Napier Book List

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Books published 1976 to 2000

Essential Edinburgh.
Alan Hamilton, Deutsch, London, 1978.
Not very useful as a source of information, but it does contain references to John Napier (of logarithms), Sir Archibald Napier, McVey Napier, Merchiston Tower and Napier College.

Imperial Winds.
Priscilla Napier, Coward, McGann & Geoghegan, New York, 1981, hardback. ISBN 0 698 111087. Paperback edition published by Zebra Books, Kensington Publishing Corp., New York, 1981. ISBN 0 8217 1324 8.
A romantic novel set in Russi in the period of the Bolshevik Revolution. Just to show that Priscilla could write fiction as well as factual books..

The Kingdom of Edmund: AD 841-870.
Priscilla Napier, Ipswich, Suffolk, 1984. ISBN 0 9509536 0 1.
Published privately with the help of a charitable trust to support the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, The Old Rectory, Chattisham, Ipswich, Suffolk. The story, in verse, of St. Edmund, King of East Anglia, who was killed by the Danes in 870. he was regarded as a Saint by 900 and the monastery of Bury St. Edmunds was founded c. 1020 to house his tomb.

A Memoir of Lady Delia Peel, born Spencer: 1889-1981.
Priscilla Napier. Edited and abridged by Rosemary Swan. J & J Peel (Norwich), 1984. ISBN 0 9510101 0 7.
Adelaide Margaret Spencer, always called Delia, was a member of the Spencer family of Althorpe. She was the sister of the 7th Earl Spencer whose grand-daughter was Diana, Princess of Wales. Her connection with the Napier family came about when her younger brother, Cecil, attended Dartmouth Naval College where Trevylyan Napier (Priscilla's father-in-law) was the Captain and she formed a life-long friendship with his son, Trevie Napier (Priscilla's husband) and thus Priscilla herself. Delia married Sidney Peel, a grandson of Sir Robert Peel, in 1914. Sidney had been best man at the wedding of Priscilla's father, William Hayter. Sidney and Delia spent their honeymoon in Egypt where they visited the Hayters, and probably first met Priscilla there. This is the story of Delia's life as told by her friend Priscilla Napier.

Song of the Clyde. A History of Clyde Shipbuilding.
Fred M Walker. First published by Patrick Stephens, Cambridge, 1984. This revised edition published by John Donald, an imprint of Birlinn Limited, West Newington House, 10 Newington Road, Edinburgh EH9 1 QS, in 2001. ISBN 1 85976 553 9.
A history of shipbuilding on the River Clyde. many references to members of the Napier family involved in the industry. Many pictures.

Thomas Napier. The Scottish Connection.
Alan G Bates, The Early American Industries Association Inc. and The Midwest Tool Collectors Association, 1986.
Born in 1747 in the Glasgow area, Thomas Napier became a tool maker while serving as an indentured apprentice in the woodworking trade. He set up in business in Edinburgh in 1769 when he married. Towards the end of 1774 he and his wife sailed from Greenock to Philadelphia where he set up business as a plane maker. This booklet (30 pages) is his story, somewhat briefly told but fascinating nevertheless. It contains photographs of some of Thomas's existing planes as well as reproductions of some documents.

Go Listen to the Crofters. The Napier Commission & Crofting a Century Ago.
A D Cameron, Acair Ltd., 7 James Street, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, 1986. Reprinted 1990 and 1997. ISBN 0 86152 063 7.
On 19th March 1883, Sir William Harcourt, Home Secretary in Gladstone's Liberal Government, announced that he was setting up a Royal Commission. Its purpose was "to enquire into the conditions of the crofters and cottars in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland" and everything concerning them. The Chariman of the Commission was Lord Napier and Ettrick, the tenth Lord Napier and first Baron Ettrick. This book is only of peripheral interest to Napiers but it is one of the best records of crofting and life in the Highlands and Islands at the end of the 19th century.

Lennox Lore.
I M M MacPhail, Dumbarton Public Libraries, 1987.
This book is mainly a collection of articles which were published in newspapers and magazines between about 1967 and 1987. They are concerned with families, trade, industries, and history of the Lennox area. One chapter is dedicated to Robert Napier of Shandon, the 19th century marine engineer.

