James, John and Edward HALL

“HALL, JAMES, JOHN, AND EDWARD, three brothers, were the sons of Christopher Breese Hall, tanner and farmer, Newtown, and Hester his wife. The Hall family appear to have come to Newtown early in the 18th century from Trefeglwys, where they had been settled for some generations. James HALL was born December 8th, 1818; JOHN on January 13th, 1823; and EDWARD April 5th, 1825. James and John became flannel manufacturers, and for some years carried on business at Newtown and afterwards at Holywell, having been compelled to leave Newtown for a time in consequence of the hostility of the operatives to the introduction of steam power and improved machinery. After some years they returned to Newtown, about the year 1868, and carried on business separately up to their death, James as a manufacturer and fuller, and John as a wool merchant and farmer. Edward was brought up to the medical profession, and studied at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, for some years under Dr. Burrows. Among the lecturers were Dr. Bailey, who became physician to the Queen, and Dr. (now Sir James) Paget, who became sergeant-surgeon to the Queen. For three years he held the appointment of surgeon to Millbank Prison, Dr. Bailey being physician. The latter and Sir James Paget had the very highest opinion of Mr. Hall’s abilities, and strongly advised him to set up in practice in London, but preferring to exercise his talents in his native country he settled at Newtown about the year 1849, and from that time imtil his death was actively engaged in his profession there. The three brothers for 40 years and upwards took an active part in all the public movements, local and political, of their time, especially such as tended to promote the social improvement and well-being of their fellow-townsmen. They were throughout life Nonconformists and strong and energetic Liberals, and, being highly gifted as public speakers, their services were in great request at public meetings, and were freely given. James was for years a member of the School Board, and a member and subsequently Chairman of the Highway Board and Board of Guardians. John was also for some time a member of the Highway Board, Local Board, and Board of Guardians. Edward was for many years medical officer of the Llanllwchaiarn District of the Newtown and Llanidloes Union, and for some time a member and Chairman of the Local Board. Upon the death of Dr. Slyman in April, 1869, he was elected unopposed to the office of coroner for the Newtown division of the county, an office which he continued to hold up to his death. He was placed on the Commission of the Peace, but never acted. John Hall died June 16th, 1882, aged 59 years, and was buried at St. David’s Churchyard, Newtown, but his remains were subsequently removed to the Cemetery, where a handsome monument of polished Aberdeen granite had already been erected by subscription to his memory. James Hall died March 24th, 1888, aged 69 years, and Edward Hall on June 11th, 1889, aged 64 years. Both were buried in the Newtown Cemetery. Only five or six weeks before his death James Hall was the recipient of a public testimonial in the shape of a cheque for £126 in acknowledgment of his “life-long public services and sacrifices especially on behalf of Liberalism.” The three brothers died unmarried. In their various spheres they were especially kind to the poor, and watchful over their interests and comfort. With rare unselfishness they, indeed, always placed the interests of their fellow-citizens before their own, often to the detriment of the latter. The words inscribed on John Hall’s monument may with equal truth be applied also to his two brothers. Each of them was truly “a stern foe to oppression and wrong, an unselfish defender of the people’s rights, a never-failing friend of the poor and helpless, and an earnest advocate of freedom, justice, and progress.””

Taken from: Montgomeryshire Worthies (1894) by Richard Williams

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