, Leics. , to which he was presented 6 Oct., 18 Oct., and Dec. 1485 , respectively. He was archdeacon of Carmarthen from July 1488 to Feb. 1494 , prebendary of Rugmere in S. Pauls in 1493 , and rector of Great Haseley, Oxon.

On becoming bishop of S. Davids in 1496 Morgan gave up all his other preferments and his secular offices. During his episcopate, for part of which his register has survived, he increased the number of cathedral choristers from four to six and appropriated to them the churches of Llanwnnen , Silian , and Llan-y-cefn . He built the episcopal throne in the choir at S. Davids , and, in his will, dated 25 April , and proved 29 May 1504 , directed that a chapel be built over his grave in the cathedral. No such chapel was built, but Morgan 's carved stone tomb may still be seen.


  • In addition to references given above, see also Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Harleian Manuscript at the British Museum 1249;
  • The Episcopal Registers of the Diocese of St. David's, 1397–1518 (1917–20) , ii, 533, 676, 713-61, iii, 123-5;
  • Menevia Sacra. Arch. Camb. (1927) , 83, 209;
  • Calendar of Patent Rolls , 1485-94 (16, 79, 457), 1494-1509 (71, 78, 85);
  • A survey of the cathedral church of St. David's, and the edifices belonging to it, as they stood in the year 1715 (1717) , 88, 101, 108, 308;
  • Archaeologia Cambrensis , 1919 , 393-458.


Sir Glanmor Williams, M.A., Swansea

Corrections and additions:

MORGAN alias YONG , JOHN (d. 1504 ; DWB , 646-7).

His pedigree is in Pen. MS. 131 , p. 255; the pedigree on p. 251 is that of a different person. The bishop 's mother descended from the Dwnn s .


Peter Clement Bartrum, Berkhamsted, Herts

Published date: 1959