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Cochran-Patrick, Robert William (DNB01)

COCHRAN-PATRICK, ROBERT WILLIAM (1842–1897), under-secretary of state for Scotland, only son of William Charles Richard Patrick (afterwards Cochran-Patrick) of Waterside, Ayrshire, and Agnes, eldest daughter of William Cochran of Ladyland and Belltrees, was born at Ladyland, Ayrshire, on 5 Feb. 1842. Having received his early education from private tutors, he matriculated at Edinburgh University in 1857, where he secured prizes in classics, logic, and moral philosophy, graduating B.A. in 1861, and passing first in metaphysics and logic. In 1861 he entered at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he had as friends among the residents Henry Fawcett [q. v.], Mr. Leslie Stephen, and Lord-justice Romer. He became captain of one of the boats of the Hall, and carried off the university challenge cup for walking and other athletic prizes. As a volunteer he shot in a winning four with Edward Ross, the first queen's prizeman, and was a member of the amateur dramatic club, then under the management of Mr. F. C. Burnand. In 1864 he graduated LL.B. Leaving Cambridge, he returned to Edinburgh for a year, with a view to qualifying for the Scottish bar, an idea soon abandoned.

In 1866 he married and settled at Woodside in Ayrshire, a property left him by his grand-uncle. With a strong bent for sport and natural history, Cochran-Patrick was in his element as a country gentleman, also throwing himself with vigour into local and county business. He became a captain in the militia, chairman of the parish school and parochial boards, served as convener of the finance committee of the county, and occupied other public posts. Taking up the study of archæology, he became a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and contributed a large series of most valuable papers to the 'Proceedings' of the society. In 1871 he was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and in 1874 he was sent to Stockholm to represent Great Britain at the international congress of archæology. In 1874 he was one of the founders of the Ayrshire and Wigtonshire Archæological Association. To the collections of this society he contributed numerous able articles.

But it is as a numismatist that Cochran-Patrick is best known, and his collection of Scottish coins was wellnigh unrivalled. On this subject in 1876 he published his first book, entitled 'Records of the Coinage of Scotland from the earliest Period to the Union,' 2 vols. This he followed up in 1878 with 'Early Records relating to Mining in Scotland,' in which he gave an account of the discovery of gold in Scotland, and descriptions of the lead and silver mines.

In 1880 Cochran-Patrick contested North Ayrshire in the conservative interest, and defeated Mr. J. B. Balfour (now lord-president of the court of session) by fifty-five votes. He was a frequent speaker in parliament, especially on education matters. In 1884 he published his third work, 'Catalogue of the Medals of Scotland,' containing a learned account of Scottish medals, of which he preserved the best collection extant. In 1885 he was defeated for North Ayrshire by the Hon. H. F. Elliot. In 1886 he became assessor to St. Andrews University, and in 1887 a commissioner to inquire into the working of the Scotch Education Act. Shortly afterwards he joined the fishery board of Scotland, and was granted the degree of LL.D. from Glasgow University in consideration of his scholarly attainments. In December 1887 he was appointed permanent under-secretary for Scotland, an office in which he rendered most valuable assistance in the promotion of Scottish business, notably the Local Government (Scotl.) Act, 1889. On 15 June 1892 he resigned his appointment owing to failing health, and retired to his seat at Woodside. In 1894 he acted as a commissioner to inquire into the Tweed and Solway salmon fisheries, visiting the border towns, taking evidence, and inspecting the rivers. In 1896 he became vice-chairman of the Scotch Fishery Board. As a freemason he was for many years provincial grand master of Ayrshire. On March 1897, after returning from a meeting of the fishery board in Edinburgh, he died suddenly of heart disease at Woodside.

Cochran-Patrick married, 31 Oct. 1866, Eleanora, younger daughter of Robert Hunter of Hunterston, Ayrshire, having by her (who died in 1884) a son, William Arthur, who died in 1891, and a daughter, Eleanor Agnes, who married in 1895 Neil James Kennedy, advocate, who assumed the name of Cochran-Patrick in terms of the entail of the property.

Besides the works named, Cochran-Patrick was the author of: 1. 'Unpublished Varieties of Scottish Coins,' 2 parts, 1871-2. 2. 'Notes on the Annals of the Scotch Coinage,' 8 parts, 1872-4. 3. 'Notes towards a Metallic History of Scotland,' 1878. 4. 'Mediæval Scotland,' 1892 a reprint of articles published in the 'Glasgow Herald.'

[The Scottish Review, January 1898 ; obituary notices in the Scotsman and Glasgow Herald, March 1897 ; Burke's Landed Gentry.]

G. S-h.