Napier Book List

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Books published 1876 to 1900

Border Memories (or Sketches of prominent Men and Women of the Borders).
Walter Riddell Carre (Edited by James Tait), James Thin, South Bridge, Edinburgh, 1876.
Histories of the Douglas Family, the Scott Family, the Ker Family, the Elliot Family, the House of Riddell, Eminent Roxburgh Men, Eminent Selkirkshire Men, Miscellaneous Celebrities, and Peculiar Celebrities. Members of the Napier Family are contained in the chapter "Eminent Selkirkshire Men". They are: John Napier (of Logarithms), General Sir Charles James Napier (born 1732), General Sir William Francis Patrick Napier (brother of Sir Charles), Admiral Sir Charles Napier (cousin of the previous two persons), William John (tenth) Lord Napier, Sir Archibald (first) Lord Napier, and Sir Alexander Napier (uncle to the first Lord Napier).

Selection from the Correspondence of the late Macvey Napier Esq.
Edited by his son Macvey Napier, Macmillan and Co., London, 1879.
A selection of letters sent and received by Macvey Napier (senior) mainly when he was the editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1814-1829) and the Edinburgh Review (1829-1846). The large majority are letters received by Macvey Napier from literary men of the period, such as Sir Walter Scott, Thomas Carlyle, Charles Dickens and W M Thackery, to name but a few.

Old Cardross, A Lecture.
David Murray, James Maclehose, Glasgow, 1880.
Kilmahew, the ancestral home of the first recorded Napiers in Scotland, is in the parish of Cardross, which lies just to the north of Dumbarton. This book contains quite a few references to the Napiers of that area.

The History of Stirlingshire (Two Volumes).
William Nimmo, Thomas D Morison, Glasgow, and Hamilton, Adams & Co., London, 1880.
As the title says, a history of Stirlingshire covering all aspects of its life, including the people. Contains quite a few references to Napiers who lived, at one time or another, in the county. John Napier (of logarithms) at Gartness (Drymen), John Napier of Ballikinrain, Admiral Sir Charles Napier (Black Charlie - see below), and his father Charles Napier of Merchiston Hall, Falkirk and others.

The Book of Scotsmen (eminent for achievements in arms and art, church and state, law, legislation and literature, commerce, travel, and philanthropy).
Compiled and arranged by Joseph Irving, Alexander Gardner, Paisley, 1881.
Although called the "Book of Scotsmen" on the title page, on the spine it is called "The Book of Eminent Scotsmen" and inside, at the top of each page, it is entitled "Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen". It contains brief biographies, with birth and death dates, of the following: John Napier (of logarithms), his son Archibald (first Lord Napier), Francis (fifth Lord Napier), Francis (seventh Lord Napier), William (eighth Lord Napier), Francis (ninth Lord Napier and first Baron Ettrick), Admiral Sir Charles Napier (Black Charlie - see below), General Sir Charles Napier of Scinde (see below), McVey Napier (lawyer and writer), Mark Napier (lawyer and writer), David Napier (marine engineer), Robert Napier (marine engineer, cousin of David), and Rev. Peter Napier (brother of Robert).
(N.B. The numbering of the Lords Napier used above is one less than the numbering currently used.)

A Historical Account of the Beliefs of Witchcraft in Scotland.
Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, Thomas D Morison, Glasgow, 1884.
Reference to the trial of Barbara Napier in 1591 as a witch who was accused of plotting, with other witches, to kill the King (James VI). Also mentioned is "the sagacious inventor of logarithms" who was supposed to use magic to find treasure (at Fast Castle - see below) and to have a black cockerel as a familiar. He is identified here as Sir Archibald Napier, but this is clearly a mistake and should be John Napier, Archibald's father. Also mentioned is Sir Richard Napier, a doctor in London in the reign of Charles I, who foresaw his own death.

The Pedigree of Her Royal and Most Serene Highness The Duchess of Mantua, Montferrat, and Ferrara etc..
Compiled from public and private documents by the late John Riddel Esq., Advocate in Edinburgh. A new edition, revised and enlarged, printed privately for private circulation in London, 1885.
A revised edition of the document printed in 1870 (see above). The same comments apply.

