Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Mason and clerk of works, active in Ireland from the 1770s until the 1790s. Alexander Stewart, who may have come from Scotland, was associated with the building of three major late eighteenth-century houses in Ireland. He is first heard of in 1778 as a mason at Baronscourt, Co. Tyrone, which was being rebuilt for the eighth Earl of Abercorn to designs by GEORGE STEUART. GEORGE STEUART. (1) In about 1785 he moved to Slane, Co. Louth, where JAMES WYATT  JAMES WYATT was starting to remodel Slane Castle for William Burton Conyngham;(2) here Stewart is recorded as handling the stone quarrying.(3) Wyatt seems to have fallen out with Conyngham and left the project abruptly in 1787.(3) In 1788 Stewart moved to Castle Coole, Co. Fermanagh,(4) where soon afterwards Wyatt was engaged to design a new house for the first Viscount Belmore. Stewart acted as Wyatt's clerk of works for the building of the house, which was completed in 1797.(5)

The Alexander Stewart, 'formerly of Co. Fermanagh and late of N. Britain' whose will was proved in England (or Scotland?) in 1808 may perhaps be the same person.(6)



(1) John H. Gebbie, An Introduction to the Abercorn Letters (Omagh, 1972), 119-120,123.
(2) Gebbie, op. cit., above, 155.
(3) F. Fergusson (letter and catalogue) (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(4) Mark Odlum, 'Slane Castle, Co. Meath - II', 24 Jul 1980, 280-281.
(5) The Castle Coole papers show him as signing weekly accounts in 1788 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(6) North West Ulster, 178.
(7) Arthur Vicars, Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810 (1897), 439.

3 work entries listed in chronological order for STEWART, ALEXANDER *

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Date: 1778-1781
Nature: AS employed as mason during period house was being rebuilt to designs by George Steuart.
Refs: John H. Gebbie, An Introduction to the Abercorn Letters (Omagh, 1972), 119-120,123,155.

Date: 1785ca-1787
Nature: AS handled quarrying of stone for remodelling of same to designs by James Wyatt.
Refs: John H. Gebbie, An Introduction to the Abercorn Letters (Omagh, 1972), 155; E.McP files, citing F. Fergusson (letter and catalogue).

Date: 1790-1796
Nature: AS clerk of works for erection of same to designs by James Wyatt.
Refs: Signs weekly accounts, 1788, payment due to him 1793 (E.McP files, citing Castle Coole papers); Angélique Day & Patrick McWilliams, eds.Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland, Vol. 14: Parishes of Co. Fermanagh 1834-5 (1992), Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (1979), 178.