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Last Updated: Friday, 18 February, 2005, 15:55 GMT
Oldest married couple discovered
This gravestone caught Mr Lawrence's attention
A couple who died more than 100 years ago have been officially named as the oldest married couple in the world.

Thomas and Elizabeth Morgan, from Cwmbran in south Wales, had a combined age of 209 when Mrs Morgan died in 1891, and had married 81 years earlier.

The discovery was made by an amateur historian carrying out research in an overgrown graveyard.

Mr Morgan was 106 when he died and his wife was 105.

Once he had made his discovery, 78-year-old Graham Lawrence contacted Guinness World Records, who confirmed that the Morgans - who died in the 1890s - were the oldest married couple in the world.

"It is truly amazing and in some ways I can't believe it," Mr Lawrence said. "I knew I had come across something special, but it took a lot of work to find all the information and papers. I needed to get the Guiness Records certificate.

"It's a fascinating story. When you find something like this you try to imagine what they were like, but it's a bit sad because no-one's family has come forward yet."

Graham Lawrence
Graham Lawrence a cerfiticate from the Guinness Book of Records

The retired local government worker said it was remarkable the couple had enjoyed such longevity, given the average life expectancy at the time.

Mr Lawrence said he found the couple had 17 grandchildren and around 30 great-grandchildren and had lived in Foundry Row, Cwmbran.

He said Mr Morgan had been described as an "outdoor worker" and was involved in the Chartist movement.

A spokeswoman for Guinness World Records said Mr Morgan was born in Llantrisant on 14 May, 1786. He married Elizabeth, born in Caerleon on 17 January, 1786, in Caerleon in May 1809.

They were married for a total of 81 years, 260 days, until Mrs Morgan's death on 19 January, 1891.

Mrs Morgan had turned 105 years just two days before, and her husband was aged 104 years, 260 days. Their combined ages added up to 209 years, 262 days.

Mr Thomas died on 29 January 29, 1893, aged 106 years 270 days, and was buried alongside his wife.

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