John Roberts 1714-1796 was born to a Waterford builder and architect from who it must be imagined he first learned his trade, before heading to London to further his studies. Apparently whilst there, he met and eloped with Susannah Maria Sautelle (1716-1800) and the pair had 24 children. Susannah was the daughter of the Huguenot and the couples first home on returning to Waterford was in Patrick Street.
I read previously that it was his wife’s contacts that landed him his first big break. Bishop Este was having a palace constructed on Waterford's mall. On his death work ceased but his successor Bishop Chevenix, another Huguenot, turned to Roberts to oversee the completion of what we now know as the Bishops Palace.
|John and Susannah's home in Cathedral Sq, Waterford|
marked by the Civic Trust blue plaque system
Honest of course comes from a habit of his, of paying his workmen in small coins, freeing them of the obligation of going into pubs to make change, and also in paying half their wage to their spouses. Another admiral character trait however seems to have led to his undoing. He had a preference to oversee all elements of his work. On his last commission, the catholic cathedral in Waterford, he died. But had he been residing in Faithlegg perhaps he would have lived to complete the building?
|Theater Royal, on Waterford's Mall|
However, had he been staying at his Faithlegg address isn’t it probable that when arising he would have had to have roused the stable boy to get his horse and carriage ready, or his boat man to ferry him to the city, three miles upriver? And surely either of them would have remarked to their master that it was indeed an early hour for such a trip. And just as likely their aged master would have turned on his heels and retired either to his bed chamber or his kitchen. Alas it was not to be. Maybe at 80 years of age, he was ready to take his final rest, however, one wonders had he lived another ten years what other architectural gems would Waterford boast.
Joe Falvey gives this great account: http://www.munster-express.ie/opinion/views-from-the-brasscock/the-john-roberts-story/
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