The peerage of Scotland: containing an historical and genealogical account of the nobility of that kingdom, ... collected from the public records, and ancient chartularies of this nation, ... Illustrated with copper-plates. By Robert Douglas, Esq;.
Douglas, Robert, Sir, 1694-1770.


IT is the general opinion of our antiquaries, that those of the sirname of Alexander, MacAlaster, Robertson, &c. are descended of the MacDonalds.

That Alexander MacDonald, a younger son of the lord of the Isles, having acquired some lands in Stirling and Clackmannanshires, fixed his residence at Menstric, and that his posterity assumed the sirname of Alexander from their predecessor's christian name.

Certain it is the Alexanders were making a figure in these countries several centuries a∣go,* and have continued to quarter the arms of MacDonald with their own, to denote their being sprung from that illustrious house.

And though we cannot six the precise time of their settlement in that country, yet we shall deduce the descent of this noble fami∣ly by authentic documents, from

I. THOMAS ALEXANDER, who was pro∣prietor of the lands of Menstrie, in the shire of Clackmannan, and flourished in the reign of king James IV. who succeeded to the crown of Scotland, anno 1488.

In a dispute betwixt the abbot of Cambus∣nethan, and sir David Bruce of Clackmannan, about the marches of some of their lands, which was submitted to a perambulation and assize of the principal gentlemen in the neighbour∣hood, this Thomas Alexander of Menstrie, together with Andrew Mercer of that ilk, William Stirling of Tillicoultry, and some o∣thers, were appointed arbiters:* they made up the differences, and settled the marches by their decreet-arbitral, 6th March 1505.

Thomas was father of

II. ANDREW ALEXANDER, who succeed∣ed Page  641 him in the lands of Menstrie, of which the earl of Argyle was then superior.

He married Catharine Graham,* daughter of —by whom he had two sons.

1. Alexander, his heir.

2. Andrew Alexander, who was bred to the church, and in a sasine of Colin earl of Ar∣gyle, dated 15th November 1529,* is design∣ed Andreas Alexander, presbyter, &c.

He died before 1527, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

III. ALEXANDER ALEXANDER, third baron of Menstrie, who made a considerable figure in the reign of king James V.

Amongst the writs of the family of Argyle, there is an instrument of sasine, wherein Alex∣ander Alexander, son of the deceast Andrew Alexander of Menstrie, transfers all right he had to the lands of Menstrie,* in favours of Co∣lin earl of Argyle, his superior, dated 12th of February 1527.

In a sasine of Colin earl of Argyle, this A∣lexander was appointed the earl's bailie, and is designed honorabilis vir Alexander Alscin∣der de Menstrie,*&c. anno 1529.

There is a charter by Colin earl of Argyle, to Alexander Alscinder of Menstrie, of the lands of Duslater, in the shire of Stirling, of which Andrew Alexander his father and Ca∣tharine Graham his mother,* were proprietors, dated 15th January 1529.

Also a charter by the same earl, of the lands of mains of Menstrie, and mill thereof, to and in favours of Alexander Alscinder, and Eliza∣beth Douglas his spouse, in liferent, and An∣drew Alscinder their son and heir apparent in fee,* dated 26th August 1529, both which charters are confirmed by king James V. by a charter under the great seal,* dated 20th April 1530.

He married Elizabeth, daughter of sir Ro∣bert Douglas of Lochleven, ancestor of the earl of Morton, by whom he had two sons, and one daughter.

1. Andrew, his heir.

2. William Alexander, who was proprie∣tor of the lands of Clow in Perth-shire, and married Janet Marishal,* which appears by two charters under the great seal, to him and Ja∣net Marishal his spouse, of the lands of Clow, with the pertinents, &c. dated anno 1553.

His daughter, Isabel, married to James Mushet younger of Torrie,* in the county of Stirling.

He died anno 1545, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

IV. ANDREW ALEXANDER, fourth ba∣ron of Menstrie, who, in the said charter of Colin earl of Argyle, 26th August 1529, is designed son and apparent heir of Alexander, &c. as before noticed.

