Basic Biographical Details

Name: Robert Thomas Napier Speir
Designation: Architect
Born: 15 October 1841
Died: 3 April 1922
Bio Notes: Robert Thomas Napier Speir was born on 15 October 1841, the only son of Robert Speir of Culdees and Burnbrae and Mary, daughter of Sir William Milliken Napier of Milliken Park, Renfrewshire and nephew of Lady Aymee Clerk of Penicuik. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church Oxford, and married the Hon Emily Gifford, 3rd daughter of 2nd Baron Gifford in 1868. Prior to inheriting the estates he was a captain in the 4th Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. His four sons all entered the army; there were two daughters.

The Speir family fortune was derived from Groves, Speir and Company.

Speir was forty years chairman of the Executive Committee and Home Mission Board of the Scottish Episcopal Church and the author of one of the essays on church reform edited by the Bishop of Birmingham. In November 1883 the Rev Farquhar of St Ninian's Cathedral, Perth stayed with him at Culdees when taking the service at Muthill and described him as a 'tall, handsome, aristocratic-looking man in the prime of life he is a church architect and has erected several small churches; he makes beautiful coloured windows with his own hands and paints beautifully on china etc; there is something very manly about him.' How Speir acquired his architectural skills is not known: his practice was confined to Episcopal churches where family or friends had a controlling interest. He died at Culdees on 3 April 1922.

There is a stained glass to his memory in Paisley Abbey.

(Farquhar quotation per Margaret Lye, 4 December 2004.)

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1Culdees, Muthill, Perthshire, ScotlandPrivate   

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 7 St James the Less Episcopal ChurchMuthill PerthshireScotlandChancel and north porch added.
Item 2 of 71871St Annes Episcopal ChurchCoupar Angus PerthshireScotlandRefurnishing of chancel (with G H Potts, decorator, Edinburgh)
Item 3 of 71879St James the Great Episcopal ChurchDollar ClackmannanshireScotlandAssisted Adam Frame
Item 4 of 71882St James the Less Episcopal ChurchPenicuik MidlothianScotlandDesign - with working drawings by Seymour & Kinross
Item 5 of 71884Episcopal ChurchComrie PerthshireScotlandWith George Turnbull Ewing as producer of working drawings and supervisor of design
Item 6 of 71884St Andrew's Episcopal ChurchSt Andrews FifeScotlandMosaic reredos of the Ascension (executed by Powell & Sons of London)
Item 7 of 71898St Colman's Episcopal ChurchBurravoeYellShetlandScotland 


Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Information from Margaret Lye