Kirkcudbright Stewartry


Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Number of voters:

51 in 1747


14 Sept. 1727PATRICK HERON
 Alexander Murray
 Thomas Murdoch
 William Stewart
31 Dec. 1742JOHN MAXWELL vice Hamilton, deceased
30 July 1747JOHN MACKYE

Main Article

In 1715 and 1722 Alexander Murray of Broughton, a Whig related to the Marquess of Annandale, the hereditary steward, was returned unopposed. In 1724 riots against the enclosure of lands in Galloway led to disagreement among the leading county families as to how the rioters should be treated. Some, led by Patrick Heron, were in favour of

harsh measures, and some others, Broughton and Colonel Maxwell, are for softer measures ... This ... has bred a great difference among the gentlemen there and it’s thought Broughton will not be chosen again to Parliament.1

At this time the Annandale interest lapsed owing to the illness of the 2nd Marquess and later the minority and insanity of the 3rd Marquess. In 1727 Heron, also a government supporter, defeated Murray, retaining the seat in 1734 when, according to his opponent, he used his position as chairman of the election meeting to exclude all voters ‘but those only who happened to be present at his last election’.2 In 1741 the seat was won by Basil Hamilton, a Jacobite with a strong local interest, who defeated William Stewart, a Walpole Whig. On Hamilton’s death in 1742 John Maxwell, a government supporter, was returned unopposed. In 1747 Maxwell, finding that his rival, John Mackye of Palgowan, a member of the Opposition, was supported not only by ‘all the papists and disaffected’, but by the lord justice clerk, Andrew Fletcher (Lord Milton), the Duke of Queensberry, and the Earl of Selkirk, and that he would be beaten 27 to 24, withdrew from the contest, writing to Pelham on 4 Aug. 1747:

It was of the worst consequence to me, that his Grace, the Duke of Argyll did not arrive in this country, before the lord justice clerk had transacted the matter, for I am confident if his Grace had come sooner to Scotland, I had not met with any opposition from that quarter and had carried the election against all other opposition.3

Author: J. M. Simpson


  • 1. R. Wodrow, Analecta, iii. 159.
  • 2. CJ, xxii. 341-2.
  • 3. Newcastle (Clumber) mss.