Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect and developer, of Dublin. John Ensor, who was born in Coventry in 1715, was a son of JOB ENSOR  JOB ENSOR and his wife Mary and the elder half-brother of GEORGE ENSOR. GEORGE ENSOR. (1)  The family must have moved to Ireland between George's baptism in Coventry at the end of 1724 and 1729, when Job was working on the Parliament House in Dublin.  John Ensor was associated with RICHARD CASTLE  RICHARD CASTLE from 1734 onwards and by 1740 was Castle's clerk and measurer, assisting him at the Trinity College Printing House and the Bishop's Palace at Waterford.(2) He succeeded to Castle's practice after the latter's death in 1751 and supervised the erection of the Rotunda Hospital; he designed the adjoining Round Room or Rotunda, which was to give the hospital its name and which was inspired by the Rotunda in the Ranelagh Gardens in London.(3) In 1751, describing himself as 'a surveyor in building', he gave evidence to the House of Commons committee which examined expenditure on barrack building in connection with his having acted as contractor for the barracks at Carrick-on-Shannon; he had also taken bribes for recommending a contractor for the barracks at Roscommon, Kilkenny, Clonmel and Cashel. In January 1752 he was found guilty of 'gross prevarication' in his evidence and was committed to Newgate gaol.(4)

During the 1760s, 1770s and 1780s John Ensor was involved in the development of several new streets in Dublin, including the laying out of Merrion Square, and in the erection of various houses on the north and south sides of the city. He also held the post of 'Inspector' at Trinity College at a salary of £20 per annum.(5) Nearly all his recorded work is in the capital, although he proposed a design for Headfort House, Co. Meath, and was involved, with his brother, in the building of the Sessions House and Market House in Roscommon.(6)

John Ensor was buried on 4 January 1787 in St Peter's churchyard, Dublin.(7) He was a subscriber to Robert Gibson's Treatise of Practical Surveying (Dublin, 1752) and to the First Volume of the Instructions given in the Drawing School established by the Dublin-Society (Dublin, 1769).

Addresses:(8) Fleet Street, 1761-63; Little Green, 1764-75; Milltown Road, 1776-83; 89 Milltown Road, 1784; 89 Charlotte Street, 1785 until death.

See WORKS.



References

Another account of John Ensor's life and works is in the entry on John and George Ensor by Helen Andrews in DIB.  

(1) Information from David Ensor, New Zealand, great-great-great-great grandson of John Ensor (Nov 2010)
(2) Knight of Glin, unpublished thesis on Irish Palladians, 137,176,178,179,181,182,183; he is referred to as 'Mr Castle's Clerk' in TCD MS 1743 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(3) Maurice Craig, Dublin 1660-1860 (1st edition, 1952), 193; receipt among the Rotunda Hospital MSS indicates that Ensor visited London (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(4) House of Commons Index, Barracks No. 8, Vol 5, Appendix lxv (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44); JHCI 5 (17 Jan 1752), 123-4; Appendix (Report from the committee to examine the accounts of the money expended in building…barracks) lxxxvii-lxxxviii (information from Helen Andrews). See also JHCI 5, xci, xcii, cxiv, xcv (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(5) TCD MUN/V/57
(3) (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(6) He was a subscriber to the Rev. John Payne's, Twelve Designs of Country Houses (1757).
(7) Irish Genealogy , www.irishgenealogy. ie (last visited Jun 2010).
(8) From Wilson's Dublin Directory.


32 work entries listed in chronological order for ENSOR, JOHN


Sort by date | Sort alphabetically


Building: CO. TIPPERARY, CARRICK-ON-SUIR, BARRACKS
Date: 1748
Nature: Built by JE while serving as Castle's assistant.
Refs: JHCI V (17 Jan 1752), 123-4; Appendix (Report from the committee to examine the accounts of the money expended in building…barracks) lxxxvii-lxxxviii (information from Helen Andrews); K. Severens, 'A new perspective on Georgian building practice; the rebuilding of St Werburgh's Church, Dublin', BIGS 35 (1992-93), 4

