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Moncreiff, Henry Wellwood (DNB00)


MONCREIFF, Sir HENRY WELLWOOD (1809–1883), Scottish divine, born at Edinburgh 21 May 1809, was eldest son of Sir James Wellwood Moncreiff, afterwards Lord Moncreiff [q. v.] He was educated at the Edinburgh High School and University, but (5 April 1827) matriculated at New College, Oxford, whence he graduated B.A. in 1831. While at Oxford he was on intimate terms with Mr. Gladstone. Returning to Scotland he studied divinity under Dr. Chalmers, and after completing his course was ordained minister of the parish of Baldernock in Stirlingshire in 1836. In the following year he obtained the more important charge of East Kilbride in Lanarkshire. Moncreiff took part in the controversy which ended in the disruption of the church of Scotland. He joined the free church in June 1843, and from that date till 1852 he was the minister of Free East Kilbride. He succeeded to the baronetcy and assumed the name Wellwood on the death of his father in 1851. In 1852 he became minister of Free St. Cuthbert's in Edinburgh, where his grandfather, Sir Henry Moncreiff (1750-1827) [q. v.], had passed fifty years of his ministry. He was appointed joint principal clerk to the free general assembly in 1855, was created D.D. by Glasgow University in 1860, and appointed moderator of the free church assembly in 1869. In 1862 he was appointed secretary of the Bible Board, and held that office at his death, which took place 4 Nov. 1883. Moncreiff was twice married, first, on 8 Feb. 1838, to Alexandrina Mary, daughter of George Bell, a surgeon in Edinburgh; and secondly in 1875 to Lucretia, daughter of Andrew Murray of Murrayshall in Perthshire. There was no issue by either marriage. His social position, knowledge of church law, and readiness to place his knowledge and experience at the disposal of his fellow ministers, rendered Moncreiff one of the most influential supporters of the free church. His published writings included 'A Vindication of the Free Church Claim of Right' (1877) and 'The Free Church Principle, its Character and History,' being the first series of the Chalmers Lectures (1883).

[Irving's Book of Eminent Scotsmen; Hew Scott's Fasti, ii. 291; some autobiographical information is contained in The Free Church Principle, its Character and History, publ. 1883, pp. 330-3 Memorials of E. S. Candlish, by Dr. W. Wilson, pp. 225-59.]

A. J. M. M.