The lands of Cairns are to be found in the parish of Mid Calder near Edinburgh. Black asserts that the first of this name recorded is William de Carnys who witnessed a charter in 1349. William de Carnys and his son, Duncan, held the baronies of Easter and Wester Whitburn, and many individuals of this name are mentioned in deeds in the counties of Midlothian and West Lothian. The name is still common around Edinburgh. The Cairnses were quick to see the advantage of emigration to the new settlements in Ulster and the name arises in Ulster from early in the sixteenth century. Hugh Cairns was raised to the peerage as Lord Cairns in 1867 and was promoted to the rank of earl in 1878. His coat of arms proclaims his descent from the ancient family of Cairns of that Ilk, bearing the same three gold martlets on a red field differenced only by a silver border bearing three green trefoils. He was a distinguished lawyer and was appointed to the office of Lord Chancellor of Great Britain in 1876. Sir William Cairns was Governor of Queensland in Australia from 1875 to 1877. The northern city and port which bears his name was founded in 1870 and is now one of Australia’s most important tourist centres.

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