CORNISH ARCHITECTS OF DEVON
By Duncan Reid
The Cornish family have, over the centuries, made a number of contributions to the City of Exeter, and surrounding villages. Robert Cornish (b.1760 - d.1844), son of Nicholas Cornish & Mary Stribling, (note: see Vol.3, page 36 for the Descendants Chart of Robert's wife Frances Ann Squier),held the post of Surveyor to Exeter Cathedral from 1800 until his retirement in 1838. On his retirement, he was presented with a piece of plate 'as a token of the respect of the Chapter and of the high sense they entertain of his Services'. High praise indeed! As the Cathedral Architect, he was succeeded by his son, Robert Stribling Cornish (b.1788 - d.1871). This is the same Robert Stribling Cornish who married Marianne Powning in 1814, and held the office of Mayor of Exeter in 1852-3 (see Vol 3, page 53).
Holy Trinity Church, Exeter, was rebuilt in 1820-1 by 'Cornish & Sons, Architects and Builders' [ I.C.B.S ]. St Edmonds' Church, Exeter, appears to have been rebuilt by Messrs Cornish & Julian in 1834. Both churches are described as being in the elementary Perpendicular Gothic style of the period. Messrs Cornish & Julian also designed the vicarage at Fremington, Devon, in 1830, and repewed St Pancras' Church, Exeter, in 1831. The younger Mr Cornish designed The New City Prison at Exeter in 1819, and parsonages at Lynton, 1834, and Heanton Punchardon, Devon, in 1836. The designs for the latter are in the Greek Revival style, with incised pilasters (a pillar engaged in a wall, from which it projects a portion of its breadth; Oxford English Dictionary) of the kind which ornament many early 19th Century houses in the suburbs of the City of Exeter.