Warship Building on the Clyde. Naval Orders and the Prosperity of the Clyde Shipbuilding Industry, 1889 - 1939.
Hugh B Peebles. John Donald Publishers Ltd, 138 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh EH3 5AA, 1987. ISBN 0 85976 193 2.
Of particular interest are the many references to Robert Napier (of West Shandon), "The Father of Clyde Shipbuilding", and his cousin and brother-in-law, David Napier, who were instrumental in starting the great shipbuilding tradition on the Clyde.

Dr Patrick Napier of Virginia and Related Families.
Vava Knepp and Harry Hollingsworth. Privately printed by the authors, Santa Monica, California, USA, 1988.
This book traces the descendants of Dr Patrick Napier (son of the barber to King Charles I, who was in America prior to 1655) of the surname Napier, but also of other related families descended through female Napiers. It does not try to establish the British ancestors of Patrick Napier (for this see Dr Patrick Napier by Lt. Col. John H Napier III below).

The Third Statistical Account of Scotland. The County of Kincardine.
Dennis Smith (Editor), Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh, 1988. ISBN 0 7073 0503 9.
This is a good book for providing background reference material for studies on the Napiers of Kincardineshire and Aberdeenshire. The only mention of a Napier is the Napier School in Marykirk, built and endowed with money left by David Napier, a native of the village.

Flesh and Bones.
Francis Shennan, Napier Polytechnic of Edinburgh, 1989. ISBN 0 9511266 8 7.
The life, work, and legacies of the great Scot, John Napier, inventor of Logarithms. Contains some interesting photographs of Merchiston Tower, before, during, and after restoration.

Selkirkshire in Old Photographs from the Clapperton Studios.
Compiled by Ian W Mitchell, Alan Sutton Publishing, Gloucester, 1989. ISBN 0 86299 687 2.
Photographs of Selkirkshire from the 19th century up to the 1950s. Of interest to Napiers as it contains a photograph of the ruins of the old Tower of Thirlestane and Thirlestane Manor, now demolished, which was the country home of the Lords Napier and Ettrick.

Brigadier Anthony Lewis OBE. Privately published by the author for his grandchildren, 1989.
Pennard House, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, was originally built between 1600 and 1620. It came into the ownership of the Napier family in 1791 when Edward Berkeley Napier, of the Tintinhull Napiers, married the heiress of the Pennard Estate. It has been owned by the Napier family until the prsent day (1999) although the present owner, the daughter of the author, is the grand-daughter of the last person who bore the Napier name to own it. It contains a brief description of the history of the estate plus the Napier family and the other families into which they married..

I Have Sind. Charles Napier in India 1841-1844.
Priscilla Napier, Michael Russell (Publishing) Ltd., Salisbury, 1990. ISBN 0 85955 163 6.
The story of General Sir Charles Napier, eldest son of Col. George Napier and Lady Sarah Lennox, who was sent, at age 60, to pick up the pieces after the disastrous invasion of Afghanistan by Britain in 1839. Contains a similar family tree of Col. George and Lady Sarah and their descendants as is contained in "Revolution and the Napier Brothers" (see above).

Clyde River and Other Steamers.
Christian L C Duckworth and Graham E Langmuir, Brown, Son and Ferguson Ltd., 4-10 Darnley Street, Glasgow G41 2SD, fourth edition, 1990. ISBN 0 85147 565 2. First published 1937, second edition 1946, third edition 1972, supplement to third edition 1982.
Detailed catalogue of the steamers which sailed on the Clyde and neighbouring sea lochs and including others on inland lochs. It covers the period from the 1810s to the 1980s. mentions both David Napier and his cousin Robert Napier, their companies and the ships that they built.

Raven Castle. Charles Napier in India 1844-1851.
Priscilla Napier, Michael Russell (Publishing) Ltd., 1991. ISBN 0 85955 174 X
This is the continuing story of General Sir Charles Napier and his involvement in the affairs of India that was to lead up to the Indian Mutiny in 1857. It also tells of his short life after he returned to Britain in 1851 and his death in 1853. Contains three maps of India and areas within it, plus an engraving of General Napier.

