HOMFRAY, Samuel (?1762-1822), of Penydarren Place, Merthyr, Glam. and Coworth Park, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. ?1762, 5th s. of Francis Homfray, ironmaster, of Wollaston Hall, Worcs. by 2nd w. Catherine, da. and coh. of Jeremiah Caswell, ironmaster, of The Hyde, Staffs. m. 8 May 1793, Jane, da. of (Sir) Charles Morgan*, 1st Bt., of Tredegar, Mon., wid. of Capt. Henry Ball, RN, 1s.
Sheriff, Mon. 1813-14.
Maj. commdt. Penydarren vols. 1798.
The youngest son of a resourceful ironmaster, Homfray was associated with his brothers in the pioneer ironworks in South Wales. In 1789 he became sole manager of the Penydarren works; was chief promoter of the Glamorgan canal in 1795; and in 1800 started the Tredegar works on land leased from his father-in-law, Sir Charles Morgan, on whose rumoured elevation to the Lords in 1801 he was earmarked for the borough, and on whose death in 1806 he canvassed the county of Brecon, without success. Until 1813 he was a partner in banks at Newport and Monmouth. In 1818 he offered himself to the open borough of Stafford:
I was born, bred and reared in commerce and trade, and it has always been my study to promote it. I have employed more than 2,000 men for thirty years, but since that cursed corn bill they have been starving and since then it has cost me ... £150 a month to supply them with bread, beef and flour; and, gentlemen, my men never wanted in their lives.1
Returned in second place, Homfray made no mark in Parliament. In February 1819 he was one of the Members who lobbied the premier on behalf of the inland coal interests against the equalization of coal duties. His only surviving votes were with administration on the case of Wyndham Quin*, 29 Mar., and against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May 1819. He did not stand again in 1820. He died 22 May 1822, in his 61st year.2 He was probably the ‘Mr H.’ who harassed Wilberforce on a coach journey, 13 Nov. 1816, and ‘with stentorian voice left me no peace till his whole tale was told. Inventor of tram roads, founder of all great iron works in Monmouthshire, etc.’3