National Records of Scotland

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James Gillespie Graham (1776-1855)

James Gillespie Graham (1776-1855)

Architect

James Gillespie Graham designed churches and country houses (including interiors) mainly in the Scottish Gothic style, but he was equally at home in the classical style. The houses include Ross Priory, Duns Castle and Blythswood (now demolished). The house interiors include Taymouth Castle and the state dining room of Hopetoun House. He designed the Roman Catholic cathedral churches of St Mary in Edinburgh and St Andrew in Glasgow and was architect of Greenside Church and Liberton Church in Edinburgh.

Birth in 1776

James Gillespie was born on 11 June 1776, the son of Malcolm Gillespie, writer in Dunblane. The entry in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for Dunblane gives the baptism date as 17 June but does not include his mother's name.

Birth entry for James Gillespie [Graham]

Birth entry for James Gillespie in the OPR for Dunblane (18 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 348/2, page 192

Marriage in 1815

James Gillespie, architect, married Margaret Ann Graham, daughter of William Graham of Orchill on 30 May 1815. The entry in the Old Parish Register for St Cuthbert's gives the names of two witnesses - James Robertson, Writer, Heriot Row and James Blackadder, merchant of Princes Street. Following the marriage he took his wife's surname.

Marriage entry for James Gillespie [Graham], 1815

Marriage entry for James Gillespie in the OPR for St Cuthbert's (75 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-2/19, page 35

Marriage in 1830

Following Margaret's death James Gillespie Graham of Orchill, architect, married Elizabeth Marjory Campbell in March 1830. The entry in the Old Parish Register for Edinburgh gives his address as Albany Street and Elizabeth's father as the late Major John Campbell, 76 Regiment of Foot. They were proclaimed three times and there were no objections.

Marriage entry for James Gillespie Graham, 1830

Marriage entry for James Gillespie Graham in the OPR for Edinburgh (51 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-1/64, page 131

1851 census

James Gillespie Graham, architect and Justice of the Peace, was aged 74 at the time of the 1851 census. The entry in the enumeration transcript book for the parish of Duddingston shows that the household included his wife, Elizabeth, his sister-in-law Barbara Campbell and four servants.

1851 census entry for James Gillespie Graham

1851 census for James Gillespie Graham (48 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1851/684/7, page 3

Death in 1855

James Gillespie Graham of Orchill, architect, died on 21 March 1855 aged 78 years. This was during the first year of Scotland's civil registration system when the most detail was recorded. The entry in the statutory register of deaths for the district of Herior and Warrison in the City of Edinburgh covers two pages. It records that he had lived in the area for 15 years, that his father had been sheriff substitute in Dunblane and that his mother's name was Jane Stewart. The names of his three children from his first marriage are listed. His address is given as 15 Castle Street and his place of burial as Greyfriars Churchyard.

Death entry for James Gillespie Graham, part 1

Death entry for James Gillespie Graham, part 2

Statutory death entry for James Gillespie Graham (113 and 101 KB jpegs)
National Records of Scotland, 1855/685-7/124

Testament of James Gillespie Graham

National Records of Scotland, SC70/4/40 pp 597-603

In his will James Gillespie Graham leaves all his architectural books, papers and drawings to his widow, Elizabeth, desiring her to keep the ones she wants for herself and to pass the remainder to his 'faithful assistant and clerk', Robert Hutton. He expresses the wish that they should not pass into the hands of any other professional person. He later revoked this wish, stating "I hereby Revoke and recall the request that my Daughter should hand over any of my plans, Sketches, Books or others to Robert Hutton as it is not now my wish that they should pass into his hands, I now direct and appoint that all these Articles shall be disposed of in such way as my Daughter and my wife shall think fit".

View transcript (82 KB PDF)

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