Sir James Mackintosh

Sir James Mackintosh, writer and politician, has a memorial in the north west tower chapel in the nave of Westminster Abbey. This is by sculptor William Theed junior and consists of a life sized bust on a stele, against which a female mourns in front of a cross. At the base on either side is a standing female figure. The inscription reads:

To the memory of Sir James Mackintosh, jurist, philosopher, historian, statesman; from his youth a generous advocate of the oppressed: honoured in manhood as a judge, learned, wise and merciful: studious in mature age as a legislator, to moderate the rigour of harsh laws and to broaden the foundations of national freedom. This monument was erected by friends of all parties and of all ranks, who admired his writings, delighted in his society, and loved him for himself: and when a generation had passed away after his death, the inscription was added by those survivors who still looked back to him with affectionate veneration. Born at Aldowrie on the banks of Loch Ness 24th Oct 1765. Died in London 30th May 1832. Buried at Hampstead

The inscription was added in 1867 by his nephew Claude Erskine.

He was a son of John Mackintosh, army officer, and his wife Marjory (MacGillivray) and was educated at Fortrose and Aberdeen before studying medicine at Edinburgh university. He started writing poetry in early life and later moved to London. In 1789 he married Catherine Stuart and he inherited the family estate at Kyllachy in Scotland. Their daughters were Mary who married Claudius Rich, Maitland who married William Erskine and Kitty who married Sir William Wiseman. He had a son by his second wife Catherine Allen. After studying law he took a post as judge in Bombay and was knighted. On returning to England he was a Member of Parliament in the Whig party and rector of Glasgow university. He contributed articles to the Edinburgh Review among other papers and started publishing his "History of England...".

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004


24th October 1765


30th May 1832


Writer; politician



Memorial Type


Sir James Mackintosh
Sir James Mackintosh by Sir Thos. Lawrence P. R. A., engraved by J. Cochran

(Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1835) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Sir James Mackintosh
Sir James Mackintosh memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster