Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Carpente and builder, of Dublin. William Semple may have been the eldest surviving son of JOHN SEMPLE[1] JOHN SEMPLE[1] , whose baptism on 9 February 1758 is recorded in the register of St Thomas's parish, Dublin;(1) if so, he would appear to have been the elder brother of JOHN SEMPLE [2] JOHN SEMPLE [2] . The register also records the marriage of a William Semple to Mary Ann Darling (Darley?) on 7 May 1787.(2) William Semple was admitted a freeman of the city of Dublin as a member of the Carpenters' Guild by Grace Especial at Michaelmas 1789.(3) He assisted HUGH HENRY  HUGH HENRY with the building of the new chapel and adjoining buildings at Trinity College, Dublin, begun in 1787, until Henry's death, when he wrote to the provost asking to be allowed to finish the work.(4) He was living in Clarendon Street in August 1791, when he was sworn in as a warden of the Guild for the ensuing year, along with CHARLES LILLY. CHARLES LILLY. (5) In 1799 he won the contract to build a hotel for the Grand Canal Company at Robertstown, Co. Kildare; his work proved unsatisfactory and was still incomplete two years after it had been started. Soon afterwards he was declared bankrupt. The hotel was completed by John Semple [2], who reported it finished in August 1801.(6)

William Semple disappears from the directories between 1811 and 1814, probably because he had died. A Richard Semple, son of William 'defunctus' was admitted to Trinity College on 3 November 1817 at the age of sixteen.(7)

Addresses:(8) 178 Abbey Street, 1788; Clarendon Street, 1789-91; 11 Clarendon Street, 1792; 42 Mecklenburgh Street, <=1802->=1811.


(1) R. Refaussé, ed., Register of the Parish of St Thomas, Dublin, 1750-1791 (1994), 22.
(2) Refaussé, op. cit., above, 135.
(3) 'An alphabetical list of the Freemen of the City of Dublin, 1774-1824', The Irish Ancestor XV (1983), Nos. 1 & 2, 111.
(4) Trinity college muniments, MUN/P/2/166,167.
(5) Faulkner's Dublin Journal, 16-18 Aug 1791.
(6) Ruth Delany, The Grand Canal of Ireland (1973), 131-2.
(7) G.D. Burtchaell & T.U. Sadleir, eds., Alumni Dublinenses (1935), 741.
(8) From Wilson's Dublin directories.

1 work entries listed in chronological order for SEMPLE, WILLIAM *

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Date: 1799-1801
Nature: Contract to build same won by WS who failed to finish work and went bankrupt. Work completed by John Semple[2].
Refs: J.M. Hunt, 'New Life for an Irish Waterway', Countrly Life 140, ? Aug 1966, 313; Ruth Delany, The Grand Canal of Ireland (1973), 131-2.