James Spy


James Spy (born c. 1836) was a stonemason from the tiny village of Row (now Rhu) on the Gareloch, near Helensburgh. His father Isaac (also a stonemason) and an uncle, Aaron (a shoemaker), had moved there from Clackmannanshire, in central Scotland, before 1841. In 1861, James was a journeyman mason; by 1871 he had several employees and was married. 1 By 1899, James's eldest son Isaac was advertising his own separate mason firm, and another son, William, an apprentice stonemason, had joined his father to form 'James Spy & Son'. 2

Spy built and sold villas, let holiday accommodation in Row during the traditional Glasgow Fair holidays in July and served on the Helensburgh Parish Council. 3 He was also a keen member of Helensburgh and Gareloch Horticultural Society. 4


1: Census information, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 15 September 2012].

2: Helensburgh Directory, Helensburgh: MacNeur & Bryden, 1899, p. 209.

3: Glasgow Herald, 10 February 1892, p. 15; 26 February 1892, p. 3; 29 June 1895, p. 2; 3 August 1898, p. 6.

4: Glasgow Herald, 18 August 1866, p. 6; 10 September 1868, p. 3.