We are celebrating the 260th anniversary of the death
of the legendary runner Guto Nyth Bran. Griffith Morgan,
or Guto Morgan as he was known, took the name which resounded
through Welsh history from the farm at which he lived, Nythbran
Farm near Porth in the Rhondda Valley.
He was born in 1700 and there are many stories of his
prowess. How he could catch a bird in flight, and how on one occasion,
he ran to Pontypridd and back, some seven miles before the kettle
Throughout his life he contested many races and took
on many challengers, but owing to his continued successes, his
challengers became fewer and fewer. When he was 37, a challenge
came from the Prince of Bedwas to run the 12 miles from
Newport in Monmouthshire to Bedwas Church near Caerphilly.
Guto easily won the race, but the celebratory slaps
on the back proved too much for him and he died in the arms of
his sweetheart Sian O'Siop. His body was taken to its final resting
place in the graveyard of Llanwonno church near Mountain Ash.
Each year a famous sports personality, whose identity
is kept secret until the night (New Year's Eve), lays a wreath
on Guto's grave. They then run to Mountain Ash carrying a flaming
torch, supported by local athletes in the town, the torch being
used to light the Nos Galen Beacon, signalling the start of the
Nos Galan celebrates the memory of this legendary Welshman.
(Thanks to Tim Morgan for this great story. Clainn
Morgainn Journal. v2. no.4)
The name MORGAN is so old that it probably originated
from Celtic Mythology in which the mother goddesses were MORRIGAN,
MACHA and BODB. They were also sisters and took
on the form of crows sitting on the shoulder of Cu Chulainn. The
surname "Crowe" could therefore have a possible link.
Morrigan was the great Celtic Queen, a goddess
of fertility, introducer of fear and irrationality. But nevertheless
worshipped by the Keltoi before Christianity.
There may be a link with the Celtic tribe of CORNOVII,
who settled in Mid-Wales and in the far north of Scotland.
The name MERRIGAN still persists in Ireland.
Many Morgans in Ireland will have achieved their names from an
Anglicisation of O'MUIREAGAIN.
PELAGIUS was probably born c.370AD in Britain,
his birth being asserted by Prosper; Gennadius; Marius Mercator;
Orosius and St. Augustine. Tradition has it that he changed his
name to MORGAN (Seaborne). Jerome more precisely called
him a Scot, ie, an Irishman.
The name MORGUND (Morgand) appears among the
Dal Riadans who moved from Northern Ireland to Scotland in the
6th century. There are references in the "Book of Deer"
the earliest example of Gaelic in a Scottish manuscript, now held
in Cambridge University Library.
CLANN MORGAINN is thus one of the oldest of
Scottish Clans although there is no connection to the Clan Morgan
to which the MacKays of Sutherland subscribe which came later.
Clann Morgainn came first and has an official tartan.
MORGAN MWYNFAWR, one of the Princes of Glamorgan,
died in 665AD, the Welsh group founding MORGANNWG, now
known as the County of Glamorgan. There have been Morgan links
with all major Welsh families, the Normans being responsible for
the destruction of HEN CASTELL at Briton Ferry, the ancient home
of JESTYN ap GWRGANT a grandson of IDWALLON ap MORGAN
King Henry II, grandson of William the Conqueror, called
one of his sons MORGAN. Throughout British history, Morgans
have played an important part.
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There are many Coats of Arms registered
for families by the College of Arms in London, including Arms
registered in 1963 for General Sir William Duthie Morgan of Aberdeen.
Are you entitled to have one?
The College of
Arms - Main Page A place to start looking for your Morgan
Coat of Arms
Coat of Arms - At least
as one source sees it!
According to the book Clans and Tartans of Scotland written by
Iain Zaczek,The Morgan Clan evolved into the MacKay Clan.. It
was also known as the Clan Aoidh because Morgan, son of Magnus
(14th century) had a grandson called Aoidh (Hugh). The first recorded
chief was Angus Dubh, who married the sister of the Lord of the
Isles in c. 1415 and was killed in the battle of Drumnacoub (1429).
his decendant, Sir Donald MacKay was made Lord Reay in 1628. The
Morgan Clan according to Scots Kith and Kin was in Aberdeenshire
in the 13th Century.,and latterly a sept of the Clan MacKay.
The Morgan Coat Of Arms is officially documated in Burks General
Armory. The original description is as follows: A GRIFFIN SEGREANT
SA. When translated the Blazon also describes the original colors
as "GOLD; A BLACK GRIFFIN ,ATTACKING." Above the Shield
and Helmet is the Crest which is described as: "A GOLD
REINDEER'S HEAD' SEVERED'' WITH RED ANTLERS. Thanks to: K
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If you know of famous connections please
advise the Society Secretary or internet contact.
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Thank you for your interest in The Morgan Society
created by Cheryl L. Morgan, last modified: 27 November 2001