Doctor Patrick Napier: His Ancestors and Some Descendants.
Lt. Col. John Hawkins Napier III, The Guild Bindery Press, Oxford, Mississippi, USA, 1991.
This book traces the ancestry of the author back to Dr Patrick Napier, son of the barber to King Charles I, who was in Virginia (USA) by 1655. A large proportion of Napiers in the USA is descended from Patrick. The author also traces the ancestry of Patrick Napier to the Napiers of Kilmahew (Dumbartonshire) and thus the Earls of Lennox. It also has a good description of the early history of the Celtic Lennox family.

Robert Napier 1791-1876. Father of Clyde Shipbuilding.
Brian D Osborne, Dumbarton District Libraries, 1991. ISBN 0906927226.
This small booklet (A5 - 16 pages) was prepared to coincide with an exhibition celebrating the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Robert Napier. It contains photographs of his first marine engine and also one of his home, West Shandon.

Kingdom or Province? Scotland and the Regal Union 1603-1715.
Keith M Brown, The Macmillan Press, London, 1992.
In this book the author sets out to explain how the regal union operated at both a British level and in terms of its impact on Scottish domestic politics. One reference to Archibald, first Lord Napier, and his 1640 draft Letter on Sovereign Power which tried to satisfy the need to redefine a royalist ideology within a Scottish native tradition as a result of the Covenanters' success.

The Aristocrats.
Stella Tillyard, Chatto & Windus, London, 1994. ISBN 0 7011 5933 2.
The story of the daughters of the second Duke of Richmond, a grandson of King Charles II. A story of high politics, romance, family life, and tragedy. Sarah, the fourth daughter, married Col. George Napier, fifth son of Francis, sixth Lord Napier, and his second wife. Sarah had a scandalous and rather tempestuous youth before meeting George. Sarah and George had a very happy marriage and produced eight children, including five boys who all rose to eminence in their chosen professions, three in the Army, one in the Navy, and one in Learning. The book gives a good description of their life in Ireland and the involvement of the sisters in Irish and British politics.

The Ballad of King Henry VIII and Sir Thomas Wyatt.
Priscilla Napier, Shepherd's House, Collingbourne Ducis, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 3DZ, 1994. ISBN 0 9599536 01.
This was published privately by the author when she lived at the above address. This is the story of Sir Thomas Wyatt, poet and diplomat, one time lover of Anne Boleyn before King Henry VIII became interested in her, and of King Henry VIII. Told in dramatic form in free verse.

Barbarian Eye. Lord Napier in China, 1834. The Prelude to Hong Kong.
Priscilla Napier, Brassey's, London and Washington, 1995. ISBN 1 85753 116 7.
This is the story of William, ninth Lord Napier, who was sent to China by the British Government in 1834, not to stop the opium smuggling, but to seek a settlement between the British sea-traders and the Cantonese authorities. It was Lord Napier who noticed the advantage of the small island called Hong Kong. It also describes life in both England and Scotland in the early 19th century, and life at the court of William IV, who was close friend and mentor of Lord Napier. Contains portraits of Lord Napier, his wife, and William IV.

Black Charlie. A Life of Admiral Sir Charles Napier KCB, 1787 - 1860.
Priscilla Napier, Michael Russell (Publishing) Ltd., 1995. ISBN 0 85955 209 8.
The life of Charlie Napier, son of another Charles Napier, fifth son of the sixth Lord Napier. Black Charlie, so-called because of his jet-black hair and unusually swarthy skin, was brought up in Edinburgh and went to sea at the age of twelve. In later life he argued vehemently with the Admiralty in favour of ironclad ships, and for the abolishment of flogging and press gangs.

