Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Military engineer and architect. Thomas Burgh, who was born in Drumkeen, Co. Limerick in 1670, was the third son of the Rev. Ulysses Burgh, of Drumkeen, Dean of Emly and later Bishop of Ardagh, and his wife Mary, daughter of William Kingsmill of Ballibeg, Co. Cork.(1) He attended Mr Delany's school in Dublin and was admitted to Trinity College, Dublin, in November 1685. He does not appear to have taken a degree, embarking instead upon a career as an engineer in the army. By his own account he was at sea with Lord Berkeley and served at Limerick,(2) presumably at the second siege of 1690. He was commissioned captain in the Royal Regiment of Foot in 1692(3) and during the next three years served at the battles of Steenkerke (1692) and Landen (1693) and at the siege of Namur (1695). He is described as a 'disciple' of the distinguished Dutch military engineer, Menno van Coehoorn.(4) In 1697, by which time he was one of the twenty-five engineers of the King's Company of Engineers, he was appointed third engineer on the Irish establishment. In July 1700 he succeeded William Robinson as Surveyor-General of Ireland.(5) He was appointed ex-officio Barracks Overseer in Ireland in 1701(6) and from 1705 until 1714 also held the post of Lieutenant of the Ordnance of Ireland. He was raised to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in 1706.

Burgh, who was admitted a freeman of Dublin in 1704, was responsible for the design and erection of a number of important public buildings in the city, including the Custom House, Trinity College library, Steevens's Hospital, the Linen Hall and the Royal Barracks. Engineering projects in which he interested himself included the improvement of Dublin Harbour, a colliery at Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, and the construction of a canal from Newry to Lough Neagh for the transportation of coal from the Co. Tyrone collieries. He was the author of a pamphlet on surveying, A method to determine the areas of right-lined figures (Dublin, 1724).

In addition to his architectural and engineering activities, Burgh was high sheriff of Co. Kildare in 1712 and a member of parliament for Naas, Co. Kildare, from 1713 until his death. He was a Freemason,(7) a Governor of the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, and a trustee of Dr Steevens's Hospital.

In 1728 Burgh, now in his middle age, suffered the disappointment of seeing the commission to design the new Parliament House in Dublin given to the much younger EDWARD LOVETT PEARCE. EDWARD LOVETT PEARCE. (8) He died on 18 December 1730, 'after a few days sickness'(9) and was succeeded as surveyor-general by Pearce.(10) His books were sold in 1732.(11)

Burgh married Mary, daughter of William Smyth, Bishop of Kilmore, in 1700, and had five sons and four daughters.

See also WORKS and BIBLIOGRAPHY. BIBLIOGRAPHY.



References

All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the biography of Burgh by Rolf Loeber in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography(2004), which see for further details of Burgh's life. An earlier account by Loeber is in A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981).   See also the entry on Burgh by Patrick M. Geoghegan in Dictionary of Irish Biography, ed. by James McGuire and James Quinn, 9 vols. (Cambridge University Press, 2009), II, 10-11.  A portrait of Burgh is in the possession of his descendant Col. John de Burgh at Oldtown, Co. Meath (repr. Mairead Dunleavy, Dublin Barracks: a brief history of Collins Barracks, Dublin (National Museum of Ireland, 2002), 14).

(1) His brothers included William, who became accountant general, and Jack, said to have been a rake (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(2) NA/PRO/SP 44/238 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(3) NA/PRO (Kew) WO 64/1, p.134 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(4) TCD MS 750/4/30v (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(5) NA/PRO SO 1/14, p.236, and NA/PRO M2537 give date of warrant as 19 Apr 1700; NA/PRO (Kew) WO/55/1984 and SP 63.371, f.1, give date of patent as 10 July 1700 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44). His accounts as surveyor general between 1705 and 1707 are in NA/PRO (Kew) WO/55/1984 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(6) British Library Add 1917, ff.35,37; NA/PRO (Kew) SP.67.2.f.168.
(7) Edward Spratt, The new book of constitutions of the most ancient and honourable fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons (1751) (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(8) Maurice Craig, in his entry on Pearce in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biographysuggests that Pearce's likely involvement in the design of Castletown, Co. Kildare, for the Speaker, William Conolly, was the reason he was chosen as architect of the Parliament House.
(9) NLI PC435,449 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44).
(10) According to Loeber, Burgh had already been 'forced to surrender' the position to Pearce.
(11) Dublin Journal, 14-18 Nov 1732 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44).


