John Josiah Guest

Sir Josiah John Guest, 1st Baronet, known as John Josiah Guest, (2 February 1785 – 26 November 1852) was a Welsh engineer and entrepreneur.

Josiah John Guest
1st Baronet of Dowlais
Baronet of Dowlais
PredecessorTitle created
SuccessorIvor Bertie Guest, 2nd Baronet
Born2 February 1785
Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales
Died(1852-11-26)26 November 1852
BuriedSt John's Church
SpouseMaria Rankin
Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Bertie
FatherThomas Guest
MotherJemima Revel Phillips
OccupationPeerage of England

Early life

Josiah John Guest was born on 2 February 1785 in Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. He was the son of Thomas Guest (d. 1807), a partner in the Dowlais Iron Company, and Jemima Revel Phillips. Guest was educated at Bridgnorth Grammar School and Monmouth School.[1]


In 1838, Guest was created a baronet, of Dowlais in the County of Glamorgan.[2][3] After his death in 1852, he was succeeded by his eldest son, who was elevated to the peerage in 1880 as Baron Wimborne, of Canford Magna in the County of Dorset, on Disraeli's initiative.[4]


After attending school, he learned the trade of ironmaking in his father's foundry at the hands of works manager, John Evans. Guest was renowned for his ability to roll a bar of steel or cut a tram of coal as well as any of his father's workmen.[1] On his father's death in 1807, John inherited his share of the company and developed the business, becoming sole owner of the works in 1815. On his death, the Dowlais Iron Company having become the largest producer of iron in the world.[2]

Guest was elected Member of Parliament for Honiton, Devon in 1825, holding the seat until defeated by Sir George Warrender in 1831. In 1832, he became the first MP for Merthyr Tydfil.[2]


His public works included a school at Dowlais, designed by Sir Charles Barry. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He was the first chairman of the Taff Vale Railway.[2]


In August 1840, he was appointed Master of Loyal Cambrian Lodge, No. 110 in Merthyr Tydfil.[5]

Personal life

On 11 March 1817, he married Maria Rankin but their marriage was short lived, Maria dying just nine months later in January 1818. On 29 July 1833, he subsequently married Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Bertie (1812–1895), daughter of Albemarle Bertie, 9th Earl of Lindsey. Together, they had five sons and five daughters, including:

Guest died in 1852 and was buried in an iron coffin under a red granite slab in the local St John's Church, which had been built for him in 1827.[9]

After his death, his widow married Charles Schreiber (1826–1884) in 1855.[8] Schreiber was an academic who had been Ivor's tutor in 1852. He was known for being a fine arts collector and Conservative Party politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1865 and 1884.[10]


Among his many grandchildren were: Edward Ponsonby, the 8th Earl of Bessborough, Granville Eliot (1867–1942) and Montague Eliot (1870–1960), who became the 7th and 8th Earls of St Germans, respectively.[11] There was also Frances Guest (1869–1957), known as Lady Chelmsford, who married Frederic Thesiger, 1st Viscount Chelmsford, who served as Viceroy of India, Ivor Churchill Guest (1873–1939), who became 1st Viscount Wimborne, Christian Henry Charles Guest (1874–1957), a Liberal Member of Parliament "MP", Frederick "Freddie" Edward Guest (1875–1937), another Liberal MP, and Oscar Montague Guest (1888–1958), who was both a Liberal, and later, a Conservative MP.[6]


  1. Vaughan (1975) p.13
  2. John (2004)
  3. "No. 19631". The London Gazette. 3 July 1838. p. 1488.
  4. "No. 24838". The London Gazette. 27 April 1880. p. 2725.
  5. "FREEMASONRYATMERTHYR - The Merthyr Express". Harry Wood Southey. 1 October 1910. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  6. "Sir Josiah John Guest, 1st Bt". Retrieved 26 August 2007.
  7. Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Montague Guest
  8. Lady Layard's Journal: Background
  9. Sophie Gidley (16 February 2015). "Former church for sale in Merthyr Tydfil with stunning stained glass window, a Donny Osmond link - and an auction guide price of just £50,000". Wales Online. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  10. "Schreiber, Charles (SCRR843C)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  11. Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Peregrine Cust
Samuel Crawley
Member of Parliament for Honiton
With: Harry Baines Lott 1826–1830
Sir George Warrender, Bt 1830–1831
Succeeded by
Harry Baines Lott
Sir George Warrender, Bt
New constituency Member of Parliament for Merthyr Tydfil
Succeeded by
Henry Bruce
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Dowlais) 
Succeeded by
Ivor Guest
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