Morgan, Philip (DNB00)
|←Morgan, Matthew||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 39
Morgan, Philip (d.1435)
MORGAN, PHILIP (d. 1435), bishop successively of Worcester and Ely (1426), was a Welshman from the diocese of St. David's, who at some date before 1413 had taken the degree of doctor of laws, probably at Oxford (Godwin, De Præsulibus, p. 267, ed. Richardson ; Wood, Antiq. Univ. Oxon. i. 213 ; Anglia Sacra, i. 537). He first appears in public life as a witness to Archbishop Arundel's sentence upon Sir John Oldcastle on 25 Sept. 1413 (Rot . Parl. iv. 109 ; Fasciculi Zizaniorum, p. 442). If he was not already in the royal service, he had not long to wait for that promotion. In the first days of June 1414, when Henry V had just broached his claims upon the French crown, Morgan was included with another lawyer in the embassy appointed to go under Henry, lord Le Scrope of Masham, to conclude the alliance, secretly agreed upon at Leicester a few days before (23 May) with John the Fearless, duke of Burgundy (Dufresne de Beaucourt, Histoire de Charles VII, i. 132 ; Fœdera, ix. 136-8). He was apparently sent on ahead with a mission to the count of Holland, brother-in-law of Duke John, but had rejoined the others before they met the duke at Ypres on Monday, 16 July (ib. ix. 141 ; E. Petit, Itinéraires de Philippe le Hardi et de Jean sans Peur, p. 410). For over two months they remained in Flanders, and were entertained by the duke at Ypres, Lille, and St. Omer. The Leicester convention was converted into a treaty (7 Aug.) at Ypres, and supplemented by an additional convention (29 Sept.) at St. Omer (ib. pp. 410-12; Beaucourt, i. 134). On his return, Morgan was sent (5 Dec. 1414) to Paris with the Earl of Dorset's embassy charged to press Henry's claims, continue the negotiations for his marriage with Katherine, and treat for a final peace (Fœdera, ix. 186-7 ; Devon, Issues of the Exchequer, p. 336). In the middle of April 1415 and again at the beginning of June he was ordered to Paris to secure a prolongation of the truce with France (Fœdera, ix. 221, 260; Ordinances of the Privy Council, ii. 153). The day before Henry sailed for France (10 Aug.) Morgan was despatched as his secret agent to the Duke of Burgundy, in whose dominions he remained until December (Fœdera, ix. 304; Beaucourt, i. 134; Ramsay, Lancaster and York, i. 241). He was rewarded (2 Jan. 1416) with the prebend of Biggleswade in Lincoln Cathedral (Le Neve, Fasti, ii. Ill; Rot. Parl. iv. 194). In February he was consulted by the council upon foreign affairs, and he was the chief agent in securing (22 May) the renewal of the special truce with Flanders which the Duke of Burgundy had concluded with Henry IV in 1411 (Fœdera, ix. 331, 352 ; Ord. Privy Council, ii. 191, 193; Beaucourt, i. 138).
Sigismund, king of the Romans, having now come to England in the hope of mediating a peace between France and England in the interests of the council of Constance, Henry consented (28 June) to send ambassadors, of whom Morgan was one, to treat for a truce and for an interview in Picardy between the two kings (ib. i. 263 ; Fœdera, ix. 365-6; Lenz, König Sigismund und Heinrich der Fünfte, p. 113). A truce for four months was concluded at Calais in September in the presence of Henry and Sigismund by Morgan, together with Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, and Sir John Tiptoft (Fœdera, ix. 384 ; Beaucourt, i. 267 ; Ramsay, i. 241 ; cf. Fœdera, ix. 375 ; Beaucourt, i. 139-41). In December Morgan and others were sent to secure an alliance with Genoa, whose ships had been assisting the French (Fœdera, ix. 41415). They were also commissioned to treat with Alfonso of Arragon, the princes of Germany, and the Hanse merchants (ib. ix. 410, 412-13). He went on a further mission to the last-named in February 1417 (ib. ix. 437). In November Morgan took part in the futile negotiations at Barneville, near Honfleur, in February 1418 was ordered to hold musters at Bayeux and Caen, and on 8 April was appointed chancellor of the duchy of Normandy (ib. ix. 543, 571, 594 ; Beaucourt, i. 276-7). He was the spokesman of the English envoys in November in the negotiations at Alencon, in which the dauphin was offered Henry's assistance against Burgundy at the price of great territorial concessions (Fœdera, ix. 632-645 ; Beaucourt, i. 284-92).
Morgan had fairly earned further advancement, and the see of Worcester falling vacant in March 1419, he was elected (24 April) by the monks. Pope Martin V thought good in the interests of the papacy to specially provide him to the see by bull, dated 19 June (Le Neve, iii. 60). He made his profession of obedience to Archbishop Chicheley on 9 Sept., received the temporalities on 18 Oct., and on 3 Dec. was consecrated in the cathedral at Rouen along with John Kemp [q.v.] by the Bishops of Evreux and Arras (ib. ; Stubbs, Registrum Sacrum, p. 64 ; Fœdera, ix. 808). Meanwhile the bishop-elect had been on a mission to the king's 'Cousin of France' in July, and in October informed the pope, on behalf of the king, that Henry could not alter antipapal statutes without the consent of parliament (ib. ix. 806; Beaucourt, i. 153). In July 1420 he was engaged in the negotiations for the release of Arthur of Brittany, captured at Agincourt (Fœdera, x. 4 ; Cosneau, Le Connétable de Richemont, p. 56).
