John Thomas Rochead

The Wallace Monument
Dalmally Memorial to Duncan Ban MacIntyre
John T Rochead's grave, Grange Cemetery

John Thomas Rochead (28 March 1814 – 7 April 1878) was a Scottish architect. He is most noteworthy on a national scale for having been the designer of the Wallace Monument.


He was born in Edinburgh, the son of John Rochead and Catherine Gibb. He was educated at George Heriot's School.

He worked for a number of years starting in 1831, as an apprentice of the eminent Edinburgh architect, David Bryce. From around 1841 to 1870, Rochead lived and worked in Glasgow. During this time he was employed by David Hamilton, working alongside Thomas Gildard, who became a lifelong friend.[1]

In 1840 he won a commission for a new Roman Catholic Cathedral in Belfast. Although the building went unbuilt it brought him to the attention of the architectural world and thereafter he was a keen competition architect.

In the Disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1843 Rochead received a spate of commissions for new churches for the Free Church and was therefore presumably a member of that church. In 1843 he married Catherine Jane Calder in the Gorbals in Glasgow.

In 1849 he won a competition for his design for the Royal Arch, Dundee, which was built the following year.

In 1859 he won his most important competition, that for the Wallace Monument in Stirling, which was completed in 1869. This went £5000 over budget which resulted in the bankruptcy of the contractor and Rochead never receiving his fee.[2]

Possibly partly due to this, which caused financial difficulties and criticism when praise might have been due, Rochead suffered a nervous breakdown in 1869 and his work was taken over by John Honeyman.

Rochead lived at 19 Morningside Place in south-west Edinburgh in his final years.[3]

Rochead died suddenly of angina, in Edinburgh, and is buried in the north-east section of the Grange Cemetery, towards the north path. He was survived by his wife, Catherine Jane Calder, one son and a daughter. His widow continued to press for his unpaid fees on the Wallace Monument after his death, but to no avail. His wife and two daughters, Evelyn Cecilia (who died young) and Henrietta Paul, are buried with him.

Principal Works

Unbuilt competition entries

Monuments designed in the Glasgow Necropolis



  1. Dictionary of Scottish Architects: Gildard
  2. Dictionary of Scottish Architects: Rochead
  3. Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1875-6

External links

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