Click for Bookshop

William Adam


1751 - 1839

Lawyer and politician. Born at Blairadam (Perth and Kinross), the son of architect John Adam (1721-92). He was educated at the High School and the University in Edinburgh, followed by Christ Church College in Oxford. He was called to the Scottish Bar as an Advocate in 1773, became an English Barrister in 1782 and a King's Counsel in 1796.

Adam occupied a number of seats as Member of Parliament, including the Wigtown Burghs (1780-4 ), the Elgin Burghs (1784-90), Ross (1790-4), Kincardine (1806-12). He served as Treasurer of the Ordnance (1780-82 and 1783). He spoke against the rebels during the American War of Independence and took a hard line against the Americans thereafter.

His friendship with the Prince of Wales (later King George IV) ensured a series of senior appointments, including Solicitor General (1802-05), Attorney General (1805-06), Chancellor of the Duchy of Cornwall (1806-15) and Lord Chief Commissioner of the Scottish Jury Court (1815-39). He served as Lord Lieutenant of Kinross from 1802.

He was a friend of Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) and, in 1812, published the Vitruvius Scoticus which documented the work of his grandfather William Adam (1689 - 1748).

Adam lies buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard (Edinburgh). His son was Admiral Sir Charles Adam (1780 - 1853).


Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry arrow

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better