PATERSON, Sir Hugh, 3rd Bt. (c.1685-1777), of Bannockburn House, St. Ninians, Stirling.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1710 - 1715

Family and Education

b. c.1685, 1st s. of Sir Hugh Paterson, 2nd Bt., writer to signet [S], of Bannockburn House by Barbara, da. of Sir William Ruthven of Dunglass, Haddington.  m. 21 Feb. 1712, Lady Jean Erskine (d. 1763), da. of Charles, 5th Earl of Mar [S] and sis. of John, 6th Earl and Hon. James Erskine†, Ld. Grange SCJ, 1s. d.v.p. 1da.  suc. fa. as 3rd Bt. 21 Dec. 1701.1

Offices Held

Commr. chamberlainry and trade 1711–14.

Burgess, Edinburgh 1713.2


The Patersons had been lairds of Bannockburn only since the mid-1670s, when the Member’s grandfather had purchased house and estate, subsequently adding an official salary (as joint deputy-keeper of the signet) to his income from professional fees, agricultural rents and uncertain profits from coal mines. A protégé of the 5th Earl of Moray, who secured him both his place and (in 1686) his baronetcy, he had experienced no difficulty in subscribing the test imposed by the Scottish parliament in 1681, and served the crown at national and local level throughout the 1680s. That he survived the Revolution at no greater cost than an inquiry into his accounts, culminating in the issue of letters of horning, suggests that his Stuart loyalism was tempered by policy. Both he and his son, the 2nd baronet, were named as commissioners of supply for Stirlingshire in 1690 and 1696.3

Little of this pragmatism seems to have been passed on to Paterson himself. Succeeding his father while an adolescent, he put himself forward for election to Parliament in 1708, as soon as he had reached his majority. Recommended by his ‘cousin’, the Duke of Hamilton, to the hereditary sheriff of Stirlingshire, the crypto-Jacobite Lord Linlithgow, he represented Linlithgow’s interest in what was initially a three-cornered contest for the county, his competitors at first being Henry Cunningham, the Earl of Mar’s candidate, and Sir John Erskine, 3rd Bt.*, who had been nominated by the Squadrone leader, the Duke of Montrose. When Erskine withdrew, Montrose’s interest reverted to Cunningham rather than Paterson, contrary to the national electoral compact established between Hamilton and the Squadrone. Indeed, it had been Montrose himself who had initiated this manoeuvre, ordering Erskine to join forces with Cunningham even if it meant giving up his own pretensions. By way of explanation, Montrose observed that Paterson was too ‘high’ a Tory. Though Cunningham defeated Paterson by a decisive majority, Linlithgow was prepared to make a double return, on the pretext that Cunningham’s signature as a freeholder had not passed the Scottish exchequer before the issue of the writ. To justify himself to Montrose, Linlithgow wrote that Paterson ‘is my comrade and [one] whose father did a singular piece of service to me and my family’. Not surprisingly, however, a predominantly Whiggish House decided that Cunningham was to be seated.4

At the first soundings taken in the county prior to the 1710 election, Paterson appeared ‘backward’, but Mar for one was convinced he was merely coy. Certainly, his reluctance to stand, if genuine, was transitory. Though still regarding Paterson as ‘the D[uke] of H[amilton]’s man’, Mar felt obliged to endorse him, partly to conciliate Linlithgow, but chiefly because there seemed little chance of preventing Paterson’s return on this occasion, given that Montrose had resolved to take no part in the contest. Consequently Mar abandoned Cunningham, and Paterson defeated him at the freeholders’ court by a comfortable majority. The electors who can be assigned to Montrose’s interest seem largely to have absented themselves. None the less, George Lockhart* could still claim that Paterson, along with Lockhart himself and Sir Alexander Erskine, 2nd Bt.*, had been a particular target of Whig hostility at the election. Cited by Dyer as a ‘specimen’ of the excellent Tory Members that the Scottish counties were returning – ‘persons well affected to the Queen and episcopacy’ – Paterson was also listed as an episcopal Tory in the analysis of the returns for Scotland produced by the Duchess of Buccleuch’s chaplain, Richard Dongworth. The ascription of the label ‘Whig’ in the ‘Hanover list’ was clearly a gross error (though he is known to have mixed socially with Whigs in Lord Ossulston’s Anglo-Scottish dining group). In his first session Paterson’s behaviour bore out all that had ever been said of his enthusiastic Toryism. Among fellow-countrymen he consorted with such high-flyers as Lord Balmerino, and in the division on the Kinross-shire election he joined the gaggle of Scots Tories who abstained by ‘skulking’ in the gallery. What is more, he was also a willing participant in the parliamentary campaigns of his English party confederates. He told twice in this session; on 19 May 1711, against adjourning the report from the committee on the bill to promote the Scots linen industry, and again on the 22nd, in favour of a resolution, arising from an election dispute, to condemn the Whig mayor of Weymouth. At the end of the session his name was included in the published list of ‘worthy patriots’ who had exposed the mismanagements of the previous ministry.5

