Sir Thomas Hope of Rankeillor

1681 - 1771

Agriculturalist. Born in Rankeillor (Fife), the son of Sir Archibald Hope, Lord Rankeillor (1639 - 1706), Hope trained as a lawyer and was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1701. He sat briefly in the Scottish Parliament, but left following the Treaty of Union of 1707, which he opposed. By this time he had inherited his father's estates, and set about managing and improving these.

He was a founder of the Society of Improvers in the Knowledge of Agriculture, established in Edinburgh in 1723, which was one of Europe's first agricultural societies, and became a Trustee of the Board of Manufactures, when it was set up by the government in 1727. Hope took a particular interest in the cultivation of flax for the developing linen industry. He travelled in Europe observing agricultural practices.

Hope is perhaps best remembered for draining the Borough Loch in Edinburgh, which he leased from the Town Council, and laying out the Meadows (which he named Hope Park). He built a house there in 1740, where be died thirty years later. His name is remembered in Hope Park Terrace and Hope Park Crescent, while nearby Rankeillor Street also remembers his family.

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