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Hugh Cairncross

Who was Hugh Cairncross?

Hugh Cairncross was a Scottish master mason active in the mid-18th century as a builder of bridges in Selkirkshire, Scotland. He later became a pupil and assistant to the architect Robert Adam later in the century.

Life and work

Cairncross worked in Scotland under Robert Adam as clerk of works at both Culzean and Dalquharran Castle. He later was appointed clerk of works at the new Edinburgh University building.

In 1797, Cairncross designed Ardgowan House in Renfrewshire, Scotland. He afterwards redesigned several churches in Inveraray and Gayfield Square in Edinburgh, Scotland as well as several other commissions.

Cairncross died on 21 July 1808 at Melrose, Scotland. He was survived by his son, George Cairncross, died 1819, who was also active as an architect.


  • Colvin, Howard, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995), p. 206.
  • Dictionary of Scottish Architects, DSA Architect Biography Report, 'Hugh Cairncross' <; [accessed 25 March 2008]

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