Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect, of Derry City, active in the north west of Ireland in the 1740s, 1750s and 1760s. No biographical details about him have emerged; he may be the 'Michell Prestely' whose son 'Archabell' was buried at St Columb's Cathedral, Derry, on 16 July 1741.(1) His first recorded work is the county court house and gaol at Lifford, Co. Donegal, which, according to an inscription on the building, was 'designed and executed by Michael Priestley AD 1746';(2) he is last heard of as an entrant in the Dublin Royal Exchange competition of 1768.(3) He appears to have worked with a John Priestley on the barracks at Belturbet, Co. Cavan, and Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, circa 1754, and also carried out repairs at the barracks in Derry in 1760.(4) During the 1750s he advised the Earl of Abercorn on the development and improvement of Strabane.(5) Brett suggests that ROGER MULHOLLAND  ROGER MULHOLLAND might have been a pupil of Priestley's.(6) His death is recorded in the Londonderry Journal of 23 September 1777.(7)

See WORKS.



References



(1) Colin Thomas, ed., Register of the Cathedral Church of St Columb, Derry, 1732-1775 (RCB, 1999), 80.
(2) Angélique Day & Patrick McWilliams, eds.Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland, Vol. 39: Parishes of Co. Donegal II, 1835-6 (1997), 12.
(3) B 27 2 Oct 1869, 781.
(4) IAA, MS. letter and account books of Thomas Eyre (Acc. 86/149), II, 96,98,103,105,128.
(5) John H. Gebbie, An Introduction to the Abercorn Letters (Omagh, 1972), 47,52,53,82,287,288.
(6) C.E.B. Brett, Roger Mulholland: Architect, of Belfast, 1740-1818 (UAHS, 1976), 4.
(7) http://www.irelandoldnews.com/Derry/1777/SEP.html


13 work entries listed in chronological order for PRIESTLEY, MICHAEL


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Building: CO. DERRY, PREHEN
Date: 1745?
Nature: 'robust early Georgian classical house, reputedly dated 1745, and marked with the initials MP on an attic rafter'. MP's 'personal style is stamped all over the design'.
Refs: Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (1979), 44,405

Building: CO. DONEGAL, PORT HALL (LIFFORD)
Date: 1746
Nature: Attr. to MP by Brett and Rowan. For John Vaughan of Buncrana Castle.
Refs: C.E.B. Brett, Roger Mulholland: Architect, of Belfast, 1740-1818 (UAHS, 1976), 4; Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (1979), 44,349

Building: CO. DONEGAL, LIFFORD, COURT HOUSE & GAOL (OLD)
Date: 1746-1754
Nature: Plaque on court house says 'designed and executed by Michael Priestley 1746' but not complete by 1753 and MP not paid until 1754 (£23.4s.6d.)
Refs: A. Day, P. McWilliams & L. English, eds., Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland Vol. 39 (1997), 12; Co. Donegal Grand Jury presentments? (B. of I.); C.E.B. Brett, Court Houses and Market Houses of the Province of Ulster (UAHS, 1973), 60,61(illus.); Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (1979), 43,348

Building: CO. DONEGAL, BALLYMORE, CHURCH OF ST JOHN (CI, CLONDEHORKY PARISH)
Date: 1752
Nature: Attr. to MP by Brett and, less categorically, by Rowan.
Refs: C.E.B. Brett, Roger Mulholland: Architect, of Belfast, 1740-1818 (UAHS, 1976), 4; Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (1979), 45,123-4; Clergy of Derry & Raphoe (Ulster Historical Foundation, 1999), Pt. 1, 118(illus.); Simon Walker, Historic Ulster Churches (Institute of Irish Studies, 2000), 54(illus.);  exterior also illus. in ;  exterior also illus. in Claude Costegalde & Brian Walker, The Church of Ireland: an illustrated history (2013), 171.

Building: CO. DONEGAL, BALLYSHANNON, BARRACKS
Date: 1753-1756
Nature: Works at same (with John Priestley).
Refs: IAA, Acc. 86/149, Thomas Eyre, 'General Accompt', 1752-1762, 96,98,103,105

Building: CO. CAVAN, BELTURBET, BARRACK HILL, CAVALRY BARRACKS
Date: 1753-1756
Nature: Works at same (with John Priestley).
Refs: IAA, Acc. 86/149, Thomas Eyre, 'General Accompt', 1752-1762, 96,98,103,105;  Kevin V. Mulligan, The Buildings of Ireland: South Ulster (2013), 195.
 

Building: CO. DONEGAL, LIFFORD, BRIDGE
Date: 1755
Nature: MP finds fault with Ramsay's design for same.
Refs: John H. Gebbie, An Introduction to the Abercorn Letters (Omagh, 1972), 47

Building: CO. TYRONE, STRABANE, HOUSES (300)
Date: 1756-57
Nature: MP draws up plans for new streets with 300 houses. For James, 8th Earl of Abercorn.
Refs: John H. Gebbie, An Introduction to the Abercorn Letters (Omagh, 1972), 52,287,288; Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (1979) 492

Building: CO. DERRY, DERRY, BARRACKS
Date: 1760
Nature: Sundry repairs.
Refs: IAA, Acc. 86/149, Thomas Eyre, 'General Accompt', 1752-1762, 128

Building: CO. TYRONE, STRABANE, MAIN STREET, TOWN HALL
Date: 1766
Nature: At work on rebuilding same. For James, 8th Earl of Abercorn.
Refs: John H. Gebbie, An Introduction to the Abercorn Letters (Omagh, 1972), 82; Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (1979), 492

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CORK HILL, ROYAL EXCHANGE
Date: 1768-69
Nature: Competition entrant.
Refs: B 27, 2 Oct 1869, 781.

Building: CO. DERRY, BOOM HALL (DERRY)
Date: 1770ca
Nature: Designed by MP? For Robert (or James?) Alexander.
Refs: PRONI D2433/33/1 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); Georgian Society Records V, 24-35,96 (client named as James Alexander, later 1st Earl of Caledon); Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (1979), 401-2 (client named as Robert Alexander, younger brother of James)

Building: CO. DONEGAL, RAPHOE, BISHOP'S PALACE
Date: ?
Nature: Mid-18th c. restoration for Bishop Pooley attr. to MP by Rowan on basis of similarity of doorcase to that at Lifford Court House.
Refs: Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (1979), 43-44,469-70