Basic Biographical Details

Name: Robert Mylne
Designation: Mason
Born: 1633
Died: 10 December 1710
Bio Notes: Robert Mylne was born in 1633, the eldest son of Alexander Mylne who was the second son of John Mylne (died 1657). He was apprenticed to his uncle John who died in 1667 and the following year, 1668, he succeeded him as Master Mason to the Scottish Crown.

Mylne’s first recorded work is Wood’s Hospital in Largo built in 1665. Thereafter he is recorded as being involved in various country house projects and public works in Fife and Perth. In 1671 he began work at Holyroodhouse under the direction of Sir William Bruce. Mylne’s name and the date July 1671 are inscribed in a pillar of the quadrangle. Bruce was largely responsible for the design but Mylne would have attended to practical details and a set of drawings in his hand is still extant.

In the 1670s Mylne worked at Thirlestane for the Duke of Lauderdale for whom he also made gatepiers for Ham House, Surrey to Bruce’s design. A range of other commissions followed, some under the direction of Sir William Bruce but others, it would seem, more independently including a bridge over the Clyde in Lanarkshire at Ramelwell Crags or Ram’s Horn Pool.

Robert Mylne ventured into a considerable amount of speculative building. He built a large block of houses at Leith and in Edinburgh he built Mylne’s Square which was opposite the Tron Church, Milne’s Court in the Lawnmarket as well as Milne’s Land outside the Potter-Row Gate.

His speculative building activity enabled Mylne to purchase two estates, one at Balfargie in Fife and the other at Inveresk ‘where he generally retired to live free from the hurry of business’. In 1672 he had registered a coat of arms. He had married Elizabeth Meikle in 1661 and they had fourteen children, eight sons and six daughters. He was succeeded as head of the family by his son William who was also a master mason. His eldest daughter Janet married the architect James Smith.

Mylne died on 10 December 1710 and was buried in the family vault at Greyfriars. He is commemorated on a monument he had erected to his uncle John.

A portrait of Mylne is reproduced in R S Mylne’s book ‘The Master Masons to the Crown of Scotland’.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this mason:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 2Balfargie, Fife, ScotlandPrivate1670s  
Item 2 of 2Inveresk, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1670s1710 

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this mason (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1John Mylne  Apprentice 

Buildings and Designs

This mason 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 251662Edinburgh Castle  EdinburghScotlandRepairs to fortifications
Item 2 of 251665Wood's HospitalUpper Largo FifeScotland 
Item 3 of 251667Leslie HouseMarkinch FifeScotlandCompleted the house
Item 4 of 251668Market CrossPerth PerthshireScotland 
Item 5 of 251669Wemyss CastleEast Wemyss FifeScotlandAddition
Item 6 of 251670sHam House  SurreyEnglandGatepiers made to Bruce's design
Item 7 of 25c. 1670Thirlestane CastleLauder BerwickshireScotlandRemodelling
Item 8 of 251671Palace of Holyroodhouse  EdinburghScotlandRebuilding under the direction of Sir William Bruce
Item 9 of 251674City water supply  EdinburghScotlandConstructed cisterns over Edinburgh in connection with new water supply from Comiston under direction of Bruce.
Item 10 of 251674St Mary's Church and churchyardLeith EdinburghScotlandWest tower
Item 11 of 251677Edinburgh Castle  EdinburghScotlandRepairs to fortifications
Item 12 of 251678Block of ten dwellingsLeith Edinburgh Scotland 
Item 13 of 25c. 1680Drumlanrig CastleDrumlanrig DumfriesshireScotlandDesigns for reconstruction?
Item 14 of 251682Bridge over River ClydeRamelwell Crags LanarkshireScotlandContracted to build this bridge
Item 15 of 251684Mylne's Square  EdinburghScotland 
Item 16 of 251685Edinburgh Castle  EdinburghScotlandRepairs to fortifications
Item 17 of 251687Houses, Hart's Close  EdinburghScotlandActed as builder for others
Item 18 of 251689Houses, Simpson's Close  EdinburghScotlandActed as builder for others.
Item 19 of 251690Miln's Land  EdinburghScotland 
Item 20 of 251690Milne's (Mylne's) Court  EdinburghScotlandSpeculative building
Item 21 of 251693George Heriot's Hospital  EdinburghScotlandContracted to complete steeple in accordance with drawing he had submitted. Also built stone cupola.
Item 22 of 25c. 1695Houses, Writer's Close, High Street  EdinburghScotlandActed as builder on behalf of others.
Item 23 of 251703Newhall HouseGifford East LothianScotlandPrepared drawings for house. Designs by Sir John Clerk preferred.
Item 24 of 251705Houses, Weir's Land  EdinburghScotlandActed as builder for others
Item 25 of 251709Greyfriars Churchyard, Trotter Mausoleum  EdinburghScotlandBurial place begun. Completed by his son William.


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this mason:
Item 1 of 5APSD The Dictionary of Architectureed Wyatt PapworthThe Architectural Publication Society (8v 1852-1892) 
Item 2 of 5DNB Dictionary of National Biography   
Item 3 of 5Mylne, R S The Master Masons to the Crown of Scotland   
Item 4 of 5Wood & Armet (ed.) Extracts from the Records of the City of Edinburgh  1681-9, 1898-1701, 1701-18
Item 5 of 5Wood, M (ed) Extracts from the Records of the City of Edinburgh 1665-80   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this mason:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1National Archives of Scotland (formerly SRO)Gifts and depositsGD 1/51Mylen papers