Robert Hamilton (1707-1787)

From Our History
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Robert Hamilton was Professor of Divinity at Edinburgh University from 1754 until 1779.

The son of William Hamilton (1669-1732), himself Professor of Divinity from 1709 to 1732, and Principal from 1730, Robert Hamilton was born in Edinburgh on 19 May 1707. Hamilton was Minister of Cramond (1731) in the city, then successively Minister of Lady Yester's Church (1736), and Old Greyfriar's (1750). In Spring 1754, upon the retirement of John Gowdie (c1682-1762), Hamilton was appointed to the Chair of Divinity at Edinburgh University. Widely respected for his learning, judgement, and equability, served twice as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and was made Dean of the Thistle. Hamilton held the Edinburgh chair alone until 1779, when he ‘retired’ by taking as an associate Andrew Hunter (1743–1809), who would ultimately succeed him in the Chair. Hamilton died on 2 April 1787.



  • Annals of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland: From the Origin of the Relief in 1752, to the Rejection of the Overture on Schism in 1766 (Edinburgh: John Johnstone, 1840)
  • Roger L. Emerson, Academic Patronage in the Scottish Enlightenment: Glasgow, Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008)
  • Sir Alexander Grant, The Story of the University of Edinburgh during its First Three Hundred Years, 2 vols (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1884)
  • Hew Scott, Fasti Ecclesiæ Scoticanæ: The Succession of Ministers in the Church of Scotland from the Reformation, vol. I (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1915)