Peter Morffew

Introduction…………………………………………………….3 About the search……………………………………………....4 About the name………………………………………………..5 History of the times……………………………………………8 Anglo Saxon England…………………………………………10 The Normans ………………………………………………….15 Southern Italy…………………………………………………..15 Spain and the Re Conquista…………………………………18 England and the Norman invasion of 1066…………………19 The First Crusade……………………………………………...24 The Crusades…………………………………………………..26 Pre Crusades…………………………………………………...26 The First Crusade 1095……………………………………….26 The Second Crusade…………………………………………..28 The Third Crusade……………………………………………..29 Fourth Crusade…………………………………………………29 Fifth Crusade……………………………………………………29 Re Conquista…………………………………………………...30 The Kingdom of Naples……………………………………….31 The Kingdom of Cyprus……………………………………….32 The Morphou title………………………………………………32 About the Kingdom off Cyprus……………………...………..35 Final thoughts, so far………………………………………….39 UK census lists…………………………………………………43 Bibliography………………………………………………….....49 Internet resources……………………………………………...51

All comments are welcome and can be sent to

Peter Morffew July 2010 Edited May 2011 Cover design by Peter Morffew This document has been down loaded from the website about the origin of the Morffew name.


I have been asked numerous times over the years about the origin of my name, a question I have always found difficult to answer precisely. Dictionaries of surnames are not very informative, they refer to an abusive term for Saracens, a description for a skin blemish the Normans and Crusaders. Some do not even list any form of the Morffew name. It has also been suggested that the Morffew name is of Huguenot origin. When I was in the army I was asked if my name was anything to do with Morphou Gate in Cyprus. Prior to the Norman invasion there was the Forest of Morfe in Mercia, Worcestershire. The forest does not exist any more but there is the Morfe House Farm, Morfe hall Farm and Little Morfe. All along Morfe Lane. In the past, (before the internet) I tried to find Morffew in telephone directories in Britain and abroad to see how common the name was.. The internet has made it easier to find other Morffews but it is hard finding the origin of the Morffew name. The Morffew name is also spelt in other ways including Morfew, Morfewe, Morfue, Morphew, Morphou, Morfou, Morfu, Morfi and Morphu, Morfett, Morffe, Morff and Morfey to name a few.

I would like to thank Peter Edbury of Cardif University for his help and Zoe Heukels-Morffew and Nils Visser for the work they have done so far on the Morffew history in their “Preliminaiary Findings Morffew Family History”. Alex Metcalfe of Leeds University for his comment on the possiblecnnection with the Italian Norman’s.


About the search
My personal search for the origin of the Morffew name was inspired when I read that a community had been at Morphou in Cyprus since 6000BC. The Spartans settled there to extract the copper from the Morphou region which is still done today. I further found that Greek communities sprung up around the Mediterranean coast and on the islands. I wondered if the Morffew name had come about because of the copper exported from Cyprus. I could not find any thing that related to this theory but I was inspired to carry on the search. Whilst trying to find the genealogy of my family I came across a Jean de Morphou. This find inspired me to change my search in the direction to the Kingdom of Cyprus . I have tried to be as comprehensive as possible searching for the origin of the Morffew name, even looking at unlikely origins as well as the more obvious ones My search has covered the Norman’s in England and Europe, the Crusades, the Hundred Years War as well as looking at the Kingdom of Cyprus where Jean de Morphou lived in the 14th century and also the Kingdom of Naples. I have used the internet to access online documents, e books and archival data such as the census of England and Wales. I have included all of the different forms of spelling the name Morffew, such as Morfew, Morphew, Morfphue, Morfu, Morfue, etc. I have looked at historical events such as the Black Death, Rebellions against the Normans and the mercenaries that sold their services across Europe after the Hundred Years War. At present I am trying to find the earliest point where the spelling of the Morffew name in England in its recognised form. The search goes on in the hope of finding that moment where the name came in to common use in England and hopefully Italy, Spain, Portugal and France. I have not included the names Murphy or Morphy in this search. They are associated with Ireland and I don’t feel they come into the remit of this search. But at a later date I might include if any link can be found.


About the name
In the 1960s I came across a dictionary of surnames in a library. Morffew was described as an old Barbaric name with no defined history. This description seems to have been dropped and the present, the quote below is a general description for the Morffew name today. “Recorded in many forms although all are quite rare, and including Maffie, Maffey, Maffy, Morfey, Morphey, Morffew, Morphew. It is believed to originate from the pre 7th century word 'malfe' meaning ill-omened, and used as a term of abuse applied to the devil or an enemy of some sort. It is said to have been given by the famous Crusader knights of the 12th century to the Saracens or Muslims in the Holy Land. However the surname already existed at that time, original name holders having accompanied William, Duke of Normandy in his Conquest of England in 1066” Other references in the Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial words dated 1559 ”Morphew… A Leprous eruption on the face A morpheu or statnying of the skynne” 1450 Agnus Castus 125/111 “with pat anoynteth cloth rubbe be Morfu and be place per be zowthis…and be morfu andbe skurfe schall falle awaey. Records in England are post the Norman invasion and most are post the First Crusade such as “Wido Malfeth” in 1130. The Modern day Morffew seems to have transformed from earlier spellings prior to the 1700s Morffew is peculiar to England and of those who migrated from England to the USA, Canada and Australia. The 1911 census shows the PH version more prominent out of the various forms of spelling the name ( 450 ) but in total the 1911 census shows less than 500 people with any one of the ways to spell the name making it a are name. In the 1911 census there are no returns for the Morfew spelling. The census of 1841 shows Morffew, Morphew and Morfews mainly in London and Kent with a few in Falmouth and Richmond, Yorkshire. The 1911 census shows that some Morphews had migrated to the Midlands and North of England but the Morffews has stayed in the London area The spelling of the name might have changed because Britain was involved in several wars in the 1700s.*1 the individual was on military service in Europe. In the 1700s Latin was still used by the Armies of Europe so that Officers of different nationalities could communicate. Most rank soldiers were illiterate and could not spell their own name.


Further name changes might have happened during the Napoleonic Wars when large numbers of British troops served in Spain and France. Today in Europe the name Morfu is found in Spain, Italy, Portugal and France. This would indicate that the F rather than the PH is the original way to spell the name. That is if there is any connection with the French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and English similar sounding names. Also there is the Greek name Morfi which is also the name of a small village in Southern Greece also found in the US. All of these names sound similar to the town of Morphou in Cyprus which is now under Turkish rule and has been renamed Guzelyurt. There is a discrepancy whether Morphou should be spelt with a PH or a F. After the 1600s a lot of Europeans migrated to the New World and today Morffews and those with similar sounding names can be found in America’s and Australia. The migration of the 20th century would have seen the name spread further. There was encouraged migration to Australia and Canada from England and Spain to Argentina and Paraguay. Looking for references for those with the Morffew name individuals turn up such as The Frenchman , Charles Morfu in 1618 travelled with the Italian satirist and Canon who had written some poems about the Pope and his family. Charles Morfu revealed the indentity of the Canon to would be robbers who kidnapped him and he was taken to the Papal Palace at Avignon. Today Morffew has been misspelt in numerous ways and there is no reason why this should not have been different in previous centuries when the population was not so literate. We can see this possibly happening in England where just within less than 100 miles there are the three types of spelling Morffew, Morphew and Morfew. Some surname dictionaries refer to the Morphue or Morpheas. This is a rare skin condition commonly known to day as Localised Scleroderma. Morphorea or Morphea is a red or purple blemish or patch that affects 1 in 1,000 people. There are treaties on how to detect the difference between Bubonic Plague, Leprocy and Morphorea. For those with Morphorea instead of Leprosy or Bubonic Plague might have been referred to as Morfues.


Morphue was used as a insulting term for Saracens and Muslims which indicates a connection with the Crusades. The abusive term might have been used for Mercenaries serving in foreign armies and in the Levant such as the English Free Company based in Pisa In 1318 Philip V of France considered the Flemish who were French enemies to be as bad as the Saracens so the Christians could be held in contempt similarly as the Saracens.