He died soon after his father, leaving issue three sons.

1. Alexander, his heir.

2. John, designed promiscuously in Mid∣dleton and in Gogar, of whom more here∣after.

3. James, who got a charter under the great seal,*Jacobo Alexander in Menstrie, of some lands in that neighbourhood, anno 1584.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

V. ALEXANDER ALEXANDER, fifth ba∣ron of Menstrie, who is witness, with his grandfather, to a sasine of the lands of Men∣strie, in favours of Archibald earl of Argyle, the superior, proceeding upon a charter from king James V. wherein the lands of Men∣strie, Duslater, Pannols, Little-Saline, &c. are erected into one barony, called the barony of Menstrie,* and wherein he is de∣signed Alexander Alscinder junior, &c. The sasine is dated 19th April 1541.

This Alexander junior, is also attorney for the earl of Argyle to another sasine of the barony of Menstrie,* dated 31st of October 1542.

After the death of his father and grandfa∣ther, he was designed Alexander Alscinder of mains of Menstrie, and is particularly men∣tioned, with his brother John, in a sasine in favours of Colin earl of Argyle,* dated 7th October 1572.

He died in an advanced age, anno 1594, leaving issue a son and successor,

VI. Sir WILLIAM ALEXANDER, sixth baron of Menstrie, afterwards earl of Stirling, who got a precept of clare constat from the earl of Argyle,* for insefting him in the mains of Menstrie, as heir to his father, dated 18th March 1596.

He afterwards got a charter,* under the great seal, of the lands and barony of Menstrie, mill thereof, &c. dated anno 1603.

Also a charter, cum mineris, mineralibus, et metallis cujuscnque generis, infra integras bon∣das terrarum baroniae de Menstrie,* dated anno 1606.

He was a man of good natural parts, which were greatly improved by a liberal education and travelling: he had a fine genins for poe∣try, and composed several pieces that were greatly esteemed; and being a man of polite learning, was pitched upon to travel with the earl of Argyle, as a tutor and governor.

After his return home, he went to court, where he was soon distinguished for his rare Page  642 accomplishments,* and became a great favou∣rite of king James VI. who knighted him, and made him master of requests, anno 1604.

And being a great projector, he settled a colony in Nova Scotia in America, upon his own charges, of which king James made him a grant, by his royal deed, dated 21st Sep∣tember 1621.

He got also charters, under the great seal, of several lands and baronies in Scotland,* too numerous to be here inserted.

After the death of king James VI. his son king Charles resolved, that no encouragement should be wanting to the settlement of a colo∣ny that appeared to be of so great advantage to the nation: he therefore appointed sir Willi∣am lieutenant of Nova Scotia, and instituted the order of knight baronet for the advance∣ment of it, of which order sir William was the first, and obtained the privilege of coin∣ing small copper money, which was a step greately inveighed against at that time: how∣ever the king being fully convinced of his abi∣lities and integrity, appointed him one of his privy council, and secretary of state, in the year 1626, which high offices he enjoyed with honour and reputation as long as he lived.

In November 1627, he was constituted keeper of the signet in Scotland. In July 1628, he was made one of the commissioners of exchequer, and one of the lords of session, anno 1631.

The king's esteem and favour for him still increasing, he was pleased to raise him to the dignity of the peerage, by the titles of earl of Stirling,* viscount Canada, lord Alexander of Tullibody, &c. by letters patent to his heirs-male for ever, bearing the name and arms of Alexander, dated 14th June 1633.

The earl being one of the council of Ply∣mouth for the affairs of New-England, in con∣sideration of his interest therein, the said coun∣cil, by a deed bearing date the 22d day of A∣pril 1635, granted to him all that part of New-England between the rivers of Kene∣beek and St. Croix; also all those islands of Stirling, or Long-Island, which now make a considerable part of the province of New-York; and he was at a very great expence in settling colonies therein, particularly in Long-Island, where he introduced the first British inhabitants; which settlement gave rise to the now flourishing colony of New-York.

He married Janet, daughter and heiress of sir William Erskine knight, cousin-german to the earl of Marr,* the regent, by whom he had seven sons and two daughters.

