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The Chair of Agriculture at the University of Edinburgh was established within the Faculty of Arts in 1790 and was Britain's first. It was endowed by Sir William Pulteney (1729-1805). The first to hold the Chair was Andrew Coventry (1764-1832), nominated by Pultney himself.

Coventry resigned in 1831 and was succeeded by David Low (1786-1859). Another applicant was Edinburgh graduate, political agitator Robert Gourlay (1778-1863).

When Low resigned the Chair in 1854, his successor was John Wilson (d1888)

The fourth Professor was Robert Wallace (1853-1939). During Wallace's tenure, Agriculture moved into the newly-established Faculty of Science.

Professors of Agriculture (and Rural Economy)

Andrew Coventry (1764-1832), 1790-

David Low (1786-1859), 1831-1854

John Wilson (d1888), 1855-

Robert Wallace (1853-1939), 1882-1922

Sir Stephen Watson (1898-1976)

Noel Fairnie Robertson (1923-1999), 1969-1983


  • Fleming, Ian J. & Robertson, Noel F., Britain's First Chair of Agriculture at the University of Edinburgh, 1790-1990 (East of Scotland College of Agriculture, 1990)