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David Milne-Home


1805 - 1890

Advocate and scientist. Milne was born at Inveresk, the son of Admiral Sir David Milne (1763 - 1845), and educated at Musselburgh Grammar School, the High School, and then the University, in Edinburgh. He was called to the Bar in 1826 and acted as counsel for William Burke (1792 - 1829), the infamous grave-robber.

He served for a time as Advocate-Depute but maintained an interest in science, becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1828 (and eventually its Vice-President). His strong religious views left him one of few geologists who believed glacial deposits were the result of a biblical flood. Yet, he recorded what he observed in an unbiased manner and his pioneering papers describing the geology of Berwickshire (1837), the Midlothian and East Lothian coalfields (1840) and Roxburghshire (1844) remain respected today. He also investigated the parallel roads in Glen Roy (1847).

In 1845 he inherited the Milne-Graden estate from his father. This let him give up the law and spend time improving his land and advancing science. He married Jean Home in 1832 and when she inherited the Wedderburn, Billie and Paxton estates in 1852, the couple adopted the name of Milne-Home.

He served as President of the Edinburgh Geological Society (1874-89), was a founder-member of the Scottish Meteorological Society, its Chairman (1858-83) and Vice-President (from 1884). He was a great supporter of Alexander Buchan (1829 - 1907). In 1877, Milne-Home proposed erecting a meteorological station on Ben Nevis and, at the age of 73, he climbed the mountain to show the project was feasible. He was also a prominent member of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. In 1870 he was given an honorary degree by the University of Edinburgh for his services to science.

He led the Berwickshire County Council (1876-89) and raised a large sum for the families of fishermen lost in the Eyemouth Disaster (1881).

He died at Milne-Graden and was buried in Hutton kirkyard.


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