Sir James, 4th Bart (1761-1832) was born at Dunglass. He was only 15 and a student at Christ's College Cambridge when he inherited the Dunglass estate. He was sent abroad to complete his education and at 17 was a fellow student with Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon met Sir James' son Basil some years later and is reputed to have said 'Ah Hall, I knew your father when I was at the military college of Brienne. I remember him perfectly - he was fond of mathematics and liked to converse on the subject. He did not associate much with the younger part of the scholars but rather with the priests and professors...'

Sir James was in Italy in 1783 (where he met the painter Nasmyth) and returned to Scotland in 1785. He started to paint in Nasmyth's studios, continued his studies at the University of Edinburgh and in 1786 married Lady Helen Douglas (1762-1837), the daughter of Dunbar Douglas, 4th Earl of Selkirk. On the death of his Uncle William in 1800, Sir James inherited Whitehall at Chirnside. Known all his life as an original thinker and described as 'a philosopher eminent among the distinguished men of an enquiring age', Sir James was best known for his original work in geology, physics and chemistry but also for his interest in art and studies of Gothic architecture. He invented a machine for regulating high temperatures under compression in 1805 and in 1806 he was elected President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. As a Member of Parliament 1807-12, he represented the borough of Mitchell in Cornwall.

Left: Sir James as a young man. Right: Sir James in old age.

 

 

 

Dunglass Mill Press Dunglass Mill Cockburnspath Berwickshire Scotland