Sir William Pulteney

(William Johnstone)

1729 - 1805

Wealthy lawyer, politician and landowner. Born William Johnstone, the second son of Sir James Johnstone of Westerhall (d.1772), he adopted the surname of his wife Frances Pulteney, an heiress whom he married in 1760. This brought him an estate near Bath (England) and a substantial fortune, which he invested wisely buying land in the West Indies and, in what is now, New York State in the USA, where the settlements of Bath, Henrietta and Pulteney are associated with him. These investments made him one of the wealthiest men in Britain of his time.

In 1768, he was elected as Member of Parliament for Cromarty serving until 1774. Between 1775 and his death he represented Shrewsbury. He was patron to architect Robert Adam (1728-92) and civil engineer Thomas Telford (1757 - 1834). Adam designed Pulteney Bridge in Bath for him. As Governor of the British Fisheries Society, Pulteney appointed Telford to design a new herring port at Wick which was named Pulteneytown. Pulteney is also noted for bringing roads into being, including the A7 through the Scottish Borders and engaging Telford to improve communications in the Highlands through a network of roads and bridges.

Pulteney succeeded his elder brother Sir James Johnstone to the Baronetcy of Westerhall in 1794. He died at his home in Piccadilly in London and lies buried in Westminster Abbey.

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