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Sugden, Jonas
1800-1857

Worth Valley worsted spinner. He was one of eight children of John Sugden (1767-1839), who had begun his worsted spinning business about 1790, being in partnership with James Hey until 1824. Jonas initially began selling cloth in the Bradford market and the firm became Jonas Sugden & Son after his father’s death. The business acquired a number of mills in the district, an early one being Lower Providence Mills, Oakworth, near Keighley (built 1806 and later owned by George Hattersley, but demolished in 1984), and also Vale Mills in 1844.

Jonas was a staunch WM and a local preacher in the Keighley Circuit and became known as ‘The Walking Bible’. Strongly paternalistic, he encouraged Sunday school work, gave help to the poor and supported a sick club, but would not employ ‘gamblers, drinkers and people who had fallen into sin’. The firm gave £100 annually to the WM Missionary Society, in addition to individual family donations.

Jonas’s younger brother was William Sugden (1808-1877; e.m. 1836), who on retirement from the ministry returned to live at Oakworth. Their sister Sarah Sugden became the second wife of Isaac Holden in 1850 and subsequently the Sugden business became part of the extensive Holden business empire. The Sugden family home was Oakworth House and Holden lavished vast expense from the 1870s on replacing the Sugden house with a new one with rich, ornate, Italianate interiors. On the Holdens' deaths it stood empty and was subsequently demolished, although the grounds are now a public park. Adjacent to the house was the Oakworth WM chapel opened in 1858 and replaced by the present building in 1960.

Sources

  • R. Spence Hardy, Commerce and Christianity: Memorials of Jonas Sugden of Oakworth House (London & Edinburgh, 1858)
  • John Hodgson, Textile Manufacturers, and other industries in Keighley (Keighley, 1879)
  • K.T., The Story of Oakworth Methodism (1972)

Entry written by: DCD
Category: Person

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