Papers of Professor George Hill (1750-1819), Principal of St Mary's College St Andrews

Scope and Content

The collection is composed of correspondence with Alexander Carlyle.

Administrative / Biographical History

George Hill was born in St. Andrews in June 1750. He was educated in St. Andrews and studied at St. Andrews University. He was a good student and attracted the attention of Lord Kinnoull, Chancellor of the University. Just as he began Divinity studies his father died and instead he became tutor to the eldest son of Pryse Campbell MP, one of the Lords of the Treasury. He resided with the family in London and Wales and spent two years with his pupil in Edinburgh where he himself finished his Divinity course.

In the early 1770s Hill was appointed joint Professor of Greek at the University of St. Andrews and in 1775 he was licensed as a probationer Minister by the Presbytery of Haddington, East Lothian. Thereafter he preached regularly at the University. He was ordained by the Presbytery of Haddington in 1778 and in 1780 became a Minister at St. Andrews University, holding his Greek Chair at the same time. In 1787 he received the degree of D.D. and the same year he became Dean of the Order of the Thistle.

Hill became Professor of Divinity at St. Mary's College in 1788 and was promoted Principal of the College in 1791. Soon afterwards he was appointed as one of the King's Chaplains in Scotland and in 1799 he became Dean of the Chapel Royal. These appointments were supported by Lord Melville who consulted Hill on Scottish ecclesiastical matters. Hill was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1789. His publications include Lectures upon portions of the Old Testament (1812), Theological institutes (1817), and the three volumes of Lectures on Divinity (1821). Professor George Hill died on 19 December 1819.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Stephen, Leslie. and Lee, Sidney (eds.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol. 9. Harris-Hovenden. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1908.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show various references to Hill related material in the Laing Collection (check the Indexes for more details): comments on the arrangements for salary for the appointee to Chair of Church History, St. Mary's College, circa 1793, at La.II.253; letters to T. Brydson about a work of heraldry, 1789, 1792, at La.II.110(i); letter to the Lord Advocate against a mission to India, 1797, at La.II.500; letters to Lord Advocate on College matters, 1799, at La.II.501; letter to George Chalmers, 1804, at La.II.453/2; and, letter to W. Robb, 1805, at La.II.92, f.10.

In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes: 1793-1818: correspondence with John Lee, 1793-1818, National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division, Ref. MSS 3431-64 passim; letters to the 1st and 2nd Lords Melville, St. Andrews University Library, NRA 14799 Dundas, and letters (68), 1767-1770, Ref. MS 38204.