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, KILDARE STREET, NO. 045 (DONERAILE HOUSE)
Date: 1748-53
Nature: JE paid for 'Directing & Drawing Different Designs for finishing the New House in Kildare Street' ?as per agreement of 25 Mar 1748. For Hon. Hayes St Leger (succ. as Viscount Doneraile, 1750).
Refs: 2 ground-floor plans of house as executed, probably by JE, in IAA, Guinness Collection, Acc. 96/068.4/4-5;  signed receipt dated 25 Jun 1753 among unsorted Doneraile MSS in NLI.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, O'CONNELL STREET UPPER, NO. 016
Date: 1749-1754
Nature: JE supervises work on two houses on E side of Sackville Street for Robert Handcock of Waterstown, Co. Westmeath.
Refs: A.P.W. Malcomson, The Clements Architve (Irish Manuscripts Commission, 2010), 266.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, O'CONNELL STREET UPPER, NO. 013
Date: 1749-1754
Nature: JE supervises work on 2 houses on E side of Sackville St for Robert Handcock of Waterstown.
Refs: A.P.W. Malcomson, The Clements Architve (Irish Manuscripts Commission, 2010), 266.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PARNELL STREET, ROTUNDA HOSPITAL
Date: 1750-1757
Nature: Richard Castle's design carried out by JE, with modifications.
Refs: Rotunda Hospital MSS; The Case of Bartholomew Mosse (1755) (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); C.P. Curran, The Rotunda Hospital: its Architects and Craftsmen (Dublin, 1945); The Knight of Glin, 'Richard Castle, architect, his biography and works' in BIGS 7, no. 1 (Jan - Mar 1964), 32-38; D.J. Griffin & S. Lincoln, Drawings from the Irish Architectural Archive (Dublin, 1993), 27; Ian Campbell Ross,, ed., Public Virtue, Public Love; th early years of the Dublin Lying-In Hospital (1986), 23-24,65-66;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005),162-164.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, RATHBEALE HALL (SWORDS)
Date: 1751ca
Nature: Attribution of Palladian wings and front to 'James Ensor' suggested by Cornforth. For Hamilton Gorges.
Refs: J. Cornforth, 'Rathbeale Hall, Co. Dublin', Country Life, 24 Aug 1972, 453

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, RANGER'S OR PHOENIX LODGE
Date: 1752-57
Nature: JE executant architect.
Refs: Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 292-4;  A.P.W. Malcomson, Nathaniel Clements, 1705-77. Politics, fashion and architecture in mid-eighteenth-century Ireland (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2015),126-7.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, KILDARE STREET, NO. 046
Date: 1753
Nature: Subsequently demolished. (According to Casey, this was one of 'a number of houses' built by John and George Ensor in Kildare Street in the mid-1750s.)
Refs: Georgian Society Records (1909-13), IV, 88,91; Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 529..

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PARNELL SQUARE, NORTH SIDE
Date: 1755
Nature: Planned by JE for Dr Bartholomew Mosse, but not opened until 1769.
Refs: Maurice Craig, Dublin 1660-1860 (1st edition, 1952), 141;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005),221.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, WERBURGH STREET, ST WERBURGH'S CHURCH (CI)
Date: 1755
Nature: Supplied estimates and plans (not executed) for reinstatement of roof and interior of church after fire of 1754.
Refs: K. Severens, 'A new perspective on Georgian building practice; the rebuilding of St Werburgh's Church, Dublin', BIGS 35 (1992-93), 4-6

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PARNELL SQUARE, NO. 001
Date: 1756
Nature: Built by JE under lease from Sackville Gardiner of 17 Mar 1756.
Refs: Georgian Society Records (1909-13), III, 102;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 223.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CAVENDISH ROW, NO. 009
Date: 1756a
Nature: Architect said to be 'probably' JE in GSR I but named as Henry Darley in |Georgian Society Records| (1909-13), III. Cf. Craig. For Dr Bartholomew Mosse.
Refs: Georgian Society Records (1909-13), I, 11; Georgian Society Records (1909-13), III, 102; Maurice Craig, Dublin 1660-1860 (1st edition, 1952), 141

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PARNELL SQUARE, NO. 014
Date: 1757
Nature: For Arthur Jones Nevill. (Demolished 1980ca. 4 lunettes by Jacob Ennis, formerly in drawing room, now in NGI and private collection.)
Refs: Georgian Society Records (1909-13), III, 108; information from Kenneth Severens;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 226n.

Building: CO. ROSCOMMON, ROSCOMMON, COURT HOUSE & MARKET HOUSE
Date: 1762
Nature: Agreement with John & George Ensor to build Sessions & Market House in Roscommon. (Former court house above market house collapsed 2 Mar 1719 killing and wounding at least 200 persons, see |Account of how the Courthouse in Roscommon fell down| (1719))
Refs: NLI, MS 10,770 and Ainsworth Report 10 (Pakenham-Mahon) (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44). Did JE also make proposals for Roscommon Court house in 1742? See NLI, PC 436 (1)? (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44)

