Basic Biographical Details

Name: James Nisbet
Designation: Mason
Died: 1781
Bio Notes: James Nisbet was born in Kelso and was a mason by trade. However quite early in his career he was described as an architect. His first appearance as an architect and builder in Kelso was in 1761 when he built Ednam House described in the new Statistical Account as ‘one of the most elegant private mansions that Nisbet ever designed’. In 1771 he also designed the octagonal church at Kelso in conjunction with two other fellow craftsmen, John Laidlaw, a mason and John Purves, a carpenter.

He carried out repairs to a number of buildings in the Borders and in Northumberland. In 1768 he was involved with the work on the harbour at Eyemouth although his role in unclear. Plans for the completion of the harbour had been provided by Smeaton. It is not clear if they were preferred by the committee of subscribers to those of Nisbet and if Nisbet had any further role in this work. (The syntax in the newspaper report is unclear).

As well as a number of restoration projects Nisbet acted as the mason-contractor at various houses which were built to the designs of members of the Adam family.

Nisbet died in or shortly before November 1781.

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 101759Paxton House  BerwickshireScotlandResponsible for the design of the bridge near the walled garden.
Item 2 of 101760sTwizel Castle  NorthumberlandEnglandRepair and enlargement
Item 3 of 10c. 1760Paxton House  BerwickshireScotlandActed as mason-contractor
Item 4 of 101761Ednam House and stablesKelso RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 5 of 101768Eyemouth HarbourEyemouth BerwickshireScotlandMay have provided plans for completion. Unclear if he had any furhter involvement.
Item 6 of 101771Ford Castle  NorthumberlandEnglandRemodelling
Item 7 of 101771Jedburgh AbbeyJedburgh RoxburghshireScotlandReported on the condition of the belfry with Baillie Winter and Thomas Wintrup of Jedburgh. They conculded that the belfry was ruinous and in danger of falling.
Item 8 of 101771Old Parish ChurchKelso RoxburghshireScotlandOctagonal church - in conjunction with James Laidlaw, mason, and John Purves, carpenter.
Item 9 of 101771Wedderburn CastleDuns BerwickshireScotlandSuperintended the building of the house.
Item 10 of 101776Fowberry Tower  NorthumberlandEnglandAttribution


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this mason:
Item 1 of 1Colvin, Howard2008A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840 London: YUP. 4th edition 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this mason:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Caledonian Mercury15 August 1768   
Item 2 of 2Caledonian Mercury17 August 1768   

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 267/1/3Wedderburn papers