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British Industrial History

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William Crawshay (1788-1867)

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William Crawshay II (1788-1867), was the son of William Crawshay, the owner of Cyfarthfa Ironworks in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales.

1788 Born. He had two brothers and two sisters.

1810 Manager of his father's ironworks at Cyfarthfa near Merthyr Tudful, at that time the world's largest. He became known as the 'Iron King'.

1808 He married first Elizabeth, the daughter of Francis Homfray (1757-1809) of the Hyde, a member of the Midland iron-making dynasty. They had three sons; Elizabeth died in 1813 giving birth to a daughter.

1815 Crawshay married for a second time Isabel, the daughter of James Thompson of Grayrigg, Westmorland. Her uncle William Thompson MP, Lord Mayor of London in 1828, was a partner in the Penydarren Ironworks at Merthyr, and her uncle Robert Thompson was the proprietor of the Tintern Abbey Ironworks in Monmouthshire. Isabel died in 1827, having given birth to two sons and seven daughters.

1828 Crawshay married for a third time to Isabella (d. 1885), the sister of Thomas Johnson, a partner in the Bute Ironworks in the Rhymni valley, and they had a daughter.

He was responsible for the building of Cyfarthfa Castle in the 1820s and also of the present Caversham Park in Oxfordshire (now Berkshire) in 1850.

1838 William Crawshay of Cyfarthfa Ironwork became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]

1847 Retired to Caversham

1867 August 4th. Died.

It had once been his intention that the Cyfarthfa works should pass to his eldest son, William (b. 1810), but this son was drowned crossing the Severn in 1839. Crawshay's other sons from his first marriage, Francis (1811–1878) and Henry (1812–1879), had been provided with iron and coal estates of their own, at Trefforest in Glamorgan and Cinderford in the Forest of Dean respectively. The Cyfarthfa estate therefore passed to the elder son of his second marriage, Robert Thompson Crawshay (1817–1879).

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Wikipedia
  • Homfray Family Biography, ODNB
  • Personal communication from Christopher Homfray