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History of the Morgans

Guto Morgan

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 had boiled.

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 senior races.

Nos Galan celebrates the memory of this legendary Welshman.

(Thanks to Tim Morgan for this great story. Clainn Morgainn Journal. v2. no.4)

Morgan Origins


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 HEN.

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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Morgan Coat of Arms


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!
Heraldry page

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

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created by Cheryl L. Morgan, last modified: 27 November 2001