MORGAN, John Philip (by 1524-57/59), of Skenfrith, Mon.
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Family and Education
Jt. feodary, duchy of Lancaster, Skenfrith 1547, bailiff in 1547, receiver, Monmouth 14 Aug. 1554-57/58; commr. chantries, Mon., Glam. 1548; escheator, Mon. 1554-5; j.p. Mon. 1555.3
John Philip Morgan was being initiated into public affairs from 1547 but it was with the accession of Mary that he came to the fore; in 1554 he secured the important post of receiver of the lordship of Monmouth after the dismissal of (Sir) Charles Herbert and in the following year he was put on the Monmouthshire bench. His Membership in the first three Parliaments of the reign was a corollary of this advancement.
Morgan’s rapid progress is not surprising in view of the high favour enjoyed by his elder brother Richard, newly appointed chief justice of common pleas and a Privy Councillor, whose enthusiasm for the Marian regime he clearly shared, having nothing to do with the opposition to its parliamentary programme. The two appear to have been on good terms: Morgan was to recount in his will how in the time of Edward VI he had let his brother intervene in his land transactions, and when Sir Richard Morgan made his first will in July 1552 he directed that a gold ring should be made for his sister-in-law in recognition of her kindness to him during an illness, a bequest which he repeated in a second will made after he had become chief justice. Yet in November 1555 the Privy Council would order John Philip Morgan, after he had defied one such order, to cease detaining his brother and sister-in-law in his house. Such a turn of events can have only one explanation, that Sir Richard Morgan was sick, and this in turn would account for his unexplained removal from the bench six weeks earlier: whether his brother yielded to the Council’s demand is not known, but within seven months Sir Richard was dead.4
In his will, made on 8 Aug. 1557, John Philip Morgan had much to say about his offer to redeem the property which his brother had paid for and of his sister-in-law’s refusal to comply: the matter was doubtless connected with the dispute over his brother’s custody, and he now instructed his heir Philip to pursue it with the widow and her heir. He asked to be buried at Skenfrith if he died within four miles of it, and he expressed his desire for the Catholic sacraments in terms identical to those used by his brother. To his wife he left his dwelling house, various lands and livestock, to his heir Philip the lease of Llanllewith, to his sons John and Charles various leases, the fines and forfeits arising in the duchy of Lancaster lands, and property in Monmouth; and to his youngest son Walter £6 a year ‘towards his sending to school’. In accordance with his wish he was buried in Skenfrith church. The will was proved on 11 Nov. 1559.5