Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

County surveyor for the East Riding of Co. Galway. James Forth Kempster, son of William Henry Kempster, of Teddington, Middlesex, and his wife Frances, née Greetham, was born in Half Moon Street, Piccadilly, London, on 3 August 1816. In May 1838, having successfully sat the competitive surveyorship examination, he was appointed county surveyor for the East Riding of Co. Galway.(1) He was only twenty-one at the time and held the post for fifty-three years. Based initially in Portumna and then in Ballinasloe, he also engaged in a considerable amount of private architectural work, and he is described as the diocesan architect - presumably of the united diceses of Killaloe, Kilfenora, Clonfert and Kilmacduagh - in 1865.(2) According to an article on Ballinasloe, which appeared in the Dublin Builder of 15 March 1862,(3) his name was associated with almost all the recent building works in the town and its surroundings. He retired from the county surveyorship in 1891, when he was succeeded by JOHN SMITH [2]. JOHN SMITH [2]. (4)

Kempster died at home on 14 August 1893 and was buried in Glenlahane graveyard near Ballinasloe; a brass memorial in his memory was erected by his friends in St John's Church of Ireland church in Ballinasloe. He had married Catherine Elizabeth Maher of Ballinasloe on 8 July 1841 and had nine children including JOHN KEMPSTER  JOHN KEMPSTER and WILLIAM HENRY KEMPSTER WILLIAM HENRY KEMPSTER . After the death of his wife in 1858 his parents came from England to help him look after the children. They too are buried in Glenlahane graveyard.

ICEI: elected member by 1849;(5) no longer on list of members for 1870.
RIAI: 'John F. Kempster' elected member,1878.(6)

Address: Work: Society Street, Ballinasloe, 1846.(7)
Home: Mount Pleasant, Ballinasloe, 1841 until death.

See WORKS.



References

All information in this entry not otherwise attributed was supplied by Kempster's great-granddaughter Jane Leslie, of Waterford.

(1) B.O'D.
(2) DB 8, 1 Jun 1865, 144.
(3) DB 4, 15 Mar 1862, 65.
(4) See note 1, above, though 'James F. Kempster, County Surveyor, Ballinasloe' is on the list of subscribers, dated April 1892, to APSD, Volume 8.
(5) List of members in TICEI 3 (1847-49).
(6) RIAI council meeting minutes, 28 Nov 1878, 215; general meeting minutes, 13 Dec 1878, 271.
(7) Slater's Directory of Ireland (1846).


36 work entries listed in chronological order for KEMPSTER, JAMES FORTH


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Building: CO. GALWAY, BALLINASLOE, DISTRICT LUNATIC ASYLUM
Date: 1848
Nature: New buildings in progress.
Refs: 16th Report from the Board of Public Works, Ireland (1848), 15; B 14, 9 Feb 1856, 74

Building: CO. GALWAY, BALLINASLOE, STATION ROAD
Date: 1851
Nature: 'being widened under direction of Mr Kempster'
Refs: B 9, 8 Mar 1851, 152

Building: CO. GALWAY, WOODLAWN (KILCONNELL)
Date: 1859
Nature: Italianate remodelling of front and addition of 2-storey wings for 2nd Baron Ashtown.
Refs: Set of architectural plans, 1859, in NLI , acquired from De Burca Rare Books, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Catalogue 75 (Summer 2005), Item 10 (illus.); Mark Bence-Jones, Burke’s Guide to Country Houses. Volume I, Ireland. (London, 1978), 286(illus.)

Building: CO. ROSCOMMON, MOYVANNON
Date: 1860,1861
Nature: Alternative designs for ornamental gate lodges, for Sir Charles W.C. Domville, Bt. Not executed?
Refs: Signed drawings, dated 1860 and 1861, in NLI AD 1417,1418 (information from J.A.K. Dean)

Building: CO. GALWAY, WOODLAWN, CHURCH (CI)
Date: 1860-61
Nature: JFK prepares drawings for same. (New church? or alts?) (Church built, 1874; was this to JFK's designs?
Refs: 9 signed and dated drawings in possession of Woodlawn CI parish; IAA, PKS A03 (Apr 1861, p.89v) (present church illus. in Adrian Hewson, ed., Inspiring Stones: a history of the Church of Ireland Dioceses of Limerick, Ardfert, Aghadoe, Killaloe, Kilfenora, Clonfert, Kilmacduagh & Emly (1995), 74)

