Anges Hamilton

Agnes came from a family of romantic adventurers: her paternal grandfather was a poet and Jacobite and her maternal uncle explored Abyssinia. She was well-travelled herself within Britain, born in West Lothian, married in Bath, having a child in Edinburgh, and settling in Devon, although she didn't live long enough to enjoy the rebuilt family mansion with her six children.

c. 1770 - 1814
Bangour, West Lothian
James Hamilton of Bangour. His father William Hamilton of Bangour, 1704-1754, was a poet and Jacobite army officer who contributed 'The Braes of Yarrow' to Allan Ramsay's Tea Table Miscellany in 1730. He was a friend of Hume and other enlightenment figures. He joined the Pretender in 1745 and composed a famous ode on Prestonpans, and apparently hid in a hollow tree at Falkirk before escaping to France. (4)
Margaret Bruce (Peggy), m.1770
Agnes's uncle was James Bruce of Kinnaird (1730-1794), a famous traveller in Africa. He supplied coal from Kinnaird to the Carron ironworks, which gave him the capital and leisure to travel. He explored Abyssinia and the source of the Nile, and crossed the Sudanese desert. Sadly he didn't receive the acclaim he had hoped for although the book he eventually wrote, 'Travels to discover the source of the Nile' was critically praised and a bestseller, but he died ignominiously falling downstairs at Kinnaird House. He was buried under a cast-iron obelisk manufactured at the Carron works. (5)
Chapel connection
1800 (baptism)
Married on
3 July 1793, at Bath (6)
John Palmer Chichester
Agnes's children were three-quarters Scottish. John Palmer-Bruce (1794), Margaret Caroline, Julia, George, James Hamilton, Robert Bruce (1800, barrister, m.Mary Bloxome).

Agnes Hamilton (2)

An Ode on the Battle of Gladsmuir (Prestonpans) by William Hamilton Of Bangour

As over Gladsmuir's blood-stain'd field,
Scotia, imperial goddess flew,
Her lifted spear and radiant shield
Conspicuous blazing to the view;
Her visage lately clouded with despair,
Now reassum'd its first majestic air.

Such seen, as oft in battle warm,
She glow'd through many a martial age;
Or mild to breathe the civil charm,
In pious plans and counsel sage:
For, o'er the mingling glories of her face,
A manly greatness heighten'd female grace.

Loud as the trumpet rolls its sound,
Her voice the power celestial rais'd;
Whilst her victorious sons around
In silent joy and wonder gaz'd:
The sacred Muses heard the immortal lay,
And thus to earth the notes of Fame convey: —

" 'Tis done! my sons! 'tis nobly done!
Victorious over tyrant pow'r;
How quick the race of fame was run!
The work of ages in one hour:
Slow creeps th' oppressive weight of slavish reigns;
One glorious moment rose and burst your chains.

But late, forlorn, dejected, pale,
A prey to each insulting foe;
I sought the grove and gloomy vale,
To vent in solitude my woe:
Now to my hand the balance fair restor'd;
Once more I wield on high the imperial sword.

What arm has this deliverance wrought?
'Tis he! the gallant youth appears;
warm in field, and cool in thought,
Beyond the slow advance of years!
Haste, let me, rescued now from future harms,
Strain close the filial virtue in my arms.

Early I nurs'd this royal youth,
Ah! ill detain'd on foreign shores;
I fill'd his mind with love of truth,
With fortitude and wisdom's stores:
For when a noble action is decreed,
Heav'n forms the hero for the destin'd deed.

Nor could the soft seducing charms
Of mild Hesperia's blooming soil,
E'er quench his noble thirst of arms,
Of generous deeds and honest toil:
Fired with the warmth a country's love imparts,
He fled their weakness, but admir'd their arts.

With him I plough'd the stormy main;
My breath inspir'd the auspicious gale;
Reserv'd for Gladsmuir's glorious plain,
Through dangers wing'd his daring sail;
Where, form'd with inborn worth, he durst oppose,
His single valour to an host of foes.

He came! he spoke! and all around,
As swift as heav'n's quick-darted flame,
Shepherds turn'd warriors at the sound,
And every bosom beat for fame:
They caught heroic ardour from his eyes
And at his side the willing heroes rise.

Rouse, England! rouse, Fame's noblest son,
In all thy ancient splendour shine;
If I the glorious work begun,
O let the crowning palm be thine:
I bring a prince, for such is heav'n's decree,
Who overcomes but to forgive and free.

So shall fierce wars and tumults cease,
While Plenty crown's the smiling plain;
And Industry, fair child of Peace,
Shall in each crowded city reign:
So shall these happy realms forever prove
The sweets of union, liberty, and love."

This Ode was printed, and copies of it distributed, soon after the battle of Gladsmuir, which was fought on the 21st September, 1745. For obvious reasons, it was not printed in any of the editions of Hamilton's Poems. It appeared, however, in the Edinburgh Magazine and Review, in 1773; also in the Scots Magazine of the same year, where it is mentioned that the Ode had been, set to music at the time by Macgfbbon, a well-known composer. (6)


  1. Registers of Charlotte Chapel (NAS CH12/3)
  2. Thought to be Agnes Hamilton, Mrs John Palmer Chichester portrait miniature attributed to Andrew Plime, online accessed 24 May 2011
  3. Ceredigion: Journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society Vol. 11, nos. 4 (1992) p.371-384, online accessed 24 May 2011.
  4. Murray G.H. Pittock, 'William Hamilton of Bangour (1704-1754)', The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004)
  5. Nigel Leask, 'James Bruce of Kinnaird (1730-1894) in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004)
  6. James Paterson, The Poems and Songs of William Hamilton of Bangour, (Thomas George Stevenson, Edinburgh, 1850) p.62-64

Back to index