*The Wars of Spanish Succession in 1700 The War of Austrian Succession 1740, The 1st and 2nd Silesian War 740-45, The Seven Years War 1756 – 63 the first world war, The American War of Independence and the French Revolutionary Wars in 1795


History events and effects
The historical events that affected generations of Morffews, and others was considerable. Prior to 1066 the tribes in Britain were under constant pressure from invaders such as the Saxons, Angles and Vikings ( Danes ). When the Normans invaded England in 1066 a large numbers of the population in the South East were massacred, some of Williams barons rebelled and had their land forfeited and their army executed. In the Middle Ages the Black Death killed some 40% of the European population, there was the 100 years war between France and England and in England there was the Wars of the Roses. The Crusades was the largest migration in the Middle Ages involving in the region of a 1,000,000 people taking their vows with many settling in the Holy Land ( Levant ) and later in Cyprus. Iindividuals and families died on route to the Holy Land or from the Black Death and buried in mass graves without any record. The mortality for knights, soldiers and the population in the Levant was higher than in Europe. Crusades were not just confined to the Holy Land. Crusaders went to Spain and Portugal to fight the Moors which involved many from across Europe . There was the Crusades in Northern Europe North Africa and in Southern France where hundreds of Christians Massacred each other. There were wars in Italy again Christians fighting Christians that attracted mercenaries from all over Europe and the Mongols invaded from the East as far as Vienna and Poland massacring whole cities and laying regions to waste. Various military orders such as the Knights Templars, Knights Hospitalers were formed serving in and Europe or the Holy Land. There were famines across Europe in 1272, 1277, 1283, 1292 and 1311. Also there was a European wide failed crop and large numbers died as a result. Later in 1665 there was the great plague which again killed large numbers, especially in London. There were opportunities for individuals to travel in the Middle Ages with such a melting pot of accents and languages names could be mispronounced and mispelt hence the possible different ways to spell Morffew, Morfou, Morfewe, etc.


Events leading up to 1700 across Europe affected the population considerably such as The English Civil War, Italian Wars, The French Religious War where Huguenots fled France to safer protestant countries. The expulsion of the Moors from Spain, Thirty Years War and other major historical events. The 1500’s was the age of exploration where navigators trying to find a more direct route to India discovered America, Australia and New Zealand with settlers sailed for the New World. Europeans also settled in Asia trading in countries such as India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Individuals, families and groups were persecuted and executed by Monarchs, the church and society. With all of this activity impacting on the European population no wonder it is hard to trace individual family names and where they might have originated from .


Anglo Saxon England
Looking at England prior to the Norman invasion there was the Kingdom of Hwicce which covered the area of Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloustershire. The Kingdom of Hwicce came under the rule of Aethelbald, king of the Mercians and the South Angli. Aethelbald ruled over a large area that stretched from Staffordshire down to Oxfordshire and parts of Kent and possibly Essex. Aethelbald is also refered to as the King of London. In the Kingdom of Hwicce was the Morfe Forest, also referred to the Great Morfe Forest. There is reference to this forest in a charter from Aethelbald to Cyneberht for 10 hides at Ismere by the river Stour and Land at Brochyl in Morfe Forest for the construction of a minster. This minster has been thought of as the beginnings of Kidderminster. Even though Morfe Forest does not exist today there is Morfe Lane and off this lane is Morfe House Farm and Little Morfe. Leading from Morfe Lane is Morfe Hall Lane which leads to Morfe Hall Farm. These are on ordinance survey maps and can be seen on Google Earth. Also close by is a Essex Wood In the area of Morfe Lane and what was Morfe Forest are burial mounds that show a considerable settlement of people. These people who lived in Morfe Forest might have been referred to as Morfes or those who are from Morfe. Aethelbald actively protected his realm and fought in Wessex as well. Being a king of such a large area the people of Morfe might have travelled with him and also fought with him. Aethelbald travelled around his realm to collect taxes and to over see justice. This would explain the demographic distribution of Morffews from Shropshire down to Kent. The Wolverhampton archives and local studies 1851 census street index shows that there was a place called Morfe, Morfe Farm, Morfe Hall, Morfe Heath House and Morfe lane. Even though Morfe Forest had been cleared by 1851 the name Morfe showed how prominent this area must have been. The Google image shows just a few buildings today and this might have been the result of the industrial revolution when people left the country side to work in the towns and cities.


Morfa in modern Welsh means marsh. This is spelt Morfeydd and would suggest the name dates back to the Britons and Celts prior to any Anglo Saxon invasion. The Briton Celts in this area were displaced by the Anglo Saxons who originally fled to Wales and Cornwall. Later some of these Briton Celts migrated to North West France ( Breton) and North West Spain ( Gallaecia ) . Anglo Saxon used the phrase Feoh which means fee and described a person who owned cattle or a cow which might also have been used as a name for somebody.

Drawn map of Morfe Forest and the surrounding villages dates circ 1500
Note the French way of writing Morfe Forest


Ordinance Survey map of Morfe lane and farms


Map of the Great Forests and Chases in Shropshire


The map below shows the area covered by Morfe Forest

Aerial View of Morfe Lane, Little Morfe and Morfe Hall Farm


The Normans
The Norman influence stretched from Ireland to the Eastern Mediterranean in the Levant (Holy Land) and Armenia. Normans invaded and became part of the indigenous population where ever they went. To understand how the Norman influence extended so far we need to look at each region and how they changed the face of Europe and the Holy Land. Landless knights travelled to where there was opportunity of gaining land and establishing an independent state or duchy.

Southern Italy
In 999 Normans returning from the Holyland assisted the Lombards in Southern Italy to fight off marauding Muslims and Moors. The Normans fought so well they were asked to stay but they declined and returned to Normandy. In 1017 Landless Normans travelled to Southern Italy and fought as mercenaries for Lombard and Byzantine factions. As the Normans became more successful they took and held land creating small independent states. The Normans in Southern Italy established two bases. One at Melfi in 1053 and the other at Aversa in 1049. In 1053 the Pope Leo IX disapproved of the Norman aggression and formed a army which the Normans under Humphrey defeated and the pope was captured and imprisoned. When Humphrey died in 1057 and his successor Robert Guisgard became the Popes vassal in return for being recognised as a duke and formed the Duchy of Apulia with Melfi as its base


The Normans at Aversa under Richard Drengot aggressively attacked the Lombards and took land forming the state of Calabria with Capua as a headquarters. The two states were joined after further conquests were made in the region and divided into 12 counties making Apulia and Calabria one of the largest regions in Italy. In 1061 the Normans attacked Sicily but failed to take the island. The Normans returned in 1064 again were not successful. Returning in 1071 the Normans had captured Sicily by 1091 making it a Kingdom and the centre of Norman power. In1073 the Normans were invited to take control of Amalfi by the Amalfians who soon became restless and the Normans had continuous troubles with rebellions. Amalfi was one of the most important trading states in Italy and had warehouses full of food.

In 1091 the Normans attacked Malta adding it to the large Norman circle in the Mediterranean After a long campaign lasting from 1077 the Normans took Naples in 1139. Italian Normans crossed over to Greece which was part of the Byzantine Empire and set up their own territory along the Albanian and Greek coast line. Italian Normans assisted William in 1066 with his invasion of England. There are a large number of documents associated with the Italian Normans that still have to be translated which might unearth details about the Morffew or Morfu name.


Map showing Italian Norman expeditions in to Byzantium and Sicily.

The Normans built large numbers of castles in Italy stamping their authority over the Italian people and landscape. This was in a similar fashion as William did in England after his invasion. In 1282 the Duchy of Apulia and Calabria was divided when Charles I, ( Charles of Anjou ) was in vested with the crown by Pope Clement IV but failed to hold Sicily in the resulting feud. Charles retained Mainland of Southern Italy which became known as the Kingdom of Naples. The Norman rule came to an end in Southern Italy when Queen Joanna I renounced her claim to Southern Italy


Spain and the Re Conquista
The Pope encouraged knights to embark on the Crusade to Spain to drive out the Moors. Spain was preferred as a crusade in a lot of cases than going to the Levant ( Holy Land ) because Spain being much easier to get to than the Levant. Normans along with others from all over Europe fought in Spain during the Re Conquista against the Moors. Normans came from Normandy, England and some from Southern Italy. Some of these Crusaders eventually settled in Spain either in service of the different kings or owning their own land. A lot returned home having served as a Crusader.

Above: The map shows the extent of the Moor territory in Spain 1000 AD Moor region in green. Ships with Crusaders on the Second Crusade stopped off at Lisbon to help capture the city. Once captured the fleet sailed on to Catalan where a number stayed to fight to capture Tarragona from the Moors. A large number of the English contingent had already fought in the Iberian Peninsula.


