James Stuart Mackenzie

1719 - 1800

Politician. Born into the nobility, Stuart Mackenzie was the younger son of James Stuart, 2nd Earl of Bute (1793 - 1848), and Lady Anne Campbell (d.1736), daughter of Archibald Campbell, 1st Duke of Argyll (1658 - 1703). He was educated at Eton and on the Continent. inherited the estates near Avoch in Easter Ross which had been the property of the great-grandfather Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh (1636-91) and adopted that surname. Stuart Mackenzie sold the Rosehaugh estates in 1752 and bought land in Angus, on which he built Belmont Castle.

Mackenzie served as Member of Parliament for Argyll (1742-47), Buteshire (1747-54), the Ayr Burghs (1754-61) and Ross-shire (1761-80). After his older brother, John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (1713-92), became Prime Minister he appointed Stuart-Mackenzie as Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland, with considerable powers in terms of the running of Scotland. He was re-appointed to this position for life in 1766, although now the role was largely honorary.

Stuart Mackenzie had interests in science and was noted as an amateur astronomer. He built an observatory on Kinpurney Hill, although this was never finished. He was a founder of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1783.

He died in London, grieving over the loss of his wife just months earlier. He is remembered by the Mackenzie Meridian, a tower on his estate in Angus.

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