11 November 2020

Upper Prep Housemaster – Alaeze Ugoala

SeniorHousemaster – Alexandra North

General Sir John Hope served at the Battle of Alexandria (1801) and led the First Division in Spain during the Peninsular War (1808 – 14). Under the command of General Sir John Moore (1761 – 1809), the British Army was faced with defeat in 1808 with the French having taken Madrid and advanced towards them. The British executed a winter retreat under terrible conditions across the mountains from Astorga to the coast at Corunna, with the intention of escaping by sea. However, the French attacked with greatly superior numbers and a desperate battle ensured, but the British were eventually triumphant and the French suffered massive casualties. Hope distinguished himself in this battle and, when Moore was killed, Hope heroically took command of the British Army. Hope’s successful evacuation of his army earned him a knighthood in his own right from King George III.

By 1816 family of the 3rd Earl of Hopetoun owned large areas of land in East and West Lothian, Fife and Lanarkshire. However, as James had no son, he was succeeded by his half-brother Sir John as 4th Earl. Hopetoun House has been the home of the Earls of Hopetoun, later created Marquesses of Linlithgow, since it was built in 1699 and part of the House is still lived in today by the present Marquess and his family.

Hope is remembered by various monuments, including large Hopetoun Monuments in Fife and East Lothian. His statue is to be found in front of Dundas House in Edinburgh’s St Andrew’s Square, Hope having been a governor of the Royal Bank of Scotland.