- Born: - Died: -
Architect and builder, of Roscommon, and county surveyor for Co. Clare, 1834, and for Co. Tyrone, 1840-1841. The earliest mention of Richards is in 1809 as a surveyor for the Bogs Commission.(1) In 1814, with THOMAS COLBOURNE of Dublin, he submitted designs for a new gaol at Roscommon.(2) When these were passed over in favour of designs by RICHARD MORRISON , Colbourne and Richards acted instead as contractors for erection of the gaol.(3) Colbourne and Richards were also contractors for Colebrooke, Co. Fermanagh, built to designs of WILLIAM FARRELL in 1820-1823;(4) they also tendered unsuccessfully for the contract for Armagh lunatic asylum in 1821.(5) In 1820 an 'R. Richards' prepared designs for an unexecuted addition to Pakenham Hall, Co. Westmeath(6) and re-roofed Fuerty Church of Ireland church in Co. Roscommon,(7) while around the same time 'Mr Richards' of Roscommon was responsible for designing and building a gallery in Roscommon Church of Ireland church,(8) for building Abbey Street, Roscommon,(9) for building the new court house in Roscommon,(10) for castellating and enlarging Mount Talbot House, Co. Roscommon, circa 1820,(11) and for designing St Mary's Church of Ireland Church in Athlone in 1822.(12) According to O'Donoghue, he built a number of Church of Ireland churches and glebe houses.
In May 1834 Richards was appointed the first county surveyor for Co. Clare(13) but, despite what seemed a promising start, resigned under threat of dismissal in November of the same year(14) to be succeeded by RICHARD BOXALL GRANTHAM. H e was appointed county surveyor for Co. Tyrone in succession to JAMES BARRY FARRELL in August 1840 and held the post until his dismissal in December 1841. He appears in this capacity as 'R.B. Richards' in Pettigrew & Oulton's Dublin Almanac for 1842.(15) Nothing further is known of him. According to Griffith's valuation, a Richard Richards was living in Church Lane, Roscommon, in 1857-8.
The fullest account of Richards's life and particularly of his career as a county surveyor is in Brendan O'Donoghue, The Irish County Surveyors 1834-1944 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), 286-287. References and information supplied to the compiler of this database by Brendan O'Donoghue are marked B.O'D.
(1) Sarah Bendall, ed., Dictionary of Land Surveyors and Local Map-Makers of Great Britain and Ireland 1530-1850 (2nd edition, 1997), II, 431.
(2) NA/SPO 558/423/32.
(3) Draft contract and specifications, 1814, in collection of Daniel Gillman, Dublin.
(4) PRONI, Landed Estates Courts rentals, D3004/B/8 (see PRONI e-catalogue); A. Day, P. McWilliams & L. English, eds., Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland 4 (1990), 7.
(5) Minutes of Commissioners for General Control..and for Superintending…the Erection…of Asylums for the Lunatic Poor, Mar 1821 (B.O'D.).
(6) Plan of principal storey showing addition, s. & d. R. Richards. Jany 1820, in collection of Thomas Pakenham, Tullynally.
(7) RCB Library, 'An account of of all sums of money levied for building and repairing of churches...June 1824' (information from Frank Keohane).
(8) See note 7, above.
(9) Isaac Weld, Statistical Survey of the County Roscommon (1832), ?396.
(10) J.P. Lawson, Gazetteer of Ireland (1842), 714.
(11) Weld, op. cit., 505.
(12) Information from W. English, citing church minute books, 22 Feb 1822, and 16 Apr 1827.
(13) Dublin Evening Post, 20 May 1834.
10 work entries listed in chronological order for RICHARDS, RICHARD
|Building:||CO. ROSCOMMON, ROSCOMMON, COUNTY GAOL|
|Nature:||Thomas Colbourne and Richard Richards submit unselected design but are appointed contractors instead.|
|Refs:||Minutes of Commissioners for General Control…and for Superintending…the erection…of asylums for the lunatic poor, 15 Dec 1817 (information from Brendan O'Donoghue); A.M. Rowan, ed, The Architecture of Richard and William Morrison (IAA, 1989), 148-9|
|Building:||CO. ROSCOMMON, ROSCOMMON, CHURCH (CI)|
|Nature:||'Mr Richards' paid £3.8s.3d. for plan of gallery, 1815. Paid balance of £30 'for stone and gallery etc', 1820. (According to Costegalde & Walker. church was built in 1775.)
