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British Industrial History

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Samuel Homfray

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Samuel Homfray (1762-1822), was an English industrialist associated with the iron industry in South Wales.

1762 Samuel was the youngest son of a successful iron-master, Francis Homfray and his second wife, Catherine; he was brother of Jeremiah Homfray.

1780s With his two brothers, Jeremiah and Thomas, he began the Penydarren Ironworks

In 1784 they transferred their lease from Anthony Bacon (with whom they had quarrelled) to David Tanner, and set up the works on the banks of the river Morlais, building a mansion, Penydarren House, close by.

1789 After years of fierce competition with the Dowlais Ironworks, they began to prosper. Samuel took over as proprietor of the Penydarren works, while Jeremiah moved to Ebbw Vale.

In 1795 the Glamorganshire Canal opened, making transport easier

1793 Samuel Homfray married Mary Jane (d. 1846), widow of Captain Henry Ball RN and the elder daughter of Sir Charles Gould Morgan of Tredegar.

In 1795 Samuel Homfray was the chief promoter of the Glamorgan Canal. While managing the Penydarren Ironworks he worked closely with Richard Crawshay (1739–1810) in improving Henry Cort's puddling process for making wrought iron.

1803 May 2nd. Bought part of the patent of Richard Trevithick

1804 With his brothers Jeremiah and Thomas[1], Samuel won a wager with Richard Crawshay as to which of them could first build a locomotive to haul a load; Homfray employed Richard Trevithick for this purpose - see Richard Trevithick: Merthyr Tramroad Trial

1813 he left the Penydarren Iron Company to concentrate his resources on developing the Tredegar Iron Works in Monmouthshire. Handicapped at Penydarren by a shortage of coal on the property, he faced no such problems when he built his new works. By 1823 Tredegar had five furnaces in blast, producing over 16,000 tons of iron each year.

1817 Homfray's connection with Penydarren was re-established when his daughter Amelia married one of the works' owners, William Thompson

In 1818 he became MP for Stafford.

1822 After Samuel Homfray's death on 20 May 1822 his sons, Watkin Homfray and Samuel Homfray, Junior, continued to take an active role in the management of the Tredegar Iron Works.

The Homfray family's involvement with the Tredegar ironworks continued until 1868, when the family sold its shares to the Fothergill and Forman families, who were co-partners.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Wikipedia
  • [2] DNB
  • Homfray Family Biography [3]