RAMSAY, Sir David, 4th Bt. (aft.1673-1710), of Balmain, Kincardine.

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



1707 - 1708
1708 - by 1 Sept. 1710

Family and Education

b. aft. 1673, 1st s. of Sir Charles Ramsay, 3rd Bt., of Balmain by his 2nd w.; bro. of Sir Alexander Ramsay, 5th Bt.*  educ. Aberdeen g.s.; Aberdeen Univ. (Marischal Coll.) 1693–7. unmsuc. fa. as 4th Bt. 1695.1

Offices Held

MP [S] Kincardineshire 1705–7.


The lairds of Balmain sat for Kincardineshire in successive Scottish parliaments from 1609 until 1663, and their local influence survived the Restoration despite the fact that the 1st baronet had been a pillar of the Covenanting cause and a supporter of the Cromwellian regime. The family turned episcopalian by the 1680s, but did not oppose the Revolution. Ramsay was educated at Marischal College, which had a reputation for ultra-loyalist, even Jacobite, politics. He stood unsuccessfully for the county in 1702, coming in at a by-election in 1705. A supporter of the Country party, he was regarded by Jacobite agents as eminently ‘loyal’. Initially a steady opponent of union, Ramsay opposed the first article but was absent for much of the time, including the division on ratification. In the few votes he did register he shifted between Court and Country positions. He must have been looked on as a courtier in some quarters, otherwise he would not have been chosen to occupy a seat in the first Parliament of Great Britain. One modern historian has wrongly classified him as an ‘independent Whig’.2

Apart from his nomination to the committee on the Address at the opening of the session, nothing is known of Ramsay’s conduct in this Parliament. Re-elected without opposition in 1708 he took responsibility during January and February 1709 for the management of a bill in response to a petition from Kincardineshire freeholders to excuse the Scots from a ‘slavish and unnecessary attendance’ on circuit courts and to place Scottish j.p.s on the same footing as their English counterparts. According to George Lockhart*, his inclusion on the list of those who voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell was an error.3

During the summer of 1710 Ramsay made arrangements for his marriage, but before the event could take place tragedy struck. One Scottish newspaper reported that on or before 1 Sept. Ramsay ‘was unfortunately killed by a fall from his horse. He is generally lamented by all persons, being a very worthy young gentleman, and well beloved.’ He was succeeded in his estate and title by his younger brother, Alexander*.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Hist. Scot. Parl. 579; Recs. Marischal Coll. (New Spalding Club), ii. 269–70, 273.
  • 2. Hist. Scot. Parl. 578–9; Orig. Pprs. ed. Macpherson, ii. 16; Hooke Corresp. (Roxburghe Club), ii. 25; APS, xi. 236; info. from Dr P. W. J. Riley on members of the Scottish parl.; P. W. J. Riley, Union, 333; Lockhart Mems. ed. Szechi, 115, 203, 208; P. W. J. Riley, Eng. Ministers and Scotland, 33; HMC Mar and Kellie, i. 377; Add. 28055, f. 416; R. Walcott, Pol. Early 18th Cent. 235.
  • 3. Lockhart Mems. 287.
  • 4. Cal. Treas. Bks. xxvi. 274–5; Scots Courant, 4–6 Sept. 1710.