Nat Gould

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Nathaniel Wright 1762-1818

Nathaniel Wright
Born: 1762 Crich, Derbyshire
Died: 1818 Marple, Cheshire
John Wright 1718-1777
Mary Hall 1734-1814
Thomas Wright 1757-1783
Joseph Wright 1761–1764
Mary Wright 1766-1884
Susannah Wright 1766-1800
Ann Wright 1767-1804
Sarah Wright 1769-1796
Samuel Wright 1773-1805
Stephen Watt Wright 1775-
Mary Wheeldon 1768-1804
Elizabeth Harris 1783-
By Mary Wheeldon:
Mary Wright 1798-1812
John Wright 1800-1866

Nathaniel Wright was born at Crich in Derbyshire in 1762, the son of John Wright 1718-1777 and his wife nee Mary Hall 1734-1814, and was baptised there on 11 November 1762.

He married three times, but the identity of his first wife is uncertain (1).

On 22 July 1797 he married as his second wife Mary Wheeldon 1768-1804 at Earl Sterndale (2). She was born in 1768, the daughter of John Wheeldon 1738-1769 and his wife nee Hannah Needham. She was baptised on 8 October 1768 at Earl Sterndale in Derbyshire. They had the following children:

Mary Wright. She was born in about 1798. She died on 13 July 1812 and was buried on 17 July 1811 at Crich.

John Wright. He was baptised on 6 February 1801 at Wirksworth in Derbyshire. He died on 5 November 1866 at Brabyns Hall, Marple in Cheshire.

Mary Wright nee Wheeldon died in 1804.

Her widower married Elizabeth Harris at Lower Seal (Netherseal) in Leicestershire (3) on 7 September 1814, the only daughter of William and Mary Harris of that place. She was baptised at Netherseal on 9 November 1783.

Nathaniel Wright had a long connection with the coal mines at Poynton in Cheshire from at least 1793, and from the following year also negotiated to lease mines at nearby Norbury and Middlewood. In 1795 he installed a pumping engine at his collieries built by Bateman & Sherratt, owners of the Salford Iron Works founded by James Bateman in 1773. Nathaniel Wright was associated with some of the most influential engineers and mining and canal entrepreneurs including Samuel Oldknow and Benjamin Outram among a large circle of friends (4), the latter preparing estimates for his proposed canal from Norbury into Stockport to supply the demand there for coal. This project was later converted into a proposed extension of the Peak Forest Canal to Macclesfield, but later abandoned, replaced by the Macclesfield Canal (5). His ownership of interests in coal mines or lime works at Werneth, Stockport and Hyde in Cheshire and Heaton Norris, Haughton, Denton and Manchester in Lancashire are also mentioned in his Will.

In 1800 Nathaniel Wright bought Brabyns Hall and its surrounding estate at Marple in Cheshire, and expanded and developed it. He planned a cotton mill there, constructing a weir on the river Goyt to supply water for powering it, but unfortunately the scheme proved impractical and the weir became known as Wright's Folly. The ornamental stone Scroll Bridge was also constructed. as well as a remarkable cast iron bridge made by Thomas Sherratt at the Salford Iron Works in 1813 to carry a carriage road to the estate (6). In 1803 Nathaniel Wright was commissioned Captain-Commandant of the Poynton, Worth, Norbury and Bullock Smithy (7) Volunteers. He was a keen horticulturalist, winning gold medals for his forestry planting (8).

By 1810 he was leasing all the collieries at Poynton, and in the following year took a partner William Clayton, who already had coal mines in he district, and on his death in 1816 his grandson William Clayton took over as partner.

Seal and signature on his Will

Seal and signature on his Will

Nathaniel Wright died on 16 July 1818 aged 58 years, and was buried on 23 July 1818 at Marple. His Will dated 29 November 1817 was proved in Stockport on 7 November 1818 and in London on 25 February 1819 by his executors the Reverend Charles Prescot the younger of Stockport, Matthew Ellison of Glossop Hall and Jonathan Woodhouse of Overseal. His properties, including a new mansion house still unfinished at Netherseal, and his business interests were inherited by his son John Wright. A marble memorial was placed on the south wall of the nave in All Saints' church, subsequently removed to the bell tower of the church when the nave was demolished in 1969.

John Wright sold his inherited share the colliery leases, plant and equipment on 1 January 1826 to William Clayton. He died on 5 November 1866 at Brabyns Hall.

Notes and References

(1) His first wife may have been Hester Ward, married on 16 September 1779 at Ashover in Derbyshire.
(2) "DERBY, AUGUST 2. MARRIED. Thursday se'nnight, at Earl Sterndale, in this county, Nathaniel Wright, Esq. of Poynton, in Cheshire, to Miss Wheeldon, of Haslin house, near Buxton." Derby Mercury 3 August 1797.
(3) Until 1897 Netherseal, which parish included Overseal, was in Leicestershire, but was then transferred to Derbyshire.
(4) In his Will he left "a sum adequate for the purpose of purchasing mourning rings" for "Mr and Mrs Hudson, Sir John Dickinson Fowler, Joseph Pyecroft Esquire of Burton-on-Trent, William Harris of Overseal Esquire, Samuel Oldknow of Mellor Esquire, Thomas Claughton Haddock Lodge Esquire, James Antrobus Newton of Cheadle Heath Esquire, James Newton of Heaton Norris Esquire, George William Newton of Taxall Esquire, William Crowther of Bredbury Esquire, Samuel Frith of Bank Esquire, Thomas Brown of Disley, Thomas Marriott and Mr William Clayton of Worth, Mr Garrett of Poynton, and Dr Bellott and John Harrop of Stockport gentleman".
(5) A detailed history of the coal mines in Poynton and its surroundings, together with an account of the landowners and the social conditions of the workers, is given in Poynton a Coalmining Village; Social, Transport and Industry 1700-1939 W.H. Shercliffe. D.A. Kitching and J.M. Ryan (revised edition 1990). The section in this excellent book dealing with the connection with Nathaniel Wright is on pages 15-16, his purchase of the pumping engine from Bateman & Sherratt on page 25, the proposed canal on pages 37-38 and 42, and the building of workers' cottages on page 66.
(6) Although these features still survive, having been carefully restored, the hall itself was demolished in 1952.
(7) Bullock Smithy is now renamed Hazel Grove.
(8) An excellent history of Brabyns Hall and its estate, together with an account of the life of Nathaniel Wright, and of the Salford Iron Works, are given in The Iron Bridge in Brabyns Park: a Brief History of the Park, the Iron Bridge & the People involved in its Construction by Mark Whittaker and Peter Clarke (2006). An online version is at