George Freeland Barbour

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Dr George Freeland Barbour DPhil, JP (15 February 1882 – 18 November 1946), was a Scottish author, philosopher and Liberal Party politician.


He was born in Cults, Aberdeenshire a son of the Rev Robert William Barbour (1854-1891) of Bonskeid, and his wife, Charlotte Rachel Fowler of Gastard, Wiltshire.[1]

He was educated at Morrison's Academy, Crieff and Edinburgh University. In 1905 he obtained a Master of Arts and in 1910 was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy.[2]

In 1919 he married the Hon. Helen Victoria Hepburn-Scott. They had two sons and three daughters, one of which Caroline Victoria, married journalist Julian Haviland.[3]


In 1904 Barbour became Joint Honorary Secretary of the Scottish Temperance Legislation Board, a role he carried out until 1913. He was Liberal candidate for the West Perthshire division at the December 1910 General Election.[3] This had always been a Unionist seat apart from 1906 when it went Liberal. The Unionists had regained it in January 1910 and held off the challenge from Barbour 11 months later;

Dec 1910 general election: Western Perthshire [4] Electorate 8,715
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Marquess of Tullibardine 4,027 52.5 +0.5
Liberal George Freeland Barbour 3,637 47.5 -0.5
Majority 390 5.0 +1.0
Turnout 7,664 87.9 +1.0
Conservative hold Swing +0.5

After the election he continued his involvement as Chairman of West Perthshire Liberal Association.[5] In 1913 he became a member of the Royal Commission on Housing for Scotland, serving for four years. In 1919 he started working for the newly created League of Nations Union. He worked for the Union for the next 20 years. In 1919 he was appointed to the Perthshire Education Authority and served on that body for 25 years.[3] After a gap of 19 years and four general elections he was again Liberal candidate for Kinross and Western Perthshire at the 1929 General Election. The constituency had been fought on new boundaries in 1918 when a Liberal won. The Liberals won in 1922 but in 1923 the seat went Unionist. In 1924 there was no Liberal candidate. Barbour had been selected as prospective parliamentary candidate in 1925[6] so had spent time nursing the division. His hopes of regaining the seat were made harder by the presence of a Labour candidate who managed to poll enough votes to allow the Unionist to win;

General Election 1929: Kinross and Western Perthshire [7] Electorate 33,408
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Duchess of Atholl 12,245 48.6 -23.4
Liberal George Freeland Barbour 9,128 36.2 n/a
Labour Rev. W.D. Stewart 3,834 15.2 -12.8
Majority 3,117 12.4 -31.6
Turnout 75.5
Unionist hold Swing n/a

He did not stand for parliament again.[8] He served as a Justice of the peace. In 1942 he was elected as a Member of Perth and Kinross County Council, serving for three years, serving on the Education Committee. He was a Member of the British Council of Churches and the Provisional Committee of the World Council of Churches.[3]


Linn of Tummel

He owned the Linn of Tummel, a 19-hectare (47-acre) woodland property at the confluence of the rivers Garry and Tummel, near Pitlochry in Perthshire, Scotland. In 1944 he donated the Linn to the National Trust for Scotland.[9] He donated his ancestral home of Bonskeid to the Young Men's Christian Association to use as a holiday home.[10]


  • The Old Quadrangle (joint-author), 1907
  • A Philosophical Study of Christian Ethics, 1911
  • The Ethical Approach to Theism, 1913
  • The Unity of the Spirit, 1921
  • Life of Alexander Whyte, DD, 1923
  • Addresses in a Highland Chapel, 1924
  • Katherine Scott—a Memoir, 1929
  • Pringle-Pattison’s Realism (ed. with Memoir), 1933[3]


  1. ^ Ewings Annals of the Free Church of Scotland
  2. ^ Barbour, G. F. (1910). "On some philosophical aspects of Christian ethics".
  3. ^ a b c d e ‘BARBOUR, George Freeland’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2007; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012 ; online edn, Oct 2012 accessed 16 April 2014
  4. ^ Debrett's House of Commons and the Judicial Bench, 1916
  5. ^ Evening Telegraph Angus 21 Feb 1917
  6. ^ Dundee Courier Angus 20 Oct 1925
  7. ^ The Times, 1 June 1929
  8. ^ British parliamentary election results 1918-1949, Craig, F.W.S.
  9. ^ "Linn of Tummel". Big Tree Country. Retrieved 5 April 2010.
  10. ^ "Dr. G. F. Barbour." Times [London, England] 25 Nov. 1946: 7. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

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