46 work entries listed in chronological order for BURGH, THOMAS


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Building: CO. DUBLIN, DALKEY, COLIEMORE HARBOUR
Date: 1701
Nature: TB prepares estimate for same.
Refs: Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records xxx (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44)

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, COLLEGE GREEN, CHICHESTER HOUSE
Date: 1701-1714
Nature: TB supervised repairs at
Refs: JHCI 2, clviii ff. ((IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 34

Building: CO. ARMAGH, CHARLEMONT FORT
Date: 1701-1719
Nature: TB spent money on gates and drawbridges and estimated for repairs.   Mulligan surrests that TB could have designed central block of gatehouse.
Refs: Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 37;  Kevin V. Mulligan, The Buildings of Ireland: South Ulster (2013), 262.

Building: CO. GALWAY, GALWAY, MUTTON ISLAND FORT
Date: 1702
Nature: Plans probably came from TB's office
Refs: Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 38

Building: CO. CORK, BEREHAVEN FORT
Date: 1702
Nature: Plan prepared by TB
Refs: Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 37

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CIRCULAR ROAD SOUTH (KILMAINHAM), ROYAL HOSPITAL
Date: 1702 onwards
Nature: Repairs; building of steeple, 1705; TB appointed overseer of works in 1707.
Refs: Accounts in NA/PRO RHK 1/1/4 &c. (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 37

Building: CO. CORK, CHARLES FORT (KINSALE)
Date: 1702-1719
Nature: Main gate, various repairs
Refs: Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 37

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, MARY STREET, ST MARY'S CHURCH (CI)
Date: 1704
Nature: Inspected work, and probably oversaw completion of Robinson's design
Refs: Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 36;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 89-91.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, WELLINGTON QUAY, CUSTOM HOUSE (OLD)
Date: 1704
Nature: New. Estimated cost: £3317.16s.
Refs: Estimate for same in PRO (Kew?) T 14/8 p.317 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 35; M.J. Craig, Dublin 1660-1860 (1952), pl. VII;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 444.

Building: CO. ANTRIM, CARRICKFERGUS CASTLE
Date: 1704-1706;1715
Nature: Repairs
Refs: Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 37-38

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CASTLE STREET, DUBLIN CASTLE
Date: 1704-1718
Nature: Various works, including riding house, arsenal/magazine, arcaded block on SW side of Upper Castle Yard, Treasury block on N side of Lower Castle Yard. Paid £1000 for work on Dublin Castle Aug 1715.
Refs: British Library Egerton MS. 917, ff.212-215 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44), NA/PRO SP 63,375, f.128 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); NA/PRO(Kew) SO I/15 p.296 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); Marsh's Library MS Z2.1.10 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); British Library Add MSS 9717, f.124 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); JHCI 2, clviii ff., cclv ff., III, iv, cvii, clvii &c. (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 34-35;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 351,358,360.

Building: CO. LIMERICK, LIMERICK, FORTIFICATIONS
Date: 1704-1719
Nature: Payments and estimates for repairs
Refs: Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 38

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, ESSEX STREET, OLD COUNCIL CHAMBER AND TREASURY
Date: 1705,1707
Nature: TB supervised alterations
Refs: JHCI 2, clviii; Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 35

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, ST MICHAEL'S HILL, FOUR COURTS (OLD)
Date: 1705-6
Nature: Alterations supervised by TB
Refs: Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 35-36

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, ?, MAGAZINE
Date: 1707
Nature: To make draft and estimate for new magazine.
Refs: British Library Add MSS 9717, f.124 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44)

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, BENBURB STREET, COLLINS BARRACKS (FORMERLY ROYAL BARRACKS)
Date: 1707a-1710ca
Nature: Paid £13,000 for barracks, 1707-1709; paid £3093-14s-9¼ to finish same, c. 1710.
Refs: Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 37; Mairead Dunleavy, Dublin Barracks: a brief history of Collins Barracks, Dublin (National Museum of Ireland, 2002), 14-19(illus.); Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 247-251.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CHAPELIZOD HOUSE
Date: 1709
Nature: TB paid for works at same
Refs: JHCI 2, clviii (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 34

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, COLLEGE GREEN, TRINITY COLLEGE, LIBRARY (OLD)
Date: 1709
Nature: TB designs and certifies payments for same. Gives opinion on changes to same, 1729.
Refs: TCD muniments, MUN P/2/48, 59; Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 36; Rolf Loeber, entry on Burgh in Oxford DNB (2004);  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 400-403,Pl.21.

