Papers of William Meikleham, 1771-1846, astronomer and philosopher, Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University of Glasgow, Scotland, 1803-1846

Scope and Content

  • MA degree certificate 1792;
  • Papers concerning appointments and memberships 1796-1808;
  • Genealogical and biographical material on the Meikleham family 1808-1906;
  • Appointment of Peter Meikleham as an Ensign in the Royal Regiment of Fencible Infantry 1798.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Meikleham (or alternatively McIlquham) was born in 1771  at Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland, the second son of William McIlquham, a schoolmaster.

He studied at the University of Glasgow , Scotland, from 1788-1792  . During his time there he won numerous prizes and graduated MA in 1792  . He was Rector of Ayr Academy, Ayr, South Ayrshire, Scotland, from 1796 until1799. In 1794,  he was appointed occasional assistant to John Anderson (1726-1796), Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow. This appointment was renewed in December 1795  .

In August 1799,  the King issued a commission to William Meikleham to be Professor of Practical Astronomy & Observer at the University of Glasgow, and on 29 October 1799  he was admitted to office. He received the honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D) degree in 1799  . On 9 November 1802  William Meikleham helped to found the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow and became its first president.

In August 1803 William Meikleham transferred from the Astronomy Chair to the Chair of Natural Philosophy which he held until his death. He was elected Clerk of Faculty in 1829  and 1830  . He died on 7 May 1846  aged seventy-five.

Peter Meikleham is a relation of William's, although it is not known how they are related. He served in the Royal Regiment of Fencible Infantry at the end of the eighteenth century and beginning of the nineteenth century.


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposit : family member : 1992 : ACCN 1208

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom

Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)3383) and London (NRA21083)

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures

Custodial History

Deposited by the creator's great granddaughter


None expected

Related Material

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No known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original

Collection catalogued by Hannah Westall, Archive Assistant, 19 May 2000 (collection level description) and members of Glasgow University Archives Services staff (item level descriptions). Converted to Encoded Archival Description by Andrew Semple, Administration Assistant, 7 May 2003. Updated by Moira Rankin, Senior Archivist, 10 March 2003, Emma Yan, Assistant Archivist (Cataloguing), 19 December 2007, and Gemma Tougher, Assistant Archivist (Cataloguing), 24 September 2012.

Geographical Names