Paterson’s appointment in November 1711 to the commission of chamberlainry and trade might be interpreted as an attempt by Lord Treasurer Oxford (Robert Harley*) to buy off a forward and potentially troublesome back-bencher, but is probably best seen in the context of Paterson’s marriage, in February 1712, to the Earl of Mar’s sister. Henceforth, Paterson was identified with his brother-in-law’s interest. Towards the latter end of the 1711–12 session, for example, he reported on parliamentary business to Mar’s brother, Lord Grange SCJ. The connexion with Mar may also explain his curious absence from the Commons, though ‘in town’, at the division of 7 Feb. 1712 on the Scottish toleration bill. This occurred despite his evident support for the episcopalian cause, manifested not only in a welcome for the patronages bill later that session but in his subscription to the round-robin letter sent into Scotland after the passage of the toleration to urge the episcopalian clergy to comply with the requirements of the Act. At the same time he did not abandon old friends or principles, acting as an intermediary between the ministry and Lord Linlithgow, and, more significantly still, beginning a correspondence with the exiled Jacobite court. At the time of his wedding, a Jacobite lady had gushingly described him to the Pretender as ‘a man of a good estate and power; he . . . will contribute to the last farthing he has to pay your debts . . . It will be great joy to him, if you will honour him to be remembered in a letter’. Later, Paterson was entrusted with directions as to the best course to follow in Parliament on the question of the Pretender’s removal from France. Having participated in the united Scottish opposition to the malt tax and the abortive campaign, during late May 1713, to dissolve the Union, Paterson abstained on 4 June on the French commerce bill, but was apparently following Jacobite instructions when he reverted to the Court for a subsequent vote upon the bill on 18 June.6

Returned without opposition in 1713 on the now combined interests of Lord Linlithgow and Lord Mar, as indeed he had already been in December 1711 when obliged to seek re-election after appointment to office, Paterson was marked as a Jacobite in the list of Scottish Members sent to Hanover by Lord Polwarth; almost certainly with greater justice than in other such cases. A despatch from Schütz to the Electoral court emphasized the point, recounting an address which Paterson had presented to the Queen on behalf of the burghs of Inverness and Nairn, the language of which ‘might be interpreted’ as conveying pro-Jacobite sentiments. Of Paterson’s actual behaviour in this, his last Parliament, little is known. On the Worsley list he figured as a Tory. Certainly he did not lose his brother-in-law’s favour, for Mar could be found in July 1714 pressing Lord Oxford to pay £1,000 of Paterson’s arrears of salary on the chamberlainry commission, and in the following September soliciting Sir John Erskine’s help for Paterson’s re-election in Stirlingshire.7

Having in a manner of speaking forfeited his parliamentary seat by withdrawing at the last minute from the county election in 1715, despite the strenuous measures which had been pursued on his behalf by Lords Mar, Linlithgow and Eglinton, Paterson then followed his brother-in-law into rebellion and as a result forfeited his estate. Fleeing abroad, in the company of his brother, James, and brother-in-law, John Walkinshaw of Barrowfield, he spent the next few years as a Jacobite agent, based in Holland, where he served not only as an intelligence-gatherer and an unofficial paymaster to other Jacobites in the Low Countries, but as a channel of communication between the exiles and their friends in Scotland. Mar also subjected him to political confidences. It was a dismal existence: obliged to remain under cover, and to live ‘frugally’ on the small pension the Pretender could afford to pay him, since ‘little or nothing’ came to him from Bannockburn, he soon grew ‘very weary of this country, it being expensive in everything’. Relief came at last through the purchase of his estate in 1720 by Lord Grange, one of several such financial rescues of Jacobite families that Grange was undertaking. For a barony valued in the cess books at £1,138 (Scots), Grange paid 20 years’ purchase, amounting to £7,388, which would mean an annual rental of under £400, this after the sum of £500 p.a. had been taken out in the form of a grant by King George to Paterson’s wife in lieu of her jointure. Grange was acting as a trustee for Paterson’s son, but left the father a life-rent in the property. The purchase seems to have been the signal for Paterson to come home, though Mar’s troubles at the Jacobite court would in any case also have been a spur. He did not, however, immediately make his peace with the Hanoverian regime. In 1723–4 he was again reported to be at Boulogne, where his son-in-law Charles Smith, another Jacobite, was a banker, and soon afterwards was seen travelling about the Highlands, his identity feebly disguised by the assumption of a false beard, ‘disseminating . . . disaffection’ along the way and denouncing King George as a usurper. Two years later Lockhart met him in Edinburgh. While admitting that Paterson had procured ‘an assurance of not being troubled’ by government, Lockhart was quick to reassure the Jacobites that he ‘has no thoughts of obtaining a pardon, and is soon to leave Scotland’. The next year a pardon was granted; and Paterson seems to have played little or no further part as an active Jacobite until the Forty-Five, when Charles Edward was his house guest, and Bannockburn was used for a time as the Prince’s military headquarters. It was there that Charles Edward met Paterson’s niece, Clementina Walkinshaw, whom the Prince made his mistress. But not even Clementina’s capitulation could quench Paterson’s Jacobite ardour, and members of his family were implicated in the Elibank Plot.8

