RAMSAY, Sir Alexander, 5th Bt. (c.1679-1754), of Balmain, Kincardine.

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

b. c.1679, 2nd s. of Sir Charles Ramsay, 3rd Bt., of Balmain by his 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of Sir Alexander Falconer, 1st Bt., MP [S], of Glenfarquhar, Kincardine; bro. of Sir David Ramsay, 4th Bt.*  educ. Aberdeen g.s.; Aberdeen Univ. (Marischal Coll.) 1693–7, MA 1697; Leyden 1700, aged 20; adv. 1705. unm.  suc. bro. as 5th Bt. c.7 Sept. 1710.1

Offices Held

Rector, Marischal Coll. 1732–3.2


Returned to Parliament in 1710 to the seat left vacant by his recently deceased elder brother, Ramsay was classified as an episcopalian Tory by Richard Dongworth, the Duchess of Buccleuch’s chaplain, an assessment which accords with this Member’s educational background. At Westminster Ramsay sided with the Tories, being listed in 1711 among the ‘Tory patriots’ who opposed the continuation of the war and the ‘worthy patriots’ who exposed the mismanagements of the previous administration. In February Mungo Graham* reported that Ramsay was one of the Scottish Tories who ‘had been resolved’ to oppose him in his election case, but who ‘could not prevail with themselves to vote against me, so . . . went up to the galleries and skulked there’. Ramsay failed to make any contribution to debate, so far as is known. He voted on 7 Feb. 1712 in favour of the Scottish toleration bill, and on 10 May took a leave of absence to recover his health.3

Ramsay withdrew from political life at the 1713 election, and was not connected in any way with Jacobite intrigues or rebellions. His status as a ‘possible Jacobite’, the view of one modern historian, is unsubstantiated. Indeed, as a guardian of Sir James Carnegie, 3rd Bt.†, of Pittarrow, he acquiesced in the efforts of his Whig colleague Lord Milton to ensure that their ward was raised a Hanoverian. Ramsay’s main interest during a long retirement was the architectural improvement of his properties. He died on 27 Jan. 1754 and was succeeded by his nephew, the last of the line.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Recs. Marischal Coll. (New Spalding Club), ii. 269–70, 273; Album Studiosorum Academiae Lugduno Batavae ed. Du Rieu, 758; Scot. Rec. Soc. lxxvi. 176.
  • 2. Recs. Marischal Coll. 15.
  • 3. SHR, lx. 65; SRO, Montrose mss GD220/5/808/18a–b, Graham to Montrose, 13 Feb. 1711.
  • 4. D. Szechi, Jacobitism and Tory Pol. 202; W. Fraser, Hist. Carnegies of Southesk, 196–9; H. Colvin, Biog. Dict. Brit. Architects, 59.