The Ingenious Mr Bell. A Life of Henry Bell (1767-1830) Pioneer of Steam Navigation.
Brian D Osborne, Argyll Publishing, Glendaruel, Argyll PA22 3AE. First published in hardback 1995. Paperback edition published 2001. ISBN 1 902831 28 4..
Henry Bell was the designer and builder of the "Comet", the first steamship used for commercial service in Europe, sailing from Glasgow to Greenock. David Napier (1790-1869) built the boiler for the first engine of the Comet (for which he was never fully paid). He is mentioned on seven pages in this book. David's cousin, Robert Napier (1791-1876), (The Father of Clyde Shipbuilding), a champion of Bell, is also mentioned, as is his company Robert Napier & Sons..

Bourtie Kirk 800 Years.
Marion Youngblood, Cleopas Publications, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire AB51 0JS, 1995. ISBN 0 9526365 2 2.
The book covers a period of eight centuries of Aberdeenshire history from 1190 to 1940. It tells the story of Burtie Parish, a small country parish, north of Inverurie, from the time a church was established on the site, before 1199, to the time it was joined with the nearby Parish of Meldrum. Archibald Napier was Minister of Bourtie between 1720 and 1722 and had a very troubled time there.

A Source List (of documents) concerning mostly the Napier Family of Kilmahew, Dumbartonshire, Scotland, leading to Dr Patrick Napier of Virginia, the ancestor of the majority of Napiers in North America.
Charles Napier of Morningside, Edinburgh, and Col. John H Napier III of Kilmahew, Ramer, Alabama, USA. Produced privately by the authors in 1996 and deposited in various British and US libraries.
As well as containing a list of source document dating from pre-1300 to 1668, it contains a list of sources of additional information, and information about the system of double-dates, Scots money, and the spelling of the family surname. Copies are available from the authors.

Montrose, Covenanter, Royalist and Man of Principle.
Ruth Blackie, Canongate, Merlins, Edinburgh, 1996. ISBN 0 86241 640 X.
A short (48 pages) book on the story of the first Marquis of Montrose. It is very brief but gives good background of the events of Montose's life and his relationship with the Covenanters. Plenty of pictures. A good read to get the background.

Cardross Seminary (Gillespie, Kidd and Coia and the Architecture of Post-war Catholicism).
Diane M Watters. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1997. ISBN 0 7480 5829 X.
This is the story of Cardross Seminary, which was built on the Kilmahew Esatate at Cardross in the 1960s. Although the Seminary building is a Grade A listed building, it has not been in use since the early 1980s and is virtually a derelict shell, which matches the ruins of Kilmahew Castle, the ancestral home of the Napiers of Kilmahew, which stands at the north end of the estate. This is only of passing interest to Napiers.

St Mahew's Cardross, 1467-1955-1997.
Produced by Fr. Coleman McGrath, Parish Priest of St Mahew's. Privately printed and first available Sunday 11 May 1997 (Sunday after Ascension).
On the Sunday after Ascension in 1467, the Church of St Mahew was dedicated by Bishop George Lauder of Argyll and the Isles. It had been rebuilt on land donated by, and with funds from, Duncan Napier, Laird of Kilmahew. On the Sunday after Ascension in 1955, St Mahew's was re-opened, having been rebuilt by the Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow after falling into ruin after the Reformation. It was rededicated by Archbishop Donald Campbell of Glasgow (formerly Bishop of Argyll and the Isles). On the Sunday after Ascension in 1997, Col. John H Napier III of Ramer, Alabama, USA, a direct descendant of the above Duncan Napier, was present at the dedication of a new sanctuary lamp and lit it, to celebrate the 530th anniversary of the original dedication. This little 16-page booklet is a copy of an article printed in St Peter's College magazine of June 1949 by Fr. David McRoberts, lecturer in church history at the college. The college was housed on the Kilmahew estate which once belonged to the Napier family. The estate is derelict, the college having been closed some years previously. The booklet contains an old map of the Cardross area showing the relationship of St Mahew's to other churches in the area. It also contains a map of the Kilmahew estate and a photograph of the church.

