William Hamilton (geologist)

William Hamilton
Member of Parliament
for Newport
In office
22 July 1841 – 26 August 1847
Prime MinisterRobert Peel
Preceded byWilliam John Blake
Charles Wykeham Martin
Succeeded byWilliam Plowden
Charles Wykeham Martin
Personal details
William John Hamilton

(1805-07-05)5 July 1805
Wishaw, Lanarkshire
Died27 June 1867(1867-06-27) (aged 61)
Political partyConservative
  • Martin Trotter
    (m. 1832; died 1833)
  • Margaret Frances Florence Dillon
    (m. 1838)
RelationsFrederick W. Hamilton (brother)
Frederick Hamilton (nephew)
John Udny (grandfather)
  • Robert William Hamilton
  • Margaret Wilhelmina Hamilton
  • Florence Selina Hamilton
  • Victoria Henrietta Hamilton
  • Alexander Charles Hamilton
  • Constantine Henry Hamilton
  • Archibald William Hamilton
Parent(s)William Richard Hamilton
Julia Udny
EducationCharterhouse School
Alma materUniversity of Göttingen

William John Hamilton FRS (5 July 1805 – 27 June 1867) was a British geologist who served as a Conservative Member of Parliament.

Early life

Hamilton was born in Wishaw, Lanarkshire on 5 July 1805. He was the eldest son of William Richard Hamilton, FRS, and the former Julia Udny. His younger brothers were Alexander Edmund Hamilton (who drowned in India in 1827), Capt. Henry George Hamilton of the Royal Navy (father of Adm. Sir Frederick Hamilton), Charles Anthony Hamilton (who worked in the Privy Council office), Arthur Richard Hamilton, and Gen. Frederick William Hamilton.

His paternal grandfather was Anthony Hamilton, the Archdeacon of Colchester. His maternal grandparents were John Udny, British Counsul at Venice and Leghorn, and Selina Shore Clevland (a daughter of John Clevland MP). His uncle, Lt.-Col. John Robert Fullerton Udny inherited Udny Castle in Aberdeen from his uncle, Robert Udny, the prominent merchant and art collector.

He was educated at Charterhouse School and the University of Göttingen.


He became a fellow of the Geological Society of London in 1831. In 1835 he made a geological tour of the Levant with Hugh Edwin Strickland, continuing on his own through Armenia and across Asia Minor. This journey was described in Researches in Asia Minor, Pontus, and Armenia (1842). Hamilton was the first known person to have successfully climbed Mount Erciyes.

He was a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Newport, Isle of Wight, from 1841 to 1847.

Hamilton was president of the Royal Geographical Society for 1848–1849 and of the Geological Society between 1854 and 1866. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1855. He was elected as a member of the American Philosophical Society in 1862.

He made excursions in France and Belgium and wrote on the rocks and minerals of Tuscany, the agate quarries of Oberstein, and on the geology of the Mayence basin and the Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel) district.

Personal life

On 26 April 1832, Hamilton married Martin Trotter, a daughter of John Trotter. Before her death in March 1833, they had a son:

  • Robert William Hamilton (1833–1883), who married Charlotte Maria Palmer, a daughter of Lt.-Col. George Palmer.

On 26 July 1838, he married the Hon. Margaret Frances Florence Dillon, a daughter of Henry Augustus Dillon-Lee, 13th Viscount Dillon, and Henrietta Browne (sister to Dominick Browne, 1st Baron Oranmore and Browne). They had six children:

Hamilton died in London in 1867, his wife survived him.


As his son Alexander died without surviving male issue, his grandson Robert Hamilton-Udny (son of his youngest son Archibald), inherited the title of 10th Lord Belhaven and Stenton.

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