Ramsays revisited part 2

As mentioned, in my previous post on the Ramsay Family (Ramsays revisited part 1), the first Ramsay ancestors I can trace are a a Mr Peter Ramsey, a vintner at Cowgate Port, and his brother William, “the first proprietor of Barnton” I’m descended from William and there’s 3 children I’ve traced so far. They all seem to get married in 1791.

The first is my direct ancestor, George Ramsay of Barnton, who marries Jean Hamilton in Feb 1791.

Then Alison Ramsay marries Sir John Marjoribanks, 1st Bart of Lees, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, in April 1791.

William Ramsey in Edinburgh (a banker) marries Bethia (Betty) Hamilton a little later in December 1791.

Jean and Betty Hamilton were both daughters of Robert Hamilton, 6th of Wishaw and Susan Balfour.

There’s also a Peter Ramsay mentioned on Stirnet.com, a banker in Edinburgh who married Susan Mary Hamilton in 1820. She’s the granddaughter of Robert Hamilton, 6th of Wishaw. This makes the Jean and Betty Hamilton mentioned above her aunts, but I can’t figure out how this Peter is related to George and William Ramsay.

Funnily enough there’s a Scottish real called Mrs Ramsay of Barnton, which I found on the The Fiddler’s Companion site by Andrew Kuntz:

MRS. RAMSAY OF BARNTON. Scottish, Slow Strathspey. B Flat Major. Standard tuning. AABB. The title probably refers to Betty Hamilton (1770-1809), wife of William Ramsay of Barnton, a wealthy man who was a dominat figure in one of Edinburgh’s two private banks and a very substantial shareholder in the Royal Bank of Scotland. In 1781 Ramsay bought the estate of Barnton and Cramond Regis (the grounds of what is now Davidson’s Mains Park), demolished the old house and built a grander one on the site. Cramond Regis, the old name for the area, was an ancient hunting seat of Scotland’s kings. Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 190. Gow (Third Collection of Niel Gow’s Reels), 1792; pgs. 10-11 (3rd ed.).

Interestingly, the Marjoribanks Family site refers to Alison Ramsay as “the daughter of a dry old Edinburgh banker”. Sir John Marjoribanks seems to have been the cheese to William Ramsay’s chalk. After marrying Alison, he promptly quits his job in the army and buys a big house. Then in mid-1791 a boy named John, “natural son of John Marjoribanks Esq. of Eccles”, was baptised at Coldstream. Sir John acknowledged the boy and later set him up in a modest trade as a shoe-maker. Life as a gentleman farmer (a contradiction in terms according to my mother) doesn’t seem to have suited him, not helped iit seems by the distractions of local society, which his son Charles describes as debauched and brutal:

Among this hard-drinking set, most of them greatly his inferiors, were several of the best years of my father’s life thrown away

I’ll looking at the next generation later on this blog, but I though I’d quickly mention an account of part of George Ramsay’s education mentioned in a book about Dugald Stewart ‘The Pride and Ornament of Scotland’ by Gordon Macintyre. Stewart was a distinguished philosopher and economist who “agreed to spend a few months on the Continent with the son of Mr Ramsay the banker”. There’s a short but interesting account of his trip with George, which coincided with the French Revolution (see here). Given the people they meet along the way and the political upheaval at the time I can’t help but think that there’s more to the trip than the coaching of one of his students, but I’ll have to leave that for some other time.


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