The Rae family grave, Inveresk
The Rae family grave, Inveresk

Sir William Rae, 3rd Baronet (14 April 1769 – 19 October 1842),[1] was a Scottish politician and lawyer.


He was born at Old Assembly Close off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, son of Margaret Stewart, youngest daughter of John Stewart of Blairhall and David Rae, Lord Eskgrove.[2] He was educated at the High School in Edinburgh and studied law at the University of Edinburgh from 1785, qualifying as an advocate in 1791.

His first major role was as Sheriff of Orkney and Shetland in 1801, but in 1809 he transferred to an equivalent post as Sheriff of Edinburgh, which he held until 1819.[3] He succeeded his father to the baronetcy in 1815.

He was Member of Parliament for Anstruther Burghs, in Fife, from 1819 to 1826, Harwich, Essex, England, from 1827 to 1830, Buteshire in 1830 and from 1833 to 1842, and for Portarlington, Queen's County, Ireland, from 1831 to 1832.

He served as Lord Advocate from 1819 to 1830 and from 1834 to 1835. He was made a Privy Councillor on 19 July 1830.[1]

Grant's Old and New Edinburgh tells us that he was present at the Great Edinburgh Fire of 1824, actively trying to extinguish the flames of the building on the Royal Mile at the head of Old Assembly Close as it was "the house of his birth".[4]

He died aged 73 at St Catherines, near Mortonhall in south Edinburgh on 18 October 1842.[3]

He is buried with his father and mother on the south-west corner of St Michael's church in Inveresk. The stone is modest.


In 1793 he married Mary Stuart.



  1. ^ a b "Privy Councillors". Leigh Rayment's Peerage pages. Archived from the original on 7 June 2008. Retrieved 9 April 2008.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1773
  3. ^ a b Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0-902-198-84-X.
  4. ^ Grants Old and New Edinburgh
Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byAlexander Maconochie Member for Anstruther Burghs 1819–1826 Succeeded byJames Balfour Preceded byNicholas Conyngham TindalJohn Charles Herries Member for Harwich 1827–1830 With: John Charles Herries Succeeded byGeorge Robert DawsonJohn Charles Herries Vacantalternating constituency (with Caithness)Title last held byLord Patrick Crichton-Stuart to 1826 Member for Buteshire 1830–1831 Vacantalternating constituencyTitle next held byCharles Stuart from 1832 Preceded bySir Charles Ogle, Bt Member for Portarlington 1831–1832 Succeeded byThomas Gladstone Preceded byCharles Stuart Member for Buteshire 1833–1842 Succeeded byJames Stuart-Wortley Legal offices Preceded byAlexander Maconochie Lord Advocate 1819–1830 Succeeded byFrancis Jeffrey Preceded byJohn Murray Lord Advocate 1834–1835 Succeeded byJohn Murray Baronetage of the United Kingdom Preceded byDavid Rae Baronet(of Esk Grove) 1815–1842 Extinct