England and the Norman invasion
The name Morffew, Morfew, Morphew and Morfewe is said to have arrived in England with the Normans. A knight Mengle et Maufe is referred to in the Roll at Battel Abbey. But this name cannot be found on the plaque in the church in Dives-sur-Mer in Normandy where Williams invading army took mass before sailing for England. The assumption is that all of the Normans were connected with William the Conquerors invasion in 1066 but Normans were in England prior to this date and also they were actively encouraged to settle in England. A large number of Knights and soldiers are not known especially those that came over to England in 1085. Prior to Williams invasion of 1066 Normans were in the court of Edward the Confessor and had settled in England since 1053. When William invaded England he brought together a large army of Normans, Bretons which made up a third of Williams army and some owned land in England before the invasion, Danes, Flemish, Germans, French, Burgundies and Italian Normans The Italian Normans would have been recruited when William sent a party to ask the Pope for Papal blessing early in 1066. Some of these Normans were possibly in the Popes service and word would have spread quickly through the Italian Norman community. The Italian Normans had invaluable experience transporting horses gained when they invaded Sicily from Italy. The Normans that fought at Hastings were the first wave of the invasion. Chronicles about the battle of Hastings record at the end of the day the Anglo Saxons retreated and they were pursued by a large number of Norman Knights who came up on a hidden ditch which was defended by a group of Anglo Saxons. This event became known as the Mal Fosse ( Norman for Devil Ditch) incident, William also arrived to see what was happening and was advised by a Knight not to go any further, this knight was killed and if he was not there William might have died. William rallied his men and the Normans managed to beat the Anglo Saxons back form the ditch. After defeating the Anglo Saxons and establishing a beach head the second wave of Williams Army arrived over the next five days. This army then marched on London via Dover killing those they came across, burning villages and crops. William did not enter London imediately but circled it ravaging the surrounding counties of Surrey, Berkshire, Hampshire, Kent, Sussex and Essex. The spread of Morffews, Morfewes, Morfews and Morphews pre 1800 seems to mirror this march from Dover and around London. There is also interesting demographics with the Morphews in London where none are more than 3 miles from the Tower of London.


Map of Medieval London showing Shoreditch and Holborn Whitechapel is just north of Shoreditch and St Pancras north of Holborn just off the map and

Once William arrived in London he built a ring of Forts to defend the city that were with in a days ride of each other. One of these Forts was at Windsor the site of a Anglo Saxon Fort. William built his own fort and soon after constructed a second fort as a defence of attack from the West. Later a stone tower was constructed with a stone wall added at a later date. Windsor became an important Norman Castle not just with William I but also William II and Henry I. William also had property at Woking and used the land at Kingston for hunting. The Norman Kings William II and Henry added further towers and walls to Windsor Castle. William paused to establish his hold on Southern England forming a line stretching from Bristol to the Wash in the East. When we look at the 1841 census there is a division where most Morffew, Morfew and Morphews are found south of this line in Berkshire, Kent, Surrey, Suffolk, Middlesex, Hampshire and some in Cornwall. Other’s are found north around Richmond in Yorkshire. The distribution was not even we find there were pockets in towns and cities where prominent Norman Barons and even William had responsibility. Once William had invaded England the Bretons settled in East Anglia, Suffolk, Northumbria( Richmond) and the west country ( Devon, Cornwall, Wessex ). Williams reign over England and Normandy was plagued with rebellions from various nobles and the local population. In 1069 there was the rebellion in


Yorkshire and Northumbria where the counties were laid to waste and the perpetrators were hunted. This rebellion included a Danish contingent which left once William advance north. This advance north was known as the harrying of the north. In 1070 there was a rebellion in Peterborough and Ely. In 1075 the Earls in East Anglia rebelled. William defeated the earls of East Anglia and many of their soldiers were killed, the land was redistributed. This was the last uprising that William had to face. Many English and Norman knights, soldiers, peasants and Norman Settlers died in these up risings In 1085 King Canut of Denmark threatened to invade England and William brought over a huge army are mercenaries. This army was said to have been larger then the army of 1066 and could not be billeted in one area so it was spread around the country. William actively encourage Normans to settle in England and intermarry with the Anglo Saxons and passed law that protected Normans and any land they acquired. One of these laws was to make Anglo Saxons antiancestors. This meant that when a Anglo Saxon land owner died a Norman would be nominated as that Anglo Saxons ancestor and inheritor being able to take over the land. William I was succeeded but his son William Rufus ( William II ). William II was equally active on both sides of the channel have quash rebellions and uprisings. William even had to confront his brother Robert and Henry. When William invaded England he claimed sole ownership of all of the land which he hand out to his Barons in payment for their support. Some were rewarded more than others. Those who were given land in the North found that it was not as profitable as that in the south. The Land was either given as a Feud ( Norman for fee). William expected the Baron to repay in kind either as tax and to supply so many Knights and soldiers per hide ( area of land ). The Baron was expected to manage the land to ensure a maximum return and to provide defence of the Kingdom. There were also Feud’s which Barons received in reward for some action or deed. There were several types of Feuds to ensure Barons knew what type of feud they held and what was expected. It is possible the Mal Fosse incident lived on in stories told by those who were involved. This is the sort of stuff of soldiers tales who talk about of their prowess in a battle as has happened through out history. This would have been even more poignant with the warrior class society of the Normans. With what happened in the Mal Fosse incident where the ditch was hidden and an ambush sprung this could have become associated with similar


incidents either in battle or in diplomacy where a negotiator could be ambushed and caught in a diplomatic wrangle hard to escape or win. On the First Crusade the Crusaders were very cautious of the Byzantines and felt they were not to be trusted, an ideal example of the Mal Fosse scenario. It is possible that the Morffew name could have been associated with Melfi. Where the Southern Italian Normans were referred to Melfi when they joined Williams invasion. Looking at Norman, Flemish, Picardy and Breton names none seem to sound similar to Morffew. Normans tended to adapt their name to the area they controlled, ruled or lived in. The Normans would have changed their names once they arrived in England making it difficult to trace any relation they might have had in Normandy or any where else in Europe The Domesday book does not seem to list any name similar to Morffew but there is a Ansculf de Pencheny ( Ausculph of Picquisgny ), a Picardy adventurer who was granted lordships in various counties*2. One of note is Staffordshire where there is a Morfe House Farm, Morfe Hall farm and Little Morfe all off Morfe lane. Also close by was the Morfe Forest. This Forest had become mooreland by 1700 Morfe Forest became a Medieval Royal Forest in East Shropshire. At its core was a wood that stretched from Bridgnorth to Six Ashes ( Near Enville ) and Claverley. The forest was preambled in 1300 and the boundary recorded. William embarked on a castle building programme stamping his authority on the Anglo Saxons. This building programmed was carried on by William Rufus and Henry I. Castles were built by Williams Barons but only under license. No Baron could build a castle with out his permission. William had his own castles and residences around the country. When we look at the distribution of the Morffew’s, Morfews and Morphews in England from the 1841 census we see that there are pockets located at places that were important to William and his trusted barons. Morfews in Dover which was the residence of Odo Bishop of Bayeux who was Williams half brother and was responsible for Kent. Morffews are found in Kingston and Woking close to Windsor Castle,one of the castles built to defend London from the east and used as a residency by Norman nobility. William I also had personal property at Woking and hunted in the forest at Kingston. Robert Count of Mortain owned property in Sussex. It was considered that the southern counties should be easy to travel through for William so that he could quickly sail back and for the between Normandy or England in emergencies such as in 1085. The two exceptions are Reigate in Surrey and Richmond in Yorkshire but again this can be explained as being important to William.


Reigate was a river crossing that became commonly used after the Normans arrived with a community being established. Richmond in Yorkshire was given to one of Williams most trusted Barons who became very rich and was later to become known as Richmond Shire.


Normans on the First Crusade 1095
The First Crusade has been referred to as a Norman Crusade. A large army left Normandy lead by Robert Count of Mortain, son of William I and Brother of William II of England. Also with Robert was Odo of Bayeux William I brother and Stephen, Roberts brother. This large Normandy army was joined by Normans in Italy as the crusader army marched south past Amalfi which was under siege at the time. Bohemund of Taranto, an Italian Norman founded the Principality of Antioch Tancred of Lecce and Richard of Salerno were related to Bohemund and were to become prominent noblemen in the Levant. Richard became governor of Edessa and Tancred became the Prince of Galilee.

