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William Burges

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William Burges (1827–1881) was an English architect and designer

Burges was born on 2 December 1827, the son of Alfred Burges (1796–1886), a wealthy civil engineer. Alfred made a considerable fortune, and this wealth enabled his son to devote his life to the study and practice of architecture, without requiring that he actually earn a living.

Burges entered King's College School, London, in 1839 to study engineering, his contemporaries there including Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Michael Rossetti.

He left in 1844 to join the office of Edward Blore, surveyor to Westminster Abbey.

In 1848 or 1849, Burges moved to the offices of Matthew Digby Wyatt.

Burges's career was short but illustrious; he won his first major commission for Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral in Cork in 1863, when he was 35

His architectural output was small but varied. Working with a long-standing team of craftsmen, he built churches, a cathedral, a warehouse, a university, a school, houses and castles. Burges's most notable works are Cardiff Castle, constructed between 1866 and 1928 and Castell Coch (1872–91), both of which were undertaken for John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute. Other notable buildings include Gayhurst House, Buckinghamshire (1858–65), Knightshayes Court (1867–74), the Church of Christ the Consoler (1870–76) and St Mary's, Studley Royal (1870–78) in Yorkshire, and Park House, Cardiff, (1871–80).

Many of his designs were never executed or were subsequently demolished. His competition entries for cathedrals at Lille (1854), Adelaide (1856), Colombo, Brisbane (1859), Edinburgh (1873), and Truro (1878) were all unsuccessful. He lost out to George Edmund Street in the competition for the Royal Courts of Justice (1866–67) in The Strand. His plans for the redecoration of the interior of St. Paul's Cathedral (1870–77) were abandoned and he was dismissed from his post. Skilbeck's Warehouse (1865–66) was demolished in the 1970s, and work at Salisbury Cathedral (1855–59), at Worcester College, Oxford (1873–79) and at Knightshayes Court had been lost in the decades before

1881 April 20th. He died at his Kensington home, The Tower House, aged 53.

Buried in West Norwood Cemetery

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