Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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MORGAN , Sir THOMAS ( 1604 - 1679 ), soldier ;

was the son and heir of Lewis Morgan of Llangattock, Mon. (not the brother of Sir Henry Morgan , q.v. , as in Clark , Limbus Patrum , 315, but probably his nephew). He inherited lands in Monmouthshire and acquired others, but spent most of his life in England and abroad. At 16, having at that time little knowledge of any language but Welsh , he enlisted in Sir Horace Vere 's Protestant volunteer expedition which fought in the Thirty Years’ War , and till 1643 he was fighting in the Protestant cause abroad under Bernhard of Weimar and other leaders, in company with Fairfax , Monck and other subsequent comrades-in-arms in the Civil War at home. In the latter he served under Fairfax in the northern campaign of 1643-4 , and then in that of the south-west, where he became governor of Gloucester ( 18 June 1645 ), helped in the capture of Chepstow ( Oct. 1645 ) and Hereford ( 22 Dec. 1645 ), and made several incursions into Monmouthshire , in the course of which he was able to discourage recruiting for the king and to gain new adherents for Parliament . After helping to defeat the last Royalist army in the field at Stow-on-the-wold ( 22 March 1646 ), he returned to Monmouthshire as commander-in-chief ( 2 May 1646 ) to participate in the siege of Raglan , where there was a lively interchange of correspondence between him and the marquis of Worcester (q.v. under Somerset ) . There was some trouble among his troops when they were disbanded at Gloucester in 1647 , but Morgan disappointed Royalist expectations by loyally carrying out the parliamentary orders. At Monck 's request he was sent to Scotland in 1651 with a regiment of dragoons . Here he remained for six years, rising to the rank of major-general , till he was recalled to fight under the nominal command of Sir W. Lockhart in the campaign of the Dunes ( 1657-8 ), where he won considerable distinction. On his return he was knighted ( 26 Nov. 1658 ) by Richard Cromwell ( Whitelock , Memorials , iv, 338), but both Shaw ( Knights , 224) and Noble ( House of Cromwell , ii, 543) misname him John in this context. Returning to Scotland , he helped Monck to reorganise his army, and to bring it south to play its part in the Restoration , for which he was thanked by the Commons ( 12 Jan. 1660 ). He was a militia commissioner for Monmouthshire in the following March, but on 11 Oct. his regiment of horse (with the exception of his own troop) was disbanded. He was rewarded with a baronetcy on 7 Feb. 1661 . After a brief and inglorious campaign in Portugal ( 1661 ), Morgan retired to the estate he had acquired at Kynnersley, Herts. , but was recalled in 1665 to become governor of Jersey in face of the threat of French invasion. He proved as competent in administration as in strategy, although he was almost illiterate and could sign his name only with difficulty. He d. at his post on 13 April 1679 . A man of short stature, he ranks high among the soldiers of the age, with a reputation for chivalrous treatment of his foes.

Married on 10 Sept. 1632 , he had nine sons, of whom the eldest, Sir JOHN MORGAN ( fl. 1688 ) followed his father's profession, becoming a captain in the 9th Regiment of Foot ( 19 June 1685 ) and in colonel Carne 's regiment ( 13 Oct. 1688 ), and in 1692 (20 April) colonel of what became the Royal Welch Fusiliers . Having m. the daughter of Sir James Price of Pilleth ( Member of Parliament for Radnorshire , 1624 ), he represented Radnorshire in the parliament of 1681 and Herefordshire in those of 1685 and 1689 ; he also succeeded to the stewardship of Cantref Moelynaidd from 1682-8 . The interests of succeeding generations were centred in Herefordshire . The title became extinct on the death of Sir John 's great-grandson Sir JOHN MORGAN , 29 April 1767 .

Sources:

  • D. G. Lewis , ‘Sir Thomas Morgan’ (unpublished thesis in N.L.W.;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • G. E. Cokayne , Complete baronetage (1611-1800) , Exeter, 1900-09 , iii, 158;
  • J. R. Phillips , Memoirs of the Civil War in Wales and the Marches, 1642–1649 , 1874 , ii, 279;
  • The Journals of the House of Commons , iv, 396, vii, 808;
  • W. R. Williams , The History of the Parliamentary Representation of Wales , 1895 , 180;
  • Firth and Rait , Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642–1660 , 1911 , ii, 1437 ;
  • The Journals of the House of Lords , vii, 437, 478, 663, 676, 678, viii, 145-6, 292-3;
  • Bradney , A History of Monmouthshire , i, 252;
  • Firth (ed.), Stuart Tracts 1603-1693 , 1903 , 403-23;
  • A collection of the state papers of John Thurloe, Esq. secretary first to the council of state and afterwards to the two protectors , 1742 , vi, vii;
  • Reports of the Historical Manuscripts Commission , 12th R. , ix, 89-90;
  • Severall Letters from Colonell Morgan… and Colonell Birch, fully relating the manner of the taking of … Hereford … With a perfect list of the names of the prisoners, etc , London, 1645 , 24 Dec. 1645 ;
  • N.L.W. Penrice and Margam Manuscripts at the National Library of Wales L.161;
  • Tipping , The story of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers , 1915 .

Author:

Emeritus Professor Arthur Herbert Dodd, M.A., (1891-1975), Bangor

Published date: 1959