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A Gower Gentleman: the Diary of Charles Morgan of Cae Forgan, Llanrhidian, 1834-1857

Charles Morgan (1796-1857), a younger son of a wealthy Anglo-Welsh family, trained as a barrister at Lincoln's Inn. In 1833 he was forced by his brothers to go to live in Llanrhidian, Gower, to start a new life as a farmer at Cae Forgan farm and collector of the tithes of that parish, which the Morgan brothers had inherited. He married Caroline James, daughter of the rector of the neighbouring parish of Penmaen. From 1834 until his death in 1857 he kept a series of diaries: partly to help him record his progress as a farmer, partly to keep accounts, but also, since he was a cultured gentleman, as an outlet for his literary and artistic tastes. He describes not only daily life in Gower, but his travels to many places such as Carmarthenshire, Bristol, and London, while in the last years of his life he shared his time between Llanrhidian and Sherborne. Charles is thus a valuable witness of the great change from the age of the horse to that of the railway.

The diaries give a lively picture of the quarrels over the tithe, of the morals and social behaviour of the people, of building schools, rebuilding churches, of running business ventures such as brickworks, while also giving us more leisured accounts of parties, feasts, picnics, or cricket matches, which one would expect from a country gentleman. What makes the diaries unusual is that they cast light on the little-known 'working gentry', who could talk to grandees one day and reap and mow with labourers the next.

Prys Morgan, Emeritus Professor of History, Swansea University, has written on many aspects of Welsh history. He has been for many years the chair of the Glamorgan History Society and the President of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, as well as being a founding fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. Rod Cooper studied theology at London University and trained as a teacher at Trinity College, Carmarthen. Settling in north Gower in 1972 he became involved in local history research, writing books on the history of Penclawdd, Llanrhidian and the surrounding area.

South Wales Record Society publication no. 33
Abridged and edited by Rod Cooper and Prys Morgan
Published 2021
ISBN 978-1-9998326-5-0 (paperback)

Price: £23.00

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