Thomas Morgan (of Llantarnam)

Thomas Morgan (of Llantarnam)

Thomas Morgan of Llantarnam (or Bassaleg, a branch of the Morgan of Tredegar) (1546-1606), of the Welsh Morgan of Monmouthshire, was a confidant and spy for Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, and was involved in the Babington plot to kill Elizabeth I, Queen of England.

In his youth, Thomas, a staunch Catholic, worked as Secretary of the Archbishop of York until 1568, and then for Lord Shrewsbury who had Mary under his care at this time.

Later on, sent to the Scottish embassy in Paris, Thomas Morgan had a secret correspondence with Mary Stuart who was imprisoned in England, and was plotting the assassination of Queen Elizabeth. Along with Charles Paget, Thomas Morgan had met in Paris and recruited Anthony Babington, a young English nobleman ready to give his life for Mary. However, there was a traitor spying for Elizabeth in the embassy, Gilbert Gifford, who was copying all the letters exchanged between Thomas and Mary and passing them to Francis Walsingham, the chief of Elizabeth's intelligence service. Elizabeth's top codebreaker, Thomas Phelippes, was able to decypher the code used by Thomas Morgan.

The plot was discovered, Babington was arrested, tortured and killed, and Thomas Morgan, escaping extradition and a dreadful fate, was thrown into the Bastille and then into another prison in the Flanders before finally being set free in 1593. He is presumed to have then stayed in the north of France, in the region of Amiens, and to have died there in 1606.

Jacques de Morgan (1857-1924), the discoverer of the Hammurabi Code, is presumably [p.531, in Jaunay Andrée (editor), "Mémoires de Jacques de Morgan", l'Harmattan, 1997, ISBN 2-7384-5798-3] a distant descendant of Thomas Morgan.


* [ Data-Wales, website on Welsh history and culture]
*William Camden, "Annales", [ Year 1586]
*Simon Singh, "The Code Book", Doubleday, New York, 1999

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