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Myddelton

MYDDELTON (or MIDDLETON), SIR HUGH, BART. (c. 1560- 1631), contractor of the New River scheme for supplying London with water, was a younger son of Sir Richard Myddelton, governor of Denbigh Castle. Hugh became a successful London goldsmith, occupying a shop in Bassihaw, or Basinghall Street; he made money by commercial ventures on the Spanish main, being associated in these with Sir Walter Raleigh; and he was also interested in cloth-making. He was an alderman, and then recorder of Denbigh, and was member of parliament for this borough from 1603 to 1628. In 1609 Myddelton took over from the corporation of London the projected scheme for supplying the city with water obtained from springs near Ware, in Hertfordshire. For this purpose he made a canal about 10 ft. wide and 4 ft. deep and over 38 m. in length, which discharged its waters into a reservoir at Islington called the New River Head. The completion of this great undertaking put a severe strain upon Myddelton 's financial resources, and in 1612 he was successful in securing monetary assistance from James I. The work was completed in 1613 and Myddelton was made the first governor of the company, which, however, was not a financial success until after his death. In recognition of his services he was made a baronet in 1622. Myddelton was also engaged in working some lead and silver mines in Cardiganshire and in reclaiming a piece of the Isle of Wight from the sea. He died on the loth of December 1631, and was buried in the church of St Matthew, Friday Street, London. He had a family of ten sons and six daughters.

One of Sir Hugh's brothers was Sir Thomas Myddelton (c. 1550-1631), lord mayor of London, and another was William Myddelton (c. 1556-1621), poet and seaman, whc died at Antwerp on the 27th of March 1621.

Sir Thomas was a member of parliament under Queen Elizabeth and was chosen lord mayor on the 20th of September 1613, the day fixed for the opening of the New River. Under James I. and Charles I. he represented the city of London in parliament, and he helped Rowland Heylyn to publish the first popular edition of the Bible in Welsh. He died on the 12th of August 1631. Sir Thomas's son and heir, Sir Thomas Myddelton (1586-1666), was a member of the Long Parliament, being an adherent of the popular party. After the outbreak of the Civil War he served in Shropshire and in north Wales, gaining a signal success over the royalists at Oswestry in July 1644, and another at Montgomery in the following September. In 1659, however, he joined the rising of the royalists under Sir George Booth, and in August of this year he was forced to surrender his residence, Chirk Castle. His eldest son, Thomas (d. 1663), was made a baronet in 1660, a dignity which became extinct when William the 4th baronet died in 1718.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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