Dictionary of Welsh Biography

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

MORGAN , WILLIAM ( 1750 - 1833 ; DWB , 657).

B. 26 May 1750 . He was apprenticed to two apothecaries in London and was a student at St. Thomas’ Hospital . He returned to Bridgend in 1772 to take up his father's practice after his death. He went to London in 1773 where he may have kept a school for a while. He was appointed to the Equitable 17 Apr. 1774 .

He valued the Equitable in 1775 , the first office to be valued, and the Equitable in 1800 was the first office ever to add a bonus on payment made on a policy. In addition to his work with the Equitable he advised the Scottish Widows office when it was set up. It is likely that he was the first to produce X-rays when he passed electricity through an almost airless tube.

His son Arthur was an actuary at the Equitable from 1830 to 1870 and was an F.R.S. Another son, William , who d. young was an assistant actuary briefly and a grandson, William , was an assistant actuary from 1870 to 1892 .


  • Peter H. Thomas in The Glamorgan Historian (1963) , 89;
  • Maurice Edward Ogborn , Equitable Assurances, The story of life assurance in the experience of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, 1762-1962 (London, 1962) (1962) ;
  • Sir Herbert Maxwell , Annals of the Scottish Widows Fund Life Assurance Society during One Hundred Years, 1815-1914 (Edinburgh, 1914) (1914) , 34;
  • William Morgan , Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (abridged), 15 (1781-1785) , 699;
  • J. G. Anderson , The birth-place and genesis of Life Assurance, and other essays (London, 1940) (1940) , 43;
  • and see also The Insurance Cyclopaedia being a Dictionary of terms used in connexion with the theory and practice of insurance … (1973) , ii, 630.


Dr Llewelyn Gwyn Chambers, Bangor

Corrections and additions:

MORGAN , WILLIAM ( 1750 - 1833 ), actuary ;

b. in June 1750 at Bridgend, Glam. , brother of George Cadogan Morgan and nephew of the philosopher Richard Price (qq.v.). He was apprenticed to an apothecary in London , but in 1772 Price got him a place in the Equitable Assurance Society , where his progress was so rapid that from 1775 till his retirement in 1830 he was its chief actuary . Like his uncle, he was a strong Radical , and his house on Stamford Hill was the resort of men like Horne Tooke and Tom Paine and Francis Burdett . He d. 4 May 1833 , and was buried at Hornsey . Morgan is regarded as one of the pioneers of scientific life-insurance . He published tables and important articles on the principles of life-insurance , and it was on his tables that another Welsh actuary , Griffith Davies (q.v.) founded his own. Morgan received the gold medal of the Royal Society in 1783 , and was F.R.S. Like his uncle, he strongly opposed the swelling of the national debt, and he published six pamphlets on that matter. He edited Richard Price 's works, with a biography.


  • Sources as for George Cadogan Morgan.


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

Published date: 2001