Basic Biographical Details

Name: Robert Balfour
Designation: Architect, Mason
Born: c. 1772
Died: 1867
Bio Notes: Robert Balfour was born about 1772, the son of a farmer of Kilmany, Fife. He is said to have worked as a mason in Edinburgh for the Adam brothers and later set up business in St Andrews. In August 1799 he petitioned for a piece of ground to the north east of Shore Bridge for a workshop and yard. He lived in Balfour House, The Shore (which appears as Shore Bridge House, St Andrews in the Census of 1851).

He seems to have served on the Town Council in St Andrews but resigned in October 1804 and refused to accept office again in 1809 as he also did in 1823. He threatened interdict against the building of a slaughterhouse at Shore Bridge on 10 August 1850 (per agent in Cupar).

He is said to have been responsible for several houses in St Andrews which show a marked influence of the Adams. He appears to have retired in the 1830s. In the 1851 Census he is listed as living in Shore Bridge House but gives his occupation as a farmer with 117 acres employing 4 ploughmen. He presumably retained his father's farm.

In 1858 he is listed as a shareholder when the Western Bank of Scotland collapsed.

Balfour died aged 97, almost blind, in 1867.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect, mason:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1Balfour House, The Shore, St Andrews, Fife, ScotlandPrivate1770s1860sAppears as Shore Bridge House in Census of 1851.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect, mason (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1R & J AdamBefore 179 Clerk of WorksDate given by Colvin for obtaining ground for Balfour House is 1779 but this is an error for 1797. He was less than 10 years old in the late 1770s.

Buildings and Designs

This architect, 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 191798Holy Trinity Parish ChurchSt Andrews FifeScotlandReconstruction
Item 2 of 19c. 1800Balfour HouseSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 3 of 191801Kemback Parish Church and manseKemback FifeScotland 
Item 4 of 191803Parish Kirk ManseLeuchars FifeScotland 
Item 5 of 191804Balcarres HouseColinsburgh FifeScotlandSouth wing added (since demolished)
Item 6 of 19c. 1805Strathtyrum HouseSt Andrews FifeScotlandNew front wing
Item 7 of 191807Crail Parish ChurchCrail FifeScotlandScheme for church
Item 8 of 19c. 1807Carpow HouseAbernethy  PerthshireScotland 
Item 9 of 191810Kilrenny ManseKilrenny FifeScotlandBuilt by William Lees under Balfour's inspection
Item 10 of 191811English SchoolSt Andrews FifeScotlandRefronting of building
Item 11 of 191811Kingsbarns Parish ChurchKingsbarns FifeScotlandRepair and enlargement of church. Executed jointly with John Corstorphine whose scheme was rejected.
Item 12 of 191812Parish Church of St AthernaseLeuchars FifeScotlandRepairs
Item 13 of 191818Pitmilly HouseBoarhills FifeScotlandRefronting
Item 14 of 191819Dunino Parish ManseDunino FifeScotland 
Item 15 of 191820s(?)Houses, 79-81 North StreetSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 16 of 191821SchoolhouseCrail FifeScotland 
Item 17 of 191822Scoonie Parish ChurchLeven FifeScotlandReconstruction
Item 18 of 191824SchoolCrail FifeScotlandPossibly by Balfour
Item 19 of 191829University of St Andrews, St Mary's CollegeSt Andrews FifeScotlandAssisted Robert Reid at St Mary's College


Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect, mason:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Dundee Perth and Cupar Advertiser8 October 1858   
Item 2 of 2St Andrews Preservation Trust Yearbook    

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect, mason:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Census records onlineCensuses  
Item 2 of 2St AndrewsTown Council Minutes 29 August 1799; 1 October 1804; 28 April 1809; 18 October 1809; 4 September 1823; 10 August 1850