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Essex, James (1722–84). English architect, one of the best of the early Gothic Revivalists. He designed many works in a Classical style in Cambridge, but is important as among the very first to understand the structural properties of Gothic buildings, publishing several pioneering papers on medieval architecture in the Journal of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and writing an (unpublished) history of Gothic architecture in England. He designed the Beauclerk Tower and Gothic Gate at Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, Mddx. (1776), for Horace Walpole, and carried out restorations at Lincoln (1762–5) and Ely (1757–62) Cathedrals that were far more scholarly than anything attempted by his contemporaries (or some of his successors).
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004);