Morgan, William (d.1584) (DNB00)
MORGAN, Sir WILLIAM (d. 1584), soldier, was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Morgan of Pencoyd and Langstone, Glamorganshire, and Cecilia, daughter of Sir George Herbert of Swansea. He succeeded to Pencoyd and Langstone on the death of his father in June 1566; but, being of an adventurous disposition, he went to France in 1569, shortly after the battle of Jarnac, as a volunteer in the army of the Huguenots. He subsequently became acquainted at Paris with Count Louis of Nassau, in whose service he enlisted, and took part in the capture of Valenciennes on 24 May 1572, and of Mons on the day following. At Valenciennes he had, according to Thomas Churchyard (Churchyard's Choise), 'a goodly gentilmannes house given hym, stuffed with gooddes and furnished with Wines and victuall for a long yere,' but, being summoned to Mons by Count Louis, he did not long enjoy it. He was present at the defence of that city, and by the articles of capitulation 'was allowed to march away in the same order and liberty of mind that the Count de Lodwick and his Almains had obtained.' He accompanied the Prince of Orange into Holland, and was sent by him to Sir Humphrey Gilbert and the English volunteers 'with large offers to stay them for his service,' just as they were embarking for England after their discomfiture before Tergoes. He returned to England early in 1573, and took part as a volunteer adventurer in the enterprise of Walter Devereux, earl of Essex [q. v.], for colonising Clandeboye and the north-eastern corner of Ireland. Unlike the majority of gentlemen-adventurers, who 'having not forgotten the delicacies of England, and wanting resolute minds to endure the travail of a year or two in this waste country,' feigned excuses and returned to England, Morgan took his share of the privations and hard blows which it was their lot to encounter. 'I have great cause,' wrote Essex on 2 Nov., 'to commend unto your Majesty the service of ... Will. Morgan of Penycoid, now Marshal by the departure of Sir Peter Carew, surely a very worthy gentleman' (Devereux, Lives of the Earls of Essex, i. 46).
In the plot of the plantation Glenarm was assigned to him, but in May 1574 he was sent to England as the bearer of letters of submission on the part of Sir Brian Mac Phelim O'Neill [q. v.] In consequence of Essex's commendation he was knighted that year by Elizabeth, but his expenses in connection with the enterprise, which ultimately failed, were so great that he was compelled in 1577 to sell Langstone. The property was purchased by John Simmings, a London doctor, from whom it passed to Morgan's kinsman, William Morgan of Llantarnam, in Monmouthshire, whose great-grandson, Sir Edward Morgan, sold it about 1666 to Sir Thomas Gore of Barrow Court, Somerset, in whose family it continued till quite recently.
Morgan was vice-admiral of Glamorganshire, but exercised his office, apparently, through his deputy, William Morgan of Llantarnam, who in 1577 was summoned before the admiralty court for refusing his assistance to capture a pirate (State Papers, Dom. Eliz. ex. 2-4, cxii. 28). On 11 July 1578 Morgan was surprised by the watch, under very suspicious circumstances, in company with the French ambassador and Sir Warham St. Leger [q. v.], in Paris Gardens, a very hotbed, according to Recorder William Fleetwood [q. v.], of conspiracy (ib. cxxv. 20-4). He seems to have explained matters satisfactorily, for in November 1579 he succeeded Sir Drue Drury [q. v.] as governor of Dungarvan, and being appointed to conduct over certain forces for the service in Ireland, he landed at Waterford after a boisterous passage, apparently in December 1579. He was stationed by Sir William Pelham [q. v.] at Youghal, with twenty horse and two hundred foot, as lieutenant of the counties of Cork and Waterford, in which capacity he displayed great activity against the rebels in south Munster, particularly the seneschal of Imokilly. But his health broke down under the hard service and constant exposure of Irish warfare, and in June 1580 he obtained permission to return for a short time to England. Before his departure he was instrumental, at considerable personal danger, in securing the submission of the Earl of Clancar. Both Sir William Pelham and Sir Warham St. Leger wrote home in warm commendation of his conduct. His absence, wrote the latter, 'may verie ill be spared hence: his dealing in execution of justice being here so well liked of by those ye bee good, and feared of thill, as the sonr hee returneth the bettr it wilbe for this estate' (ib. Irel. Eliz. lxiii. 42). His absence was of short duration. He sailed from Bristol at the end of July 1580, with reinforcements, for Ireland; but, being driven back by stormy weather, it was the end of August before he reached his destination.
But his health became rapidly worse, and in February 1581 he earnestly requested Burghley to be allowed to return to England. His request was granted, but, owing to the situation of affairs in Munster, he was unable to take immediate advantage of it. 'I have,' he wrote to Walsingham from Dunvargan on 7 Dec. 1581, 'beyne very sickly, and had my leave to come over long since, but because you were not att home, and the Rebelles hath so solemnly vowed the burnynge of this towen, I could not fynd in my harth to depart' (ib. lxxxvii. 10), and it was actually May or June 1582 before he was able to carry out his intention in that respect.
He died shortly after his return in 1584. Morgan married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Andrew Judde, alderman of London; and, having no issue by her, he was succeeded to a very much encumbered estate by his brother Henry. Another brother, Robert Morgan, is said to have come to Ireland in the reign of Charles I, and to have been the founder of the family of Morgan of Cottelstown in co. Sligo.
[G. T. Clark's Limbus Patrum Morganiæ et Glamorganiæ, p. 321; Burke's Commoners, iv. 13; Thomas Churchyard's Choise; Roger Williams's Actions of the Low Countries; Morgan and Wakeman's Notices of Pencoyd Castle and Langstone (Caerleon Antiq. Assoc.); Wright's Queen Elizabeth and her Times, ii. 87; Cal. of State Papers, Eliz., Domestic and Ireland; George Hill's Macdonnells of Antrim, p. 417; Collins's Sidney Papers, i. 213; Cal. Carew MSS. ii. 171, 209, 218.]