Map showing the region referred to as the Levant

The Crusaders were escorted by the Byzantine army through Anatolia beyond Constantinople. They found Italian Normans in the service of Alexius I Comnenus such as Roger son of Dagobert, Guy who was Bohemunds half brother and William of Grandmesnil who was Bohemunds brother-in-law. Also Anglo Saxon’s who fled England after the invasion of 1066. When the crusaders entered the Levant they took Edessa and the coastal towns in Lebanon. When they took Jerusalem a Lordship was created but Baldwin proclaimed his self as the King of Jerusalem establishing a Kingdom of Jerusalem with Lordships and Principalities which were kept on in name even after the Crusaders were expelled in 1291 from their final coastal strongholds by the Saracens.


Robert Count of Mortain returning from the First Crusade a hero stopped in Southern Italy and Married his second cousin creating a strong link between Normandy and Southern Italy.


The Crusades
Pre Crusades
Christians from all over Europe had been going on pilgrimages to Jerusalem for over a hundred years before the First Crusade. In 999 Norman’s returning from the Holy Land assisted the Lombards to fight Saracens and Moors marauding the coast. These Normans were invited to stay but carried on back to Normandy to tell others about the request. As well as Pilgrimages Europeans had traded with the cities and ports where spices and silks were traded and brought back to the Capitals of Europe. When the first Crusade arrived in Tyre the Crusaders had found that Genoans and English had already taken the city showing the extent of the trade between the two regions.

First Crusade 1095
Just 29 years after Williams invasion of England the First Crusade set off for the Levant Some of the Crusaders in 1095 were sons of the Normans who came across in 1066. One such crusader was the son of Geoffrey I Boterel, Conan who was killed in 1098. Morphoria of Melitene was a Armenian Princess who married Baldwin II and became Queen of Jerusalem. Baldwin II title was King off Jerusalem but with the Saracens occupying Jerusalem he could not exercise his authority over the city. The First Crusades comprised of Franks ( French ), Germans and Spanish troops and was a French lead expedition and French became the language for the Crusades. The Crusaders arrived in Constantinople with the leaders meeting with the Byzantine Emperor and some Crusader leaders giving allegiance to him After leaving Constantinople the Crusaders relieve Edessa which they did with ease forming the first Crusader state in the Holy Land. The Crusaders then marched down the coast taking other towns and Cities before moving in land to take Jerusalem. Once Jerusalem had been taken Baldwin became King of Jerusalem creating the Kingdom of Jerusalem . Crusaders settled in the Levant ( Holy Land ) establishing Christian rule in Palestine. Crusaders and Christians lived cheek by jowl with the Muslims and other indigenous groups in the Levant.


The Crusaders adopted some of the local customs, built towns, castles and established new communities. The Crusaders even intermarried into local indigenous communities.

Map showing the routes taken by the different armies on the First Crusade The Kingdom of Jerusalem was formed by four regions each ruled by a Baron who were vassals to the King of Jerusalem. The County of Jaffa and Ascalon, The Prince of Galilee, The Lord of Sidon and the Lord of Oultrejordain. Each of these regions had their own vassals or lordships. each one required to raise taxes for the kingdom. Other states connected with the Crusaders were as mentioned already the County of Edessa, County of Tripoli and the Principality of Antioch. The Lordships were meant to be inherited by the families of the ruling barons but because of disease, constant war, lack of heirs, murder and feuds the lines died out and the Lordship would change hands, much more frequently than those in Europe. Lordships were also inherited by daughters who would marry into another family and would then transfer to this married family. Two of the most powerful families to come out of the Kingdom of Jerusalem were the Ibelin and Lusignan families.


Many people settled in the Kingdom from various nations but mostly from Spain, Italy, England, Burgandy, France and Normandy. These settlers had different trades and skills such as carpenters, stone masons, butchers, farmers, weavers, etc. As well as having their own trade or skill they were expected to help defend the Kingdom. Soldiers of fortune either as company’s or individuals who would declare their allegiance to the lord. Of course there were also other Crusaders that were to arrive in the Kingdom from subsequent Crusades. The titles that were created from the First Crusade were kept even when the last of the Franks were expelled from Acre in 1291 and departed for Cyprus. In Cyprus there was still the Lord of Galilee And the Lord of Bethlehem. The knights, sergent at arms and soldiers that had fought for these Lords in the Kingdom also refered to themselves as being of that lordship.

Second Crusade 1147
The Second Crusade was one of the largest armies assembled at any time in Europe during the middle ages and was divided into three units. The French and German columns marched across Europe into Byzantium. The third was a naval one set out from English ports which comprised of Flemish, Bretons and English ships and troops. The English force was large and some had experience of fighting in the Iberian Peninsula. These English Crusaders came from East Anglia, Kent, London and Cornwall. On route to the Holy Land this naval force stopped to capture Lisbon in Portugal. The siege lasted from May to October with the Crusaders prevailing. Some of the English contingent settled in Lisbon. After this English were actively encouraged to settle in Portugal by Alfonso 1 and large numbers of English migrated to Portugal to help fight the Moors. After Lisbon the naval force sailed to Catalonia and capture Tortosa and again some of the English Crusaders settled here and became wealthy. There is a interesting correlation between the counties the English soldiers and Sailors came from and the geographic distribution of Morffews, Morfews and Morphews in England. The 1841 census shows the same counties where soldiers and sailors embarked on the 2nd Crusade also have the name Morffew, Morphew and Morfew.


Third Crusade 1190 - 1191
The Third Crusade saw large numbers of English embark for the Holy Land. Richard I had huge funds and hired large numbers of troops from England and in the Holy Land as mercenaries arrived. Richard also had his own fleet which enabled him to invade Cyprus after his prospective wife was captured by the ruler of Cyprus after her ship had been wrecked after a storm of the Cypriot coast. Richard feeling insulted decided to invade Cyprus. The Byzantine army in Cyprus was no match for the invading English knights and archers. Having captured Cyprus Richard sold the island to the Knights Templars who had to give it back after the Greek population rebelled. Richard eventually gave Cyprus to Guy Lusignan who was related to Richard.

Fourth Crusade 1203
The fourth Crusade did not have any significant numbers of English. This was mainly a French Crusade which instead of sailing to the Holy Land went straight to Constantinople and laid siege to it. Even though the Pope was angered at this the Fourth Crusade set a trend for future Crusades where large numbers of Mercenaries were employed such as Peter I of Cyprus in 1365.

Fifth Crusade 1218 – 1221
The Fifth Crusade was a protract attack on Egypt and in particular Damietta. The army that left for Egypt was a large on consisting of French, Dutch, German, English and other nations. The Crusade was beset with leadership problems and retaining the man power. There were arguments over who should lead, also some leaders left for home after having accomplished their vows. Soldiers also came and went. The largest number in the army of the Fifth Crusade peaked at 30,000 1218 and then gradually declined. The Crusaders spent two years trying to take Damietta and once having done this there was a pause on what to do next. The Crusaders leaders decided to march on Cairo across the desert in the height of summer. The Crusaders gradually run short of food and water forcing them to retreat back to Damietta and then to sail for home. The crusade was deemed a failure in the eyes of the monarchs and the Pope.


Re Conquista
In 711 Berber invaded the Iberian Peninsula and established a Muslim state that became a Emirate that ranged from what is today the northern Portuguese border across to just south of Barcelona. Small Christian states held out in the north who were helped by various groups of Mercenaries and crusaders. In 1080 a more fanatical muslim sect that had conquered Morroco cross the Straits of Gibraltar. This second invasion was initially welcomed by the Muslim emirs but changed their mind and opposed the new invaders. The Moors finally took control of the Muslim Emirate in 1110. The retaking of Spain had the full backing of the Pope and Knights and Mercenaries joined the fight to retake towns and Cities. Some out of Christian conviction and other’s to seek their fortune and wealth. Knights form all over Europe fought in Spain. Soldiers on the Second Crusade stopped at Lisbon on the way to the Holyland and helped take the city. Some stayed, notably some English which set the long relationship between England and Portugal. The Second Crusaders stopped off on the East coast of Spain and helped take Tortosa. A large number of mercenaries who joined the Reconquista Anglo and Italian Normans and tended to concentrate in the Ebro Valley region in Catalonia, Aragon. The Moors were gradually pushed back until they were forced into a small enclave in Southern Spain forming the Muslim state of Granada which was to fall in 1492. The Moors in Spain were initially absorbed into Spanish society but they were soon considered a threat and a large number were deported to Africa, Marseille and Northern Italy. To day we find a number of Morfu’s in Spain and Portugal which might suggest a possible connection with the Moors or with the Normans that arrived in Spain. Morfu in Spain is a rare name and it seems to be chiefly around Catalonia where the English destined for the First Crusade joined in the Re Conquista. This is also the region that was to later become Aragon. The were other Crusades but they do not appear to have any relation to the Morffew name. These Crusades were in Southern France and North East Europe.