1. William, viscount Canada and lord A∣lexander.

2. Sir Anthony Alexander, who married a daughter of sir Henry Wardlaw of Pittreavie, and died without issue.

3. Henry, who succeeded to the earldom of Stirling, as will be shown hereafter.

4. John Alexander, who got a charter un∣der the great seal, of the lands of Over-Isgall, &c. anno 1642, and married a daughter of John Graham of Gartmore,* by whom he had one daughter, but died without male-issue.

5. Charles Alexander, who got a charter under the great seal, of the lands of Tully∣body, anno 1642, and married—, daugh∣ter of—,* by whom he had only one son, Charles, who died without issue.

6. Ludovick.

7. James.

These two likeways died without issue.

1st daughter, lady Jean, married to Hugh lord viscount Montgomery, of the kingdom of Ireland,* whose son Hugh was created earl of Mount-Alexander, anno 1661; which title he assumed in honour of his mother's sir∣name.

2. Lady Mary, married to sir William Mur∣ray of Clermont, created a baronet in June 1626,* of whom sir James Murray, general receiver of the customs of Scotland, is the heir-male.

The earl died anno 1640.

VII. WILLIAM viscount Canada and lord Alexander, eldest son and apparent heir of William earl of Stirling, was his majesty's president in Nova Scotia, as deputy to his father; in which station he remained there many years, and was at great pains in settling the country.

He married lady Margaret Douglas, eldest daughter of the first marriage of William first marquis of Douglas,* by whom he had one son,

William, afterwards earl of Stirling,—and three daughters.

1. Catharine, married to Walter lord Tor∣phichen, whose only child Anna Sandilands, married to Robert Menzies of Weem, grand∣father of the present sir Robert, &c.

2. Margaret, married to sir Robert Sinclair of Longsormacus, and had issue only two daughters, of whom sir Hugh Dalrymple, Swinton, &c. are descended.

3. Lucy,* married to Edward Harrington, Esq; of the kingdom of England, who was page of honour to the prince of Orange, anno 1630.

He died before his father, anno 1638, and was succeeded by his only son,

VIII. WILLIAM, who succeeded also to his grandfather, anno 1640, and was second Page  643 earl of Stirling, but dying without issue about three months thereafter, his estate and ho∣nours devolved upon Henry Alexander, his uncle and heir-male, to whom we now re∣turn.

VII. HENRY, third earl of Stirling, third son of the first earl, upon the death of his ne∣phew, succeeded to the earldom of Stirling, as before observed, and found the estate great∣ly incumbered, most of it being soon there∣after carried off by apprisings and adjudicati∣ons,* at the instance of his father's and bro∣ther's creditors: He therefore retired to Eng∣land, and went to court, where he was well received, and much esteemed.

He married a daughter of sir Peter Van∣lore, knight, and alderman of the city of Lon∣don, by whom he got a considerable fortune, and acquired an estate in England, where he settled, and where 〈◊〉 his posterity conti∣nued to reside, but always voted by proxy at the elections of the sixteen Scotch peers, &c.

He died anno 1650, leaving issue one son,

VIII. HENRY, fourth earl of Stirling, who succeeded him, and married—Lee, daugh∣ter of—, by whom he had issue four sons and three daughters.

1. Henry, his heir.

2. William.

3. Robert.

4. Peter.

They all died without issue.

1st daughter, lady Mary, married to— Philips, Esq; by whom she had William Phi∣lips-Lee, Esq; of Binfield, in the county of Berks, who has resided mostly in the city of York.

2. Lady Judith, married to sir William Turnbull of East •••mstead-park, in the coun∣ty of Berks, by whom she had William Turn∣bull, Esq; who died in April 1760.

