COLVILE, Robert (b.1702), of Ochiltree, Ayr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1754 - 1761

Family and Education

b. 1702, 1st s. of Sir John Aytoun of Aytoun, Fife by his 2nd w. Margaret, da. of Robert, 2nd Lord Colvill of Ochiltree [S].  m. (1) Janet (d. 1739), da. of Sir Peter Wedderburn Halket, 1st Bt., of Gosford, 2s.; (2) 1740, Charles [sic],1 da. of Sir George Preston, 3rd Bt., of Valleyfield, s.p.  suc. to estates of his uncle Robert, 3rd Lord Colvill 1728, and assumed the name of Colvile.

Offices Held


Robert Aytoun, like his brother Andrew, later lord provost of Glasgow, was probably a merchant before succeeding in 1728 to the estates of his uncle. Thereafter he was known as Colvile of Ochiltree, although the family had little connexion with Ayrshire and their lands lay almost entirely in Fife and Kinross.

Connected by kinship and marriage with leading families, he was unexpectedly returned for Kinross in 1754, after both Pelham and Argyll had approved the candidature ‘unopposed’ of Colvile’s kinsman, Sir John (Hope) Bruce of Kinross (M.P. Kinross-shire 1727-34, 1741-7),2 who, however, seems to have stood down. Colvile was not connected with Argyll, and was listed by Dupplin among the ‘Whigs—doubtful’. To attach him to the ‘English ministry’ Newcastle obtained for him a secret service pension of £300 p.a.,3 and during the dispute with Argyll in 1755 named Colvile among the only three friends the Scottish ‘viceroy’ had left him in Scotland.

In June 1755 Colvile unsuccessfully applied to Newcastle for the appointment of his eldest son Peter as gentleman of police:4 ‘Your Grace was pleased to say you would take the first opportunity of doing a service to my family ... It is a place a member of Parliament can not have himself.’

While Newcastle was out of office 1756-7, Colvile’s pension may have been discontinued. His political loyalties became uncertain. He was absent from the division of 2 May 1757 on the loss of Minorca; and during the negotiations for a new Administration which might not include Argyll, Newcastle listed him as attached neither to Argyll nor to himself, but among those Scots ‘not to be relied on at present, but to be treated with’.5 By March 1758 Colvile was again a Government pensioner.6 He is not known to have spoken in the House, and did not stand in 1761.

The date of his death has not been ascertained. He may have died before the next Kinross election in 1768, and was almost certainly dead by 1777, when his son Peter was in possession of the Torryburn estate.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Edith Lady Haden-Guest


  • 1. Scots Mag. 1740, p. 142.
  • 2. Election lists, March 1754, Newcastle (Clumber) mss.
  • 3. See Newcastle’s memorandum for the King, 21 Apr. 1755, proposing the pension (Add. 32854, f. 204) and Namier, Structure, 440.
  • 4. Add. 32855, f. 387.
  • 5. Add. 32995, f. 383.
  • 6. Namier, Structure, 449.