Cairncross, Alexander a Scotch prelate, was of the family of Cairncrosses of Cowmislie, and was a dyer in the Canongate of Edinburgh, which employment he exercised for many years.. He took his degree of A.M. at the Edinburgh University in 1657, was licensed to preach in 1662, and became minister at Trinity Church, Edinburgh, in 1663, and afterwards at Dumfries until 1684, when, by the recommendation of the duke of Queensberry, he was promoted to the see of Brechin, and advanced to the archbishopric of Glasgow the same year. He continued there until 1686, when, having incurred the displeasure of the king, he was removed, Jan. 13, i687. In 1693 he was made bishop of Raphoe, in Ireland, where' he continued until his death, in May, 1701, aged about sixty-four years. See Keith, Scottish Bishops, p. 168, 269; Fasti Eccles. Scoticance, i, 96, 560; ii, 380; iii, 899.