MONTGOMERY, Sir James, 2nd bt. (1766-1839), of Stobo Castle, Stanhope, Peebles.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



23 Dec. 1800 - 26 Jan. 1831

Family and Education

b. 9 Oct. 1766, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir James Montgomery†, 1st bt., of Stanhope and Margaret, da. and h. of Robert Scott of Killearn, Stirling. educ. Edinburgh h.s.; Edinburgh Univ. 1784; adv. 1787. m. (1) 1 Aug. 1806, Lady Elizabeth Douglas (d. 28 Oct. 1814), da. of Dunbar, 4th earl of Selkirk [S], 1s. d.v.p. 2da.; (2) 13 May 1816,1 Helen, da. of Thomas Graham† of Kinross House, Kinross, 3s. 2da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. as 2nd bt. 2 Apr. 1803. d. 27 May 1839.

Offices Held

Ld. advocate [S] Dec. 1804-Mar. 1806; presenter of signatures in exch. [S] for life.

Capt. R. Edinburgh vols. 1797, Peebles yeoman cav. 1803; dep. gov. British Linen Co. 1817.


Montgomery, the son and heir of a lord chief baron, who had been the last resident of Queensberry House in Edinburgh’s Canongate and kept a black servant called Hannibal, was an undistinguished lord advocate in Pitt’s second ministry, the possessor of a sinecure worth £610 a year and a ‘steady adherent’ of the 1st and 2nd Lords Melville.2 He built Stobo Castle, 1805-11. Like his father, he was on intimate terms with ‘Old Q’, the degenerate 4th duke of Queensberry, who on his death in 1810 left him a legacy of £20,000. In 1818 Montgomery successfully petitioned chancery for confirmation of his entitlement to the sum of £10,000, plus interest, which Queensberry had bequeathed to his late first wife. As one of Queensberry’s trustees he was nominally involved in a series of lawsuits over the administration of his contentious will.3

Montgomery continued to sit unopposed for Peeblesshire on the family interest. Melville thought he had ‘a fair claim as an active and resident vice-lieutenant’ to the vacant lord lieutenancy in October 1820, but he was not appointed.4 He was a virtual cipher in the House in this period, when