British Executions

Morgan Phillips

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 5 Apr 1779

Crime Location:

Execution Place: Pembrokeshire

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown


Morgan Phillips of Saint Issells parish Pembroke on 21 December 1778 in the parish of Lampeter Velfrey with a sword cut and beat to death Dinah Thomas. Lewis Smith and George Prout were indicted as aiding and abetting him but were not found guilty (if tried) (WALES 4/821/1)

Under the same reference is the report of the coroner's inquest on Dinah Thomas - it records four deaths at Welch Furze i.e. Dinah Thomas and Mary David both cut and beaten to death and John Thomas and Isaac Harry (labourer) both about 70 years of age whose bodies were so badly burnt that no wounds could be discovered.  The burial of these four is recorded in the Burial Register for the parish of Narberth on 22 December - "John Thomas & Dinah his niece, with Mary Child the Maid, and an old labouring man, all murdered at Welch Furze in the parish of Lampeter Velfrey Sunday Night before being the 20th of December, and the house burnt." (Pembroke Record Office) A second inquest was held in the same place and same day (WALES 4/821/1) on a John Morris who was "under arrest by a constable and who flew off out of custody and threw himself into a coal pit 40 yards deep with 8 foot of water in it and before they could contrive a method to attempt to save his life there elapsed One and a half hours by which time he'd drowned."  This is borne out by the account in the Newgate Calender (Knapp and Baldwin).  Among the Quarter Session Papers  preserved at the Pembrokeshire Record Office (PQ/7/2/33) is the following bill:

    "May 25 (1779) Mr James to Robert Phillip     s. d.

           For putting supporters to the Gibbet         12. 0

              Spikes, SmythWork &c                           2  6

                                                                            14  6

           Mr George's cart carrying timber & tools

                   &c to prop the gibbet                         6  6

                                                                         1  1  0


This could be the bill for erecting a gibbet on which the dead body of Morgan Phillips was hanged in chains on Narberth Mountain on 7 April having been hanged two days earlier at Haverfordwest at the usual place (wherever that was).  However as gibbets were usually one-off erections it seems a bit on the cheap side and may refer to work done to the gallows.

Shrewesbury Chronicle Saturday 10 April "Last Monday was hanged at Haverfordwest Morgan Phillips for a murder, a circumstantial account of which appears in our issue of January 2."