HUGHES, MICHAEL (1752 - 1825), industrialist

Name: Michael Hughes
Date of birth: 1752
Date of death: 1825
Spouse: Ellen Hughes (née Pemberton)
Spouse: Mary Hughes (née Johnson)
Parent: Mary Hughes (née Jones)
Parent: Hugh Hughes
Gender: Male
Occupation: industrialist
Area of activity: Business and Industry
Author: William Llewelyn Davies

of Sherdley House (or Hall) in the township of Sutton, Prescot, Lancashire; born 13 May 1752, the youngest of the three sons of Hugh Hughes (1706 - 1774), Lleiniog, near Beaumaris, and his wife, Mary, daughter of Rowland Jones, Carreg y farian, Anglesey - Michael Hughes was therefore a brother of Edward Hughes, cleric, who became prosperous as the result of his becoming the owner (through his wife) of part of the land on which the Parys mountain copper mine, Anglesey, was to be established a little later - see the articles on H. R. Hughes (1827 - 1911), Kinmel, and Thomas Williams (1737 - 1802), Llanidan. He married (1) 3 November 1788, Mary, daughter of the Rev. William Bellingham Johnson, Prescot, Lancashire, and (2) 21 January 1808, Ellen, daughter of John Pemberton, Sutton Place, Lancs.

Much new information about the career of Michael Hughes has lately been made available as the result of the intensive study of the Sherdley Papers by J. R. Harris - see his article in Transactions of the Hist. Soc. of Lancs. and Cheshire (Liverpool, 1950). In that article is described the connection between the Welsh copper-mining industry and the Lancashire smelting industry, and also, particularly in connection with the work of Thomas Williams (above) with Swansea and Cornwall; there is also much information given about the investments and other financial activities of Michael Hughes. By 1780 Hughes had taken up residence at Sutton Lodge as general manager of two Lancashire companies - the Stanley Works and the one called Ravenhead, receiving also a salary from the Parys Company; he was, later, admitted a partner in the Parys Company and he had a share in the Greenfield (Flintshire) Copper and Brass Company. For further details as to the various mining and financial interests of Hughes and their influence upon the course of the Industrial Revolution in England and Wales generally, the reader is referred to the article already mentioned - his interests in sloops and other vessels carrying coal and ore to and from Amlwch (e.g. the Amlwch Shipping Company), in the Amlwch Brewery Company, in Lancashire canals and collieries, in lime burning, in the sale of slag from his copper works, in quarries, in brick making, in the Bootle Bottle Company; he also made numerous loans to other Lancashire industrialists, e.g. to textile manufacturers and to landowners, including the first Sir Robert Peel. After the year 1797 he was buying land on an extensive scale, whilst from 1803 to 1806 he was engaged in building Sherdley House and in agricultural improvements. A very busy man - he was the partner of Thomas Williams in some of that very busy man's many concerns, and the friend of John Wilkinson - he managed also to find time to be one of the most active magistrates in the S. Helens area and to serve as a deputy-lieutenant of Lancashire. A portrait of him, painted c. 1810, is reproduced in the article mentioned above. He died 2 May 1825.


Published date: 1959

Article Copyright:

The Dictionary of Welsh Biography is provided by The National Library of Wales and the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies. It is free to use and does not receive grant support. A donation would help us maintain and improve the site so that we can continue to acknowledge Welsh men and women who have made notable contributions to life in Wales and beyond.

Find out more on our sponsorship page.