Essex, Jamks

, F. S. A. a man whose astonishing knowledge of gothic architecture could only be equalled by his modesty, was the son of a builder and carpenter at Cambridge, where he was born in 1723, and was educated under Mr. Heath, fellow of KingVcollege, and then master of the college school near the chapel, the perpetual contemplation of which probably inspired him with that taste for and love of our ancient architecture, which so eminently marked the whole of his progress. The | repairs and improvements of that celebrated chapel, and of Ely*


The upper part of the outward eastern front of Ely cathedral had given way, and hung out of the perpendicular near two feet; but was restored to its first state under the direction of Mr. Essex; who also gave the design for the new roofing over the whole eastern part of the church, lately finished, and contrived with great judgment to strengthen the stone walls which give it support. To the same judicious architect likewise is owing that strength and security which are seen in the whole wood-work of the dome and lantern, which through long inattention were brought into a dangerous condition, the main supporters being rotted, and the whole threatening ruin by its own weight. This dangerous work was taken in hand in 1757, and a complete reparation effected in, five years.” Behtham’s Ely, p. 284.

and Lincoln minsters, planned and conducted by him, will be a lasting monument of his skill, even if the public should never be indulged with his drawings, admeasurements, and observations, on the first of these admirable specimens of that style of building; not to mention his improvements of several colleges in Cambridge, and of Madingley, the seat of sir John Hinde Cotton, bart. in that county, and his repair of the tower of Winchester college chapel, as well as innumerable instances of his friendly assistance. His proposals for publishing the plans and sections of King’s-college chapel, in fifteen plates, with remarks and comparisons, may be seen in Cough’s Brit. Top. vol. I. p. 237. All that were actually published of his writing were, “Remarks on the antiquity of different modes of brick and stone buildings in England,” Archseol. vol. IV. p. 73. “Observations on Lincoln Cathedral,” ib. 149, and “On the origin and antiquity of round churches, and of the round church at Cambridge in particular,” ib. vol. VI. p. 163, and “On Croyland abbey and bridge,” which forms the 22d number of the Bibliotheca Topog. Britann. He was preparing further remarks on the rise and progress of his favourite science in its various parts, which death intercepted. His designs for the new building of Bene’t, King’s, and Emanuel colleges, Trinity-hall, and the Public Library at Cambridge, were engraved 1739, 1741, 1743, 1748, and 1752. The first of these drew him into a controversy with the historian of that house, who disputed his claim to the design, and obliged him to publish “A letter to his subscribers to the plan and elevation ofan intended addition to Corpus Christi college, in Cambridge,Cambridge, 1749, 8vo, which effectually closed the dispute. Mr. Essex had particularly made himself master of the ancient site of Cambridge, his native town. He married the daughter of Mr. | Thurlbourn, bookseller, by whom he left one daughter, who died in 1787, the wife of the rev. John Hammond. Mr. Essex died at Cambridge, Sept. 14, 1784, aged sixty-one, and his widow in 1790. 1

Nichols’s Bowyer.—Cole’s ms Athenæ in Brit. Mus.