MOSSFORD – Monumental Masons

James Arthur Mossford 1863 – 1926

Mary Ellen Mossford 1861 – 1915

Maud Ann Mossford 1885 – 1969

James Arthur Mossford was born 1863 in Monks Coppenhall, Crewe he was the son of William Mossford and Jane Catherine Evans. His father was a master mason from Bunbury and his mother had been born in London, he had at least 7 siblings. James Arthur followed his father into the trade and on 27 May 1885 at Overton Church, Flintshire, Mr. James Arthur Mossford, eldest son of Mr. Wm. Mossford, monumental mason, Crewe, married Ellen, youngest daughter of Mr. John Jones, farmer, Overton.

In the Wrexham Advertiser of 21 May 1892 there was an article about a memorial James had created.  It is very beautiful and can still be seen.

OVERTON – Mr James A. Mossford, of this village, has just executed one of the finest specimens of sculpture in North Wales. It has been erected in the Wrexham cemetery, to the memory of Mrs Bowman. It is considered by those competent to judge to be the finest monument in the cemetery. It consists of a life-sized figure of a woman, surmounted on a massive marble pedestal, and surrounded with a marble border stone. The figure is in the attitude of dropping a wreath of flowers on the grave.

Wrexham Advertiser of 21 May 1892
Wrexham Cemetery 26/03/2018

About the same time in May 1892 James and some female friends had a lucky escape. “A most serious trap accident occurred at Overton, Mr James A. Mossford, accompanied by Miss Fanny Jones (Overton) and Miss Maggie Jones (Worthenbury), was driving into Overton from the direction of Worthenbury. When near the Overton Methodist Free Church the horse took fright at a barrow, and jumped on the top of a hedge. The animal then began to kick. Miss Maggie Jones at once jumped out of the trap, but Miss Fanny Jones was badly kicked about the head, and found to be unconscious. She was attended to by Mr Francis Fitzjohn until the arrival of Dr. Gobat. She had to be conveyed home on a stretcher, and on Tuesday morning she was still unconscious. Mr Mossford was hurt about the knees but managed to walk home.”

James and Mary Ellen became very well respected in the village of Overton, and as the wife of a district councillor she also took part in many of the village events. In early 1900 it was announced that the couple were leaving Overton and moving to Wrexham and a notice was placed in the Wrexham Advertiser.

“It is said that Mr Mossford, one of the Overton District Councillors, is about to leave Overton, and take up his abode at Wrexham. It is not flattering Mr Mossford to say that he will be missed very much at Overton. The members of the Primitive Methodist Chapel will have every cause to regret his leaving, for he officiates at the organ, which he himself bought, and it is largely due to his strenuous efforts that the choir is an excellent one in many respects”

In November that year a presentation was made to recognise the good works that they had both had done for the village and the Primitive Methodist cause.

By April 1901 they were in Wrexham and living at 18 Ruabon Road, James was a marble works proprietor. Their nephew Edwin Mossford aged 10 was with them. Edwin was the son of Frederick Thomas Mossford and Lucy Annie Fairbairn.

Edwin was born on 11 February 1891 but sadly his mother died aged 31 and was buried on 28 April 1891 at Coppenhall, Cheshire.

James Arthur was creating many fine memorials and in 1905 the Chester Courant mentioned his work.  

“A beautiful monument has this week been erected over the grave of the late Major H. S. Whalley, F.S.I., in Chester Cemetery. The monument which is of Sicilian marble, is surmounted by a beautifully carved figure of a female weeping at the Cross This splendidly-carved figure reflects great credit upon the sculptor, M. J. A. Mossford, of Wrexham “

Chester Courant 1905

James Arthur and Mary Ellen moved to 30 Ruabon Road and by 1911 they had been married for 25 years but had no children. Edwin was still with them and was an assistant in the business. He became a monumental mason in the family business.

Mary Ellen died on 27 June 1915 and was buried in Wrexham Cemetery. She was quite a wealthy woman and left effects of £2269 2s 7d.

Wrexham Cemetery 25/03/2018

James Arthur Mossford remarried the following year in 1916. His bride was Maud Ann Willcock who was born in 1885 and about 18 years younger.

Maud Ann was the daughter of Philip Willcock the landlord of the Swan Inn, Penybryn. He had been there from at least 1881, her mother was Annie Eleanor Jones, after Phillips death in August 1896 at the age of 47, Annie Eleanor took over the licence and was still there in 1911 with some of her children including Maud Ann. Annie Eleanor died in 1939 aged 84 having retired from the trade.

Mossford Advert 1919

James had become a member of the Freemasons, there are 2 records for him.

James Arthur Mossford. 1910-1921 Square & Compass Lodge.

James Arthur Mossford. 1910-1921 Lodge: Bromfield Lodge.

James Arthur died on 1 October 1926 aged 63 at the War Memorial Hospital. Maud Ann and Edwin were still in 30 Ruabon Road in 1939, also listed in the register were Hilda Mossford born in 1917 and Arthur Philip Mossford born in 1921.

Maud Ann remained there until her death in January 1969 aged 83 when she was buried with her husband.

Researched by Annette Edwards. January 2019.

Wrexham Cemetery 21/03/2018

Grave ref: Wrexham Cemetery E-01143