Honorable Sir William Alexander, Governour of New Scotland

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Honorable Sir William Alexander, Governour of New Scotland

Also Known As: "Sir William the younger"
Birthdate: (34)
Birthplace: Stirling, Menstrie, Scotland
Death: Died in London, England
Place of Burial: Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotland, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling, 7th Baron of Menstrie and Lady Janet Erskine, Countess of Stirling
Husband of Margaret Douglas
Father of Honorable William Alexander, 2nd Earl of Stirling; Jane Alexander; Lucy Alexander; John Alexander; Margaret Alexander and 1 other
Brother of Margaret Alexander; Hon. Sir Anthony Alexander, Joint Master of Works to the King; Hon. Sir Henry Alexander, 3rd Earl of Stirling; Jean De Montgomerie; Elizabeth Alexander and 5 others
Half brother of John Alexander, of Eridy and Anthony Alexander, Sr.

Managed by: Ric Dickinson
Last Updated:

About Honorable Sir William Alexander, Governour of New Scotland

Alexander, Sir William (c.1604-38), Lord Alexander.  Eldest son of William Alexander (c.1577-1640), 1st Earl of Stirling, and his wife Janet, daughter of Sir William Erskine, born about 1604.

note: Was listed as oldest son [http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Alexander,_William_(1567%3F-1640)_(DNB00)_ Must have been Born prior to 1604 (1590s?) due to fact brother Sir Andrew was Born in 1590 and is listed as second son in above citation.

Biographical Summary

"William, styled Lord Alexander. He was born about 1604 and educated at the University of Glasgow, entering there in 1618. He was knighted at Whitehall 22 March 1627, and in March 1628 started with an expedition to colonise Newfoundland, Canada, and New Scotland...

...He was admitted a member of the Privy Council 26 January 1635, and interested himself actively in its proceedings, being a member of many committees. The day after his admission to the Privy Council he received further honour of being appointed an Extraordinary Lord of Session in succession to his father. He did not survive long thereafter, dying in London 18 May 1638. He was buried at Stirling. He married, probably about 1629, Margaret, eldest daughter of William, eleventh Earl of Angus and first Marquess of Douglas. She died 1 January 1660, aged forty-nine."

SOURCE: The Scots peerage, Vol. VIII, page 176-177


ALEXANDER, SIR WILLIAM, the younger, eldest son of Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, founder of a Scottish colony at Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal, N.S.); b. c. 1602; d. 18 May 1638.

The younger Alexander was educated at Glasgow University, where Regent Blair remembered him as “my best beloved scholar.” After his graduation in 1623 he entered the public service and was knighted 22 March 1627. Two months later he went on a privateering expedition with the larger of two ships which his father was preparing for New Scotland. In June he returned to Dumbarton with a prize, the St. Lawrence of Lubec, loaded with salt. The two ships lay at Dumbarton from June 1627 to 26 March 1628, while Alexander recruited colonists and secured supplies, after which they set out for Newfoundland, the River of Canada (St. Lawrence), and New Scotland. Alexander’s route thereafter is uncertain and can be deduced only indirectly from his father’s correspondence, in which it appears that he left a colony of “70 men and twa weemen” near Canada. It is probable that he joined forces with the Kirkes after they had captured the supply ships of the Compagnie de la Nouvelle-France in the summer of 1628, some of which supplies they left with Alexander’s colonists at Gaspé or Tadoussac (Insh, Scottish colonial schemes, 225). (The assumption is that Alexander picked up these colonists before going to Port de la Baleine.)

On 4 Feb. 1628/29 Alexander, the Kirkes, and others obtained a monopoly of the trade to Canada. While the Kirkes went off to capture Quebec, Alexander joined forces with Sir James Stewart, Lord Ochiltree, helped him build a fort at Port de la Baleine (now Baleine) in Cape Breton, and then, under the guidance of Claude de Saint-Étienne de La Tour, proceeded to Port-Royal. Here, in the summer of 1629, Alexander built a new fort in which he decided to pass the winter, sending back his ship for additional supplies and colonists. He also dispatched Claude de La Tour with an agreement for his father, Sir William, to sign, the terms of which conferred the title of knight-baronet and a large grant of land on Claude and his son Charles de Saint-Étienne de La Tour, in return for their assistance and allegiance. This agreement, slightly modified, was duly signed by Alexander’s father 30 April 1630.

However, when Sir William returned to London that autumn, leaving Sir George Home in charge at Port-Royal, he reported that half the colonists had died during the previous winter. Claude de La Tour, moreover, having been unable to win over his son to the British cause, had lost the support of the Scots at Port-Royal, and had been induced by his son to return to his former French allegiance. Finding that Charles I was about to surrender the colony, Sir William did not return to Port-Royal. After the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1632, the Scottish colony came to an end and the colonists were transported to England in the Saint-Jean, one of the ships which had brought Isaac de Razilly and French colonists to repossess Port-Royal.

Alexander continued for the rest of his life to be the loyal support of his father. In 1635 he was admitted as one of the extraordinary lords of the session, following his father’s resignation, and in the same year he was appointed a member of the council of the New England company. In 1637 he was made deputy secretary of state for Scotland, with a salary of £300 per annum. Unlike his father, however, he was solvent at the time of his death, which occurred suddenly in London, 18 May 1638. He left only one son, a child of six, who, two years later, enjoyed for a few brief months the title and estates of his grandfather, the Earl of Stirling.


Alexander, Sir William (c.1604-38), Lord Alexander.  Eldest son of William Alexander (c.1577-1640), 1st Earl of Stirling, and his wife Janet, daughter of Sir William Erskine, born about 1604.

He married, c.1629, Margaret (c.1611-60), daughter of William Douglas, 1st Marquess of Douglas, and had issue: 

  • (1) William Alexander (c.1632-40), 2nd Earl of Stirling; inherited the estates of his grandfather in February 1640 but died young, May 1640, aged about 8;
  • (2) Catherine Alexander (c.1633-c.1670), married 28 April 1657, Walter Sandilands, 6th Lord Torpichen (1629-96) and had issue; died before 11 April 1671;
  • (3) Jean Alexander; 
  • (4) Margaret Alexander, m. 1670 as his second wife, Sir Robert Sinclair, 1st bt. of Longformacus (d. 1678) and had issue three daughters; 
  • (5) Lucy Alexander (c.1620-c.1645), married Edward (1605-45), son of Sir Sapcote Harrington, kt.; died before March 1645.

He acquired lands in Nova Scotia for settlement in 1635.

He died in the lifetime of his father, 18 May 1638, aged about 34, and was buried in Stirling church. His widow died in January 1660, aged 49, and was buried in the Douglas vault in St. Bride's Church, Douglas.

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Honorable Sir William Alexander, Governour of New Scotland's Timeline

Stirling, Menstrie, Scotland
Age 9
Sterling, Menstrie, Scotland
Age 16
Menstrie, Sterlingshire, Scotland
Age 29
Menstrie, Sterlingshire, Scotland
May 18, 1638
Age 34
London, England
May 18, 1638
Age 34
Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotland, United Kingdom