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Arms of the 1st Earl of Stirling: Quarterly, 1st & 4th: Per pale argent and sable a chevron and a crescent in base counterchanged (Alexander of Menstrie); 2nd & 3rd: Or, a lymphad sable between three crosses crosslet bottony fitchée gules 2 and 1 (Stirling). In the point of honour, an escutcheon argent, a cross saltire azure charged with an escutcheon of the arms of Scotland (Nova Scotia).
William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling.

Earl of Stirling was a title in the Peerage of Scotland. It was created on 14 June 1633 for William Alexander, 1st Viscount of Stirling.[1] He had already been created a Baronet, of Menstrie in the County of Clackmannan, in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia on 12 July 1625, then Lord Alexander of Tullibody and Viscount of Stirling on 4 September 1630, then Earl of Dovan in 1639.[1][2] He was made Viscount of Canada at the same time that he was granted the earldom of Stirling.[3] The other peerage titles were also in the Peerage of Scotland. The titles became dormant upon the death of the fifth Earl in 1739.


Earls of Stirling (1633)Edit

  • William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling (1576–1640)
  • William Alexander, 2nd Earl of Stirling (d. 1640)
  • Henry Alexander, 3rd Earl of Stirling (d. 1644)
  • Henry Alexander, 4th Earl of Stirling (d. 1691)
  • Henry Alexander, 5th Earl of Stirling (1664–1739)

Later claimantsEdit

William Alexander, Lord StirlingEdit

William Alexander of New York, known to history as Major General Lord Stirling of the Continental Army, pursued a claim to succeed to the dormant earldom in 1756-59. The claim from senior male descent from the first Earl's grandfather was ultimately turned down by the House of Lords in 1762 - although he was allowed to vote in the election of the Scottish representative peers.

Alexander Humphrys-AlexanderEdit

In the 19th century, there was an attempt to assert that there was a new grant of the title of Earl of Dovan connected with the title of Earl of Stirling, and a new destination of descent for the title of Earl of Stirling, but the court case against Alexander Humphrys-Alexander (1783–1859) filed in 1839 ruled that the documents in support of the case were forgeries. [4]

The case and the associated forgery was one inspiration for the very popular three-volume novel Ten Thousand a-Year, by Samuel Warren (1807–1877). Warren also wrote directly of the case in his "Miscellanies", titling the article "The Romance of Forgery".

See alsoEdit

  • Province of New York: in 1664, the Duke of York, James II of England, purchased Long Island and other lands granted to Stirling in 1635


  1. ^ a b Grosart, Alexander Balloch (1885). "Alexander, William (1567?-1640)" . In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 01. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 275.
  2. ^ "NOTES AND COMMENTS - Canada and the Peerage". Volume XLV (13843). New Zealand Herald. 1 September 1908. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  3. ^ "William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling". Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  4. ^ Macgregor, Simon (Stenographer) and Turnbull, William (editor) (1839). "The Stirling Peerage: Trial of Alexander Humphrys". William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh. Retrieved February 24, 2012.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)