MORGAN, Anthony (d. 1729), of Freshwater, I.o.W.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1695 - 1710
1715 - 12 Apr. 1717
12 Apr. 1717 - 1727
1727 - 19 Apr. 1729

Family and Education

m. by 1691, Catherine, da. and h. of Thomas Urry of Freshwater, 6s. 1da.1

Offices Held

Brig. and lt. 1 Life Gds. by 1691, exempt and capt. 1692, guidon and maj. 1694, cornet and eldest maj. 1697; lt.-gov. I.o.W. 1702–10, 1715–d.; gov. Cowes Castle 1715–d.2

Freeman, Lymington 1699, Winchester by 1701; commr. inquiry into the purchase of lands for fortifications at Portsmouth, Chatham and Harwich, 1710.3


An army officer, Morgan acquired by marriage a moiety of two manors in Fordingbridge, Hampshire, and the manor of Freshwater in the Isle of Wight. He settled at the latter and immediately began building up an electoral influence in the neighbouring boroughs of Newtown and Yarmouth. He was among the leading opponents of Lord Cutts (John*), the governor appointed in 1693, who tried to bring the Island’s three boroughs under government control by eliminating the influence of the local gentry. Shortly after his appointment Cutts noted that Morgan, in alliance with the Marquess of Winchester (Charles Powlett I*), was encouraging the voters at Newtown to seek a change in their corporation in order to enlarge the franchise. In relation to Yarmouth he wrote:

This corporation would be entirely at the governor’s disposition, if Major Morgan did not oppose it; a thing as unheard of in any former reign as it is indecent and contradictory to reason for an officer in the King’s pay to put his own private affairs or inclinations in the balance with his master’s service, at least to do it publicly, or for an inferior officer to oppose his superior in matters where the King’s interest is in question.

However, in 1695 Morgan successfully contested Yarmouth against Cutts’s brother-in-law, John Acton. On 1 Jan. 1696 he was granted leave of absence for 14 days. He was noted that month as likely to support the Court in the forecast on the proposed council of trade. He signed the Association promptly, and voted in March for fixing the price of guineas at 22s. On 25 Nov., in the next session, he voted for the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. His other activities in this Parliament are impossible to distinguish from those of James and Thomas Morgan, although he can be identified in the Journals when referred to as ‘Major Morgan’, there being two occasions, 22 Jan. 1697 and 12 Jan. 1698, when he was granted leave of absence.4

Morgan was returned for Yarmouth again in 1698. In September that year his name appeared in separate lists as a placeman and as a Court supporter, and he voted in favour of a standing army on 18 Jan. 1699. He presented a private naturalization bill on 11 Mar. In an analysis of the House according to ‘interests’ in 1700, he was queried as an adherent of the Junto. Returned unopposed for Yarmouth at the first 1701 election, he was granted leave of absence on 4 Mar. for 21 days for recovery of his health, but any subsequent activity in the House is obscured owing to the election of two other Morgans, John I and John II, to this Parliament. Returned unopposed for Yarmouth at the second 1701 election, he was classed as a Whig by Robert Harley* in December, and is identifiable as the Morgan who on 8 Apr. 1702 acted as a teller for a private bill relating to the Irish forfeitures.5

Just before William III’s death, Morgan was appointed lieutenant-governor of the Isle of Wight, much to the annoyance of Lord Cutts, who in spite of an electoral accord signed in 1697, still bore him a grudge for his past opposition. With the accession of Queen Anne, Cutts tried unsuccessfully to have the appointment annulled, writing to Harley of ‘the great injustice and hardship upon me, to have such a man forced upon me, after the good services I had done, and the bad ones he had been guilty of’. In 1702 Morgan was returned unopposed for Yarmouth once more. On 1 Dec. he presented a private estate bill, while on 15 Jan. 1703 he was granted leave of absence for 21 days. However, he was back in the House on 13 Feb. when he was noted as voting for agreeing with the Lords’ amendments to the bill for enlarging the time for taking the oath of abjuration. At the beginning of the 1704–5 session he was forecast as a probable opponent of the Tack, and did not vote for it on 28 Nov. 1704.6

Morgan was re-elected for Yarmouth in 1705 and was listed that year as a placeman and ‘Churchman’. He voted on 25 Oct. for the Court candidate as Speaker. Since John Morgan II was granted a month’s leave of absence on 5 Feb., it is likely that Anthony was the ‘Mr Morgan’ who was teller on the 6th for a motion that cases relating to privilege be heard by the appropriate committee on specific days. Morgan’s presence in Parliament during the month of February was confirmed when he was noted as a supporter of the Court over the ‘place clause’ of the regency bill on the 18th. He was noted as a Whig in two analyses of Parliament before and after the election of 1708, at which he was re-elected. In the 1709–10 session, under the title of ‘Colonel’, he was granted a month’s leave of absence on 17 Dec. 1709. In February 1710 it was most probably Morgan who drafted and presented a bill to explain that part of the Act for prohibiting the export of corn, malt, meal and flour, which allowed those goods to be taken from the Isle of Wight to certain markets. During this session he voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. With the change of administration in 1710 he lost his lieutenant-governorship and did not stand in the election of that year. It was not until after the Hanoverian succession that he regained both his office and his seat, continuing to vote with the Whigs. He died on 19 Apr. 1729.7

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Ivar McGrath


  • 1. PCC 23 Lort; VCH Hants, v. 241.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1700–2, p. 517; Boyer, Anne Annals, ix. 240; Scots Courant, 11–13 Sept. 1710, 13–15 Aug. 1714.
  • 3. E. King, Old Times Re-Visited, Lymington, 192; Hants RO, Winchester corp. recs. ordinance bk. 7, f. 166; Cal. Treas. Bks. xxiv. 542.
  • 4. VCH Hants, iv. 571, 573; v. 241; HMC Astley, 77; Mass. Hist. Soc. Procs. ser. 2, ii. 184.
  • 5. R. Worsley, Hist. Isle of Wight, p. cxvii.
  • 6. HMC Portland, iv. 51.
  • 7. Scots Courant, 11–13 Sept. 1710, 13–15 Aug. 1714.