RCB Library, 'An account of of all sums of money levied for building and repairing of churches...June 1824' (information from Frank Keohane); Claude Costegalde & Brian Walker, The Church of Ireland: an illustrated history (2013), 248)illus.)
|Building:||CO. WESTMEATH, TULLYNALLY|
|Nature:||Proposed addition, consisting of semi-circular bow at E end of dining room.|
|Refs:||Plan of principal storey showing addition, s. & d. R. Richards. Jany 1820, (endorsed 'The plans were not adopted - as a more extensive alteration was preferred') in collection of Thomas Pakenham, Tullynally; Christine Casey & Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North Leinster (1993), 526|
|Building:||CO. FERMANAGH, COLEBROOKE PARK|
|Nature:||New house. C & R contractors. Architect: William Farrell.|
|Refs:||Indenture between Thomas Colbourne of Camden Street, Dublin, and Richard Richards of Roscommon, builders, and Henry Brooke of Colebrooke, for the building of a new house at Colebrooke, to be finished by 1 January 1823, for £9,700: 0: 0d., to the satisfaction of William Farrell, architect, and bond of indemnity from Thomas Colbourne, Richard Richards and John Murphy to Henry Brooke [20 June 1820] in PRONI, Landed Estates Courts rentals, D3004/B/8(see PRONI e-catalogue); A. Day, P. McWilliams & L. English, eds., Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland 4 (1990), 7; Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (1979), 200-201.|
|Building:||CO. ROSCOMMON, MOUNT TALBOT|
|Nature:||Enlarged and castellated by Mr Richards of Roscommon for William Talbot. (Burnt 1922)|
|Refs:||Isaac Weld, Statistical Survey of the County Roscommon (1832), 505; Mark Bence-Jones, Burke’s Guide to Country Houses. Volume I, Ireland. (London, 1978), 217-18(illus.)|
|Building:||CO. WESTMEATH, ATHLONE, CHURCH STREET, CHURCH OF ST MARY (CI)|
|Nature:||New church, replacing one of 1620ca. Plan of Mr Richards adopted, 22 Feb 1822. Eventual cost (in 1827) £2,300. 'The church was rebuilt in 1826, by a grant of £2300 from the late Board of First Fruits; it is a neat edifice, with a square embattled tower; the tower of the old church is still standing, and contains the bell for William's army to cross the river at the siege of Athlone.' (Lewis)
W. English, citing church minute books, 22 Feb 1822, and 16 Apr 1827; Samuel Lewis, A Topographical dictionary of Ireland (1837), I, 88; exterior and interior illus. in Claude Costegalde & Brian Walker, The Church of Ireland: an illustrated history (2013), 313.
|Building:||CO. ROSCOMMON, FUERTY, CHURCH (CI)|
|Nature:||'R. Richards' paid £1.2s.9d. for 'viewing church roof', 1822, and £77.14s.5d. for 'new roofing and slating the church', 1823.
RCB Library, 'An account of of all sums of money levied for building and repairing of churches...June 1824' (information from Frank Keohane).
|Building:||CO. ROSCOMMON, ROSCOMMON, ABBEY STREET, COUNTY COURT HOUSE (1822-24)|
|Nature:||New court house built by 'Mr Richards'(Lawson); described by Lawson as spacious but 'without architectural pretensions' but Lewis describes 'handsome and spacious structure' with Doric portico, 'well arranged' court rooms and 'superb' Grand Jury room . Grant of £2,599 from Board of Works towards same made in 1832. (Destroyed by fire, Jun 1882)|
First Report of the Commissioners on Public Works Ireland…for the year 1832, 24; S. Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837), J.P. Lawson, Gazetteer of Ireland1842), 714 (but see also IB 24, 1 Aug 1882, 228); information from Dr Richard Butler, 2017.
|Building:||CO. ROSCOMMON, ROSCOMMON, ABBEY STREET|
|Nature:||Built by Mr Richards.|
|Refs:||Isaac Weld, Statistical Survey of the County Roscommon (1832), ?396|
|Building:||CO. LONGFORD, LONGFORD, BRIDGE|
|Nature:||Designed and constructed by RR. Praised by Lord Longford.|
|Refs:||Brendan O'Donoghue, The Irish County Surveyors 1834-1944 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), 286|