Beaufort, Daniel Augustus (1739–1821), clergyman, architect, and cartographer, was born 1 October 1739 in London, son of Daniel Cornelius Beaufort and Esther Beaufort (née Gougeon), members of the huguenot community. The family moved to Ireland when Daniel's father became chaplain to the viceroy, William Stanhope (qv), Lord Harrington, and Daniel was educated in Navan, Co. Meath (where his father was rector from 1746), and in Dublin. He entered TCD (1754), became a scholar (1757), and graduated (BA 1759, MA 1764, and LLD (hon.) 1789). He became a clergyman, succeeded his father as rector of Navan in 1765, and held the living until 1818. He was presented to the vicarage of Collon, Co. Louth, by John Foster (qv) in 1790, and also held the sinecure parish of Athlumney. In 1818 he became prebendary of Kilconnell in Clonfert, and in 1820 prebendary of Mayne in Ossory. Like many contemporary clergymen Beaufort relied on curates to perform parochial duties, and during 1779–84 he lived in Wales and Cheltenham, avoiding creditors and allowing his rents to accrue in Ireland.
His detailed diaries and letters record his travels, projects, and varied interests, which included science, agriculture, and architecture. He undertook to manage a complicated series of lawsuits concerning the estate of the 5th earl of Bradford, but gained little thereby, and his financial difficulties were chronic. Though his energies were dissipated in minor as well as major commissions for friends, his achievements, especially in architecture and topography, were considerable. He designed several houses and churches, and is especially associated with Ardbraccan House, Co. Meath, and with the very impressive Collon church, modelled on King's College chapel, Cambridge.
Beaufort is best remembered for his pioneering mapping of Ireland at a scale of six miles to an inch (1:380,160). Ireland civil and ecclesiastical, with the companion Memoir illustrating the topography . . . with a complete index, was published in London (1792), after painstaking observations undertaken from as early as 1765. The map's accuracy and the useful index ensured its success: the first edition sold 2,000 copies. He also published a map of the diocese of Meath (1797), but failed to complete other cartographic projects.
He was one of the eighty-eight foundation members of the RIA (1785), and its librarian 1788–91; he was also elected an honorary member of the Dublin Society. In 1786 Beaufort took part in founding Sunday schools in the parishes of St Catherine and St Thomas in Dublin, which were among the earliest in Ireland. His travels, diary writing, and money troubles continued almost until his death on 17 May 1821 (he barely avoided dying in prison for debt). He married (1767) Mary, daughter and coheiress of William Waller of Allenstown, Co. Meath; they had two sons and five daughters. Two daughters died young; the others were Frances Anne (1769–1865), wife of Richard L. Edgeworth (qv); Henrietta (1778–1865), writer of children's books; and Louisa (1781–1863), writer on early Irish architecture. The two sons were William L. Beaufort (1771–1849), clergyman in Cork, and Sir Francis Beaufort (qv), admiral and hydrographer.