Napier Book List

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Books published before 1875

An Account of the Life, Writings, and Inventions of John Napier of Merchiston.
David Stewart, Earl of Buchan, and Walter Minto LL.D., R Morison and Son, Perth, 1787.
About 90% of the contents deals with the inventions, e.g. logarithms. The book does state, erroneously, that John Napier was buried in the High Kirk of St Giles in Edinburgh. He was actually buried in the Churchyard of St Cuthbert's Church (The West Kirk) in Edinburgh.

Memoirs of Archibald, First Lord Napier: Written by Himself.
Archibald, First Lord Napier. Published from the original manuscript in the possession of the present Lord Napier (Francis the 8th), Edinburgh, 1793.
Archibald, first Lord Napier, was the only son of John Napier, of logarithms, and his first wife, Elizabeth Stirling. He served King James VI and went with him to London in 1603. He served both King James and King Charles I. He was created a Peer, with the title of Lord Napier of Merchistoun, in 1627. He was appointed Treasurer Depute of Scotland by King James and continued in that position under King Charles. He was accused (falsely) of financial impropriety and this is his defence against the charges. The book was published by Sir Francis, 8th Lord Napier.

A General Description of the Shire of Renfrew, including an account of the Noble and Ancient Families, who, from earliest times, have had property in that county.
George Robertson, Editor. Smith, Glasgow; Constable, Edinburgh; and Fenner, London, 1818.
A compilation of information collected from earlier published and unpublished sources. Contains many engravings and a copy of the map of the county published by Blaev in 1654. It also contains a genealogical history of the Royal House of Stewart, originally published in 1710 by George Crawfurd, and updated by the Editor. Of Napier interest is the brief family history of the Milliken Napiers, descended from Robert, son of John Napier of Merchiston (inventor of logarithms), and also of the Napiers of Blackstoun, who are descended from Adam, a younger brother of Robert.

Memoirs of the most renowned James Graham, Marquis of Montrose.
Translated from the Latin of The Rev. Dr. George Wishart, afterwards Bishop (Episcopalian) of Edinburgh. Archibald Constable & Co., Edinburgh, 1819.
George Wishart spent some time as Chaplain to Montrose during his time on the Continent. He first published his Memoirs of Montrose in Latin in 1647. It was also published in English later the same year. It was not until 1720 that a translation of the Second Part, containing descriptions of the execution of Montrose in 1650 and his State Funeral in 1661 was published. Archibald, first Lord Napier, married Montrose's sister, Margaret Graham. Archibald and his son were great supporters of Montrose. This book is a good source of information about these Napiers and their experiences with Montrose.

Memoirs of John Napier of Merchiston, his Lineage, Life, and Times, with a History of the invention of Logarithms.
Mark Napier, William Blackwood, Edinburgh, Thomas Cadell, London, 1834.
Mark Napier was a great-grandson of Francis, sixth Lord Napier. He was a Barrister and Sheriff of Dumfries and Galloway. He had access to the papers and charters of Lord Napier. This is probably the most authoritative and definitive description of the life of John Napier. It contains an excellent commentary on the derivation of the name and arms of Napier. A must for any serious student of the Napier family. Very difficult to get.

History of the Partition of the Lennox.
Mark Napier, William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh and Thomas Cadell, London, 1835.
Who is the Representative of Duncan, eighth and last of the ancient Earls of "the Levenax"? The Levenax is the old name for the Lennox, that area around the southern end of Loch Lomond. This is Mark Napier's argument about who should have inherited the title and lands. It involves the Napiers, the Haldanes of Gleneagles, and the Stewarts of Darnley. It also contains Mark Napier's "Vindication of the Antiquities of Merchiston and Thirlestane".

De Arte Logistica.
Joannis Naperi, Merchistonii Baronis. Published by the Bannatyne Club, Edinburgh, 1839.
This book is the publication of a previously unpublished manuscript, in Latin, by John Napier. The introduction is by Mark Napier. The main part of this book, written in Latin, is called "The Baron of Merchiston, His Booke of Arithmeticke and Algebra". This is a collection of John Napier's mathematical investigations over the years. Although probably only of interest to mathematicians, the book is worth reading for the Introduction ( 94 pages). Unfortunately, only 101 copies were printed so it is very difficult to obtain.

