Verschoyle, Barbara (1750/53–1837), land agent and philanthropist, was born in Dublin, the sixth of eight daughters of Bryan Fagan (d. 1761), land agent for the Fitzwilliam estate in Dublin and brewer, and Elizabeth Fagan (d. 1788), both of Dublin. Bryan Fagan's brewery was on Ussher's Quay and his period as agent to the 6th Viscount Fitzwilliam was marked by the development of Merrion Square and its surrounding streets. After his death his wife, Elizabeth, continued the brewing business and ran the Fitzwilliam estate until her death in 1788. Barbara had assumed the agency of the Fitzwilliam estate by 1796, though it is likely that she did so considerably earlier, at some time after the death of her mother. It is unclear why she became agent over some of her older sisters.
Barbara, a devout catholic, married Richard Verschoyle (d. 1827), a protestant Dublin merchant, on 8 September 1790, and it would seem that she unsuccessfully endeavoured to convert him to catholicism throughout their life together. They had no children and this contributed to Barbara's uninterrupted tenure as agent for the Fitzwilliam estate from the 1790s until 1827. The Verschoyles lived in Mount Merrion House, on part of the estate in south Dublin.
Barbara Verschoyle's position as agent for the Fitzwilliam estate gave her a relatively prominent social standing for a woman and a catholic. She had a close working relationship with Richard (1745–1816), 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion, and their correspondence exhibits a degree of personal warmth and trust. Verschoyle managed a large and wealthy estate, comprising over 1,275 acres and valued at £14,000 per annum in 1816, through a challenging period. Her main duties as agent included the collection of rents, the negotiation of new leases, and the admittance of new tenants into the estate; the last responsibility gave her a significant political role after the passing of the relief act (1793), which gave the county franchise to catholic 40s. freeholders. However, the unstable political situation in Ireland in the latter half of the 1790s created difficulties in estate management. The uncertain political and economic conditions resulted in arrears not being collected from tenants and this situation worsened with the outbreak of the 1798 rebellion. Verschoyle introduced a new clause into leases, reducing the duration of rent-free periods, in order to prevent arrears and, while this had some success, the development of the estate was limited, both because of the rebellion and because the Act of Union (1800) affected its value.
Despite economic problems after 1801, the latter years of Verschoyle's agency saw increased development of the estate and a rise in its value by 1816. Verschoyle used her influence with Fitzwilliam to persuade him to grant some land to build a church for his catholic tenants in Booterstown, and the Italianate church was built (1812) at Fitzwilliam's sole expense. Fitzwilliam also granted some land adjoining the church to be used for a girls' school, to which Verschoyle contributed £20 per annum. She remained agent when the estate passed to George Augustus Herbert, 11th earl of Pembroke (February 1816), following the death of Fitzwilliam, and continued working until 1827 when she gave up the agency after the death of her husband in August of that year. Verschoyle undoubtedly oversaw the construction of the parochial schoolhouse near the catholic church in Booterstown in 1826.
Following her retirement as agent for the Pembroke estate, Verschoyle concentrated on charitable works and played a significant role in the establishment of a new convent in south Dublin. She used £500 bequeathed to her by Fitzwilliam to build a convent school in Sandymount and granted a further £1,200, the interest on which was to pay for a chaplain. Verschoyle, as patron of the school, invited the Sisters of Charity of Stanhope Street in Dublin to manage it and to establish a community. The Sisters of Charity took over the school in August 1831 and, in addition to their regular role of teaching around eighty children, they acted as nurses in Sandymount, Ringsend, and Irishtown during the cholera outbreaks of 1832–3.
Barbara Verschoyle died 25 January 1837 in Dublin; a memorial in Booterstown catholic church records the role she played in the erection of the church. There is also a memorial to Richard Verschoyle in Booterstown Church of Ireland. Papers relating to the Pembroke estate are in the NAI.