Burrough, James (1691-1764) (DNB00)

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BURROUGH, Sir JAMES (1691–1764), amateur architect, son of James Burrough, M.D., of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, was born on 1 Sept. 1691. Having been educated at the grammar school at Bury for eight years, he entered Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, at Michaelmas, 1708, proceeded to the degree of B.A. in 1711, and to that of M.A. in 1716. He was elected one of the esquire bedells in 1727, resigning the post in 1749, fellow of his college (on Mrs. Frankland's foundation) in 1738, and master in 1754 (27 Feb.), an office which he held until his death, 7 Aug. 1764.

He was an amateur architect of some skill, and considerable reputation in the university, where he used his influence to introduce the classical style which had then become fashionable. In 1721 he was added to a syndicate which had been appointed two years before to build a new senate house; and in the following year submitted a ‘Plan of the Intended Publick Buildings,’ as the minute-book of the syndics records, which James Gibbs, the well-known architect, who had been consulted, was requested to ‘take with him to London, and make what improvements he shall think necessary upon it.’ As Gibbs was undoubtedly the architect of the existing building, for the design is engraved in his published work, Burrough's share in it was probably confined to general suggestions of style and arrangement. Tradition, however, has called him the architect. The works which are unquestionably his are: the cupola over the combination room at his own college (1728); the transformation of the hall of Queens' College into an Italian chamber (1732), for which he received twenty-five guineas; the ‘beautification’ of Emmanuel College chapel (1735); the new building at Peterhouse (1736), for which he received 50l. and a piece of plate; the facing with stone, in a classical style, of the quadrangle of Trinity Hall (1742–5), with the internal fittings of the hall; a design, engraved 1745, and signed ‘James Burrough, architect,’ for rebuilding the library and master's lodge at the same college; the doctors' gallery in Great St. Mary's Church, and the facing of the second court of his own college, in the style employed at Trinity Hall (1751); a similar treatment of the court of Peterhouse (1754); and the new chapel of Clare Hall (1763). This latter work, however, he did not live to complete, and it was carried out by James Essex. Besides these works, he was consulted about most of the changes, great and small, that were being effected in Cambridge, and even in the county, for in 1757 he gave advice respecting a new bridge at Wisbeach.

In 1752 he gave a design (afterwards engraved) for the new east room and façade of the library, which adjoins the senate house. This design possesses both beauty and convenience; but it was set aside (in 1754) in favour of one by Stephen Wright. The Duke of Newcastle, chancellor of the university, procured Burrough the honour of knighthood in November 1759. He died in 1764.

He was F.S.A., and a great collector of pictures, prints, and medals. In private life he was much esteemed, and his contemporaries speak of him with affection and respect. He was buried in the antechapel of his college. There is a good portrait of him in the master's lodge.

[Register of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge; Cole's MSS. xxxi. (Add. MS. Brit. Mus. 5832); Willis's Architectural History of Cambridge, iii. 536–40, and Index; Watson's History of Wisbeach, 282.]

J. W. C.