Cairncross Family connections to Haughfoot
William Cairncross was an Operative Mason
William Cairncross was the first Operative Mason admitted
into Haughfoot in 1704. He is said to live in Stockbridge.
Brother Harry Carr, in his book postulated that this might be Stockbridge, a well known suburb of Edinburgh.
Recent research has shown that there was a Stockbridge near Galashiels. It was close to Mossilee Farm, Galashiels. The evidence is shown below.
The fact that The Laird of Gala (Sir James Scott of Gala) along with his Brother Thomas Scott were among the first six new members admitted to the "Society of mason and ffellow Croft", then it would seem much more plausable and credible that Cairncross was a local mason who lived near to Galashiels and was well known to them.
The fact that Cairncross was an Operative Mason also would give a certain amount of kudos to the fledgling new Lodge.
How do we know that Cairncross was an operative mason who worked locally? It's Thanks to Brother JB Hogg PM who found that a William Cairncross is mentioned in the Stow Church Old Parish Records in the Year 1694, some eight years before the first Meeting at Haughfoot.
"for repairing the manse viz: George Paterson George
Haddon wrights and William Cairncross masson to come and ??? the manse some
time before the eigth of February"
As to Stockbridge being part of the Lands of Galashiels a search through The Registers of the Great Seal of Scotland found Charter No 139 dated 28 June 1653 showing a grant of the "Town and Lands of Gallowscheilles" to Johne Andro of Barbourlands. It includes the "Lands of Stockbridge".
Two earlier Charters (written in Latin) and dated 1629 and 1632 also mention Stokbrig as part of Gallasheilles and Mosselie
In his 1933 book Titled "The Records of the Pringles or Hoppringles" - Alex Pringle MA BSc on page 118 refers to Mossilee and Stockbrig granted in October 1617 to the Father of Sir James Pringle of Galashiels
Cairncross male family members continued to support and to play active roles within Haughfoot right up to it's demise. In the Minute for the penultimate meeting on 27 December 1762 two pages are filled with a list of members - 31 in number, including 4 from the Cairncross family. George Cairncross, Heugh Cairncross, George Cairncross yongr and Jams Cairncross.
The pdf below is a link to an interesting article about more Cairncross family members - many were Operative Masons. It is attributed to an Andrew Cairncross - an Operative Mason from Jedburgh and was published in The Listener in 1938.
It is just possible that the Hugh Cairncross ancestor (referred to in Para 1) who was alive in 1767 is the same person as the "Heugh" referred to above as a Member of Haughfoot in 1762