Basic Biographical Details

Name: Hugh Cairncross
Designation: Architect
Died: 21 July 1808 or 21 July 1809
Bio Notes: Hugh Cairncross was probably born in Selkirkshire and practised as a mason there in the mid-18th century where he built various bridges.

He moved to Edinburgh at some point prior to 1799 and was a pupil or assistant of Robert Adam. In that year Robert Burn requested Cairncross to inspect the gable of a tenement in York Place. (The house belonged to the painter Henry Raeburn). Burn was accused of causing damage to Raeburn's adjacent property. So by 1799 he must have had some kind of reputation with a reliable opinion on matters such as this.

He worked as Adamís clerk of works at Culzean and Dalquharran Castles. At the time of his death he is described as Ďarchitectí. In 1791 he superseded John Paterson as clerk of works for Adamís new University Building in Edinburgh and continued as such until work stopped in 1795.

Hugh Cairncross died at Melrose on 21 July 1808 (Colvin) or 21 July 1809 (Caledonian Mercury, 1809). His son George also practised as a mason and architect in Edinburgh.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness   

Buildings and Designs

This architect was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 16 Development of land at Newhall, on shores of Forth  EdinburghScotlandDate not specified
Item 2 of 161772Culzean Castle  AyrshireScotlandAssisted Adam as clerk of works - and supervised the construction of the oval staircase and round drawing room
Item 3 of 161777Parish ChurchKirkoswald AyrshireScotlandPerhaps responsible for design
Item 4 of 161780sCassillis HouseMaybole AyrshireScotlandAlterations planned but only partially completed
Item 5 of 161782Dalquharran Castle  AyrshireScotlandSupervised construction
Item 6 of 161786Kirkmichael Parish Church, pulpitKirkmichael AyrshireScotland 
Item 7 of 16c. 1786Culzean Castle, walled garden  AyrshireScotlandPerhaps responsible for design?
Item 8 of 16c. 1790Wheatfield HouseAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 9 of 161791University of Edinburgh, Old College  EdinburghScotland 
Item 10 of 161799Ardgowan HouseInverkip RenfrewshireScotlandOriginal house
Item 11 of 16Late 1700s37 SandgateAyr AyrshireScotlandAttribution in 'Buildings of Scotland'
Item 12 of 161801English ChurchInveraray ArgyllScotlandCairncross was paid for 'measuring and valuing the work in the finishing of the English and Gaelic Churches at Inveraray'.
Item 13 of 161801Falkirk Old Parish ChurchFalkirk StirlingshireScotlandSubmitted design for rebuilding the church - not adopted because of a dispute among the parishioners.
Item 14 of 161801Gaelic ChurchInveraray ArgyllScotlandCairncross was paid for 'measuring and valuing the work in the finishing of the English and Gaelic Churches at Inveraray'.
Item 15 of 161807Culzean Castle, stablecourt  AyrshireScotlandSupervised construction of coach house
Item 16 of 161807Houses, 12-32 Gayfield Square  EdinburghScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 4Colvin, H M1995A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-18403rd editionNew Haven and London: Yale University Press 
Item 2 of 4Colvin, Howard2008A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840 London: YUP. 4th edition 
Item 3 of 4Fraser, A G1989The Building of Old College Edinburghpp119-120
Item 4 of 4Walker, Frank Arneil1986South Clyde Estuary: An Illustrated Architectural Guide to Inverclyde and Renfrew  p143

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Caledonian Mercury29 July 1809   
Item 2 of 2Scots Magazine1808lxxi p640