RAMSAY, William Ramsay (1809-1850), of Barnton House, Edinburgh and Sauchie House, Stirling

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1831 - 1832
1841 - 12 June 1845

Family and Education

b. 29 May 1809, o.s. of George Ramsay of Barnton and Hon. Jean Hamilton, da. of Robert, 8th Bar. Belhaven [S]. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1828. m. 4 Aug. 1828, Hon. Mary Sandilands, da. of James, 10th Bar. Torpichen [S], 1s. suc. fa. 1810. d. 15 Mar. 1850.

Offices Held


Ramsay was ‘still an infant’ when he inherited his father’s estates, which ‘popularly conferred on him the distinction of "the richest commoner in Scotland"’. He was ‘widely known on the Turf for a considerable number of years’.1 In 1831 he was invited to offer for Stirlingshire on the Tory interest, which was being organized by a relative, Thomas Stirling of Airth, and he was returned ahead of a reformer. He declared his determination to ‘uphold unimpaired the institutions of the country’, said he was ‘free and unfettered from any pledges whatever’ and claimed to be ‘friendly to a fair, liberal, safe and equitable reform’, but ‘decidedly opposed’ to the Grey ministry’s ‘altogether too sweeping and irrevocable’ scheme.2 He divided against the second reading of the reintroduced English reform bill, 6 July, to postpone consideration of Chippenham’s inclusion in schedule B, 27 July, and against the third reading, 21 Sept. 1831. He seconded the motion to reject the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept., maintaining that it was ‘the duty of everyone connected with Scotland ... to stand forward and manfully defend those rights and privileges which we have hitherto enjoyed’. The ministerial plan seemed ‘calculated to create fresh disturbances and raise fresh clamours for reform’ and he denied that it had the support of the Scottish people, most of whom were ‘entirely ignorant’ of its ‘real nature’. He asserted that he was ‘bound to no party and I trust shall always be independent’, but he regarded the bill as the ‘death warrant of the constitution of Britain’. He presented a petition from voters in the parish of Alloa against its inclusion in Clackmannanshire, 3 Oct. He presented a Stirlingshire petition against repeal of the drawback on malt, 11 Oct. He paired against the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, and voted against the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. No other votes are known, and in July 1832 he announced that he would not stand at the forthcoming general election.3 He sat as a Conservative for Edinburghshire, 1841-5.4 He died in March 1850 and was succeeded by his only son Charles William Ramsay (1844-65), who died unmarried.

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Terry Jenkins


  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1850), i. 666.
  • 2. Wellington mss WP1/1184/7; Stirling Jnl. 13 May 1831.
  • 3. Stirling Jnl. 20 July 1832.
  • 4. M. Stenton, Who’s Who of MPs, 1832-1885, p. 323.