MONCREIFF, Patrick (c.1674-1709), of Reidie and Myres Castle, Fife.
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Family and Education
b. c.1674, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of George Moncreiff, MP [S], of Reidie and Myres Castle by Margaret, da. and h. of John Leslie of Myres Castle. educ. Leyden 1698, aged 24; adv. 1701. m. 1 Mar. 1702, Anna or Agnes (d. bef. 7 Apr. 1720), da. of John Drummond of Cultmalundie, Perth and wid. of James Skene of Grange and Kirkcaldy, Fife, 1s. 1da.1
Lt. Ld. John Murray’s regt. of ft. 1694, capt. 1695–7; capt. and lt.-col. 3 Ft. Gds.2
Burgess, Edinburgh 1702.3
MP [S] Kinghorn 1706–7.
Moncreiff’s father was a prominent Presbyterian elder, who first attracted attention in 1678 when refusing to take the bond for keeping the peace. The following year he absented himself from the militia array for Fife, on grounds regarded by courtiers as specious, namely that he was concerned for the health of his heavily pregnant wife. At the same time he refused to sign the declaration that it was unlawful to take up arms against the King. Although he subscribed the declaration two years later and was commissioned by James II in 1687 to raise troops, he continued to associate with ‘conventicling’ preachers and in the last year of James’s reign was a self-appointed representative of the interests of the Kirk. He supported the Revolution as a fencible officer and a commissioner to oversee the election of burgh magistrates, and was also returned to the convention, though he did not attend until June 1689. At first, or so it would appear, he drifted along under the umbrella of the Leven-Melville interest, but he may have attached himself to Secretary Johnston (James*) in the mid-1690s, and in common with others of Johnston’s following went into qualified opposition over the Darien fiasco.4
In 1695 Patrick Moncreiff took a commission in the newly formed regiment of Lord John Murray, later 1st Duke of Atholl. When the regiment was disbanded three years later, he changed careers, albeit temporarily. He studied civil law at Leyden and, after returning to Scotland, was admitted as an advocate in 1701. Entering the Scottish parliament for Kinghorn in 1706, he supported the Court over the Union. Presumably on the basis of his family history one modern historian has made the unsubstantiated and apparently erroneous assertion that Moncrieff was nevertheless associated with the Country party. The Jacobite agent Scot wrote in 1706, however, that Moncreiff was ‘much, if not entirely, under the influence of the Earl of Leven’. It was as a courtier that Moncreiff was selected as one of the Scottish representatives to the first Parliament of Great Britain.5
Moncreiff spoke for the Court during the debates on the abolition of the Scottish privy council in December 1707, being complimented by James Vernon I* for speaking ‘pertinently, and short’, and for his ability to make use of the ‘civil law in speaking’. In March 1708 he reverted to a military career, obtaining a captaincy in the Scots Foot Guards, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He was returned for Fifeshire at the general election, but only after a keenly fought contest with the Squadrone supporter Sir John Anstruther, 1st Bt.*6
Moncreiff died in London on or shortly before 20 Jan. 1709, when his death was reported by the Duke of Roxburghe in connexion with the anticipated by-election.7
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. Hist. Scot. Parl. 503; G. Seton, House of Moncrieff, 47–48; F. Moncreiff and W. Moncreiffe, Moncreiffs and Moncreiffes, ii. 510–11, 525; Services of Heirs (ser. 1), i. 1720–9, p. 20; Album Studiosorum Academiae Lugduno Batavae, ed. Du Rieu, 752; Scot. Rec. Soc. iii. 79, 194; lxxvi. 153; xxv. 387; Memorials Fam. of Skene (Spalding Club), 53–54.
- 2. SP57/27, p. 111.
- 3. Scot. Rec. Soc. lxii. 144.
- 4. Reg. PC Scotland, 1676–8, p. 651; 1681–2, p. 706; 1685–6, p. 60; 1686–9, p. 195; Lauder of Fountainhall, Hist. Notices (Bannatyne Club, lxxxvii), 258–9; Balcarres Mems. (Bannatyne Club, lxxi), 12; P. W. J. Riley, King Wm. and Scot. Politicians, 31, 177; APS, ix. 29, 51, 90; xi. 25; Scot. Hist. Soc. ser. 3, xlvi. 139; info. from Dr P. W. J. Riley on members of Scot. parl.; Carstares, State Pprs. 430.
- 5. R. Walcott, Pol. Early 18th Cent. 235; Orig. Pprs. ed. Macpherson, ii. 15; EHR, lxxxiv. 521; P. W. J. Riley, Union, 331; info. from Dr Riley; Edinburgh Courant, 23–26 July 1708.
- 6. Roxburghe mss at Floors Castle, bdle. 739, William Bennet* to Countess of Roxburghe, 16 Dec. 1707; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 285.
- 7. NLS, ms 14415, ff. 172–3; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 403.