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Thomas Lee (1794–1834)

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Memorial to Thomas Lee, Junior, at St. Anne's Chapel, Barnstaple

Thomas Lee (Jnr) (1794 – 5 September 1834), the son of Thomas Lee of Barnstaple, Devon,[1] was an English architect.

He was educated at Barnstaple Grammar School and left to train briefly in 1810 at Sir John Soane's office, where his father no doubt placed him, but left for the office of David Laing. He was also admitted to the Royal Academy School in 1812 and won a Royal Academy silver medal in 1816, for a drawing of Lord Burlington's villa at Chiswick, and a gold medal from the Society of Arts, for a design for a British Senate House.[2]

His first major work was the Wellington Monument, Somerset. Lee's further work was characterised as "eclectic" by Howard Colvin, who instanced the pared-down Soanean neoclassicism of Arlington Court, Devonshire (1820-23 for Col. J.P. Chichester), the Tudor Gothic Eggesford House, Devon (1822 for Hon. Newton Fellowes; now a ruin), several "Commissioners' Gothic" churches in Worcestershire, Cheshire and Staffordshire, as well as an unusually early neo-Norman one. In 1826 he designed the Guildhall in Barnstaple (finished 1828 and currently being restored) which makes an impressive frontage for the later Pannier Market.

In 1834 he died in a swimming accident at Mortehoe, near Barnstaple

His brother, Frederick Richard Lee was a successful painter.


  1. ^ Thomas Lee (1756 — 1836), also son of Thomas Lee of Barnstaple, Devon, was a minor architect, the pupil of William Rhodes; he won a silver medal from the Royal Academy in 1776, but soon afterwards retired from London to his native Barnstaple upon inheriting a modest fortune (Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840 3rd ed. [Yale University Press] 1995, s.v. "Thomas Lee").
  2. ^ The British Senate House design is conserved at the Royal Institute of British Architects library (Colvin)

see "Some men who made Barnstaple..." 2010 by Pauline Brain