Building: CO. DERRY, DERRY, FORTIFICATIONS
Date: 1709,1712
Nature: TB paid for repairs; issues report on
Refs: Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 38

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PATRICK'S CLOSE, MARSH'S LIBRARY
Date: 1710
Nature: TB asked for design for extending same  (library wing and entrance porch).
Refs: TCD MS 2531(208) (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 637-8. 

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, ARSENAL
Date: 1710-11
Nature: Designed same.
Refs: British Library Egerton MSS 917 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44), NA/PRO (Kew) T1/100/186, T1/121/98,99, T1/125/83.84 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); ?NLI MS 698, ff. 10,23; Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 38;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 290.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, COLLEGE GREEN, TRINITY COLLEGE
Date: 1710-1725
Nature: Various works supervised by TB
Refs: TCD muniments, MUN P/2/44, 48, 52, 55, 59; Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 36

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CIRCULAR ROAD SOUTH (KILMAINHAM), ROYAL HOSPITAL
Date: 1711
Nature: Estimate for infirmary & madhouse presented by TB in 1711.  According to Casey infirmary not built until 1730.
Refs: Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 38;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 681

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, COLLEGE GREEN, TRINITY COLLEGE, ANATOMY HOUSE (1710-11)
Date: 1711
Nature: Designed by TB.
Refs: Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 404.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CIRCULAR ROAD SOUTH (KILMAINHAM), ROYAL HOSPITAL
Date: 1713
Nature: TB presented estimate for building 2 powder magazines in grounds
Refs: Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 38

Building: CO. CORK, KINSALE, LIGHTHOUSE
Date: 1713
Nature: Designs same.
Refs: NA/PRO Kew) Cust. 1/11

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, COOMBE, ST LUKE'S CHURCH (CI)
Date: 1716?
Nature: New church for perpetual curacy in parish of St Nicholas Without, formed by Act of Parliament, 1707, which became effectivde in 1713.  TB gives order for digging (foundations?), 1716. Church consecrated , 7 Oct 1716. Francis Quin, bricklayer; William Caldbeck and John Whinnery, masons;  Isaac Wills, carpenter.
Refs: Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 37; Clergy of Dublin and Glendalough (Ulster Historical Foundation, 2001), 108;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 626 (who gives date as .

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, WERBURGH STREET, ST WERBURGH'S CHURCH (CI)
Date: 1716p
Nature: TB asked for 'moddle' of same, 1713. TB makes plan and signs payments for building same
Refs: TCD MS 750/4 f.95 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44), British Library Egerton MS 1772 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); NLI MS 104 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); Rev. S.C. Hughes, The Church of S. Werburgh, Dublin (1889), 26-27; Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 36-37;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 342-344,Pl.19;  entrance and interior illus. in Claude Costegalde & Brian Walker, The Church of Ireland: an illustrated history (2013), 288.


Building: CO. CLARE, DROMOLAND
Date: 1717ca
Nature: Involved with rebuilding of same for Catherine O'Brien
Refs: Toby Barnard, Bulaán, 27 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); Rolf Loeber, entry on Burgh in Oxford DNB (2004);  Finola O'Kane, 'Leamaneh and Dromoland: the O'Brien ambition, part II', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 7 (2004), 83-97.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, STEEVENS'S LANE, STEEVENS'S HOSPITAL
Date: 1718-19
Nature: Designed by TB, who also supervised building. Trustee of hospital from 1717
Refs: NA/PRO (Kew) T1/155/106; Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 36; Rolf Loeber, entry on Burgh in Oxford DNB (2004);  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 682, Pl. 18.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, STEEVENS'S LANE, STEEVENS'S HOSPITAL
Date: 1718-19
Nature: Designed by TB, who also supervised building. Trustee of hospital from 1717
Refs: NA/PRO (Kew) T1/155/106; Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 36; Rolf Loeber, entry on Burgh in Oxford DNB (2004);  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 682, Pl. 18.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, DAWSON STREET, ST ANN'S CHURCH (CI)
Date: 1720
Nature: Attributed to TB by McParland. Unexecuted facade copied from San Giacomo degli Incurabili, Rome, with tower copied from Sant' Agnese in Agone, Rome.
Refs: E. McParland, Public Architecture in Ireland: 1680-1760 (2001), 45-46.