The Kingdom of Naples
The Re Conquista established Aragon as a influential power in Spain and in Europe that was to have considerable effect in Italy. In 1266 Charles I ( Charles of Anjou ) was invested with the crown in Italy which started a power struggle with the Hohenstaufen family in Italy for the Duchy of Apulia and Calabria. Charles was to loose Sicily in 1282 but retained mainland Italy. Southern Italy under Charles became known as the Kingdom of Naples. Charles refused to give up the claim to Sicily which started the war between the Kingdom of Aragon who ruled Sicily and the Kingdom of Naples. In 1373 Queen Joanna I of Naples renounced her claim to Sicily but her heirs continued the struggle for its control. For the next hundred Years there was the dynastic struggle that involved The Kingdom of Naples, Spain and briefly France when she fought Spain in what became known as the Italian Wars. In 1501 the last Aragonese King of Naples was dethroned bringing about the treaty of Blois in 1504 which gave Naples and Sicily to Spain and both become part of the Spanish Empire.. For the next two hundred years Spain ruled the Kingdom of Sicily and Naples via two viceroys. Southern Italy was heavily taxed by Spain making it the most backward region in Europe. Famines, diseases, superstition was rife with the Italian and Spanish nobles fighting over estates With Spain being so involved in the affairs of Southern Italy and Sicily there is the possibility that the Morfu name migrated from Aragon ( Catalonia ) to the Kingdom of Naples. The Morfu name does not seem to appear in Sicily which would suggest that maybe the Kingdom of Naples Viceroy had some influence for the Morfu name to appear in Italy. It is difficult to trace any information that could relate to Morfu’s in Italy because of the man languages used besides Latin there was Lombard, Tuscan, Venetian, Genoan, etc. Greek had been a language used as we know from Leonardo De Vinci. During the period of Spanish rule there seemed to be considerable migration around Italy. Artists and Learned people gravitated to various Cities and regions for patronage.


The Kingdom of Cyprus The Morphou title
A search for the name Morphou found a Jean de Morphou. He was the richest Baron in the Kingdom of Cyprus and lived 1330-1385. Jean de Morphou’s full title was Jean de Morpho, Count of Edessa and Rochas, Marshall of Cyprus. The Marshall of Cyprus would have been responsible for the Royal Army in the Kingdom of Cyprus mercenaries in battle Jean de Morphou daughter married Hugue Lusignan who became the King of Cyprus and Jerusalem. Hugue was was the son of Guy Lusignan, brother of Peter I and cousin to Peter II Jean de Morphou also tried to marry his second daughter to Peter II Eleanor of Aragon Queen of Cyprus and mother of Peter II refused the marriage.

Morphou coat of Arms

Jean De Morphou is said to have had an affair with Eleanor of Aragon Queen of Cyprus who was married to Peter I which all suggests he was very well connected with in the Kingdom of Cyprus. The Morphou Baronage coat of arms was a Black Lion on a yellow back ground, ( Lion Argent shield Or ) which dates back to the early 1300s when Balian d’Ebilin was Lord of Morphou. Jean De Morphou served with distinction in Alexandria, Egypt during the 1365 Crusade which the Christian world hailed as a great success against the infidel. After Peter I was murdered by three barons Eleanor Queen of Cyprus is said to have invited the Genoans to help take revenge on her husbands murderers by invading Cyprus and then killing the traitors. In 1373 the Genoans sent a fleet under the pretext that they wanted retribution for the killing of Genoans in Famagusta, the main centre in Cyprus for Genoan trade. The Genoan fleet arrived in Famagusta which had very strong fortifications on 30th April 1373 but were initially repulsed by the defenders who had all been put on alert and all men over 15 were armed. There was a stand off that dragged on into the winter after looting by the Genoans and attempts at negotiations mediated by the Order of St. John.


On 10th October 1373 Jean de Morphou together with Raymand Bapin suggested further negotiations which involved the Genoans entering Famagusta with a small group, this was agreed by Eleanor and Peter I. The Genoans had 5 representatives and 12 soldiers.Once inside the gates the Genoans attacked the Kingdom of Cyprus soldiers and managed to hold the gates open for others to enter and capture the fortress. Because of this event Jean de Morphou was accused of allowing the Genoans to take Famagusta, according to Lenitos Makkarias he was corrupted by the Genoese by a offer to help his son in law Hughue of Lusignan take over the Kingdom of Cyprus. Queen Eleanor who was in Famagusta at the time does not relate to the ease of the taking of Famagusta. Jean de Morphou is also said to have advised the Genoans about the movement of Constable James who they attacked. When the Genoans took Famagusta they looted the city and took prisoners including Jean de Morphou. The prisoners were taken to the Greek island of Chios. Jean de Morphou is said to have died under suspicious circumstances from poisoning but it is not known if this was in Chios or Cyprus. When Hugue Lusignan came to the throne as King of Cyprus Marie retained the title de Morphou and would have kept the land and property here father owned. Jean de Morphou did not have any male heirs, neither did Hughe and Marie which made the title available. The Genoans continued to try and take control of Cyprus but were prevented by concerted efforts from Queen Eleanor, Peter I and the Royal Army. The Genoans realised they could not take Cyprus and settled to hold Famagusta which was part of the original demands. Even though counties and cities in the Levant were lost to the Saracens titles in the Kingdom of Cyprus still given for those lost towns and cities such as Jerusalem were still handed on by the King of Cyprus In recognition of service.

An earlier Morphou title holder was Balian d’Ibelin, Prince of Galilee, Lord of Bethlehem and Morphou and Lawrence de Plessy was knighted at Morphou in 1130. Balian d’Ibelin was from a family who’s history was steeped in the Levant, owning land and castles. They were to become established in the Kingdom of Cyprus and Balian would have had a large entourage being such an important Baron. Balian d’Ibelin died between 1315/1316 in prison in Kerynia Balian d’Ibelin married Alice de Lusignan the daughter of Hugh III king of Cyprus and Jerusalem.


Lawrence de Plessy was knighted in Morphou in 1130, he was from an English crusading family and includes Hugh and Richard de Plessy who was a royal keeper of parks in England. The de Plessy linage came with William Duke of Normandy in 1066. There was a feud over the Morphou name in 1427 where the Grignier family contested the title showing that the title was still in use and families sought the Morphou title as their name. Most probably because of the land associated with the title. We can also take it that the Morphou title was still in use up until when the Venetians took control of Cyprus.


About the Kingdom of Cyprus
The Kingdom of Cyprus came about when Richard I of England on the third Crusade invaded Cyprus but did not want to the trouble of ruling a country whilst on campaign so he sold Cyprus to the Knights Templar’s. The Templar’s could not control the local population after they revolted against the Templar’s treatment and ended up selling Cyprus back to Richard. Richard passed Cyprus onto Guy de Lusignan as compensation after loosing the disputed for the King of Jerusalem becoming the Lord of Cyprus. Guy de Lusignan was related to Richard I of England through Queen Eleanor of England the owner of Aquitaine . Guy died in 1194 and his brother Amalric became King of Cyprus. He and the other Kings of Cyprus invited Franks and Crusaders who left the Levant ( The Holy Land ) after the Saracens invaded the Kingdom of Jerusalem and were finally expelled from the last hold at Acre in 1291 to settle in Cyprus. The Franks were given land and owed allegiance to the King of Cyprus. This established the Kingdom of Cyprus as a Crusader nation where Crusaders could rally and set off on future Crusades. By 1230 many of the great nobles in the Levant had estates in both Kingdoms, by 1291 many noble families were comfortably established in Cypriot society. In 1271 John of Ibelin managed to argue in court that Cypriot knights were not bound by their feudal contracts to serve outside Cyprus. Knights and Sergent at Arms could adopt Cypriot titles in recognition that they were in the service of the Cypriot nobility and their estates. Having a distinct separation of the barons or noblemans estates and those serving in the Levant and Cyprus made sense when a baron or nobleman would have recruited knights and sergent at arms to protect the estates and family in the Kingdom of Cyprus. Because the Franks ( French) were the nobility in the Kingdom of Cyprus French was the lingua franca of the courts and records. Later Greek and Italian was used for recording of tax. Greek for the indigenous Cypriots and Italian for the Neapolitan, Venetian and Genoan merchants. The population of Cyprus initially was the indigenous Greeks and those who had settled under the Byzantine Empire, followed by those who left the mainland as cities and castles fell to the Turks and Saracens. These were mainly French ( Franks ), Italians and Spanish at first but over the next century the Cypriot population increased becoming very cosmopolitan.


