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British Industrial History

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Richard Fothergill

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Richard Fothergill (1758-1821), a builder of Clapham, Yorkshire, and later an ironmaster in South Wales.

Fothergill was attracted to South Wales by its mineral prospects. He or his brother, John Fothergill (1763-1828), established a small ironworks in the Forest of Dean and was later connected with the iron-works at Tredegar and Sirhowy[1]

1789 Birth of eldest son Richard Fothergill (1789-1851)

1791 Birth of second son Thomas Fothergill (1791-1858)

1794 Birth of son Rowland Fothergill (1794-1871)

1794 Became a partner in the Sirhowy Iron Works with Matthew Monkhouse and another.

1800 Joined Samuel Homfray at Tredegar

1801-1806 Corresponded with Boulton and Watt about engines for Tredegar and Sirhowy (see below), one item of which is recorded in the selected correspondence[2]

1804 Witnessed the agreement between the Tappendens and Messrs. Scale of the Aberdare Iron Co, owners of the Llwydcoed iron-works, for the use of the tramway to connect their works with the Neath Canal.

1807 Witnessed the deed dissolving the partnership in the Abernant Ironworks, when they were taken over by Messrs. Tappenden.

His knowledge and ability were utilized by Messrs. Tappenden, owners of the Abernant Ironworks. He soon acquired great influence in the management and welfare of the Abernant works in addition to those of Tredegar and Sirhowy. He prepared the way for his son, Rowland Fothergill, to acquire the control and later the proprietorship of the works at Llwydcoed and Abernant.

At some point after 1814, Rowland Fothergill gained a controlling influence in the Aberdare works as well as acquiring the works at Abernant but he was often at cross purposes with the Scales family who owned Llwydcoed.

1817 Richard Fothergill retired from the Tredegar management

1818 At the end of the Sirhowy works lease, he had intended to renew the lease but it was given without his knowledge to Messrs. Harford of Ebbw Vale. Fothergill removed all his plant and severed all connection with Sirhowy.

1818 He had iron-works at Pont-hir, near Caerleon; he lived for a short time at Back Hall, Caerleon.

Thomas his second son succeeded him at the Pont-hir iron-works.

1846 After a costly lawsuit, the whole of Aberdare Ironworks were put to auction; Rowland Fothergill acquired them and with his able management soon amassed considerable riches, and retired to Hensol Castle, near Cowbridge.

Richard Fothergill (1822-1903), eldest son of Richard Fothergill (1789-1851) succeeded his uncle as manager of the Aberdare Ironworks. He had acquired extensive knowledge of all the processes involved in the manufacture of iron and in the production of coal. Later he became proprietor of the works.




RICHARD FOTHERGILL, Tredegar and Sirhowy Iron Works 1801—1806[3]

Richard Fothergill, iron merchant of South Wales, sent several letters to Boulton and Watt in the period 1801 to 1806. Fothergill and Samuel Homfray had interests in the Sirhowy Iron Works near Abergevanny, and the Tredegar Iron Works. A 20 horse power engine was purchased for Sirhowy in 1799 - some letters refer to repairs being made to this engine.

Other letters from Fothergill concerned the engines for Tredegar, a blowing engine with a 40 inch cylinder, which was purchased in 1801, and a crank engine which was originally intended to power either a forge or a rolling mill. The firm originally ordered a 45 horse power engine but changed the order to a 56 hp engine c.January 1803. The engine was not erected until 1806, as the firm initially refused to take it, threatening to erect a Trevithick engine instead. The engine lay at Gloucester until May 1805, then it was moved to Newport, but attempts to sell it came to nothing. Richard Fothergill wrote on 25 May 1805 saying that they proposed to put up the engine if a customer could not be found, and by November the engine house was under construction.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Welsh Biography Online [1]
  2. Selected Papers of Boulton and Watt by J. Tann
  3. Boulton and Watt correspondence [2]
  • Welsh Biography Online [3]