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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Adam Robertson

Funeral to be held for lawyer who helped liberate Stone of Destiny

THE funeral of a lawyer who helped reclaim the Stone of Destiny from Westminster as a student is set to take place in Connel in Argyll and Bute on Wednesday.

Ian Hamilton KC, 97, died on October 4 with the First Minister leading the tributes. 

He was the last surviving member of the gang of four students who took the famous stone, on which kings and queens of Scotland were traditionally crowned, from Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day in 1950. 

A service will be held at the Connel Village Hall from 11am, followed by a reception at the Falls of Lora Hotel. 

Born in Paisley, Renfrewshire in 1925, Hamilton was studying law at Glasgow University when he helped remove the stone and bring it back to Scotland. 

Alongside fellow students Gavin Vernon, Kay Matheson and Alan Stuart, he travelled to London to take the historic artefact which had been seized by King Edward I of England in 1296. 

Three months later, the stone was found 500 miles from London at Arbroath Abbey and taken back to Westminster. 

In 1996, it was returned to Scotland and installed at Edinburgh Castle where it is still on display, although it will be taken to London for the King’s coronation next year. 

Hamilton’s son Stewart previously told The National: “We’re very proud of him, of course we are, that he touched so many people, but I think that was him. 

“He was much more than that one act and although I think certainly proud of it in his later years, he was proud of other stuff he’d done as well and just the man who he was.

Ian Hamilton was a renowned defence lawyer who helped to reclaim the Stone of DestinyIan Hamilton pictured with his wife Jeanette

“He cared for people, which is why he became a defence lawyer and cared for the people that he was defending.”

Former colleagues said he served as “one of the greats” in the Scottish criminal courts. 

Following his death, Roddy Dunlop KC, the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, said Hamilton was a “legend”, renowned for his “fearless advocacy and effortless bonhomie” during his legal career. 

He added: “His name will live long after his death, as the man who, whilst a student ‘liberated’ the Stone of Destiny; as the man who, before even calling to the Bar, addressed the Inner House as the second practitioner in the seminal case of MacCormick v Lord Advocate 1953.”

Nicola Sturgeon wrote on Twitter that the 97-year-old was a “lawyer of exceptional quality” and a “legend of the independence movement”. 

She said: “He will long be remembered as one of the Christmas 1950 liberators of the Stone of Destiny. 

“During my time as @theSNP leader I have received occasional words of wisdom, encouragement and support from him, which I will always treasure.

“He is one of the many giants whose shoulders the modern SNP stands.”

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