Morgan became a privy councillor on his elevation to the episcopal bench, and after the king's death his diplomatic experience secured his inclusion (9 Dec. 1422) in the small representative council to which the conduct of the government during the minority of Henry VI was committed (Rot. Parl. iv. 175, 201 ; Ord. Privy Council, ii. 300, iii. 16, 157, 203). He was unwearied in his attendance (ib.) In nearly every parliament of the first eleven years of the reign he acted as a trier of petitions (Rot. Parl. iv. 170, &c. ; cf. Ord. Privy Council, iii. 42, 61, 66 ; Milman, Latin Christianity, viii. 330). During the second half of 1423 he was engaged in the negotiations which issued in the liberation of the captive King James of Scotland (Fœdera, x. 294, 298-9, 301-2 ; Rot. Parl. iv. 211).
At the death of Henry Bowet [q. v.], archbishop of York, on 20 Oct. 1423, Morgan was designated his successor. His unanimous election by the chapter was notified by the king to the pope on 25 Jan. 1424 (Fœdera, x. 316). But Pope Martin was bent upon breaking down Henry V's policy of free election to English sees, a policy of which Morgan had been the mouthpiece in 1419 (cf. Löher, Jakobda von Bayern, ii. 145, 536), and, ignoring Morgan's election, translated Richard Fleming [q. v.], bishop of Lincoln, to York (Stubbs, Constit. Hist. iii. 316 ; Ramsay, Lancaster and York, i. 378 ; Le Neve, ii. 17, iii. 109).
The council refused to submit to so violent an assertion of the papal pretensions, and the pope (20 July 1425) retranslated Fleming from York to Lincoln, but he provided, not Morgan, but John Kemp, bishop of London, to the archbishopric (Drake, Eboracum, App. lxvi.) The council finally accepted (14 Jan. 1426) this solution, on condition that Morgan was translated either to Ely or to Norwich, two sees both of which were vacant (Ord. Privy Council, iii. 180). Martin accordingly translated Morgan to Ely (27 Feb.), and the temporalities of that see were granted to him on 22 April (ib. iii. 192). Morgan made his profession of obedience to Archbishop Chicheley on 26 April in the chapter-house of St. Paul's, but was not enthroned until nearly a year later (23 March 1427) (Le Neve, i. 338 ; Historia Eliensis in Anglia Sacra, i. 666).
While his fortunes thus hung in the balance, Morgan had continued one of the most active members of the council, and in March 1426 acted as an arbitrator between Gloucester and Beaufort (Rot. Parl. iv. 297). He can hardly have been a partisan of the duke, for his name was attached to the very unpalatable answer of the peers to Humphrey's request on 3 March 1428 for a definition of his powers as protector (ib. iv. 326-7; Stubbs, Constit. Hist. iii. 107). In the autumn parliament of 1429 a suit against the Abbot of Strata Florida (Ystrad Flûr or Stratflower, now Mynachlogfawr, Cardiganshire) was referred to him and others, and he assisted in framing new regulations for the council on the termination of the protectorate (ib. iii. 110; Rot. Parl. iv. 334, 344; Ord. Privy Council, iv. 66). Next year he went to France in May as one of the council of the young king (ib. iv. 38 ; Fœdera, x. 458). In this or the previous year he had come into conflict with the university of Cambridge, which claimed exemption from his episcopal authority. Martin V appointed a commission of inquiry, which reported (7 July l430) in favour of the university, a decision confirmed after Martin's death by Eugenius IV on 18 Sept. 1433 (Caius, De Antiquit. Cantab, p. 81, ed. 1568; Godwin, p. 267; Anglia Sacra, i. 666).
In the last years of his life Morgan was seemingly not quite so regular in his attendance at the council board as he had been. At least he was one of those who on 21 Dec. 1433, 'after many notable individual excuses,' promised to attend as often as was in their power, provided their vacations were left free (Rot. Parl. iv. 446). He died at Bishops Hatfield, Hertfordshire, on 25 Oct. 1435, having made his will four days before, and was buried in the church of the Charterhouse in London (Le Neve, i. 338 ; Anglia Sacra, i. 666). There must be some mistake about the entry on the minutes of the privy council, which represents him as present in his place on 5 May 1436 (Ord. Privy Council, iv. 339). The Ely historian charges his executors Grey, bishop of Lincoln, Lord Cromwell, and Sir John Tiptoft with neglecting to have prayers said for his soul, and with embezzling his property (Anglia Sacra, i. 666). Grey, however, survived him only a few months.
Morgan had the name of a reforming bishop. So stern a critic as Gascoigne is loud in praise of his vigilance in defeating evasions of the rule against unlicensed pluralities and other clerical abuses (Loci e libra veritatum, p. 133, ed. Thorold Rogers).
[The short fifteenth-century life by a, monk of Ely, printed in Anglia Sacra, has been expanded from many different sources, which are indicated in the text. Rymer's Fœdera is quoted in the original edition.]