The population comprised of Franks ( French ), the nobility of the Kingdom of Cyprus. Germans, Italians, Spanish ( Catalans) , Portuguese, Syrians, Maronites, Ethiopians, Indians, Georgians, some English, Bulgarians, Venetians, Genoans who were also refered to as White Genoans, Burgandians and the indigenous Greeks. Also there were the Knights Templars, Knights of the Order of St John who owned enormous fortunes in Cyprus and had great economic interests there, Hospitalers and the Order of St. Lazarus who were joined with the Hospitalers soon after arriving in Cyprus. With the settlers from the Kingdom of Jerusalem who settled in Cyprus the titles of the Kingdom in absence, titular moved with them. Titles were created for the Kingdom of Cyprus, such as Morphou to ensure patronage from vassals. One of the first holder’s of a Cypriot title seems to be Balian de Ibelin who was Prince of Galilee, Lord of Bethlehem and Lord of Morphou who died in 1315 or 1316 in prison in Kyenia castle. This lordship seems to have been transformed into a title which was taken by a baron taking the name Jean de Morphou. This title was also taken by his daughters who married into the powerful Ebilin family. The title might have become a baronage because as a lordship the owner had too much power within Cyprus.

Contempory map of Cyprus. Morphou is set back from Morphou Bay on the north west of the island.


When future Crusades were launched such as the Crusade in 1365 under Peter 1 the population increased because of the influx of Mercenaries and Crusaders from all over Europe where Peter 1 had spent three years recruiting. This army comprised of Templars, Hospitalers, English archers, Italian Crossbowmen and French men at arms. As well as Knights from Europe. There was also the New Holy Order of the Sword, a mercenary force specific for the recapture of Jerusalem which was set up by Peter I. When the Turks invaded Armenia, a territory associated with the Kingdom of Cyprus through royal marriage the rich Armenians fled to Cyprus increasing the population further. Peter I also tried to recruit for another Crusade in 1368 but there was very little support from across Europe but mercenaries arrived in Cyprus in anticipation of the crusade. The following year Peter I was murdered by three of his barons. When we talk about the Crusaders we must not forget the camp followers and families. People who settled in the Holy Land and Cyprus would have had children who would not have known any other life but that of living in the Levant and Cyprus. As well as the Military side of Kingdom of Cyprus life the commerce and trade was busy. Cyprus was a major producer and exporter of Sugar and Cotton. These commodities were in great demand across Europe and also for the Crusaders who would stop off in Cyprus for supplies. Sugar helped to make the Kingdom of Cyprus one of the richest countries in the Middle Ages Europe. The sugar was formed into a distinctive hat shape and was not so refined. It became less popular when more refined sugar of Malta and the Canarie Islands became available. In 1426 the Mamelukes in Egypt attacked Cyprus in 1426 in revenge of attacks by pirates based in Cyprus and defeated the royal army. This weakened the Lusignan rule in Cyprus. The Fankish Kingdom of Cyprus ended when the Venetians took control and the Frank ( French) estates were redistributed. The last Lusignan ruler of Cyprus was James II who married Caterina Cornaro, a Venetian. James was killed and the Venetians who had coverted the island to further its trade took effective control. In 1489 Caterina Cornaro was persuaded to hand over Cyprus giving the Venice absolute control. The population was heavily taxed and estates lost which would have caused many to leave.


Sultan Selim II requested that the Venetians stop the piracy especially by those from Malta which used Cyprus as a base. The Venetians refused and after Muslim pilgrims and Ottoman Corsairs were killed the Venetians in Cyprus were given an ultimatum which expired and the Ottoman army invaded by attacking Larnaca where 20,000 inhabitants were massacred causing the capitulation of Kyrenia 200,000 Ottomans attacked Farmagusta and eventually on 1 August 1571 Farmagusta capitulated. Despite the Christian victory at Lepanto the Venetians officially handed over Cyprus with 300,000 Ducats for war reparation. It was said that once the Venetians had left the Greek Cypriots cheered because they felt they had been liberated. The Monarchs of the Kingdom of Cyprus managed to establish connections with various Royal families through out Europe. One of note is with Aragon via Eleanor of Aragon. She maintained strong contacts with her father Peter of Aragon and other Catalans such as the Merchant Alphonso Ferrant. Eleanor instigated with the Genoa’s to kill Peter I assassins and the Genoa’s invaded Famagusta and captured Peter II. Peter II was captured by the Genoa’s and held for ransom. After this episode Eleanor returned to Aragon in 1381 and Pedro I of Aragon gave Leanor the City of Vall to co rule with the Arch Bishop of Tarragona. Eleanor moved into the Archbishops Palace in Valls which became a sovereign court with Officials and minions, some from Cyprus. This gives a good reason to suggest that the name Morfu found its way to Spain via those who served as mercenaries in the Kingdom of Cyprus. At the same time there were various mercenaries and soldiers serving in Catalan who might have served in Cyprus.


Final thoughts, so far
Early records of the name Morffew, Morfew, Morfewe and Morphew pre 1800 are predominantly found in England especially in the London area. Post 1800 records show Morffews in America, Canada and Australia. The Name Morfu shows a predominance in Spain and Italy, along with some in France, Portugal and Argentina. Each of these names are rare. This begs the question how can so many people from various crusading nations in Europe have a similar sounding name as the town of Morphou in Cyprus which was also the title of one of the prominent Princes and Barons in the Kingdom of Cyprus like Balian de Ebilin who was prince of Galilee and Lord of Bethlehem and Jean de Morphou who was the richest Baron in Cyprus. Each of these noble men would have had a sizeable entourage attracting a large number of mercenaries because their wealth. Cyprus was a centre for Crusades in the Middle Ages where people from all Christian nations flocked either on pilgrimage to Jerusalem to fight as a Crusader or to seek their fortune and settle in the Levant and Cyprus. As was mentioned John of Ibelin argues in 1271 that those in feudal contract in Cyprus were not obliged to serve in the Levant and to ensure they were tied to a Cypriot estate they were either most probably given or adopted the Cypriot title such as Morphou. It is known that those who served for barons and princes in the Levant adopted the title of that baron and retained the title when they moved to Cyprus. No doubt to distinguish then selves from those who had served in Cyprus and possibly had the Cypriot title, such as Morphou. The Levant Knights and Sergent at Arms would have also retained the title so that when they returned they could go back to their land and estates in the Levant. Those that served the barons and princes in Cyprus would have been given a Cypriot title as previously mentioned to show they were tied to Cyprus and would not be expected to serve in the Levant. The name or title Morphou might have been adopted in recognition for their exploit in Alexandria in 1365. A sonnet was written in adulation of the Alexandra exploit enhancing the solders reputation on the 1365 Crusade. Jean de Morphou served with distinction it could be that the mercenaries he commanded adopted the title for themselves of Morphou. The 1365 Crusade was seen as a success across Europe in the courts and with the Pope. Locally it was a disaster because it affected the trade in Cyprus. In 1363 Urban V addressed an appeal to the free companies of mercenaries in the Midi saying “ members of free companies had the most dreadful need to absolution because they had used their arms against Christians”. 39

