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William Robinson, later Sir William Robinson Knt.

British, 1643 - 1712

William Robinson, an architect who made important contributions to the development of Irish classicism, was born about 1643, the descendent of an ancient Yorkshire family. On January 11, 1671, he became "Engineer and Surveyor-General of all fortifications, buildings, etc., in Ireland," and in 1674 the Earl of Essex, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, described him as "a very ingenious man & well skilled in some parts of ye Mathematics." In London on January 18, 1677, Robinson married Margery Tooke (c.1655-1708), eldest daughter of Elizabeth (d. 1653) and John Tooke (d. 1658) of Hertfordshire. Robinson supervised the repair of fortifications throughout Ireland from 1681 to 1687, when he retired briefly to England following the succession of James II. He returned to Ireland on March 4, 1690, four months prior to the declaration of war, and resumed his post as Surveyor-General following the Irish surrender in 1691. Debilitated after many years of gout, he resigned that post on April 19, 1700, but continued to serve in various other capacities. On June 19, 1701 (or 1702) he was created a knight and admitted to the Irish Privy Council. He spent most of his final years in England, where he died in 1712. In a will of 1709 he reserved a portion of his estate for "erecting and endowing some public works edifice for the advancement of learning and other good works."