Cundy, Thomas (1765-1825) (DNB00)

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CUNDY, THOMAS, the elder (1765–1825), architect and builder, eldest son of Peter Cundy of Restowrick House, St. Dennis, Cornwall, and Thomasine Wilcocks, his wife, was baptised at St. Dennis 18 Feb. 1765, and belonged to an ancient family, of which the main branch was long seated at Sandwich in Kent. Cundy left his home early, and after being apprenticed to a builder at Plymouth, at the age of twenty-one came to London to seek his fortune there. By his unremitting industry he overcame all difficulties, and establishing himself as an architect and builder in Ranelagh Street, Pimlico, secured extensive employment in that capacity in London and all parts of the country. At the age of twenty-eight he was employed as clerk of the works at Normanton Park, under Mr. S. P. Cockerell, upon whose retirement he was retained by Sir Gilbert Heathcote to complete the alterations in progress. He then commenced business as an architect and builder. He soon made a reputation for himself, and after being largely patronised by influential people, he was in 1821 appointed surveyor to Earl Grosvenor's London estates. Among the important buildings which Cundy either built or made extensive alterations in were Middleton Park and Osterley for the Earl of Jersey, Tottenham Park, Hawarden Castle, Burton Constable, Sion House and Northumberland House, Wytham in Oxfordshire, and many others. He exhibited several designs for these and other buildings at the Royal Academy. Cundy died 28 Dec. 1825, in his sixty-first year. In 1789 he married, at St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, Mary Hubert of Abingdon Street, Westminster, by whom he was the father of seven sons, the eldest of whom, Thomas [q. v.], succeeded him. James Cundy, his second son, born in 1792, entered the schools of the Royal Academy as a sculptor. In 1817 he exhibited at the British Institution a group of ‘Eve supplicating Adam,’ and in 1818, at the same place, ‘The Judgment of Paris.’ In May 1826 he unfortunately met with a carriage accident in Waterloo Place, from the effects of which he died, leaving by Mary Tansley, his wife, a son, Samuel Cundy, who was of some note as a modeller and mason, and was employed on the restorations at Westminster Abbey, St. Albans Abbey, and elsewhere. He died in 1866, aged about 50. Joseph Cundy (1795–1875), third son of Thomas Cundy the elder, was also well known as a speculative architect and builder in Belgravia, and was father of Thomas Syson Cundy, the well-known surveyor to the Fountaine-Wilson-Montagu estates in the north of England. Nicholas Wilcocks Cundy, born 1778, a younger brother of Thomas Cundy the elder, was distinguished as a civil engineer, and as the projector of a ship canal from Portsmouth to London and one of the four competing schemes for the London and Brighton railway. He also designed the Pantheon in Oxford Street. He married Miss Stafford-Cooke, and unsuccessfully contested the borough of Sandwich.

[Information from Mr. Thomas Cundy; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1880; Builder, 1867, pp. 464, 607; Catalogues of the British Institution, Royal Academy, &c.]

L. C.