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Richard Boyle

Richard Boyle, the 4th Earl of Cork, was a prominent figure in 17th-century Ireland and England. Born on October 3, 1599, he was the eldest surviving son of Richard Boyle, the famous 1st Earl of Cork, and his wife Catherine Fenton. Boyle's life is marked by his significant contributions to politics, land development, and the sciences.

In England he had houses at Londesborough, in London's Piccadilly and at Chiswick. Boyle was born at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, England on 25 April 1694. He died on 3 December 1753 at Chiswick and was buried in the family vault at Londesborough on 15 December 1753. Boyle is particularly noted for his patronage of William Kent and for his promotion of the revival of the Palladian style.

Boyle received an excellent education, studying at the University of Oxford before inheriting his father's title and vast estates in Ireland at the age of 17. His inheritance included extensive lands in Munster, which he managed and developed with remarkable skill and foresight.

Known for his administrative talents and shrewd business sense, Boyle became an influential figure in Irish and English politics. He served as a Member of Parliament for various constituencies in Ireland and later in England, establishing himself as a key ally to both King Charles I and Oliver Cromwell during the tumultuous period of the English Civil War.

Aside from his political endeavors, Boyle was a patron of the arts and sciences. He supported numerous scientific experiments and advancements, particularly in the fields of chemistry and medicine. Boyle's interest in scientific inquiry led to his association with the renowned scientist Robert Boyle, his distant relative, with whom he collaborated on various scientific projects.

Richard Boyle's legacy also lies in his extensive land development initiatives. He was instrumental in the development of towns, roads, and industries in Ireland, significantly contributing to the economic and infrastructural growth of the region.


  1. Crawford, Jon G. A Star Chamber Court in Ireland: The Court of Castle Chamber, 1571-1641. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2005.
  2. Clarke, Aidan. The Old English in Ireland, 1625-42. Dublin: Cork University Press, 2000.
  3. Morrill, John. The Oxford Illustrated History of Tudor and Stuart Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

These sources provide detailed insights into Richard Boyle's life, his political influence, and his contributions to the development of Ireland during the 17th century.

Colvin, Howard, A Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 3rd edition (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995), pp. 147-152.

Kingsbury, Pamela Denman, ‘Boyle, Richard, third earl of Burlington and fourth earl of Cork (1694–1753)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008) < > [accessed 21 Nov 2008]

Further Reading:

Carre, Jacques, 'Lord Burlington's Garden at Chiswick', Garden History, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Summer, 1973), pp. 23-30.

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