3. Lady Jean, died without issue.

The earl dying anno 1690, was succeeded by his eldest son,

IX. HENRY, fifth earl of Stirling, who married the widow of sir—Hobby, but dying without issue, anno 1739, was succeed∣ed in his estate in England by his two sisters, ladies Mary and Judith, before mentioned, who became his coheiresses; and in him end∣ed the male-line of Alexander Alexander, fourth baron of Menstrie, father of the first earl of Stirling, but the representation, in vir∣tue of the parent, haeredibus masculis in perpe∣tuum, appears to have devolved upon William Alexander, who now claims the title of earl of Stirling, being lineally descended from John Alexander, uncle to the patentee, to whom we now return.

V. JOHN, second son of Andrew, fourth baron of Menstrie, is particularly mentioned with his brother Alexander,* (father of the first earl of Stirling) in Archibald earl of Ar∣gyle's sasine, dated in April 1541, before ob∣served.

Likeways,* in a sasine of Colin earl of Ar∣gyle, wherein he is designed John Alexander in Middleton, dated in October 1572, also before noticed.

He left issue a son,

VI. ALEXANDER ALEXANDER in Mill∣nab, who succeeded him,* and left issue three sons.

1. Alexander Alexander in Kinkell, whose male-line is now extinct.*

2. David, who carried on the line of this family.

3. Patrick, who married and had issue.

VII. DAVID ALEXANDER, designed in Ward of Muthil, second son of Alexander in Millnab, married—, daughter of—, by whom he had two sons and two daugh∣ters.*

1. William Alexander, whose only son William died without issue,*anno 1747.

2. James, father of William, who now claims the peerage.

1st daughter, Janet, married to Mr. Mac-Leith.

2. Christian, married to Mr. Caw in Crieff.

VIII. JAMES ALEXANDER, second son of David in Ward of Muthil, went to America, anno 1714, with the king's commission of sur∣veyor-general of the province of New-Jersey, was many years of the council of that pro∣vince, and also of New-York, and held some of the most considerable offices there.

He acquired a large proprietary in New-Jersey, and a considerable landed and personal interest in New-York.

He married Mary, daughter of John Spratt of Wigton, in the county of Galloway in Scotland, by whom he had issue one son,

William, his heir,—and four daughters.

1. Mary, married to Peter Vanbrugh-Li∣vingston, merchant in New-York.

2. Elizabeth, married to John Stevens, Esq; of Perth A••boy, in New-Jersey.

3. Catharine, married to major Walter Ru∣therfoord.

4. Susannah.

He died anno 1756, and was succeeded by his only son,

Page  644 IX. WILLIAM ALEXANDER, who now claims the honours of earl of Stirling, was one of his majesty's council, and surveyor-general of the province of New-Jersey, and arrived in England from that colony, anno 1756.

Anno 1757, he sued out a writ of mort∣ancestor in the chancery of Scotland, accord∣ing to the laws of that kingdom, and claimed to be cognosced heir-male to the last earl.

The evidence of his claim being laid be∣fore a jury of fifteen gentlemen of the first rank in Scotland, they unanimously made their return, declaring him to be nearest heir-male to Henry Alexander the fifth earl, and was served as such accordingly, 20th March 1759;* and if his claim is sustained by parliament, he will be the sixth earl of Sir∣ling.

He married Sarah, daughter of Philip Li∣vingston, Esq; descended of the family of Linlithgow, by whom he hath issue two daughters.

1. Mary.

2. Catharine.

One of these daughters is lately married to John, son and apparent heir of Alexander Robertson of Stralochy, alias baron Reid, in Scotland.


Quarterly; 1st and 4th, partee per pale argent and sable, a cheveron, and in base a crescent, all counter-charged; 2d and 3d or, a ship, with the sails furled up sable, between three cross crosslets fitchee gules; and over all, in surtout, the badge of a baronet of New-Scotland, which is argent, on a saltire azure, the royal arms of Scotland ensigned on the top with an imperial crown, proper.

CREST; on a wreath, a bear sejant erect, proper.

SUPPORTERS; on the dexter side an In∣dian man, with long hair, and a dart in his right hand, having a plain circle or rim of gold on his head, beautified with a plume of seven feathers or and azure, and round his waist a like circle and feathers; on the fini∣ster, a mermaid, with her comb and mirror, all proper.

MOTTO; Per mare per terras.


Was at Menstrie in Stirlingshire.