JAMES (1573 (1st mention) - 1594 (still alive))

The lands of Allanshaws, which lie some three miles to the north of Colmslie, and on the west bank of Allan Waters, were granted to the monks by Allan the Constable of Scotland, together with Threepwood, but were debatable lands on June 18th, 1500, when Robert Lauder of that ilk resigned them to the monastery. The lands remained in the hands of the monks until the Reformation, when a third of the benefices and the superiority were annexed to the Crown with other church lands. Afterwards they formed part of the new grant to the Earl of Haddington.

The first Cairncross to settle in Allanshaws was James, a son of William Cairncross, the first laird of Colmslie He seems to have had seven sons, Charles who succeeded him, William, George, Robert, James John and Nicol.

James apparently leased the Allanshaw lands from his brother Robert of Colmslie, for in the latter's will, dated January 19th, 1573, he left these lands to his (Roberts?) son George, after the decease of James. It would seem, however, that George did not exercise his right.

On February 25th, 1573 - 4, James witnessed a charter, at Haddington, in favour of William Hume, brother of Sir John Hume of Coldenknowes. The next, and last, reference to James is dated July 10th, 1594, when James Seyton was security in 1,000 merks for James Lassoun of Humbie not to harm William Cairncross, son of James Cairncross of Allanshaws.

CHARLES (1st mention 1582 - 1630 still alive).

The next Cairncross of Allanshaws was Charles, who was probably the son of James, He had two sons, James and Nicol, and is first referred to in December, 1582, when he witnessed the sasine of William Cairncross the second of Colmslie, probably his cousin, of the Mill of Newtoun.


On September 6th, Charles obtained a lengthy lease of the teinds of his lands of Allanshaws, and on June 180th, 1590 he obtained a charter of these lands. In this charter he is referred to as "Charles Cairncross whose ancestors have been native kindly tenants thereof for many years pest". This charter was confirmed by the King in 1593.

On July 5th 1593, George Cairncross in Allanshaws, probably the brother or cousin of Charles, witnessed a charter of William Cairncross of Colmslie.

On May 16th, 1600, Charles sold his lards of Allanshraws to William Cairncross of Colmslie, to be held de me for one penny Scots of blench duty, Charles' brother German Nicol, Nicol Cairncross apparent of Calfhill, and others witnessing sasine a month later.

After the sale of Allanshaws Charles apparently became possessed of Birksneip, and from August 1601 is referred to as Charles Cairncross of Birksneip.

Robert Cairncross merchant burgess of Edinburgh, became surety in 1,000 marks for Charles on August 6th, 1601, not to harm William Lawder of Quilslaid.

Charles Cairncross in Birksneip and his six brothers George, Robert, James, William, John and Nicol were fined 1,000 merks each on July 29th, 1602 for terrorising the Homes, in the quarrel described in Chapter XI.

On February 28th, 1605, James Davidson became cautioner in 1,000 for George Borthwick not to harm Charles Cairncross of Birksneip, and his brothers Nicol and James while at the came time Charles' brother William was under caution of 500 merks not to harm George Borthwick. On October 2nd, 1617, a complaint was laid against Charles and his sons James and Nicol.

The last record of Charles of Birksneip is dated 22nd May, 1630, when he, James Cairncross burgess of Edinburgh, George Cairncross lister (dyer) burgess of the Canongate, and others, witnessed a copy of Retour in favour of William Cairncross of Colmslie.


WILLIAM of COLMSLIE ((Charter) 1600 - 1605) (Still living 1611.)

Allanshaws passed into the hands of William Cairncross of Colmslie in 1600. Probably as a result of the feud with the Homes, in 1602, William bonded Allanshaws for 2,000, but redeemed the bond on August 7th, 1605. William appears to have handed over his estate to his son James on the occasion of the marriage of the latter in 1611.

JAMES of COLMSLIE (1622 (Charter))

James in 1622 gave a charter of Allanshaws and others, with consent of his wife Janet Ker, to George Pringle. Janet Ker had been infefted in life-rent in these and other lands. There is no mention of the lands of Allanshaws in the transactions of either James or his son Andrew after the year 1622, and so it is concluded that they passed out of the hands of the Cairncrosses at that time. However they were subsequently recovered, though no record of the date of recovery has been found.

WILLIAM (1637 (Bond) - 1680) (died before 1684.)

The next Cairncross of' Allanshaws was William, the second son of Nicol, the second laird of Hillslope-Calfhill, and brother of James the third laird. William had three sons, Walter who succeeded to the Hillslope-Calfhill estate, Nicol and James.

The first mention of William occurs in the registration of a bond dated July 3rd, 1637, when William and his elder brother James were cautioners for their father Nicol of Calfhill in 40 for 400 merks borrowed from Rachel Knox, daughter to the deceased Mr. John Knox, minister. On January 19th, 1639, William lent 80 to George Hall. On June 6th, 1643, George Wode discharged a debt to Andrew Gray, contracted on August 10th, 1637, William Cairncross and Andrew Hadden having been securities.


