John Scott (British Army officer)

Major-general John Scott of Balcomie (bapt. 1725 – 7 December 1775) was a Scottish politician and senior British Army officer.


He was born the son of David Scott (of Scotstarvit). He joined the British Army in 1741 as an ensign in the 12th Regiment of Foot and rose via different regiments to the rank of Major-general in 1770.

He served as Colonel of the 108th regiment of Foot from 1762 to 1763 and as Colonel of the 26th (Cameronian) Regiment of Foot from 1763 to his death.

He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Caithness from 1754 to 1761, for Tain Burghs from 1761 to 1768, and for Fife from 1768 until his death in 1775.[1]

A successful gambler, he purchased Denmylne Castle in Fife in 1772.[2] Not requiring the castle itself he allowed it to fall into a state of disrepair.

He died in 1775.


George Devol asserted that -

General Scott, the father-in-law of George Canning, made one of the largest winnings ever known. He won at White's one million dollars, owing to his sobriety and knowledge of the game of whist.[3]


On 5 November 1770, he married Lady Mary Hay, daughter of the Earl of Errol, then 16 years old; they were divorced in 1771. It is mentioned in one source that she eloped with another man.[4]

He married secondly, on 5 June 1773 Margaret, daughter of Robert Dundas, of Arniston, the younger.[5] They had three daughters:


  1. Haden-Guest, Edith (1964). L. Namier; J. Brooke, eds. "SCOTT, John (1725-75), of Balcomie, Fife". The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790. Boydell and Brewer. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  2. "Denmylne Castle, Fife | By Scotland Channel". 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2015-05-15.
  3. George Devol, Forty Years a Gambler on the Mississippi, p. 297
  4. Alienated Affections: The Scottish Experience of Divorce and Separation ... - Leah Leneman - Google Books. 2005-08-25. Retrieved 2015-05-15.
  5. ODNB article on Dundas
  6. The Gentleman's Magazine. Retrieved 2015-05-15.
Parliament of Great Britain
alternating constituency
Title last held by
Alexander Brodie
(to 1747)
Member of Parliament for Caithness
alternating constituency
Title next held by
Viscount Fortrose
(from 1768)
Preceded by
Sir Harry Munro, 7th Bt
Member of Parliament for Tain Burghs
Succeeded by
Alexander Mackay
Preceded by
James Wemyss
Member of Parliament for Fife
Succeeded by
James Townsend Oswald
Military offices
Preceded by
Edward Sandford
Colonel of the 26th Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Lord Adam Gordon

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