Henry Edward Kennedy

Place of Birth

Henry Edward Kennedy was born at Hammersmith, London in 1813 or 1814, the son of John Kennedy and Anne Taylor Reynolds, but nothing is yet known of his training or early career. In 1839, he married Emily Du Pre third daughter of Rev Thomas Du Pre, Rector of Willoughby, Lincolnshire. Henry Kennedy's daughter, Emily, was born at Kensington in 1840‑41 (1881 Census) and the family's removal from London to North Wales appears to have occurred shortly after this date.  His earliest recorded work, the neo-Norman church at Llan Festiniog in North Wales is dated 1843 and this corresponds with his inclusion in the 1844 Bangor Directory.

About 1858 Kennedy entered into partnership with the Bristol-born architect John Mechelen Rogers (c1831-1889). By 1861 Rogers had moved to London and seemingly remained there for the rest of his career. Whether John Rogers was related to the local building contractor, W T Rogers of Pen Parc, Bangor, is unclear. This partnership ended about 1866 and within a year he had entered into a new partnership with Gustavus Hamiton O’Donoghue of Glasgow but again also with a London address. Applications to the Incorporated Church Building Society suggest that this partnership was dissolved by 1871 after which Kennedy worked alone until shortly before his death when, it is suggested, he entered into a partnership with Peter Shearson Gregory MSA, a fellow Bangor architect who absorbed Kennedy’s practice into his own. By this time Kennedy was in his eighties.

Most of Kennedy’s work was for the Diocese of Bangor and he dominated church architecture in the area for over fifty years. His mark was overwhelming and it is rare to find a church in the old counties of Caernarvonshire and Anglesey which had avoided Kennedy’s touch although his influence was less pervasive in Merionethshire.  Generally his work is considered workmanlike but never outstanding with a tendency towards wiry tracery detail. During his career Kennedy was involved in some eighty applications to the Incorporated Church Building Society for grants in respect of his work for the Bangor diocese but does not appear to have carried out many other schemes beyond this area of north-west Wales.

In 1868 Kennedy & O'Donoghue exhibited a design, probably a competition design, for Long Ashton Independent Church but generally the function of the London office remains unclear as is the role of his two partners who do not appear to have played any significantly part in the Welsh projects.