Earls of Stirling (1633)


1st Earl of Stirling, William Alexander, b.1576, a.1633, d.1640


Scion of a prominent family, William Alexander was the tutor of Archibald Campbell, 8th Earl of Argyll and later became usher to Prince Charles, son of James VI, and he accompanied the Scottish Court to London when James became King of England. In 1621 he was granted a royal charter to govern the large areas of North America that were to become Nova Scotia. In 1625 he was created 1st Baronet Menstrie in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia and in 1626 he became Secretary of State for Scotland. In 1630 he was created 1st Viscount of Stirling and in 1633 was created 1st Earl of Stirling and 1st Viscount of Canada. Although most of his attempts to spread British influence, at the expense of the French and Dutch, south along the American coastline failed, his influence encouraged British settlers in Long Island, from where they gradually supplanted the Dutch in New York.


2nd Earl of Stirling, William Alexander, b.c.1632, a.1640, d.1640


Grandson of the 1st Earl and Janet Erskine, a descendant of Robert Erskine, 4th Lord Erskine (for whom see the earls of Mar) and son of William Alexander, Viscount Canada (b.c.1604, d.1638) and Margaret Douglas (b.c.1610, d.1660), daughter of William Douglas, 1st Marquess of Douglas (for whom see the earls of Angus).


3rd Earl of Stirling, Henry Alexander, b.?, a.1640, d.1650


Younger son of the 1st Earl.


4th Earl of Stirling, Henry Alexander, b.c.1633, a.1650, d.1690


Son of the 3rd Earl and Mary Vanlore, daughter of Sir Peter Van Lore, 1st Baronet van Lore of Tylehurst.


5th Earl of Stirling, Henry Alexander, b.1664, a.1690, d.1739


Son of the 4th Earl and Judith Lee (b.c.1645, d.1681). When he died without children, the earldom became dormant, although there have been several claims. Most notably, William Alexander, a descendant of the 1st Earl’s grandfather. He was still in the British Army in 1756 when he returned to Britain from North America to testify on behalf of General Shirley, who had been charged with dereliction of duty during the war with the French. While here, he made his claim to the earldom and was permitted to vote in the election of Scottish Representative Peers. Although the claim was rejected, he returned to America to all intents and purposes a Scottish Lord, and had sufficient riches to back his lifestyle. At the American Revolution he sided with George Washington and was made a senior member of the American Army, eventually reaching the rank of Major-General. With a reputation for reckless bravery and tactical awareness, he was considered to be one of the most important figures in the Revolution. A later claim in 1839 by one Alexander Humphrys-Alexander, was rejected after the supporting documents were declared to be forgeries.



(Last updated: 26/12/2009)