MORGAN, Francis (by 1511-58), of Kingsthorpe and Northampton, Northants. and the Middle Temple, London.
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Family and Education
b. by 1511, yr. s. of Thomas Morgan of Kingsthorpe. educ. New Inn by 1527; M. Temple. m. by 1532, Anne, da. and coh. of Christopher Pemberton, 2s. 1da.1
Lent reader, M. Temple 1553, treasurer 1553-5.
J.p. Northants. 1539-d., Beds. 1542; commr. relief, Beds., Northants. and Northampton 1550, goods of churches and fraternities, Northants. and Northampton 1553; other commissions 1539-d.; general steward of crown lands, Northants. by 1553; recorder, Northampton July 1554; serjeant-at-law 1555; j. KB Jan. 1558-d.2
A younger son in a modest Northamptonshire family, Francis Morgan followed the law and rose to the judicial bench. Inauspiciously, he was imprisoned in the Compter in 1527, but when some ten years later he sued a Northamptonshire widow in the court of requests for payment of his fees, he could scarcely have posed as one of the poor litigants for whom that court was designed to cater, being already engaged in amassing a considerable estate in and about Northampton, with outliers in Bedfordshire, Warwickshire and Wiltshire. Before 1542 he had leased from the crown Northampton abbey (which he appears to have served as counsel before the Dissolution) and made it his main residence. His purchases were to involve him in further litigation.3
Morgan’s career in the borough and shire began with his appointment as a justice of the peace and culminated in his two elections to Parliament and his recordership. Nothing is known of his role in the House save that in the first Parliament of the reign he was not one of those who ‘stood for the true religion’ in opposition to the first stage of the Catholic restoration, but his services there may have influenced his legal promotion. He died on 29 Aug. 1558, seven months after being made a judge. In his will of 7 Mar. 1557 he had made provision for his family, and in the following August he and (Sir) Edward Saunders, whose daughter was to marry Morgan’s heir Thomas, paid £3,770 for lands in Northamptonshire and Warwickshire. Morgan was buried on 6 Sept. 1558 at Heyford where a marble monument was erected to his memory.4
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: S. M. Thorpe
- 1. Date of birth estimated from marriage. Baker, Northants. 40, 184; PCC 47 Welles correcting Baker’s suggestion that he was the brother and not the son of Thomas Morgan; LP Hen. VIII, add.; Bridges, Northants. i. 521 where, however, he is confused with
- 2. LP Hen. VIII, xiv, xvi, xvii, xx; CPR, 1547-8, p. 87; 1553, pp. 351, 356, 362, 415-16; 1553-4, pp. 22, 29; 1554-5, p. 59; 1557-8, p. 1; E315/351, ff. 7, 30, 32, 35, 37; Northampton ass. bk. 14 correcting the statement in Recs. Northampton, ed. Cox and Markham, ii. 104 that he was sworn recorder in 1553.
- 3. LP Hen. VIII, xiv, xvi, xx, add.; Req.2/25/189, 66/9; C1/1238/53, 1304/48-49; St.Ch.3/2/17, 7/20.
- 4. C142/120/13, 124/141; PCC 47 Welles; CPR, 1557-8, pp. 267-8; Machyn’s Diary (Cam. Soc. xlii), 106; Bridges, i. 522.