DALRYMPLE, Hon. William (1678-1744), of Glenmuir, Ayr.

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 - 1710
1722 - 1727
1727 - 1741

Family and Education

bap. 11 Oct. 1678, 5th but 2nd surv. s. of John Dalrymple, 1st Earl of Stair [S], by Elizabeth, da. and h. of Sir James Dundas of Newliston, Linlithgow.  m. 26 Feb. 1698, his cos. Penelope, suo jure Countess of Dumfries [S], da. of Charles, Ld. Crichton (2nd s. d.v.p. of William Crichton, 2nd Earl of Dumfries [S]) and sis. and h. of William Crichton (d.1694), 3rd Earl of Dumfries, 6s. (3 d.v.p.) 2da.1

Offices Held

MP [S] Ayrshire 1702–7.

Jt. muster master gen. [S] 1706; commr. Equivalent [S] 1707–19; capt. and lt.-col. 3 Ft. Gds (Scots Gds.) Sept. 1710–1714.2

Sheriff, Clackmannanshire 1708–d.; burgess, Edinburgh 1708, Ayr 1717.3


A Court drudge in the Scottish parliament, as befitted his filial attachment to the Stair–Queensberry alliance, Dalrymple seems to have served there in silence, except for his participation in a Court-inspired protest on 7 Aug. 1703 against an additional clause in the Act of Security. Even in 1704, in the division on the Duke of Hamilton’s motion on the succession, he registered his factional allegiance by absenting himself rather than by casting a vote in favour. A nominal attempt was made to gratify him with a half-share in William Bennet’s* office of muster master general in 1706, but he derived no real benefit from this gesture, nor did he succeed to the whole when Bennet himself subsequently fell out of favour. Dalrymple voted a straight Court line over the Union, with few absences, thereby earning a place on the Equivalent commission and a seat in the first Parliament of Great Britain.4

In the Commons, Dalrymple presented papers to the House on behalf of the Equivalent commissioners on 22 and 31 Jan. 1708, and also signed their memorial to the Treasury complaining of the lack of payment of either salary or expenses. He remained loyal to the Court and was returned in 1708 for Clackmannanshire, where he had been acquiring property since at least 1704. In May 1708, barely three weeks before the meeting of the freeholders’ court, a charter was passed to validate his purchase of the sheriffdom of the county (in conjunction with a sleeping partner, Alexander Inglis) at a judicial sale of the estate of the former sheriff, David Bruce. At the election Dalrymple enjoyed the support of Lord Mar, the principal magnate in the shire, who allegedly created some eight or nine ‘fictitious votes’ for him. Dalrymple was returned following a bitterly fought contest with Hon. Charles Rosse*, and though Rosse petitioned against the return no report was made. In February 1709 Dalrymple was granted a vacant company in the Scots Guards, at his father’s express request. He does not appear to have gone to Spain with his regiment, and so avoided its disastrous surrender at Brihuega. Continuing to support the Court in Parliament, he presented further documents from the Equivalent commissioners on 3 Mar. 1709, and the following year voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell.5

Clackmannanshire did not elect in 1710, and by 1713 Dalrymple was no longer on good terms with Mar. He was obliged to wait until 1722 before returning to the Commons, this time on his family’s interest in Wigtownshire. Having at first settled into his natural groove as a supporter of administration, he went into opposition in 1733 with his brother, the 2nd Earl of Stair, and stayed there. Dalrymple died on 30 Nov. 1744. His eldest surviving son, William, had already succeeded to his mother’s title as Earl of Dumfries; the second son, James, inherited the earldom of Stair in 1747, which on his death in 1760 also passed to William.6

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Scots Peerage ed. Paul, iii. 236; viii. 149–50.
  • 2. Boyer, Anne Annals, vi. 234; Cal. Treas. Bks. xxiii. 234; xxix. 342; xxxi. 578–9.
  • 3. J. Wallace, Sheriffdom of Clackmannan, 54, 108–11; Carnegie Lib. Ayr, Ayr burgh recs. B6/18/9, council mins. 10 July 1717.
  • 4. Info. from Dr P. W. J. Riley on members of Scot. parl.; SRO, Ogilvy of Inverquharity mss GD205/37/8, Bennet to William Nisbet*, 16 Oct. 1708; R. Walcott, Pol. Early 18th Cent. 234; APS, xi. 73; P. W. J. Riley, Union, 93, 331.
  • 5. Cal. Treas. Bks. xxii. 79; SRO, Alloa sheriffs’ ct. recs. SC64/63/24, Clackmannan. electoral ct. mins. 16 June 1708; SRO Indexes, iii. 226–7; Wallace, 52–55, 108–11; HMC Mar and Kellie, i. 477; SRO, Mar and Kellie mss GD124/10/959, Alexander Rait to Mar, 17 Feb. 1709; Add. 61628, ff. 174–5; 61631, ff. 61–62; Lincs. AO, Yarborough mss 16/7/1, Defoe to Duke of Leeds (Sir Thomas Osborne†), 29 June 1708; Marlborough– Godolphin Corresp. 1219.
  • 6. Scots Peerage, 149–50.