Robert Wallace (Edinburgh MP)

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Robert Wallace
Taken from the frontispiece of his biography: Robert Wallace: Life and Last Leaves.
Taken from the frontispiece of his biography: Robert Wallace: Life and Last Leaves.
Born(1831-06-24)24 June 1831
Kincaple, St. Andrews, Scotland, UK
Died6 June 1899(1899-06-06) (aged 67)
London, UK
OccupationWriter, biographer, teacher, minister, editor, barrister, politician
GenreNon-fiction, biography, theology
SpouseMargaret Robertson
Childrensix sons and one daughter
Robert Wallace c1895

Robert Wallace (24 June 1831 – 6 June 1899) was a Scottish writer who had a varied career as a classics teacher, minister, university professor, newspaper editor, barrister and finally a Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East.

Personal life and education[edit]

Wallace was born on 24 June 1831 at Kincaple near St. Andrews, Fife, and was the second son of Jasper Wallace, a gardener, and Elizabeth Archibald. He was educated at the Geddes Institution, Culross, Fife, and at the University of St. Andrews where he graduated M.A. in 1853. He was awarded the degree of D.D. by Glasgow University in 1869.

He married Margaret Robertson (died 1898) on 10 March 1858 and they had six sons and one daughter. He died in London on 6 June 1899.[1]


Wallace was appointed classical master at Cupar Academy in 1854, shortly after graduating from university.[2] In July 1857 he was licensed as a minister by the Presbytery of Edinburgh, and he was ordained at Newton-on-Ayr Church of Scotland in December.[3]

Three years later Wallace transferred to Trinity Parish Church, Edinburgh, before transferring again in December 1868, to Old Greyfriars, Edinburgh.[3] While he was minister at Old Greyfriars Church he was involved in attempts to reform and modernise the Church of Scotland. As a result, his fitness to be a minister was questioned[4] and presumably this controversy influenced his decision to leave the clerical profession in August 1876.

After leaving his clerical role Wallace was appointed editor of The Scotsman newspaper, a position he held until November 1880.[3] In November 1883 he studied law and called the English Bar at the Middle Temple, London.[3]

Wallace was elected as Liberal Member of Parliament for the Edinburgh East in the 1886 election and remained so till his death in 1899.[3]



  • Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae: the Succession of Ministers in the Church of Scotland from the Reformation, edited by Hew Scott, D.D., Volume I, The Synod of Lothian and Tweeddale. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1915, pp. 43–44.
  • Who Was Who entry, A & C Black, 1920–2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007 [1]
  • Robert Wallace: Life and Last Leaves. Edited by J. Campbell Smith and William Wallace. London: Sands & Co., 1903. (William Wallace was the brother of Robert Wallace.)
  • Library catalogues at


  1. ^ Entry in Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, Volume One, pp. 43–44, and also his biography, Robert Wallace: Life and Last Leaves.
  2. ^ Cf. 'Leading events in Mr. Wallace's life' in Robert Wallace: Life and Last Leaves, also his entry in the Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, Volume One, pp. 43–44.
  3. ^ a b c d e Wallace's Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae entry.
  4. ^ Cf. The Church of Scotland and the clerical scandals in Old Greyfriars' Church, Edinburgh: Ought the Rev. Dr Robert Wallace to remain, or to be allowed by the General Assembly to remain, a minister of the Church of Scotland? Evidence for the prosecution. by "Free Lance" [Alexander Richardson]. (Edinburgh : Maclachlan & Stewart, 1871).
  5. ^ This appears in the site but nowhere else.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Goschen
Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East
Succeeded by
Sir George McCrae