Morris brothers’ farm, City Dulas
As it skirts around the mouth of Afon Goch (the “red river”) and Traeth Dulas, the Wales Coast Path passes Pentre Eirianell farm. In the early 18th century, the remarkable Morris brothers were raised on the farm. They made major contributions to Welsh culture, in London as well as Wales, and their hundreds of letters to each other form a valuable historical record.
The first of the brothers, Lewis Morris, was born in 1701, six years before his father, Morris ap Rhisiart, moved to Pentre Eirianell from another Anglesey farm. Morris was a cooper as well as a farmer, and died in 1763.
Lewis Morris held many official posts. He produced plans of Welsh ports for the Admiralty, and became deputy steward of Crown lands in Cardiganshire in a period when many landowners were contesting the Crown’s right to rich mineral deposits in the area. Despite the challenges of that job, he found energy to promote the work of great poets and writers as well as writing his own poetry. He thought there were too few books available in Welsh, and established a printing press on Anglesey to correct this. He was also a botanist and herbalist. He died in 1765 and was buried at Llanbadarn-fawr, near Aberystwyth.
Richard Morris (1703-1779) moved to London as a young man and worked as a clerk. In 1751 he founded the Cymmrodorion Society, with Lewis’ help. They envisaged this as an equivalent to the Royal Society for Welsh people living in London. The society was popular with the London Welsh but more for socialising than the scholarly activities Richard and Lewis had in mind!
William Morris (1705-1763) lived his whole life on Anglesey. In 1737 he was appointed collector of customs at the busy port of Holyhead, where he lived until his death. He was a musician, choirmaster of St Cybi’s Church and composer of hymns. He was also a botanical expert and was consulted on medical, legal and business affairs.
A fourth brother, John, was a naval officer. While employed by the British East India Company, he was involved in transporting slaves from Madagascar to India. Some ships’ officers bought slaves and sold them after the voyage, for personal profit. In a letter to one of his brothers, John explained that he had a slave to sell. John was killed in Dominica, aged 34, while serving as First Officer of HMS Torbay in 1740.
A memorial to the Morris brothers – a Celtic cross erected in 1910 – stands in a field alongside the A5025 road, 300 metres south of the farmstead.
Postcode: LL70 9EX View Location Map