Building: CO. GALWAY, GALWAY, MAYOR'S HOUSE (FORMER)
Date: 1720ca
Nature: Attr. to TB because very similar to Oakley Park, Kld
Refs: Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 39

Building: CO. LOUTH, DROGHEDA, BRIDGE (PROPOSED)
Date: 1721
Nature: 'Captn Bourke' submits plans for same (ie. Thomas Burgh?) but those of Stephen Price preferred.
Refs: Rev. T. Gogarty, ed., Council Book of the Corporation of Drogheda. Vol. I. From the year 1649 to 1734 (1915), 350 (E.McP files)

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BALLYCASTLE, COLLIERY
Date: 1721
Nature: TB involved in same, with Richard Stewart.
Refs: British Library Add. MS. 38713 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); NA/PRO (Kew) TI/235/263 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44)

Building: CO. KILDARE, OLDTOWN HOUSE
Date: 1721?
Nature: Palladian house believed to have been designed by TB for himself on land acquired from 1696 onwards.   Only partly completed
Refs: Unsigned, undated elevation of single-storey wing formerly at Oldtown House (with other drawings for ancillary buildings) repr. Mark Bence-Jones,  Burke’s Guide to Country Houses. Volume I, Ireland. (London, 1978),  photograph in IAA Box Files (drawing is annotated by Florinda Gardiner:'Office, Oldtown (now the House) formerly among my father's papers , built I believe in 1721 see back of this paper');  Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 36.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, YARNHALL STREET, NO. 001 (LINEN HALL)
Date: 1722
Nature: Designed same.
Refs: JHCI 3, cclxviii ff. (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); Rolf Loeber, entry on Burgh in Oxford DNB (2004)

Building: CO. KILDARE, OAKLEY PARK (FORMERLY CELBRIDGE HOUSE)
Date: 1724
Nature: House for Arthur Price, vicar of Celbridge. Attributed to TB by Craig & Glin.
Refs: M. Craig & the Knight of Glin, Ireland Observed (1970), 29; Loeber, 39

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, COLLEGE GREEN, PARLIAMENT HOUSE
Date: 1728
Nature: TB's prepares plan for same, rejected in favour of Edward Lovett Pearce's design.
Refs: Deputy Keeper's Report xxx, 53 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44), NA/PRO M3036, f.77; Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 35

Building: CO. KILDARE, CELBRIDGE, COLLEGIATE SCHOOL
Date: 1733p
Nature: '…said to have been begun soon after 1733 and to have been planned in detail by the Speaker [Conolly] and the architect Thomas Burgh during the former's lifetime'. (Also attr. to TB by Craig & Glin in |Ireland Observed|)
Refs: Maurice Craig & the Knight of Glin, 'Castletown, Co. Kildare', Country Life 145, 3 Apr 1969, 798; M. Craig & the Knight of Glin, Ireland Observed (1970), 29

Building: CO. OFFALY, BALLYBURLY HOUSE
Date: ?
Nature: Attributed to TB.
Refs: Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 39

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, ESSEX STREET, HORSE GUARDS STABLE
Date: ?
Nature: TB prepared estimate for new stables
Refs: Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 34

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, KILLESTER AVENUE, KILLESTER HOUSE
Date: ?
Nature: Attr. by Loeber to TB because built for his colleague Chidley Coote.
Refs: Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 39

Building: CO. LEITRIM, LURGANBOY, BARRACKS
Date: ?
Nature: TB prepares estimate for same.
Refs: NLI, special list 83 (E.McP)

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, JAMES'S STREET, CITY WORKHOUSE
Date: ?
Nature: TB involved in building of same. (On site now (2009) occupied by St James's Hospital.)
Refs: Marsh's Library MS Z3.1.1. no. cxlvi (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44)

Building: CO. KILKENNY, CASTLECOMER, BARRACKS
Date: ?
Nature: David Griffin says that Foncie Mealy, Castlecomer, has drawing(s) by TB for same.
Refs: -

Author Title Date Details
Burgh. Thomas 'Some thoughts for improving the harbour of Dublin' 1707 Paper read to Dublin Philosophical Society, 17 Sep 1707. MS copies of text in Royal Society, RBC IX, p.224; BL Add MS 4812, BL Sloane MS. 3329 f.141 (published in CARD VI, 613-616) & Sloane MS. 812(5). (E.McP.)
Burgh. Thomas A method to determine the areas of right-lined figures universally, very useful for ascertaining the contents of any survey 1724 Dublin 'printed by A. Rhames, for J. Hyde, Bookseller, in Dame-street',  1724.
Pakenham-walsh, W.p. 'Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Burgh, chief engineer of Ireland, 1700-1730' 1907 Royal Engineers Journal 6 (new series, 1907), 69-74.