Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Canal engineer. Richard Evans, a native of Wales, makes his first appearance in Ireland in the 1770s as assistant engineer to the Grand Canal Company under CHARLES TARRANT CHARLES TARRANT . By 1780 he was effectively in charge of the works as Tarrant was largely absent and only submitted occasional reports. While Tarrant's salary was reduced by one quarter, Evans was awarded a gratuity of £70 Irish for 'his Integrity and Attention to the Works of the Company'. During the 1780s, however, Evans became increasingly distracted from the Grand Canal works by other navigation schemes; in 1789 the directors requested that he give the Grand Canal his undivided attention and, after receiving his reply that he could not give up his commitments at Ballyshannon and Newry, dismissed him in December 1789.

The Ballyshannon project in which Evans was involved was a scheme, initiated in 1778, to connect Ballyshannon with Lower Lough Erne. During the 1780s he supervised the construction of the canal as far as Belleek. Work was abandoned in 1792 although in 1801 he was asked by the newly formed Directors General of Inland Navigation to prepare a fresh estimate for the scheme.(1) His commitments at Newry appear to have been connected with the preparation of a report on the state of the navigation, with plans for improvements, which he submitted in 1789.(2)

In November 1789, shortly before his dismissal from the Grand Canal Company, Evans was appointed engineer to the Royal Canal Company.(3) In 1793 a committee was appointed to investigate discrepancies between estimated and actual expenditure on the Royal Canal works. The committee decided to accept the version of events given in the report of the company's surveyor, JOHN BROWNRIGG JOHN BROWNRIGG , and recommended that Evans should be dismissed. Evans nevertheless appears to have remained in the post until his death in January 1802,(4) and in 1796 he gave evidence before a committee of the House of Commons as to the progress being made in the works. He was granted the Freedom of the City of Dublin in 1785.(5)

Address: 25 Queen St, Dublin, 1792-93.(6)


All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from V.T.H. & D.R. Delany, The Canals of the South of Ireland (1966), 46,82,83,84,85,101-2,158-9, and Ruth Delany, The Grand Canal of Ireland (1973), 29,31-2,35,59. See also the entry on Evans by Patrick Long in DIB.

(1) W.A. McCutcheon, The Industrial Archaeology of Northern Ireland (1980), 66,71.
(2) Jones files, source not given.
(3) JHCI 19, MXIX (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44); for Evans's association with the Royal Canal Company, see Peter Clarke, The Royal Canal (1992), 35, 40, 42, 44, 46-7, 56, 65, 68.
(4) Clarke, op. cit., 56.
(5) CARD XIII, 420-21.
(6) Wilson's Dublin Directory.

1 work entries listed in chronological order for EVANS, RICHARD [1]

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Date: 1792
Nature: RE engineer of same. 1st stone laid 25 Jul 1792.
Refs: Inscription on silver ceremonial trowel onr sale at Weldon's, jewellers, Dublin, Feb 2014 (information from Edward McParland, Feb 2014).