Francis Homfray (1725-1798)
Francis Homfray (7 September 1725 – 1798) was an English industrialist and one of the founders of the iron industry in South Wales.
Homfray, whose family were originally from Yorkshire, had been successful in the iron trade in Coalbrookdale, Staffordshire, and made his home at Wollaston Hall, Worcestershire.
1751 He married Hannah Popkin of Coytrahen, near Bridgend, Glamorgan.
1749 Francis Homfray and Richard Jordan, both of Staffordshire, leased "a water corn grist mill called Velin Griffith and a forge in the parish of Whitchurch" - probably there was an ironworks on the site before then.
After Hannah's death in 1754, Francis married in 1756 Catherine (d. 1766), the daughter of Jeremiah Caswell, one of the principal iron manufacturers operating on the River Stour.
1782 Homfray leased an ironworks from Anthony Bacon, to be used mainly for manufacturing weapons and ammunitions.
His son Francis Homfray (1757-1809), of The Hyde, married Mary Pidcock in 1778, and their two elder daughters married into the Crawshay family. Another son, Jeston Homfray (1752–1816), married Sarah Pidcock in 1776. The 2 sons continued to be involved in the Midlands iron industry, operating a series of forges and mills along the River Stour.
1784 Homfray complained that he was not receiving sufficient metal and tapped Bacon's furnace at Cyfarthfa. A quarrel ensued and, in October, Homfray assigned his lease to David Tanner of Monmouth.
Francis Homfray worked the forge and mill until March 1786. However, after a disagreement with Bacon over the supply of iron, he gave up the lease of the Cyfarthfa property.
Francis encouraged two of his other sons - Samuel Homfray (1762–1822), who was born on 16 February 1762, and Jeremiah Homfray (1759–1833), born on 16 February 1759 - to lease land at Penydarren and build an ironworks. Their brother Thomas Homfray (1760–1825) and members of the Forman family invested in the Pen-y-darren ironworks at Merthyr Tydfil.
1798 Francis Homfray died