Chapter X.


In the 16th and 17th Centuries.

NICOL (not b.1517 - d.1544) Burgess of Edinburgh.

The most prominent of the Edinburgh Cairncrosses was Nicol, a brother of William Cairncross of Colmslie, and the son of John Cairncross, the latter probably the brother and heir of Robert the Bishop of Ross. Nicol married Marion Scot who survived him, He was a bailie of Edinburgh in 1517, 1518, 1521, 1525 and 1529, one of the Customers of the Revenue of Edinburgh during the years 1523 1525, Dean of Guild during 1530 - 1532, and President of Guild from March 3rd to April 2nd, 1537, during the absence of Lord Maxwell, Provost, one of the Regents of the Kingdom. In 1528 Nicol sat in Parliament as deputy of the Constable of Scotland. He was a burgess of Edinburgh, and one of the "Kirsmaisters of the Confrary and altare of the haly blude."

In the accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland for 1529 and 1530, the following items appear: -

"Item, Fra Michel (Nicol) Carncors deliverit to Andro Edgar sevin eln and ane half crammery velvet, to be ane coit with slevis to the King." (Andro Edgar was the King's Master Tailor). "A.D. 1530, under the King's awne expens beginning 2nd October 1530. Item, the XXV of December tane frae Nicholl Carncors, be Henry Kemp, Velnis laffate of corde to the King, the price of the eln XXs. Item, for ane coffir to the King deliverit to the said Henry be Nichole Carncors." (Henry Kemp was a Yeoman of the King's chambers.)

On May 13th, 1536, Nicol was given sasine (i.e. legal possession) of the lands of Bakspittale and Foirspittale, near Brochton, on feu charter dated April 21st, 1536, by Robert, Abbot of Holyrood, for himself and his heirs, whom failing, to William Cairncross, his brother. This was confirmed by two Papal Commissioners in January of the following year, when he also had a gift of the non-entry of certain lands in Ayrshire, belonging to Hugh Campbell of Carleton. In 1538 Nicol and his wife Marion Scot, obtained one-third of the lands of Gilchorn in the sheriffdom of Forfar from William Wod, and two-thirds of the lands of the Forest of Bothule (Lanark) from James, Earl of Ardne, while on March 14th, 1540 - 41, under a charter by James V, they were possessed of parts of the lands of Cauldstreme in the barony of Avendale, forfeited by the late Sir James Hamilton of Fymart, In the following year Nicol obtained a further one-fifth of these lands form John Stewart.


On November 23rd, 1541, Nicol assigned his nineteen-year lease of the teind sheaves of the parish of Barro, set to him by the abbot and Convent of Holyrood, to his brother's sons, Robert, John and Charles. He died about the year 1544 without issue, his heirs being his brother John and his nephew Robert, the latter in the lands of Bakspittale and Foirspittale.

The Edinburgh record of Cairncrosses is comparatively meagre, owing perhaps to the relatively small number of transactions taking place in property in towns, in comparison with the country. Moreover, in the case of the Edinburgh Cairncrosses, their ranks were probably made up from the younger sons of the Melrose families, Melrose Abbey being distant from Edinburgh only thirty-seven miles.

ROBERT ((Charter)1600 - (died)1646) Burgess Of Edinburgh.

(Probably the son of James of Allanshaws, possibly son of Nicol, 1st Laird of Calfhill. (See Genealog.Tree, p.169.)

The next mention of a Cairncross in Edinburgh is in 1600, when Robert Cairncross (see p. 89), burgess of Edinburgh, was one of the witnesses to the charter of Charles Cairncross to William Cairncross of Colmslie of the lands of Allanshaws. In the following year, 1601, on August 5th, Robert was surety in 1,000 merks for Charles Cairncross of Birksneip not to harm William Lauder of Quilslaid. On December 4th, 1606, he laid a complaint before the Privy Council against Sir Alexander Scot of Abbotshall for debt.

This Robert Cairncross (see also p.89.5) appears to have been a wealthy man, for in 1614 he lent a ship of war, manned and armed, to accompany the Government expedition to Orkney. He was the curator of Isobell McDowell, daughter of Dame Margaret Cairncross[1], and figured in a complaint on July 14th, 1612, by Isobell before the Privy Council against George and James McDowell for "spoliation of her plenish - living" or plundering of her farm and stock.

[1] "dame Margret Cairncross": Is she the same person as p.54.8, 57.2 ? (i.e. daughter of Robert of Colmslie?) Her 1st marriage - John Hamilton, died before 1590; 2nd marriage - William McDougall, died before 1592; 3rd marriage - William Hart. Is there confusion of spelling between McDougall and McDowell? (cf. the differing spellings of Cairncross.) Isobell McD., a daughter of the second marriage, would be old enough in 1612 to be the complainant. She would be the grand-daughter of Robert of Colmslie (d.1573). Robert, her "curator", would probably be one of the cousins of her mother, but WHICH?


The last record states that on ;September 5th, 1646, Marieta[1] Cairncross was proclaimed heir of her father Robert Cairncross, writer burgess of Edinburgh.

JAMES (1617 - 1630 legal matters), Burgess of Edinburgh.

(Where does he show on p.169?)

On September 10th, 1617, James Cairncross and another complained against Sir John Home of Coldenknowes and Sir John Home of Whiting, his son, for debt, James being styled "maltman burgess of Edinburgh". On May 22nd, 1630, James Cairncross, burgess of Edinburgh, and George Cairncross, litster or dyer burgess of the Canon gate, served on the jury granting a copy of a retour or will in favour of William Cairncross (3rd Laird ) of Colmslie as general heir of provision to the late Nicol Cairncross, burgess of Edinburgh, his grandfather's brother.

In 1629, on July 4th, Michael Acheson, assayer of his Majesty's Cunziehous,[2] complained that he had been warded in the tollbooth of Edinburgh by his creditors, among other James Cairncross, maltman, for 50 merks. As none of his creditors appeared for his detention in prison, an order was given to set him at liberty, as his services were required in his Majesty's Cunziehous.

James Cairncross died on February 19th, 1635, leaving his estate of 929.7/- to his wife, Kathrene Cunynghame, and his daughter Elspeth, spouse to William Stevinsone. His will was signed at Edinburgh on January 27th, 1635, and was drawn up by Robert Cairncross, writer.

GEORGE (1630) Burgess of Edinburgh.

(Anywhere on p.169?)

The only record of George Cairncross, dyer burgess of the Canongate, has already been noted above under date May 22nd, 1630, in connection with James Cairncross. This George was, in all probability, the father of Alexander Cairncross, who became Archbishop of Glasgow, and is dealt with in Chapter XVII. (p. 103)

[1] Cannot show her on Genealog. Tree p.169 unless we know which Robert is involved.
[2] Cunziehouse = coining mint


JAMES (1545) Clerk of Glasgow.

The only reference to this James Cairncross occurs in the petition by Mary Queen of Scots to the Pope on April 1st, 1545, requesting that Robert Cairncross, Bishop of Ross and Ferne, might resign Ferne, and that the Pope would admit thereto James Cairncross, clerk of Glasgow. Robert's death eight months later may have caused the matter to lapse, as diligent search has failed to reveal any further information about this James. ALEXANDER (16-37 - 1701)' Archbishop of Glasgow. The history of Alexander Cairncross, M.A., D.D., Archbishop of Glasgow, etc., will be found in Chapter XVII. (p. 103)

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