The Fothergill family were from Kendal, County Westmoreland, and the adjoining County of Cumberland, like other ironmasters who came south to the Merthyr District, like Anthony Bacon and the Thompson’s etc.
The first Fothergill’s to travel southwards were two brothers one of the established a small ironworks in the Forest of Dean, and was later connected with the ironworks at Tredegar and Sirhowy they were:
- Richard Fothergill of Lowbridge House, Kendal, and of Caerleon, Monmouthshire, J.P. He was born in 1758, married in 1788, and died 1821, and left issue, see below.
- John Fothergill of Bedwellty, Monmouthshire. Born in 1763, married Mary Monkhouse a daughter of an ironmaster in the district, he died in 1826, leaving issue.
The above Richard Fothergill I, J.P., (1758-1821), became a builder at Clapham, in the County of Surrey and was attracted to the South Wales District by its mineral prospects. In 1794 he became partner in the Sirhowy Ironworks with Mathew Monkhouse and another partner.
He speedily became a powerful ironmaster. In 1800, he joined Samuel Homfray at Tredegar. He retired from the Tredegar management in 1817. On the termination of the lease of Sirhowy Works in 1818, which he had intended to renew, but which was given without his knowledge to Messrs. Harford, of Ebbw Vale, he removed all plant and severed connection with Showy.
In 1818 he had ironworks at Ponthir, near Caerleon, and lived for a short time at Back Hall, Caerleon. His knowledge and ability were utilised by the Messrs. Tappenden the owners of the Abernant Ironworks, Aberdare. He witnessed the Agreement signed by between them and the Messrs. Scale of the Aberdare Iron Company, the owners of the Llwydcoed Ironworks, in 1804, for the use of the Tramway to connect to their works with the Neath Canal. In 1807, he witnessed the deed and appears to have acted as mediator at the dissolution of partnership in the Abernant works in 1807, when they were taken over by the Messrs. Tappenden from Jeremiah Homfray and James Birch the founders. He soon acquired great influence in the management and welfare of the Abernant works in addition to those of Tredegar and Sirhowy, and prepared the way for his son Rowland to acquire the control and later the proprietorship of the great works at Llwydcoed and Abernant.
His second son, Thomas Fothergill, also of Lowbridge House, and of Caerleon, succeeded at the Ponthir Ironworks. He was J.P., and High Sheriff of Monmouth, (1791-1858).
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