The mercenaries, The routiers were hated not simply because of their skill in war, but also for their cruelty and lack of respect for many of the conventions of a Christian society. They were ‘shamelessly guilty of murder and pillage and various abominations’. Many of them were younger sons, some illegitimate, impoverished figures on the fringes of society. They were condemned in the Third Lateran Council of 1179. In Italy the wealthier cities began to stiffen their militia forces with hired professional soldiers. In 1277 Florence was even employing a hundred English troops The Frank Barons in the Kingdom of Cyprus were not happy with the way Peter I gave favour to the mercenaries he recruited resulting in his assassination. They were sometimes given titles and favour to tempt them to serve on Peter I 1365 Crusade when he failed to get the response he expected when he toured Europe and especially in 1368 when he had virtually no response at all. English mercenaries had gained a reputation in battle partly from the 100 Years War. When England was forced out of France there were thousands of unemployed soldiers especially archers. They were snapped up by the nobility of Spain, Italy and Burgundy to name a few. Notably English Mercenaries serving with Bernado Visconti had spent several years fighting for various factions in Italy. Including for and against the Pope. Some of these English mercenaries settled in countries they served such as John Harkswood who rose to prominence in Italian society. English archers were with Peter I in Alexandria maybe the few to be given or adopt the name Morphou. Returning home the name could have easily be spelt as Morfu in Italy and Spain and Morphew or Morfew in England. The Morffew name could have come about from the Italian Wars and Spain ruling Southern Italy. Queen Eleanor of Cyprus took a number of courtiers back to Aragon when she returned and took up residency in the City of Vills, some of these could have had the name of Morphou, on arriving in Spain was changed to Morfu The involvement of Aragon in the Kingdom of Naples would have meant some Catalan soldiers being in Southern Italy. During the Wars in Italy English Soldiers who had served in the Hundred Years War served as mercenaries for the various factions. When the Mercenaries returning to England the Morfu name would have migrated but was changed to Morfewe which seems to be the earliest spelling of the name. If the name Morffew is associated with the term for a blemish which affects 1/1000 there would surely be more Morffews than just the few that are dotted around the world. If the Morffew name had originated from the Anglo Saxons of Morfe Forest there must be a cluster of Morffews in the Kidderminster area but none are shown in the 1841 census.


We cannot ignore the Norman influence. The demographics in England imply that there is a tangible connection, maybe not with the Norman aristocracy but maybe more with the landless knights who came over in hope of land. There is the assumption that the Norman migration to England was centred around the invasion of 1066 which was just a small percentage of the Norman migration during the reign of the Norman monarch’s which spanned 90 years. Many Normans migrated to England before and after 1066. Many Norman knights that came to England were not known. Pre 1800 parish records show Morffews, Morfews, Morphews and Morfewes are in pockets through out the South and South East of England. There is the possible transition of the name Melfi > Morfi> Morfu> Morfew alternatively the transition could have been Melfi>Maufe>Morfue>Morfew. This could have come about with the various accents and languages of the different men at arms, knights and mercenaries who joined William on his invasion and subsequent recruitment in 1085. The Melfi transition has to loose the L in spelling but this is not impossible when you consider the different accents and languages including the local indigenous Anglo Saxons and Danes. Not forgetting the possible effect of the different languages and accents when Norman knights embarked on the Second Crusade, especially with the mix of the Normans from the Northern Europe and those from Southern Italy. The Morfu name might have then stuck when Normans returned to Italy. There is evidence that some of those who fought for William I and stayed were disgruntled after the rebellion of 1069 when Yorkshire and Northumberland was laid to waste and there was no let up in the persecution of the local population and the pursued through out the winter. Those who complained where not paid off immediately when they returned south to Salisbury but had to stay on for another month. Odo of Bayeux even tried to take a large force to Italy but was prevented from doing so by William who put him in prison and was only released when William II came to the throne. The volunteers for the Second Crusade Were from London, Cornwall and the counties surrounding London showing a Interesting correlation with the Demographics of the Morfewe, Morffew, Morfew and Morphew distribution which Could indicate a connection with the Second Crusade. A contemporary Morffew Coat of Arms showing a association with castles.


There was also the connection with Normandy during the reign of the Plantagenet’s who had inherited Normandy and other regions in France. Indigenous Normans could easily migrated over to England. The census archives shows the earliest date for any of the names is 1771 which suggests that the name goes back To the 1600’s. John Morffews research shows the earliest recorded Morffew on his list is in 1555 which could suggest an even earlier date for the name goes back to late 1400’s. This could be a significant date where Morffew’s, etc started to arrive in England, Spain, Italy after the Venetians took control of Cyprus 1489. Mainly to avoid the heavy tax burden the Venetians exercised in Cyprus and also when the Franks lost their estates. This work is not finished and the search goes on for the possible source of the name Morffew. It seems that maybe by looking at the Crusades and the Kingdom of Cyprus there is a strong link with the name Morffew, Morfewe, Morphew and Morfew.


A list of Census records showing Morffew, Morphew and Morfew
Morffew in the 1911 Census
Institution, Household Name or Vessel Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household MORFFEW, Clara Ann MORFFEW, Elizabeth MORFFEW, Emma MORFFEW, Emma MORFFEW, Emma MORFFEW, Emma Alice MORFFEW, Frances MORFFEW, Frederick

Birth Registration Year Age Sex District County
1870 1874 1855 1879 1908 1859 1866 1911 41 37 56 32 3 52 45 0 31 5 55 5 24 21 60 37 65 9 34 62 10 51 23 57 25 0 29 22 55 30 18 22 33 26 26 12 16 9 F F F F F F F M M M M M M M F F M M M F F M M F F F F F M M F F M F M M M F Aston Richmond Paddington Chelsea Chelsea Reading St George Chelsea Richmond Richmond Paddington Chelsea Chelsea Hackney Chelsea Fulham Chelsea Chelsea Chelsea Edmonton Fulham Aston Aston Kingston Paddington Chelsea Paddington Chelsea Kingston Kingston Kingston Brentford Fulham Kingston Paddington Edmonton Kingston Fulham Warwickshire Surrey London London London Berkshire London London Surrey Surrey London London London London London London London London London Middlesex London Warwickshire Warwickshire Surrey London London London London Surrey Surrey Surrey Middlesex London Surrey London Middlesex Surrey London

MORFFEW, Frederick George 1880 MORFFEW, Frederick Robert 1906 MORFFEW, George MORFFEW, George MORFFEW, George MORFFEW, George Henry MORFFEW, Harriet MORFFEW, Helen Moore MORFFEW, Henry MORFFEW, Henry MORFFEW, Henry J MORFFEW, Isabella Ann MORFFEW, Ivy Mary MORFFEW, James MORFFEW, James William MORFFEW, Jane MORFFEW, Kathleen MORFFEW, Lilian MORFFEW, Nellie MORFFEW, Robert MORFFEW, Robert Samuel MORFFEW, Rose MORFFEW, Rose MORFFEW, Thomas MORFFEW, Vilalet MORFFEW, Walter William MORFFEW, William Keats MORFFEW, Willie 1856 1906 1887 1890 1851 1874 1846 1902 1877 1849 1901 1860 1888 1854 1886 1882 1889 1856 1881 1893 1889 1878 1885 1885 1899 1895

MORFFEW, Kim Alice Louisa 1911

Household MORFFEW, Winnifeed Phoebe 1902


Morffew in 1871 Census
Institution, Household Name or Vessel Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household MORFFEW, Alice MORFFEW, Ann MORFFEW, Annie MORFFEW, Eliza

Birth Registration Year Age Sex District County
1857 1825 1853 1868 14 46 18 3 21 11 12 5 15 50 25 17 9 49 12 9 51 F F F F F F F F M M M M F F F F M Chelsea Chelsea Chelsea Chelsea Reading Chelsea Reading Reading Reading Chelsea Chelsea Reading Reading Reading Chelsea Chelsea Reading London, Middlesex London, Middlesex London, Middlesex London, Middlesex Berkshire London, Middlesex Berkshire Berkshire Berkshire London, Middlesex London, Middlesex Berkshire Berkshire Berkshire London, Middlesex London, Middlesex Berkshire

MORFFEW, Elizabeth 1850 MORFFEW, Emily 1860

MORFFEW, Emma A 1859 MORFFEW, Fanny E 1866 MORFFEW, George 1856 MORFFEW, Henry MORFFEW, Henry 1821 1846

MORFFEW, Henry W 1854 MORFFEW, Louisa M 1862 MORFFEW, Mary A 1822

Household MORFFEW, Mary Ann 1859 Household Household MORFFEW, Sarah 1862

MORFFEW, William J 1820

Morffews in 1851 Census
Institution, Household Name or Vessel Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household