Building: CO. GALWAY, CORHEEN HOUSE (LOUGHREA)
Date: 1861-62
Nature: JFK superintending the erection of 'large and costly mansion for Lord Dunlo'. On edge of lake. Builder: M. Kelly. Estimated cost: £3,275. Nearly finished in May 1862.
Refs: IAA, PKS A03 (Feb 1861, p.76v), L1 (p.79,80-82,84,86); DB 4, 15 Mar,15 May 1862, 65,127

Building: CO. GALWAY, BALLINASLOE, UNION WORKHOUSE
Date: 1862
Nature: New gates and repairs to drying-green gateway.
Refs: IAA, PKS B02/01, A03 (1862, p.102v)

Building: CO. GALWAY, BALLINASLOE, RAILWAY HOTEL
Date: 1862
Nature: Small. Tudor Gothic. For Earl of Clancarty. Still incomplete in Feb 1863
Refs: DB 4, 15 Mar,15 Oct 1862, 65,268; DB 5, 1 Feb 1863, 17

Building: CO. GALWAY, BALLINASLOE, STATION ROAD, HOUSES (003)
Date: 1862a
Nature: 3 detached villas on road to station 'recently erected'.
Refs: DB 4, 15 Mar 1862, 65

Building: CO. GALWAY, BALLINASLOE, MAIN STREET, HOUSES (002)
Date: 1863
Nature: To replace Craig's Hotel at end of main street. For Earl of Clancarty. Builders: Seal & Clark
Refs: DB 5, 1 Jun 1863, 97

Building: CO. GALWAY, LISMANY (BALLINASLOE)
Date: 1863-64
Nature: Addition; farmyard, offices, stables &c. For Allan Pollok. Builder: Patrick Cody, Laurencetown.
Refs: DB 5, 1 Feb 1863, 17; 6, 1 Apr,1 Aug 1864, 61,154

Building: CO. GALWAY, BALLINASLOE, MAIN STREET, HOUSE
Date: 1864
Nature: 3 storeys over basement. Principal storey of rock-faced ashlar, with cut stone porch of massive appearance. Contractors: Clark & Seal.
Refs: DB 6, 1 Apr 1864, 61

Building: CO. GALWAY, GARBALLY PARK (BALLINASLOE)
Date: 1864
Nature: Lodge on N side of demesne, for 3rd Earl of Clancarty. Contractor: Clarke & Seal.
Refs: DB 6, 1 Apr 1864, 61

Building: CO. GALWAY, BALLINASLOE, CONVENT CHAPEL
Date: 1864
Nature: Gothic. Builder: Clarke & Seal, Ballinasloe. Cost: £2,300 or less. 6 bays. 84' x 34' with 40' tower and 50' spire at SW angle.
Refs: DB 6, 1 Feb 1864, 18

Building: CO. OFFALY, DUNGAR HOUSE
Date: 1864-1865
Nature: Italianate.  For ?Joseph ?Fade Hutchinson. Builder: Carroll. £7,500.
Refs: IAA, PKS B03/29, A03 (May 1864, p.?); General Advertiser, 9 Jan 1864

Building: CO. TIPPERARY, SOPWELL HALL (BORRISOKANE)
Date: 1865
Nature: Stables; proposed turf house, laundry and garden wall. For Lord Ashtown.
Refs: IAA, PKS B03/14, A03 (Mar 1865, p. ?)

Building: CO. GALWAY, KILCONNELL ABBEY
Date: 1865
Nature: Proposed restoration.
Refs: DB 7, 1 Jun 1865, 144

Building: CO. LAOIS, STRADBALLY HALL
Date: 1866
Nature: Proposed remodelling for Robert G. Cosby. Not executed.
Refs: Plans, elevation, section, s. J.F. Kempster, Ballinasloe, 1866, in collection of Cosby family, Stradbally Hall (photographs in IAA).

Building: CO. ROSCOMMON, BIRCHGROVE
Date: 1866
Nature: Adds. & alts. for John O'Shaughnessy, esq. Tenders invited.
Refs: General Advertiser, 3 Feb 1866

Building: CO. OFFALY, GOLDEN GROVE HOUSE
Date: 1867
Nature: Works at, for Wiillam Peisley Hutchinson Lloyd Vaughan. £1,950.
Refs: IAA, PKS A03 (Jul 1867, p. ?))