Genealogical Notices of the Napiers of Kilmahew in Dumbartonshire.
Robert Kerr, printed by John Carfrae Malcolm, Glasgow, 1849.
The title is self-explanatory. A most useful book when researching this family. Unfortunately, only fifty copies were printed for private circulation, so it is very difficult to get.

English Battles and Sieges in the Peninsula.
Lieutenant-General Sir William Napier, KCB, etc, etc. John Murray, London, 1855.
William was the third son of Col. George Napier and Lady Sarah Lennox. He was the third General in the family, his elder brothers Charles and George were the others. William wrote a comprehensive history of the (Iberian) Peninsular War fought against the French. This is an extract from that larger work.

Memoirs of the Marquis of Montrose, 1612-1650 (Two Volumes).
Mark Napier, Thomas G Stevenson, Edinburgh, 1856.
This is the story of the life of Montrose, and thus contains much more information, especially about the early days, than is contained in Wishart's Memoirs. Mark Napier also had access to papers in the Napier and Montrose charter-chests which had only been partly published or referred to in previous publications by him (Montrose and the Covenanters in 1838 and Life and Times of Montrose in 1840). Probably the most definitive source of information about the intertwining of the Napier and Graham families.

The Life and Opinions of General Sir Charles James Napier, GCB.
Lieutenant-General Sir W Napier, KCB etc, etc. John Murray, London 1857. Four Volumes.
Charles Napier was the eldest son of Col. George Napier and Lady Sarah Lennox. He was one of the most outstanding military leaders in the British Army of the 19th century. This book was written by his younger brother, William, who himself had an outstanding military career.

Memorials and Letters illustrative of the Life and Times of John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee (Three Volumes).
Mark Napier, Thomas G Stevenson, Edinburgh, 1862.
Thorough history of the life of John Graham of Claverhouse, who was related to the first Marquis of Montrose. Claverhouse was born in 1643, created Viscount Dundee in 1688, and died after being wounded at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689. Contains references to the first Lord Napier, the third Lord Napier, the ninth Lord Napier, and Margaret, Baroness Napier, as well as Montrose.

Catalogue of the Works of Art forming the Collection of Robert Napier of West Shandon, Dumbartonshire.
Mainly compiled by J C Robinson, FSA, privately printed, London, 1865.
This catalogue was prepared and printed for the use of the owner of the collection and also for presentation to his friends, as a souvenir of his art gatherings. It lists 4,937 items under 36 different headings, showing how broad and extensive was his collection.

Popular Genealogists or The Art of Pedigree Making.
No author, Edmonston and Douglas, Edinburgh, 1865.
A small booklet on the subject of creating pedigrees for families. It seems to concentrate particularly on the Coulthart family of Scotland. It mentions the Lords Napier and how from the 6th Lord Napier they are, paternally, really all Scotts. There is a brief mention of the families into which the Coultharts married, including the Lord Napier family, and to Mark Napier in his role as Sheriff of Dumfries and Galloway.

Notes on the Pedigree of Her Most Serene Highness Ann Groom, Duchess of Mantua and Montferrat in Italy; Heiress of the Line of Palaeologi, or last Emperor of Constantinople, and of the line of the old Kings of Italy; Countess of Lennox, Baroness de Lennox; Heiress of the line of Napiers of Kilmahew in Scotland; Countess of Lennox and Baroness de Lennox in France; Baroness de Tobago, and of Merchiston, Tobago, in the West Indies; and of her son, His Highness Charles Ottley Groom Napier, Prince of Mantua and Montferrat, Master of Lennox and of Napier of Kilmahew.
Compiled from public and private documents by John Riddel Esq., Advocate in Edinburgh. printed privately in London for private circulation, 1870.
This is a description of a complicated genealogical claim to the titles above. It must be treated with extreme caution as there are some erroneous statements in it.


© Charlie Napier,
Morningside, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Last modified:
31 October 2015

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