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Myddleton, Sir Hugh

Myddleton, Sir Hugh (c.1560–1631). The sixth son of Richard Myddleton, governor of Denbigh castle, and younger brother of Thomas, the much-married lord mayor of London, Hugh Myddleton was sent to London to train as a goldsmith/banker. Nevertheless he retained his connections with Denbigh and represented the borough in Parliament six times between 1603 and 1628. Interested in cloth-making, engineering, and sea trade, he is best remembered for his entrepreneurial feat of constructing the New River, an artificial waterway created to improve London's water supply. Faced with difficulties from recalcitrant landowners and political opponents, the scheme eventually necessitated financial rescue by the king himself. It was completed by 1613, but the New River Company paid no dividends until 1633, and prospered only after 1640. In recognition of Myddleton's engineering skill and enterprise, James I confirmed his lease of the mines royal in Cardiganshire, and created him a baronet in 1622.

A. S. Hargreaves

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