John Bayne of Pitcairlie – Writer to the Signet

New “Bain/Bayne” Book 

John Bayne of Pitcairlie, Writer to the Signet by Chris Cooper, 2016. 

I mentioned a while ago that I recently obtained a copy of a new book by Chris Cooper on John Bayne of Pitcairlie.

Having just finished reading this I thought I would offer you a little summary of the book, although due to the depth of knowledge and research displayed I would recommend that you contact the author and get yourself a copy.

The book provides a biography of John Bayne of Pitcairlie Writer to the Signet, which is a fascinating story in itself. It also provides an account of his family history and links with the Baynes of Tulloch, which I must say has been thoroughly researched.  In addition it provides clues as to further sources and is a fabulous addition to any Bain researchers collection.

Email the author at:

Moving on to the man himself, I will provide a little summary of the bits of the book that have jumped out at me.  (There is so much information I will re-read this and no doubt find more interesting facts)

John Bayne of Pitcairlie (1620 – 1681) 

John Bayne of Pitcairlie was a descendant of the Baynes of Tulloch, Dingwall.  It is thought that he was the great-grandson of Alexander Bayne, 2nd of Tulloch.

John Bayne pursued a career in the legal profession.  At the age of 35 in 1655 he was admitted as Writer to the Signet.  He had successful career despite living through a time of extreme political, religious and economic turbulence in Scotland.

He was born in Edinburgh in 1620, and was one of 11 children. His parents were Donald Bayne and Beartrix Richardsone.

His father Donald Bayne was a Bowmaker and Burgess of Edinburgh. Donald lived c 1558 – 1648.  Donald Bayne’s father is thought to be Ronald Bayne.

There is a Ronald Bayne, notary public, who was both an indweller in Edinburgh yet had chambers in Dingwall. Ronald was involved in the legal professional and his father was Alexander Bayne 2nd of Tulloch (1515-1600).

There is also a Donald Bayne, son of Duncan Bayne 1st of Tulloch.

Unfortunately the precise identity of Donald’s father remains unclear.

Chris Cooper, John Bayne of Pitcairlie Writer to the Signet, 2016. 


In his book, Chris describes a charter of 1611 which links Donald Bayne Bowar Burgess to the Baynes of Tulloch.


He also provides a fascinating little insight into Donald’s career.

Donald Bayne was apprenticed to William Mayne who was Master Bowmaker to James VI. A Royal Commission to WIlliam Mayne also included making Golf Clubs for the King.

Chris Cooper, John Bayne of Pitcairlie Writer to the Signet, 2016. 


John Bayne WS, owned several properties in Edinburgh and in 1658 acquired the house and estate at Pitcairlie, Fife.

The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland, from the twelfth to the eighteenth century (1887) (14759208966)


Pitcairlie House is now available as holiday lets. Their website has some further info and photos.

The Pitcairlie estate passed to the Baynes of Tulloch on the death of John Bayne of Pitcairlie, WS in 1681. The Pitcairlie estate was then sold to James Taylor, WS in 1713, reflecting the state of the Tulloch Estate finances at that time.

As a man of wealth and morals, on his death John Bayne made an endowment of two Philosophy Student Bursaries at St Andrews University and two Divinity Student Bursaries at the University of Edinburgh.

The patronage of the Bayne bursaries passed to the Tulloch Baynes 14 years after John Bayne WS death and from 1695 until the estate went bankrupt in 1762 the Tulloch Baynes held the patronage of these.  The last Bayne bursary at St Andrews University was paid in 1901 (220 years after John Bayne WS, death).

After his death, John’s wife Eupham Aitkman commissioned the mausoleum at Grey Friars Kirkyard, Edinburgh.

Tomb of John Bayne of Pitcarlie, Greyfriars Kirkyard Edinburgh

In Grey Friars Kirkyard, there stands a Statue of considerable presence, housed in a mausoleum that exhibits much architectural intrigue. It is not the largest monument and architecturally, it is modest compared with some of the other tombstones.

Many visitors stop being attracted to the statue, take a photograph and then walk away not really knowing who it is that stands before them. Some visitors take an additional photo or two of the inscription stone fixed to the perimeter wall of the mausoleum which reads:

The burying-ground of Cathcart of Carbieston and Pitcairlie

They leave with the impression that they know nothing of James Cathcart, however I am thinking.

Oh No. You are mistaken.

This statue represents John Bayne of Pitcairlie, Writer to the Signet.

James Cathcart was only buried at the Mausoleum in 1795, over 100 years after John Bayne.  James Cathcart is not even related to John Bayne WS.

There is no plaque now to identify the mausoleum with John Bayne of Pitcairlie and Eupham Aitkman, his wife and that contributes to the confusion.

Chris Cooper, John Bayne of Pitcairlie Writer to the Signet, 2016. 

John Bayne is another very interesting Bayne, who was very successful and owned a considerable amount of property.  He was related to the Baynes of Tulloch.

Tha mausoleum at Greyfriars Kirkyard has stood for over 300 years!!  It is now however in desperate need of repair and I would say that a plaque in John Bayne and Eupham Aitkman’s honour is a must.

The author of the book hopes to kick-start a funding drive to have this restored.  I would like to see this as I am sure many of you would too.  I’ll provide more information on this once I have been given it.

In the meantime to get the full story, I really do recommend you get yourself a copy of the book.


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