George Armitstead - 1st Baron Armitstead of Castlehill

R.W.M. 1883-1884 and 1888-1893


George ArmitsteadSon of George Armitstead and Emma Jacobs and born on the 28th February 1824 at Riga in Russia and also baptised there.

He was educated at Weisbaden, Heidelberg and Baden-Wurttemberg in Germany.

He married Jane Elizabeth Baxter, daughter of Edward Baxter and Euphemia Wilson in 1848.

He died on the 7th December 1915 at 4 Clevland Square, London and was buried on the 11th December 1915. They had no children.

George Armitstead came to Dundee in 1843 and became the senior partner of George Armitstead & Co, which was a shipping Line and Flax Merchants. The firm had a fleet of eight sailing vessels and one steamer named the ‘London’. They then moved totally into steam ships with the founding of the North Sea Steam Ship Company.

While in Dundee he bought Castle Huntly and it is said that he brought his mistress to live in the house, ‘to his wife’s understandable distress and causing scandal in Dundee’

He was Liberal M.P. for Dundee between 1863 and 1873 and then again from 1880 to 1885 and was a great friend of the then Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone. It is said that he paid for the Prime Minister’s holidays in Biarritz and was also pallbearer at Gladstone’s funeral in and mentioned by in William McGonigall’s poem for Gladstone’s funeral.

“…… Alas! the people now do sigh and moan
For the loss of Wm. Ewart Gladstone,
Who was a very great politician and a moral man,
And to gainsay it there's few people can.

George Armitstead, Esq, was there also,
And Lord Rendal, with his heart full of woe;
And the Right Honourable Duke of Rutland,
And the Right Honourable Arthur J. Balfour, on the right hand;
Likewise the noble Marquis of Salisbury,
And His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, of high degree.

He was created a Justice of the Peace in Dundee and also held the office of Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Forfarshire. He was also invested as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (F.R.G.S.).

Created 1st Baron Armitstead of Castlehill, in the City of Dundee on the 19th July 1906 by the then Prime Minister Arthur J. Balfour

He was made a burgess in 1854 not in his own right, but by right of his wife Jane, who was daughter of Edward Baxter of Kincaldrum. He was one of the very few who was later entered again in his own right as an honorary burgess in 1904 'in recognition of his long commercial connection with Dundee and his generous liberality to the Charitable and Benevolent Institutions of the City'.

Masonic Involvement

George Armitstead joined Lodge Ancient No. 49 on the 24th October 1881 and was elected Right Worshipful Master on the 15th November 1883 he held that position for only one year. According to the minute books of the Lodge Armitstead did not attend the Lodge and paid no part in its active workings. Even after he was elected Master, he was not installed as such and did not attend any of the meetings of the Lodge during his term as Master and can only be described as an elected ‘figure head’ - an accepted custom for many Lodges in those days.

Armitstead Casket
Armitstead Casket
Armitstead Casket
Armistead Casket
Armitstead Scrool
Diploma Element
Scroll Inside the Casket
Image from the Scroll showing the detail
Armitstead Grave
Armitstead Grave
George Armitstead's Grave in the Western Cemetery, Dundee
George Armitstead's Grave in the Western Cemetery, Dundee

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