Sir John McEwen, 1st Baronet

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Sir John McEwen, Bt.
Member of Parliament for
Berwick and Haddington
In office
Preceded by George Sinkinson
Succeeded by John Robertson
Lord Commissioner
of the Treasury
In office
Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Under-Secretary of
State for Scotland
In office
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
Preceded by Henry Wedderburn
Succeeded by Joseph Westwood
Personal details
Born John Helias Finnie McEwen
(1894-06-21)21 June 1894
Died 19 March 1962(1962-03-19) (aged 67)
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Brigid Mary Lindley
(m. 1923; his death 1962)
Children 7, including Rory, Mary
Parents Robert Finnie McEwen
Mary Frances Dundas
Residence Marchmont House
Alma mater Eton College
Trinity College, Cambridge
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Rank Captain
Battles/wars World War I

Sir John Helias Finnie McEwen, 1st Baronet or Jock McEwen (21 June 1894 – 19 April 1962), was a Scottish Unionist politician who served in the House of Commons as Conservative Member of Parliament for Berwick and Haddington from 1931 until 1945.[1]

Early life[edit]

Sir John McEwen was the son of Robert Finnie McEwen (1861-) of Marchmont, Berwickshire, and Bardrochat, F.S.A.Scot., Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace for Berwickshire, by Mary Frances, daughter of R.H.D. Dundas.[2] His sister, Katherine Isobel McEwen, married Roger Lumley, 11th Earl of Scarbrough on 12 July 1922 at St Margaret's, Westminster and had five children with him.[1]

He was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge.[3]


During the First World War, he served in the Cameron Highlanders, being promoted Captain in 1915. He transferred to the Royal Army Flying Corps and was later a prisoner of war.[2] After the war he joined the Diplomatic Service, and in 1920, was 3rd Secretary; 2nd Secretary in 1925, serving in the London Foreign Office, Athens and Rome.[3][4]

In the 1929 General Election, he contested the seat of Berwick-upon-Tweed and Haddington for the Unionist Party, but failed. However two years later he was elected to the House of Commons as Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Berwick and Haddington at the 1931 general election, and held the seat until 1945, when his attempt to be reelected failed.[5]

McEwan served under Neville Chamberlain as Assistant Government Whip 1938-39, Under-Secretary of State for Scotland from 1939 to 1940, and under Winston Churchill as a Lord of the Treasury from 1942 to 1944. He was Chairman of the Conservative Members' Committee in the House of Commons December 1944 - June 1945.[5]


In 1953, he was created a Baronet, of Marchmont in the County of Berwick and Bardrochat in the County of Ayr.[6] Upon his death in 1962, his title passed to his eldest son, Sir James. Upon Sir James' death in 1971, his title passed to his brother and Sir John's second son, Sir Robert, as Sir James had three daughters, but no sons.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Marchmont House, the McEwan home

In 1923, McEwen married Brigid Mary Lindley (d. 1971), daughter of Sir Francis Oswald Lindley (1872–1950), the British dipolomat, and granddaughter of botanist and illustrator John Lindley, who in 1840 was instrumental in saving The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew from destruction. The raised their family at Marchmont House on the east side of the small town of Greenlaw, Scotland.[8] Together they had seven children, including:[9]

He died in April 1962, aged 67, and was succeeded in the baronetcy by his eldest son James.


  1. ^ a b Britain), Queen Elizabeth (consort of George VI, King of Great (27 November 2012). Counting One's Blessings: The Selected Letters of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Macmillan. ISBN 9780374185220. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  2. ^ a b The Editors of The Gazetteer for Scotland. "Sir John Helias Finnie McEwen from The Gazetteer for Scotland". University of Edinburgh and The Royal Scottish Geographical Society. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Black, A & C., Who's Who 1960 London, 1960, p.1896.
  4. ^ POLITICIANS | There are all sorts, but a few Liberals may hold power balance. Time Inc. June 25, 1945. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Captain John McEwen (Hansard)". UK Parliament. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  6. ^ Who's Who 1960 p.1896.
  7. ^ Ross, David (5 May 2014). "After 500 years the McEwens decide they need a clan chief". Herald Scotland. 
  8. ^ Denham, James. Duns - Burgh on the Merse. ISBN 9781326559083. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  9. ^ "Person Page - Sir John Helias Finnie McEwen of Marchmont and Bardrochat, 1st Bt.". The Peerage. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  10. ^ a b Goldman, Lawrence (7 March 2013). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2005-2008. OUP Oxford. ISBN 9780199671540. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Sinkinson
Member of Parliament for
Berwick and Haddington

Succeeded by
John Robertson
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Wedderburn
Under-Secretary of State for Scotland
Succeeded by
Joseph Westwood
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Marchmont and Bardrochat)
Succeeded by
James Napier Finnie McEwen