Birth Registration Year Age Sex District County
1 53 1 5 57 8 16 27 18 54 57 31 F F F F M F F F M F M M Westminster Middlesex Westminster Middlesex Saint George in the East Kingston Middlesex

MORFFEW, Anna M 1850 MORFFEW, Elizabeth 1798 MORFFEW, Elizabeth 1850 MORFFEW, Emma MORFFEW, Henry MORFFEW, Jane MORFFEW, Maria 1846 1794 1843 1835

Westminster Middlesex Surrey Westminster Middlesex Westminster Middlesex Saint George in the East Kingston Kingston Saint George in Middlesex Surrey Surrey

MORFFEW, Mary Ann 1824 MORFFEW, Robert MORFFEW, Sarah 1833 1797

MORFFEW, Thomas 1794 MORFFEW, William 1820

Westminster Middlesex Middlesex


Morffew in 1841 census
Institution, Household Name or Vessel Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household

Birth Registration Year Age Sex District County
45 15 15 15 45 20 13 7 45 50 20 F M F F M M M M F M M Holborn Holborn Holborn Kingston Kingston Kingston Holborn Kingston Kingston Holborn Holborn Middlesex Middlesex Middlesex Surrey Surrey Surrey Middlesex Surrey Surrey Middlesex Middlesex

Household MORFFEW, Elizabeth 1796 MORFFEW, George 1826 MORFFEW, Hannah 1826 MORFFEW, Harriett 1826 MORFFEW, Henry MORFFEW, Henry MORFFEW, James MORFFEW, Robert MORFFEW, Sarah 1796 1821 1828 1834 1796

MORFFEW, William 1791 MORFFEW, William 1821

1911 Census shows a record of 450 Morphews spread across the UK. Morphews in 1911 are predominant in and around London but some are in the Midland and North of England.


Morphew in 1841 Census
Institution, Household Name or Vessel Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household MORPHEW, Ann MORPHEW, Ann MORPHEW, Ann MORPHEW, Ann MORPHEW, Ann MORPHEW, Ann

Birth Registration Year Age Sex District
8 65 12 40 7 17 45 3 4 7 20 50 1 13 1 35 35 69 35 15 40 7 9 15 27 6 40 30 5 13 40 15 30 9 3 25 30 11 25 11 F F F F F F F F F M F F F M M F M M M M M M F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F M M Ipswich Reigate Gravesend & Milton Malling Malling Maidstone Dover Wisbech Malling Maidstone Falmouth Union Falmouth Union Droxford Ipswich Sevenoaks Stepney Droxford Epsom Whitechapel Malling Malling Maidstone Malling Ipswich Epsom Lewes Chailey West Firle & Newhaven Bosmere & Claydon Ipswich Ipswich Stepney Ashford, East Sevenoaks Grinstead, East Grinstead, East Brighton Bosmere & Claydon Epping Stepney Lewes Chailey 1776 1829 1801 1834 1824 1796

County Suffolk Surrey Kent Kent Kent Kent Kent Norfolk Kent Kent Cornwall Cornwall Hampshire Suffolk Kent Middlesex Hampshire Surrey Middlesex Kent Kent Kent Kent Suffolk Surrey Sussex Suffolk Suffolk Suffolk Middlesex Kent Kent Sussex Sussex Sussex Suffolk Essex Middlesex Sussex

MORPHEW, Adelaide 1833

MORPHEW, Annette 1838 MORPHEW, Augusta 1837 MORPHEW, Augustus 1834 MORPHEW, Caroline 1821

Household MORPHEW, Catherine 1791 Household MORPHEW, Catherine 1840 Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household MORPHEW, Charles 1828 MORPHEW, Charles 1840 MORPHEW, Charlotte 1806 MORPHEW, David 1806 MORPHEW, Edward 1772 MORPHEW, Edward 1806 MORPHEW, Edward 1826 MORPHEW, Edward 1801 MORPHEW, Edwin MORPHEW, Eliza MORPHEW, Eliza MORPHEW, Eliza 1834 1826 1814 1835 MORPHEW, Eleanor 1832

MORPHEW, Elizabeth 1801 MORPHEW, Elizabeth 1811 MORPHEW, Elizabeth 1836 MORPHEW, Elizabeth 1828 MORPHEW, Elizabeth 1801 MORPHEW, Elizabeth 1826 MORPHEW, Elizabeth 1811 MORPHEW, Elizabeth 1832 MORPHEW, Elizabeth 1838 MORPHEW, Emma MORPHEW, Fanny 1816 1811

MORPHEW, Frances 1830 MORPHEW, Francis* 1816 MORPHEW, Frederic 1830

Derby, West Lancashire


West Firle & Newhaven Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household MORPHEW, Frederick 1837 MORPHEW, Geo MORPHEW, George MORPHEW, George MORPHEW, George MORPHEW, George MORPHEW, George 1816 1801 1810 1833 1829 1838 4 25 40 31 8 12 3 11 35 35 M M M M M M M F F F Grinstead, East Grinstead, East St George Hanover Square Grinstead, East Grinstead, East Grinstead, East Lewes Chailey West Firle & Newhaven Ipswich Ipswich Whitechapel Sussex Sussex Middlesex Sussex Sussex Sussex Sussex Suffolk Suffolk Middlesex

MORPHEW, Hannah 1830 MORPHEW, Hannah 1806 MORPHEW, Hariot 1806

Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household


1839 1838

2 M 3 M

Ipswich Whitechapel Bosmere & Claydon Ipswich St George Hanover Square Reading Gravesend & Milton Maidstone Epsom Richmond Greenwich Falmouth Union Winchester & Hursley Ashford, East Epsom Wisbech Wisbech Great Yarmouth Billericay Ipswich Ipswich Guildford Shoreditch Stepney Stepney Richmond Tonbridge Elham

Suffolk Middlesex Suffolk Suffolk Middlesex Berkshire Kent Kent Surrey Yorkshire Kent Cornwall Hampshire Kent Surrey Norfolk Norfolk Norfolk Essex Suffolk Suffolk Surrey Middlesex Middlesex Middlesex Yorkshire Kent Kent Sussex

Household MORPHEW, Humphry 1829 12 M 1801 40 M 1805 36 M 1811 30 M 1836 5 M 1827 14 M 1785 56 F 1826 15 F 1821 20 F 1821 20 M 1831 10 M 1801 40 M 4 F 7 M 4 M 6 M 8 M 7 M 1806 35 M 1834 1837 1835 1833 1834

Household MORPHEW, Jemmima 1837

1800 41 M 1791 50 M 1804 37 M 1801 40 M 1821 20 M 1770 71 M 1825 16 M

Lewes Chailey West Firle 1801 40 M & Newhaven


Household Household Household Household Household Household



9 M

Lewes Chailey West Firle & Newhaven Bosmere & Claydon Gainsborough Falmouth Union Stepney Ipswich Droxford Grinstead, East Sevenoaks Wisbech Wisbech Bosmere & Claydon Ipswich Kingston St Pancras Stepney Stepney Whitechapel Richmond Richmond Reading

Sussex Suffolk Lincolnshire Cornwall Middlesex Suffolk Hampshire Sussex Kent Norfolk Norfolk Suffolk Suffolk Surrey Middlesex Middlesex Middlesex Middlesex Yorkshire Yorkshire Berkshire

1806 35 M 1814 27 M 1781 60 M 1838 3 F 8 F 7 F 4 F 1830 11 F

Household MORPHEW, Margaret 1833 Household MORPHEW, Margaret 1834 Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household Household MORPHEW, Marion MORPHEW, Mary MORPHEW, Mary MORPHEW, Mary MORPHEW, Mary MORPHEW, Mary MORPHEW, Mary MORPHEW, Mary MORPHEW, Mary MORPHEW, Mary MORPHEW, Mary MORPHEW, Mary MORPHEW, Mary 1837

1806 35 F 1829 12 F 1766 75 F 1801 40 F 1812 29 F 1771 70 F 1807 34 F 1830 11 F 1796 45 F 1796 45 F 1831 10 F 1821 20 F

1911 census shows no Morfew

Morfew in 1841 census
Household MORFEW, Elizabeth 1811 30 F Bosmere & Claydon Suffolk Household Household MORFEW, Emma MORFEW, John 1829 12 F Bosmere & Claydon Suffolk 1806 35 M Bosmere & Claydon Suffolk


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