John Milne snr and Isobel Wilson

John Milne / Mylne was born around 1585 in Perth Scotland to parents John Mylne 1565-1621 and Helen Kenneries.

John was a master mason to the Crown of Scotland. He learned his craft through assisting his father on his Tay Bridge construction project at Perth.

The Master of Works to the Crown of Scotland was responsible for the construction, repair and maintenance of royal palaces, castles and other crown property in Scotland. The main buildings were; Holyroodhouse; Edinburgh Castle; Stirling Castle; Linlithgow Palace; and Falkland Palace. It is likely that the master masons were involved in this work.

John Mylne  rebuilt the mercat cross in the High Street, and was made a burgess of Edinburgh in June 1617.  Between 1622 and 1629 he built the tolbooth steeple in Aberdeen, and was rewarded by being made a burgess of that royal burgh in May 1622. In 1627 he was further made a burgess of Dundee in right of his father.

In 1631, Mylne was appointed Master Mason to the Crown, and returned to Edinburgh. His first royal commission came shortly before this, in 1629, when he was tasked with the construction of a large pond at the palace of Holyroodhouse.

With the assistance of his two sons, he also erected a large polyhedral sundial at Holyrood for Charles I, on the occasion of his Scottish coronation in 1633.  He held his royal post for five years, before resigning it in favour of his eldest son John in 1636, when he left Edinburgh.

In 1643 Mylne was made a burgess of Kirkcaldy, following his work to repair and enlarge the parish kirk. Over the following years he was engaged on several public works in Dundee, including the church steeple, tolbooth, and the royal burgh’s fortifications.

Mylne was also a prominent Freemason, a member of the Lodge of Edinburgh from 1633, and Master of the Lodge of Scone from 1621 to 1627.

John was married in Perth around 1610 to Isobel Wilson.

They had several children –

  1. John Mylne jnr b 1611 Perth d 1667 Edinburgh. master mason. Married three times, Agnes Fraser. 5 children, Janet Primrose and Janet Fowlis.
  2. Alexander b 1613 d 1643. mason.
  3. James b 1615
  4. Margaret b 1615
  5. Barbara b 1617 (accused and imprisoned as a witch in Edinburgh).

John Milne’s daughter Barbara is mentioned in the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft Case C/EGD/2414. January 1661. 

According to the Dictionary of National Biography Vol 40 djvu/10,  Barbara, born in Edinburgh, is frequently mentioned in the ‘Canongate and Burgh Records’ as being accused of witchcraft. 

She also appears in the book –  A Historical Account of the Belief in Witchcraft in Scotland.

The website Lothians Witches also mentions those persons living with the City of Edinburgh, West Lothian, Midlothian and East Lothian. Barbara is mentioned under accused witches for 1600-1699.

  • Barbara Milne Jan 1661 Edinburgh. F/U/Men./Nk./Sharpe p.128

John Mylne died in December 1667 in Edinburgh, was buried in 1667 against the southern wall of Greyfriars Burial Ground in Edinburgh, close to the southern pedestrian gate. The stone was erected by Robert Mylne and has been restored many times.


See more information about this John Mylne on his wikipedia page.