Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Surveyor. Alexander Taylor was born in Scotland circa 1746 and, like his brother GEORGE TAYLOR[1] GEORGE TAYLOR[1] , was trained by the Scottish surveyor Peter May. He first came to Ireland in 1776 or 1777 to assist his brother with the surveys for Maps of the Roads of Ireland, which appeared in 1778. He then returned to Scotland briefly. In 1781 He joined the army as a lieutenant in the 81st Regiment of Foot, subsequently transferring to the Corps of Engineers, in which he held the rank of captain. As such he was employed on CHARLES VALLANCEY' CHARLES VALLANCEY' s military survey of Ireland from 1781 until 1805. In a private capacity he produced a map of Co. Kildare in 1783 and collaborated with RICHARD LOVELL EDGEWORTH  RICHARD LOVELL EDGEWORTH in the preparations for the latter's map of Co. Longford. In 1787 he was appointed one of the directors of the Kilcullen turnpike trust. Ten years later, in 1797, he and his brother George and John Anderson of Cork undertook to pay off much of the debt which the turnpike had incurred in exchange for receiving the income from the tolls. In 1804, after Anderson exchanged his interest in the turnpike for Alexander Taylor's interest in the Cork mails, the Taylor brothers became the sole recipients of the toll income.(1)

From 1796 Taylor lived in Dublin,(2) residing for the last ten years of his life in Mespil House, to the south-east of Leeson Street Bridge. In 1805 he was appointed director of the Irish Post Road Surveys and in 1807 Chief Commissioner of the Dublin Paving Board. He was apparently admitted a freeman of the city in the same year.(3) He died on 15 April 1828 and was buried at Naas, Co. Kildare. He was married to Elizabeth Bonner of Naas. He is described as 'surly' in a satirical pamplet of 1822,(4) and as a 'thorough Caledonian' in 1827, though he had lived in Ireland for almost fifty years.(5)

Addresses: Naas, 1787;(6) Milltown, Dublin; Charlemont Street, Dublin, 1796-1801; Harcourt Street, 1803; Dawson Street, 1816; Mespil House, 1817-1827.


All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from J.H. Andrews, Plantation Acres (Ulster Historical Foundation, 1985), 356-7, and Sarah Bendall, ed., Dictionary of Land Surveyors and Local Map-Makers of Great Britain and Ireland 1530-1850 (2nd edition, 1997), 502.

(1) Joseph Leckey, 'The end of the road: the Kilcullecn Turnpike 1844-1848 compared with 1787-1792', JRSAI 113 (1993), 108,113,114.
(2) Leckey, op. cit., 114.
(3) 'An alphabetical list of the Freemen of the City of Dublin, 1774-1824', The Irish Ancestor XV (1983), Nos. 1 & 2, 122, lists an Alexander Taylor as being admitted a freeman of the 'City at large' at Michaelmas 1807.
(4) A letter to the Nobility, Gentry, and Landholders, of theCounty of Mayo (1822), 27, quoted by Andrews, op. cit., above, 288.
(5) Robin's London and Dublin Magazine, Mar 1827, 229, quoted by Andrews, op. cit. above, 356.
(6) Leckey, op. cit., 114.