Building: CO. GALWAY, CLEGGAN, TOWER HOUSE
Date: 1871
Nature: For Frederick Twining.
Refs: IAA, PKS B05/26

Building: CO. GALWAY, AUGHRANE CASTLE
Date: 1871-1872
Nature: Gate lodge, for Christopher Neville Bagot. £300.
Refs: IAA, PKS B05/27, A06 (May 1872)

Building: CO. ROSCOMMON, RATHMOYLE HOUSE (CASTLEREA)
Date: 1871-74
Nature: Remodelling of house, for Major Richard Irwin. Builder: S. Robinson.
Refs: IAA, PKS B05/28, A06 (Jan 1873); IB 16, 15 Oct 1874, 288

Building: CO. GALWAY, BALLINASLOE, COLLEGE
Date: 1872
Nature: Painting and other works at same. By Michael O'Brien for Earl of Clancarty.
Refs: IAA, PKS B05/36

Building: CO. TIPPERARY, BALLYQUIRKE CASTLE (BORRISOKANE)
Date: 1872
Nature: Remodelling. For Maj. Gen. Henry Arthur Dwyer?
Refs: Brendan O'Donoghue, The Irish County Surveyors 1834-1944 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), 225

Building: CO. LAOIS, VICARSTOWN (STRADBALLY), GRATTAN LODGE
Date: 1877
Nature: New house and offices, for Mrs Grattan Bellew. Builder: Baird. £3,103.
Refs: IAA, PKS B07/50, A06 (Nov 1877)

Building: CO. GALWAY, BALLINASLOE, DISTRICT LUNATIC ASYLUM
Date: 1880
Nature: Additional buildings. Tenders sought.
Refs: IB 22, 15 Sep 1880, 263;  Irish Times, 20 Sep 1880, 8.

Building: CO. GALWAY, BALLINASLOE, DISTRICT LUNATIC ASYLUM
Date: 1888
Nature: Installation of Warm Air Stoves by E.H. Shorland of Manchester in day rooms.
Refs: IB 30, 1 Aug 1888, 204

Building: CO. GALWAY, BALLINASLOE, DISTRICT LUNATIC ASYLUM
Date: 1897
Nature: Works at, with J.F. Fuller.
Refs: 46th Report on…Lunatic Asylums (1897), 18

Building: CO. CARLOW, BROWNE'S HILL
Date: ?
Nature: Lodge 'attributable to Kempster' according to J.A.K. Dean.
Refs: Letter from J.A.K. Dean to A.M. Rowan, 28 Sep 1998

Building: CO. GALWAY, LISBEG HOUSE (EYRECOURT)
Date: ?
Nature: Lodge 'attributable to Kempster' according to J.A.K. Dean.
Refs: Letter from J.A.K. Dean to A.M. Rowan, 28 Sep 1998

Building: CO. GALWAY, GARBALLY PARK (BALLINASLOE)
Date: ?
Nature: Lodge 'attributable to Kempster' according to J.A.K. Dean.
Refs: Letter from J.A.K. Dean to A.M. Rowan, 28 Sep 1998

Building: CO. GALWAY, WOODLAWN (KILCONNELL)
Date: ?
Nature: Lodge 'attributable to Kempster' according to J.A.K. Dean.
Refs: Letter from J.A.K. Dean to A.M. Rowan, 28 Sep 1998

Building: CO. GALWAY, COOLARNE (ATHENRY)
Date: ?
Nature: Lodge 'attributable to Kempster' according to J.A.|K. Dean.
Refs: Letter from J.A.K. Dean to A.M. Rowan, 28 Sep 1998

Building: CO. GALWAY, LISMANY (BALLINASLOE)
Date: ?
Nature: Lodge 'attributable to Kempster' according to J.A.K. Dean.
Refs: Letter from J.A.K. Dean to A.M. Rowan, 28 Sep 1998

Building: CO. GALWAY, BALLYGLUNIN PARK (TUAM)
Date: ?
Nature: Lodge 'attributable to Kempster' according to J.A.K. Dean.
Refs: Letter from J.A.K. Dean to A.M. Rowan, 28 Sep 1998