In 1649 Agnes Cairncross, relict of William Medlemas, Constable of Dumbarton, and probably a sister of William Cairncross, (1558 - 1630) of Colmslie (?)petitioned Parliament for payment of 1,900 merks due to her late husband for entertaining the Earl of Orkney in the Castle of Dumbarton, while on May 5th, 1659, she complained against John Henry in Allanshaws "who at Yule last bought from her a cow and a stirk (yearling), the cow being then with calf, at 25, to be paid on 11th June thereafter, and he was not to remove the beasts off the ground of Allanshaws till she was paid; yet he has removed them to Little Catpair, thinking to defraud her of payment, as he is to remove from Allanshaws at Whitsunday next. She therefore craves security, or the cow brought back. He also owes her a rix dollar, borrowed last January. Defender acknowledges purchase and receipt of the cow and stirk, but alleges the price is much less than is claimed; denies the dollar. Referred to his oath, who refuses to depone. Decerns accordingly." Agnes is designated "in Allanshaws".

Neither William nor his son Walter appears to have been prompt in discharging his debts, and the numerous references to these two consist mainly of court cases wherein they were sued for debt. Those cases concerning Walter only are recorded in the chapter on Hillslope. William must have become possessed of Allanshaws between 1643 and 1662.

The following is a list of the cases in which William was involved:

1. On January 25th, 1662, William Cairncross of Allanshaws was ordered to pay 9 to George Paterson for a boll of bear (= barley, Scottish measure of weight = 140 lb.) sold to William's son Walter.

2. On March 8th, 1662, William Cairncross of Allanshaws, was ordered to pay 4.12.0d Scots to George Wilson, litster or dyer, for dyeing cloth for his wife.

3. On June 14th, 1662, William was absolved from an action by Mr. Mathew Richmond, narrating that "at Martinmas[1] last the said William promised to give to Richmond for teaching his second son Nicol Cairncross the art of arithmetic alsmuche corne ans strae as any horse could eat during his son's learning with him togither with aismuche elding as the said Mr. Mathew sould burne for his owne use; and Richmond having taught the boy for ten weeks and four days claims for each 24 hours 3 lapfull of oats with 6 winlings of straw extending to 5-21 bolls of oats, 18 threaves of straw and 70 loads of peats, and 40 merks for his bed and board. Referred the condition to defender's oath, who deponed he has sent Richmond iverie weik ane load of strae and ane uther of peits according to their agriement; and denied the other particulars".

[1] = 11th November, Term Day in Scotland.


4. (?) On June 26th, 1662, William was ordered to pay 36/- to Patrick Hartlie, miller, as the price of meal bought by him.

5. On July 31st, 1662, William was ordered to pay the wages of William Moffit to John, Earl of Haddington, in liquidation of a debt contracted by Moffit.

6. On October 25th, 1662, William was ordered to pay 100 merks to Archibald Moffit, portioner of Thriepwood, which he owed to George Patiesone, indweller in Blainslie, for Moffit's relief in becoming cautioner for Patiesone, who was detailed for witchcraft; and to enter him to the tolbooth of Melrose when required under Penalty of 600 merks, Patiesone having run away.

7. On December 6th, 1662, William was ordered to pay 6.10.0d to Robert Dalgleishe, merchant in Selkirk, as the price of butter bought in September, 1661.

8. On August 15th, 1663, William and his son Walter were ordered to pay 11.9.0d to John Notman and his wife for meal and gray bought from them in the previous December.

9. On August 6th, 1664, Andrew Pringle and George Pringle were ordered to pay 100 merks and interest to William Cairncross in accordance with a bond dated September 9th, 1658.

10. On March 11th, 1665, William was ordered to pay 3.10.0. and a certain quantity of meal to James Haistie, due to the latter for "bigging of fald dykes upon the lands of Old Melrose".

11. On April 15th, 1665, William was ordered to pay 9 to James Rodger, shoemaker in Edinburgh, and his wife, sometime servitrix to William, for a year's fee, 1656.


12. On May 6th, 1665, William was ordered to deliver sixty loads of "muck'' to James Moffit, and to pay 10/- as the balance of the price of timber bought from Moffit.

13. On March 3rd, 1666, William was ordered to pay 10.10.0d to John Watson in Ladupmoore for meat and drink furnished to him and his son Walter.

14. On December 22nd, 1666, William was ordered to pay 2.8.0d to Mr. John Waughe, schoolmaster, as portion of his stipend for 1666.

15. On December 22nd, 1666, William and Robert Laidlaw and William Cairncross their master were ordered to pay the sum of 20 to George Wallace, notary in Melrose, in accordance with a bond dated August 17th, 1663.

16. On July 6th, 1667, William Laidlaw was ordered to pay the sum of 4.10.0d to James Haistie. This amount was owing to William Cairncross by Laidlaw, but William owed a similar amount to Haistie.

17. On July 27th, 1667, William was ordered to pay 40 to Mr. Alexander Bisset, minister at Melrose, for his stipend during 1667.

The last reference to William is dated August 21st, 1679, wherein he is recorded as the possessor of Allanshaws. He died before 1684.


Walter, eldest son of William, was the next holder of Allanshaws, all his transactions appearing in the chapter on Hillslope.


The last laird of Hillslope and Allanshaws was Hugh, the son of Walter Cairncross. After his death in 1753, the estates passed to his two maiden sisters, and after their deaths in 1759 to descendants of females of the house.

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