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, MERRION SQUARE
Date: 1762
Nature: Stated by Ferrar to have been planned by JE (with Ralph Ward), for 6th Viscount Fitzwilliam, but,according to Casey, 'there is no supporting evidence for this claim'.
Refs: IB 20, 15 May 1878, 145, citing J. Ferrar, View of Dublin (1796); Maurice Craig, Dublin 1660-1860 (lst edition, 1952), 190;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 577.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CLARE STREET
Date: 1762ca
Nature: Developed by JE, for 6th Viscount Fitzwilliam.
Refs: Maurice Craig, Dublin 1660-1860 (lst edition, 1952), 190

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, FENIAN ST
Date: 1762ca
Nature: Developed by JE, for 6th Viscount Fitzwilliam.
Refs: Maurice Craig, Dublin 1660-1860 (lst edition, 1952), 190

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, HOLLES ST
Date: 1762ca
Nature: Developed by JE, for 6th Viscount Fitzwilliam.
Refs: IB 20, 15 May 1878, 145, citing J. Ferrar, View of Dublin (1796); Maurice Craig, Dublin 1660-1860 (lst edition, 1952), 190

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PARNELL SQUARE, ROTUNDA GARDENS
Date: 1763
Nature: Orchestra, constructed by Simon Vierpyl under direction of JE.
Refs: Rotunda Hospital MSS; Maurice Craig, Dublin 1660-1860 (lst edition, 1952), 143; Ian Campbell Ross,, ed., Public Virtue, Public Love; th early years of the Dublin Lying-In Hospital (1986), 70,110

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PARNELL SQUARE, NO. 055
Date: 1763p
Nature: New 2-bay house.
Refs: Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 230.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PARNELL STREET (& CAVENDISH ROW), ROTUNDA (ROUND ROOM)
Date: 1764-67
Nature: Erection of Round Room, a plain circular stuccoed building (frieze, blocking course and cornice added in 1787).
Refs: Rotunda Hospital MSS; Maurice Craig, Dublin 1660-1860 (lst edition, 1952), 193-194; Ian Campbell Ross, ed., Public Virtue, Public Love; th early years of the Dublin Lying-In Hospital (1986), 43-44,73,75-77(illus.);  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005),164-5.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, GARDINER'S ROW
Date: 1765
Nature: Laid out by JE in 1765.
Refs: Georgian Society Records (1909-13), III, 110;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005),192.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, MERRION SQUARE, NO. 027
Date: 1767
Nature: Built by JE.
Refs: Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 584.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, ST STEPHEN'S GREEN, NO. 047
Date: 1769
Nature: -
Refs: Georgian Society Records (1909-13), II, 66,75; Maurice Craig, Dublin 1660-1860 (lst edition, 1952), 324

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, ST STEPHEN'S GREEN, NO. 046
Date: 1769
Nature: New 5-bay house on corner of Hume Street. (Demolished 1970ca.)
Refs: Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 541.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, DAWSON STREET, NO. 019 (NORTHLAND HOUSE)
Date: 1770ca
Nature: Attribution to JE suggested by Craig.
Refs: Maurice Craig, Dublin 1660-1860 (lst edition, 1952), 224

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, HUME STREET, NO. 007-8
Date: 1770ca
Nature: Two houses built by JE on land let by Gustavus Hume.
Refs: Georgian Society Records (1909-13), II, 114,118;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 528.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, HUME STREET, NO. 008
Date: 1770ca
Nature: Built by JE on land let by Gustavus Hume.
Refs: Georgian Society Records (1909-13), II, 114,119

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, MERRION SQUARE, NO. 033 (ANTRIM HOUSE)
Date: 1778?
Nature: Attr.to JE by Ferrar, GSR and Craig, but Pembroke estate map by John Roe, 1822, shows corner house as having been leased to JE and Antrim House plot as having been leased to Samuel Sproule.
Refs: Pembroke Estate maps in NLI, Acc. 2011/2/1/? or 2011/2/4/32; IB 20, 15 May 1878, 145, citing J. Ferrar, View of Dublin (1796); Georgian Society Records (1909-13), IV (1912), 81; IB 75, 6 May 1933, 362-363(illus.); Maurice Craig, Dublin 1660-1860, (1st edition, 1952), 190;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 578.

Building: CO. MEATH, HEADFORT
Date: ?
Nature: Unexecuted proposal.
Refs: Plan and elevation in IAA, Guinness Collection, Acc.96/068, 3/1/10;   John Harris, Headfort House & Robert Adam (RIBA exhibition catalogue, 1973), preface, p.1,3(illus.)

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PARNELL SQUARE, NO. 004-5
Date: ?
Nature: Curran says built by J. Ensor but given to Henry Darley[2] by Casey.
Refs: C.P. Curran, The Rotunda Hospital: its architects and craftsmen (1945), 23-5;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005),223-4.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PARNELL SQUARE, NO. 038
Date: ?
Nature: New 3-bay house built by JE.
Refs: Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 229.