Bradford People: John Hodder Moggridge


Ancliff Square, AvoncliffJohn Hodder Moggridge (1771-1834) was born in Bradford, son of clothier John Moggridge, whose father Michael had come from Topsham, Devon. The Moggridges were in partnership with other clothiers, including the Yerburys and John Hodder’s mother Ann was from that family. They were also, like the Yerburys, involved in the Unitarian Grove Chapel in Conigre Hill. In partnership with Thomas Joyce at Avoncliff Mill, Westwood in the early 1790s, he built what is now called Ancliff Square, probably for housing their workers.

He married Sarah Jeffries at Kidderminster, Worcestershire, who had a fortune of £20,000 and by 1810 Joyce had formed a new partnership, having presumably bought out Moggridge’s share.

In the early years of the 19th century Moggridge had become a member of the landed gentry and was living in Dymock, Gloucestershire, where he had inherited an estate after his father’s death in 1803, and he served as Sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1809. He sold up in 1812 and moved to South Wales, where he lived for the rest of his life, although he chaired the Unitarian Annual Meeting at Trim Street Chapel in Bath in 1819 and was Provincial Grand Master of Bristol Freemasons from 1820 to 1830.

He is mainly known for his work in trying to improve the lot of the working class in the South Wales Coalfield by his campaigning, by founding the towns of Blackwood and Ynnysddu in Monmouthshire to provide better living conditions for poor workers and by standing for Parliament against powerful hereditary interests.

He had an interest in natural history and geology, which was inherited by his children and grandchildren. His son Matthew (1803-1882) was a Fellow of the Linnean, Geological and Zoological Societies and married a daughter of Lewis Weston Dillwyn, the Swansea industrialist and another amateur naturalist. Their son John Traherne Moggridge (1842-1874) was an entomologist and botanist and corresponded with Charles Darwin.


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