James Pigott Pritchett (1789-1868) was born in Pembrokeshire in Wales. His father, a fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and the domestic chaplain of the Earl of Cawdor, was the local rector. The young man trained as an architect and then worked for two years in the office of Daniel Asher Alexander, architect of the London Dock Company, before setting up briefly on his own in London (see Cust 411). At the start of 1813 he went into partnership with Charles Watson, an architect in York, who was already well established there. Pritchett settled in York, where the pair had "a very extensive practice, amounting to almost a monopoly, of architectural work in Yorkshire." Amongst Pritchett's works were "the deanery, St. Peter's School (now the school of art), the Savings Bank, Lady Hewley's Hospital, Lendal and Salem Chapels, &c. Elsewhere he built the asylum at Wakefield, the court-house and gaol at Beverley, and acted as surveyor and architect on the extensive estates of three successive Earls Fitzwilliam" (Cust 411). His partnership with Watson lasted until 1831 (see Royle 3).

A leading Congregationalist and philanthropist in his adopted city, Pritchett is mainly known for his many churches and chapels, especially in the York area. Although he produced classical designs for some of his buildings, Nikolaus Pevsner lists him among architects working in "Commissioners' Gothic" (34), that is to say, the budget Gothic used after the Church Building Act of 1818 provided funds for new churches, with the aim of preventing social unrest at that time. Pritchett was also the principal author of A History of the Nonconformist Churches of York, a recent edition of which has been published by the University of York Press. — Jacqueline Banerjee.



Cust, Lionel. "Pritchett, J. P. (1789-1868)." Dictionary of National Biography (Pocock to Puckering) , Vol. XLVI. 1896 ed. Internet Archive. Web. 28 November 2012.

Pevsner, Nikolaus, et. al. The Buildings of England: Staffordshire. London: Penguin, 1974.

Royle, Edward. Introduction. A History of the Nonconformist Churches of York. York: University of York Press, 1993. 1-7. Google Books (full view). Web. 28 November 2012.

Last modified 7 June 2020