‘A fine, lively old man, who outlived all the cavaliers of his time’, Paterson died in his 92nd year, on 23 Mar. 1777 at Touch in Stirlingshire, the home of his widowed daughter-in-law and her second husband, Hugh Smith, who was also Paterson’s nephew.9

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Genealogists’ Mag. xxiii. 136–8, 140; Scots Peerage ed. Paul, iv. 103; v. 629; Scot. Rec. Soc. xv. 476. Wrongly identified as 2nd Bt. in GEC Baronetage, iv. 342.
  • 2. HMC Portland, x. 309; Scot. Rec. Soc. lxii. 158.
  • 3. Hist. Writers to Signet, 282; RCHM Scotland, Stirling. ii. 331; Lauder of Fountainhall, Hist. Notices (Bannatyne Club, lxxxvii), 663, 735–6; Reg. PC Scotland, 1676–8, p. 153; 1681–2, pp. 719–20, 804; 1685–6, p. 161; 1689, p. 602; 1690, pp. 293, 296–7, 457; APS, viii. 226, 466; ix. 71, 141; x. 29.
  • 4. Sunter thesis, 1–10; SRO, Mar and Kellie mss GD124/15/831/12, Mar to Sir David Nairne, 8 June 1708; GD124/15/868/1, Mar to Ld. Stair, 20 June 1708; SRO, Stirling sheriff ct. recs. SC67/60/1, pp. 1–8; SRO, Montrose mss GD220/5/154/2, Linlithgow to Montrose, 1708; Add. 61628, ff. 148–9.
  • 5. Sunter thesis, 12–20; Mar and Kellie mss GD124/15/975/2, 10, 11, Mar to Ld. Grange, 6 June, 27, 29 July 1710; GD124/15/985/2, John Erskine* to same, 17 Aug. 1710; SHR, lxxi. 125; lx. 65; Scot. Hist. Soc. Misc. xii. 131–2; GD220/ 5/808/18a–b, Mungo Graham* to Montrose, 13 Feb. 1711; Lockhart Pprs. i. 319; Add. 70421, Dyer’s newsletter 26 Oct. 1710.
  • 6. HMC Mar and Kellie, i. 498–9; NLS, Advocates’ mss, Wodrow pprs. letters Quarto 6, f. 107; Spalding Club, Misc. iv. 84–87; Add. 70247, Linlithgow to Oxford, 5 July 1712; HMC Portland, 332–3; Orig. Pprs. ed. Macpherson, ii. 309, 316, 333; D. Szechi, Jacobitism and Tory Pol. 201; Parlty. Hist. i. 53, 69.
  • 7. Sunter thesis, 21–22; SRO, Stirling sheriff. cr. recs. SC67/60/1, pp. 15, 20; Orig. Pprs. ii. 517; HMC Portland, 497; NLS, ms 5072, f. 24.
  • 8. Sunter thesis, 24–37, 128–9; Scot. Hist. Soc. lvii, p. xix; xxvii. 192; HMC Stuart, ii–vii passim, and esp. ii. 50, 71; vi. 433; vii. 27, 697; Stowe 232, passim; 242, f. 205; Ideology and Conspiracy ed. Cruickshanks, 185, 187; Jacobite Challenge ed. Cruickshanks and Black, 87; Cal. Treas. Pprs. 1720–8, p. 23; Cal. Treas. Bks. xxxi. 477; xxxii. 561; HMC Townshend, 193; HMC Polwarth, iv. 104, 110; Wodrow, Analecta, iii. 153; Lockhart Letters ed. Szechi, 289, 291; Add. 36127, f. 1; Scot. Hist. Soc. Misc. ii. 433, 435; F. J. McLynn, Charles Edward Stuart, 204; T. L. Kington Oliphant, Jacobite Lairds of Gask, 192–3.
  • 9. Ramsey of Ochtertyre, Scotland and Scotsmen in 18th Cent. ii. 163; Scots Peerage, v. 629; Scot. Rec. Soc. lxxvi. 168; G. Seton, Hist. Fam. Seton, i. 345.