Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Surveyor and mathematical instrument maker, of Dublin. Gabriel Stokes, son of a tailor in Back Lane, Dublin, was baptised in the parish of St Nicholas Within on 23 April 1682. After attending the King's Hospital School, Dublin, he was apprenticed to the surveyor Joseph Moland in 1696. His original - and continuing - trade was that of mathematical instrument maker; his shop 'At the Sign of the Dial' in Essex Street was in business until at least the early 1750s. He produced his first signed map in 1716 and remained active as a mapmaker thereafter, particularly in the 1720s and 1730s, most of his surveys being of lands in the Dublin area. In 1726 he made a survey of Dublin Bay and harbour.(1)

In 1735 Stokes and RICHARD CASTLE  RICHARD CASTLE were asked to produce schemes for Dublin's water supply by Dublin Corporation's Pipe Water Committee, which directed the City Stationer to print 500 copies of each scheme.(2) Stokes then published a pamphlet commenting on Castle's scheme, Observations on a late essay of Mr Richard Castle (1735).(3) The Committee eventually concluded that an adequate water supply could be obtained simply by preventing waste in the existing system.(4)

In 1748 Stokes was appointed Deputy Surveyor General of Ireland by ARTHUR JONES NEVILL  ARTHUR JONES NEVILL and held the post until 1752, when Nevill was replaced by THOMAS EYRE. THOMAS EYRE. (4) During his tenure of the post, he introduced an examination for private surveyors, issuing certificates of competence to those who passed. He produced a map of Co. Dublin in 1750 and, some time before 1755, a map of the whole of Ireland (subsequently lost) for the use of the Post Office.

Stokes died in 1768. He married Elizabeth King, of Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin, in 1711, by whom he had many children. He received a grant of arms in 1721, taking a surveyor's forestaff as his crest. He was the great-grandfather of HENRY STOKES. HENRY STOKES.



All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from J.H. Andrews, Plantation Acres (Ulster Historical Foundation, 1985), 100-1,271-3, Burke's Irish Family Records (1976), 1050, and Teresa Stokes, London, Mar 2014. There is an account of Stokes in Thomas H. Mason, 'Dublin Opticians and Instrument Makers', Dublin Historical Record 6, no. 4 (Sep-Nov 1944), 138-9.

(1) British Library Add MS 35,931 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(2) CARD VIII, 171-2;  a copy of Stokes;s scheme was for sale at auction by Fosie Mealy, Castlecomer, 10 Dec 1029, Lot 375.
(3) Royal Irish Academy, Haliday Pamphlets.
(4) CARD VIII, 182,196.
(5) As the Surveyor General paid his deputy out of his own salary (E. McParland, ‘The Surveyor General in Ireland’, Architectural History 38 (1995), 97), he presumably had his choice in the appointment.

Author Title Date Details
Stokes, Gabriel The Description and Uses of the Universal Aequinoctial Double-Ring Dial 1731 Dublin, 1731. (Pamphlet dedicated to Edward Lovett Pearce.)
Stokes, Gabriel A Scheme for effectually supplying every part of the City of Dublin with pipe-water 1735 Dublin: Sylvester Pepyat, 1735.
Stokes, Gabriel The Mathematical Cabinet of the Hydrostatical Balance, Unlock'd 1735 Pamphlet paginated with A Scheme for Effectually Supplying Every Part of the City of Dublin with Pipe-Water..
Stokes, Gabriel Observations on a late essay of Mr. Richard Castle 1735 Dublin, 1735.