Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

MP for Midleton, Co. Cork, 1758-1776, and for Randalstown, Co. Armagh, from 1776-80, for whom see Edith Mary Johnston Liik, History of the Irish Parliament 1692-1800 (Ulster Historical Foundation, 1992), IV, 475-6. James St John Jeffereys was the proprietor of the village of Blarney, Co. Cork, which he developed to his own design from 1765 onwards. When Arthur Young visited the town in 1776 it was still in the process of expansion: a bolting mill had just been finished and a plating mill was on the point of being so, bringing the total of mills in the town to thirteen.(1) In 1844 the Parliamentary Gazetteer gave a less friendly description of the scheme: 'Mr Jeffereys…designed it as both a seat of manufacture, and a regular collection of neat and ornate houses; he built it upon a thoroughly considered but novel and preposterous plan; he fashioned its central section into a large quadrangle, with a statue in the centre, a lawn and tree-lines in the area, and rows of embellished dwelling houses along the sides; he established in it, partly with aid from the public purse, several linen and cotton factories; he erected an elegant church of comparatively frangible materials; he constructed a handsome stone-bridge in the midst of an adjoining plain, with the design of drawing the river beneath it along a new cut, but left the bridge without a river, and the river without a bridge; he made his town too fine for the taste of operatives, and too grotesque for the fancy of the higher classes; in short, he made the place a practical specimen of sheer "blarney", - a ludicrous embodiment of frontless and unmeaning gasconade. Twenty years ago or upwards, most of the trim and gaudy houses were roofless, the trees of the square were cut down, and the square itself was subjected to tillage, and yellow in corn.' The town was now 'little better than a mass of ruin, wearing rags of finery and weeds of woe', though two of the factories - a woollen manufactory and a paper-mill were still at work.(2)


(1) Arthur Young's Tour in Ireland, edited by A.W. Hutton (1892), I, 312-318.
(2) The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland (1844), I, 261.

1 work entries listed in chronological order for JEFFEREYS, JAMES ST JOHN

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Date: 1765-1776p
Nature: Town laid out to designs of St John Jeffereys, the proporietor, who also developed factories and built bridges.
Refs: Arthur Young, Tour in Ireland; The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland (1844), I, 261.