MONTGOMERIE, Hugh (1739-1819), of Skelmorlie and Coilsfield, Ayr.

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



1780 - 2 Apr. 1781
1784 - June 1789
17 June - 30 Oct. 1796

Family and Education

b. 29 Nov. 1739, 1st s. of Alexander Montgomerie of Coilsfield by Lilias, da. and h. of Sir Robert Montgomerie, 11th Bt., of Skelmorlie.  m.1772, his cos. Eleonora, da. of Robert Hamilton of Bourtree Hill, Ayr, 3s. 3da.  suc. mother in Skelmorlie estates Nov. and fa. in Coilsfield estates Dec. 1783; his distant cos. as 12th Earl of Eglintoun 30 Oct. 1796;  cr. Baron Ardrossan [UK] 15 Feb. 1806; K.T. 22 May 1812.

Offices Held

Entered army 1756; lt. 62 Ft. 1757, capt. 1762; capt. 1 Ft. 1767, maj. 1774; maj. Western Fencibles 1778 (disbanded 1783), lt.-col. 1782; inspector of military roads in Scotland 1789; lt.-col. Argyllshire Fencibles 1793; col. West Lowland Fencibles 1793; col. Glasgow Regt. 1793-5; lt. gov. Edinburgh castle 1794-6.

Ld. lt. Ayrshire 1796-1819; Scottish rep. peer 1798-1806.


Montgomerie served in America during the seven years’ war. In 1771 he was a prospective candidate for Ayrshire, if David Kennedy should vacate his seat;1 and at the general election of 1774, Lord Eglintoun wished him to stand as the candidate of the ‘triple alliance’. In 1780 he was successful against Sir Adam Fergusson, but was unseated on petition. In 1784, during Pitt’s minority Administration, he disagreed politically with Eglintoun, who for a time supported the Fox-North party; when the Earl’s factor urged him to oppose at the county meeting Ayrshire’s loyal address to the King, Montgomerie replied that ‘he thought he paid the Earl a sufficient compliment when he stayed away. But no man in Europe should make him come down and oppose the address.’2 But Eglintoun soon made his peace with Administration, and by agreement with Sir Adam Fergusson and Henry Dundas secured the return of Montgomerie as ministerial candidate at the general election.

In Parliament he was a silent Member. Burns in his ‘Earnest Cry and Prayer to the Scotch Representatives in the House of Commons’ (1785), urging them to speak in favour of alterations in the Distilling Act, thus addressed Montgomerie:

I ken if that your sword were wanted
Ye’d lend a hand.
But when there’s aught to say anent it
Ye’re at a stand.

Although he supported Pitt and voted for his parliamentary reform proposals, 18 Apr. 1785, Montgomerie was divided in his loyalties by his dependence upon Lord Eglintoun, who on the Regency question voted with the Prince of Wales’s party. Montgomerie therefore committed himself to neither side, and refrained from voting. In June 1789 he received a place which vacated his seat.

He died 15 Dec. 1819.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Authors: John Brooke / Edith Lady Haden-Guest


  • 1. Loudoun to Bute, 11 Oct. 1771, Bute mss.
  • 2. Boswell, Private Pprs. xvi. 40.