Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mylne, John (d.1621)

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1160579Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 40 — Mylne, John (d.1621)1894Bertha Porter

MYLNE or MYLN, JOHN (d. 1621), mason, was the son of Thomas Mylne, master-mason between 1561 and 1579 to the crown of Scotland, who was admitted a burgess of Dundee in 1593, and dying in 1605 was buried at Elgin. Robert Mylne (d. 1549), provost of Dundee, was his grandfather, while his great-uncle was Alexander Mylne [q. v.], abbot of Cambuskenneth. John, who had succeeded his father as master-mason before 1584, commenced in June 1584 the erection of Drum House, Edinburghshire, which was completed in 1585. He was afterwards engaged in several public works at Dundee, and was on 12 Sept. 1587 admitted a burgess, ‘for service done and to be done’ to the burgh, but chiefly for his services in renewing the whole of the harbour works. He erected in 1586 the market cross in the High Street, which was removed in 1777, and in 1874 was set up again in the grounds of the town's church (cf. Thomson, Hist. of Dundee, pp. 177–8; view in Mylne, Master Masons, p. 65). Its original position is marked by a circle in the paving of the street. In 1589 he contracted with Thomas Bannatyne, senator of the College of Justice, for a gallery and other additions to his house at Newtyle, of which portions still exist. In 1599 he went to Perth to undertake the erection of the bridge over the Tay; in 1604 ‘he entered as master-mason to the brig of Tay,’ and on 17 July 1605 he and his men commenced work (Chronicle of Perth, Maitland Club, 1831 p. 11). In consequence of his connection with the work he was admitted ‘frelie’ a burgess in 1607. After considerable delay, the bridge appears to have been completed soon after 1617. It was destroyed by a flood on 4 Oct. 1621, and was not replaced. The present bridge, by J. Smeaton, 1770, is built over a broader part of the river. On 19 Jan. 1620 Mylne entered into a contract with David, lord of Scone, to erect a church at Falkland. The work was to be accomplished by the following November (Gen. Reg. of Deeds, vol. ccclvi., 12 May 1624). As master of the lodge of Scone he entered James VI, at his own request, as ‘frieman Meason and fellow craft.’ He died in 1621, and was buried in the Greyfriars churchyard at Perth, where there is a stone, originally the top stone of a table-monument, with a quaint epitaph in verse to his memory (Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. xii. 223). Robert Mylne (1734–1811) [q. v.] placed a mural tablet near to the tomb in 1774. The original stone was restored in 1849.

John Mylne (d. 1657), his son (by his wife, Helen Kenneries), who had assisted him since 1610 as mason on the bridge at Perth, was called to Edinburgh in 1616 by the town council to complete a statue of James I at the Netherbow Port, and in acknowledgment of this and other works in the town was made a burgess of Edinburgh on 8 Aug. 1617. In 1619 he went to Falkland to assist his father in the church there. He was engaged from 1622 to 1629 on the present steeple of the Tolbooth at Aberdeen (Aberdeen Burgh Records, Spalding Club, 1848, ii. 379), and was in consequence made a burgess of the city ex gratia on 12 May 1622. He made alterations at Drummond Castle, Perthshire, in 1629–30; constructed a water-pond by Holyrood Palace for the king in 1629; executed, with the help of his sons, John (1611–1667) [q. v.] and Alexander [see under Mylne, John, 1611–1667], the sundial at Holyrood Palace in 1633; was principal master-mason of all Scotland to Charles I from 1631 to 1636; was engaged on the church steeple, tolbooth, and fortifications at Dundee from 1643 to 1651; and on the steeple of the town-hall in 1644. He was made fellow of craft in the lodge of Edinburgh in October 1633, and was master of the lodge at Scone from 1621 to 1657. He was admitted a burgess of Perth, gratis, on 24 March 1627, and of Kirkcaldy on 23 March 1643, having probably taken part in the design of Gladney House in that burgh. He married Isobel Wilson of Perth early in 1610, and died in 1657. His daughter Barbara, born in Edinburgh, is frequently mentioned in the ‘Canongate and Burgh Records’ as being accused of witchcraft. There is a portrait of John Mylne in Mylne's ‘Master Masons’ (p. 104).

[Dict. of Architecture; Mylne's Master Masons, pp. 65–128; Lyon's Hist. of the Lodge of Edinburgh, p. 92; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. vii. 198–9; Chronicle of Perth (Maitland Club), p. 22; Cant's Notes to Adamson's Muses Threnodie, 1774, pp. i. 81–2, 96; Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen, i. 403; Gateshead Observer, 20 Oct. 1860, p. 6.]

B. P.