13 July 2012

Henry Joynes

As established in a previous post, Henry Joynes (c1684-1754) was my great great great great great great grandfather.

Henry Joynes' death notice from the London Evening Post (July 2-4, 1754):

Last Tuesday died, at his house at Kensington, Henry Joynes Esq.; an eminent Architect, upwards of Seventy Years of Age. He was employed by John Duke of Malborough, as Comptroller and Conductor of the Building of Blenheim House, near Woodstock, and for upwards of thirty Years last past was Surveyor to the Commissioners of Sewers at Westminster.

Whilst I have not been able to establish his exact date of birth, it is likely that he may have been born in Westminster - his brother Clement Joynes was baptised in St Clement Danes, Westminster, in 1680.

In his lifetime Henry Joynes was apparently involved in the public works of a number of important buildings in England. There is no record available of an apprenticeship or other such education in terms of surveying or architecture, and one can only assume that this sort of thing happened (in those days) either on the job, or came about as a result of innate talent.

His work on Blenheim Palace is where first he comes to notice in the history books. At the age of 21 he was appointed from the Board of Works to the Blenheim Palace project, on the recommendation of the famous gardener Henry Wise. He was apparently a skilled draughtsman, and Nicholas Hawksmoor, with whom he worked at Blenheim, took him under his wing and helped develop his draughtsman and architectural skills. Henry Joynes worked at Blenheim Palace for ten years, apparently during which time he married Mary Peisley, daughter of Bartholomew Peisley, a mason from Oxford who also worked at Blenheim Palace.

Henry Joynes was working as the Clerk of Kensington Palace by 1715 - his first child, Bartholomew (probably named after Mary's father) was baptised at Kensington in May 1715. Apparently being the Clerk of the palace meant that he oversaw any work that was done on the buildings and the gardens. He worked at Kensington Palace until his death in 1754. He was also on the Board for the Sewers of Westminster for about 30 years before his death.

As well as those official roles, Henry Joynes took on a few private commissions for houses, including Linley Hall, Shropshire, the Water Pavillion at Carshalton House, London, a house at 57 and 58, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, plus he designed his own monument for his grave, details of which he set out in his will:

"... my Will is that I may be buryed in London Church Yard in the said County of Middlesex at the East End of the Chancell Building in a Grave of eight foot in Depth to lye next to the Coffin of my late dear and beloved Wife Mary Joynes who was buried there in the beginning of September 1746 and that a Monument of Portland Stone may be set up there according to a draught propos'd by me."
Henry Joynes was buried in a tomb in St Marys Churchyard, Hendon, which was indeed made of Portland Stone, and designed to his specifications.


  1. Stephen Downes (bap Oct 20 1703 Haslemere Surrey d Aug 3 1755 Bath, Somerset) m Charlotte Tully (1717-1780) in 1740.

    Charlotte was the daughter of James Tully Esq (died 21731 5 Aug Great Park, Windsor, Berkshire, England, Dy'd in an Apoplectick Fit, James Tully of Charterhouse Square, Esq; as he was walking in Windsor Park2 - The Historical Register 1731) and Sarah Malthus (1681-1754) daughter of Daniel Malthus (1651-1717) and Elizabeth Portman (1655-1725).

    Stephen Downes died in 1755 and one of his executors was Samuel Joynes. Charlotte Tully, Stephen's widow, married Samuel Joynes in 1756 and he became the step-father of the Downes children who were Tully Downes (1743-1769), Charlotte Downes (1744-1832) and Maria Downes (1747-1834) who was my husband's 4x gt grandmother.

    1. Honor,

      Thank you for getting in touch and so much for this information! The mind boggles to think how distantly related we are, via your husband!


  2. The monument is still there, though it has lost its urn which once stood on top. Interesting it was designed by him too. The south side with his inscription is rather more worn than the other ones which remain very legible.

  3. Thanks Black Brunswicker. I've actually been to see it since I wrote this original article. However, I didn't know about the urn that used to be on the top - how do you know about that?