Life of General Sir Charles Napier, GCB.
William Napier Bruce. John Murray, London 1885.
Based on Sir William Napier's four-volume work on his brother's life, this is an abbreviated version, written because the original ". . . is far too long to obtain the durable popularity which the reputation of the writer and the interest of the subject deserved." The author also had access to later material which William did not. He also had conversations with General Sir M McMurdo, Charles' son-in-law , who served on Charles' staff in India, and also Sir Bartle Freer, who "ruled" Scinde for seven years.

Early Military Life of General Sir George Napier.
General W C E Napier, Editor. John Murray, London, 1886.
A book about the early life of the third of three General sons of Col. George Napier and Lady Sarah Lennox. Compiled and edited by his son General William Craig Emilius Napier. Contains a portrait of George.

The Construction of the Wonderful Canon of Logarithms.
John Napier, Baron of Merchiston. Translated from the Latin into English with Note and a Catalogue of the various editions of Napier's works, by William Rae Macdonald, FFA. William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London, 1889.
The content of this book is really described by the above. The printing and the form of the book follow the original edition of 1619 as closely as a translation will allow, and the head and tail pieces are in exact facsimile. To this is added a Catalogue of the various editions of Napier's works.

Sir Charles Napier.
Colonel Sir William F Butler, Macmillan and Co., London and New York, 1890.
The life of General Sir Charles James Napier, eldest son of Col George Napier and Lady Sarah Lennox. This book, written by a military man, not surprisingly concentrates on the military life of Sir Charles. He was a soldier whose greatness was recognised by the British public when a statue of him was erected in Trafalgar Square, London. On the pedestal of the statue a plaque reads "Erected by Public Subscription, the most numerous Contributors being Private Soldiers".

Historic Families, Notable People, and Memorabilia, of the Lennox.
Donald MacLeod. printed for the author by A Lawrance, Dumbarton, 1891.
Descriptions of all the notable families and personages of the Lennox, including the Napiers of Kilmahew. The Napier section takes up 106 pages of the total of 232, i.e. 45% of the whole book.

The Parish of Campsie. A series of biographical, ecclesiastical, historical, genealogical, and industrial sketches and incidents.
John Cameron, JP, D MacLeod, Kirkintilloch, 1892.
Information about the Lennox family and the houses of Campsie. There is not really any information on the Napiers but it is good background on the Lennox family.

The Memoirs of James, Marquis of Montrose, 1639-1650.
Rev. George Wishart DD (Bishop of Edinburgh 1662-1671), translated with an Introduction, Notes, Appendices and the Original Latin (Part II now first published) by Rev. Alexander D Murdoch and H F Morland Simpson. Longmans, Green & Co., London and New York, 1893.
A later edition of the work noted above (1819). It contains the same information but the original Latin text of Part II is included. Additional appendices and notes also included.

Reminiscences of Yarrow.
James Russell, DD, Minister of Yarrow, George Lewis & Son, Selkirk, second edition 1894.
The memoirs of the Minister of Yarrow Church with tales of the district and the local people. This included the home of the Napiers (Thirlestane House) in the Ettrick Valley. Stories about the then Lord Napier and Ettrick (Francis, tenth Lord Napier), and also the Napiers of Merchiston Hall, near Falkirk (Admiral Sir Charles Napier - Black Charlie - and his family). Good anecdotal material.

Strathendrick and its Inhabitants from Early Times.
John Guthrie Smith FSA Scot., James Maclehose, Glasgow 1896.
This is an account of the parishes of Fintry, Balfron, Killearn, Drymen, Buchanan, and Kilmaronock. It contains many references to the Napiers of Merchiston, Kilmahew, Edinbellie, Culcreuch, Ballikinrain, Blackston, Easter Torrie, Gillets, Inglistoun, Ardmore, Ballacharne, Bowhopple, Craigannet, and Greenhill. In all 103 different Napiers are mentioned! An essential source for researches into the Napier family.

Relics of the Great Marquis of Montrose in the posession of J W Morkill Esq., of Austhorpe, near Leeds, Yorks.
An excerpt from the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland for the year 1896. Printed by Neill and Company, Edinburgh, 1897.
This is a small booklet (16 pages) describing, with a photograph, two of the relics of Montrose, namely, his mummified right hand and forearm, and his sword. Although it does not contain any relevant data to the Napier family, it does contain a letter from the then Lord Napier, and is of general interest.


© Charlie Napier,
Morningside, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Last modified:
31 October 2015

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