Napier Powered (The Archive Photograph Series).
Compiled by Alan Vessey on behalf of the Napier Power Heritage Trust. The Chalford Publishing Company, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL6 8NX, 1997. ISBN 0 7524 0766 X.
The story, told in pictures and captions, of D Napier & Son from the production of the first motor car in 1900 to the present day. David Napier, cousin of Robert Napier, the Father of Clyde Shipbuilding, set up his precision engineering factory in London in 1808. Napier cars and engines either held or powered British holders of the World Land Speed Record up to the one set in 1947 (which stood for 16 years). The Napier Lion aero engine powered the Schneider Trophy winning Supermarine seaplane and the Napier Sabre engine powered the Typhoon and Tempest World WWar II (WW II) fighter aircraft, the fastest piston-engine powered aircraft of their time The Lion engine also powerd Motor Torpedo Boats and Air-Sea Rescue Launches during WW II. A must for anybody interested in the achievements of this Napier engineering company.

Henry at Sea. Part One of the Life of Captain Henry Napier RN 1789-1853.
Priscilla Napier, Michael Russell (Publishing) Ltd., Norwich, 1997. ISBN 0 85955 230 6.
Henry Napier was the fifth son of Col. George Napier and Lady Sarah Lennox. This is the story of his life up to 1823. He joined the Navy aged fourteen but did not go to sea until he was seventeen. He served all over the world, including the 1812 war against the USA. Both he and his eldest brother Charles urged friends and relations in Britain to take the Americans more seriously.

Henry Ashore. Part Two of the Life of Captain Henry Napier RN 1789-1853.
Priscilla Napier, Michael Russell (Publishing) Ltd., Norwich, 1997.
Henry Napier was the fifth son of Col. George Napier and Lady Sarah Lennox. This is the story of his life from his marriage in 1823 to Caroline Bennett, the natural daughter of his uncle Charles Lennox, third Duke of Richmond, to his death in 1853 after suffering ill health and much pain during the latter years of his life.

Napier, The Forgotten Chessmaster.
John H Hilbert, Caissa Editions, PO Box 151, Yorklyn, DE 19736, USA, 1997. ISBN 0 939433 51 6.
William Ewart Napier, born 1881 in East Dulwich, London, England, died in 1952 in Washington DC, USA. A very eminent chess player throughout his life but best known in the chess world for the games he played in the early part of the 20th century. This is a compination of his life story and all the games that he played. Definitely for chess players, but of interest to Napier historians.

Citizen Lord: Edwrd Fitzgerald 1763-1798.
Stella Tillyard, Chatto & Windus Limited, Random House, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 2SA, 1997. ISBN 0 7011 6538 3.
This is the story of the Irish revolutionary, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, son of James Fitzgerald, 20th Earl Kildare and first Duke of Leinster, and Lady Emily Lennox, daughter of Charles, 2nd Duke of Richmond and Lennox, and sister of Lady Sarah Lennox, wife of Colonle George Napier. Emily and Sarah were very close, especially when Sarah and her family were living in Ireland. There are many references to the Napier family..

Napier, The First to Wear the Green.
David Venables, G T Foulis & C0., an imprint of Haynes Publishing, Sparkford, near Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 7JJ, 1998.
Told here fully for the first time, this is the fascinating story of Napier, the London company whose cars established Britain as a major player in the pioneering days of motor racing, and whose engines later powered a spectacular series of world land speed record breakers. The book chronicles half a century of continuous technological achievement, from Queen Victoria's reign to the 1960s. Lavishly illustrated (See also Napier Powered above).

Foudland: Slate Quarriers and Crofters in Aberdeenshire.
Ann Dean, West Lediken, Insch, Aberdeenshire, AB52 6LL. ISBN 0 9534026 0 6.
The Hill of Foudland lies to the south and west of the A96 road, approximately 10 kilometres south-east of Huntly. The book describes the lives of the quarriers and crofters of the area up until the early 20th century. It has many maps and photographs. An Alexander Napier was one of seven male quarriers who lived in Bogfoutan in 1841, but seemed to have disappeared before 1851.

Bill Napier, Headline Book Publishing (a division of Hodder headline), 338 Euston Road, London NW1 3BH, 1998. ISBN 0 7472 5993 3.
A science-fiction type thriller about the race against time to deflect an asteroid on a collision course with earth. A very good read. Dr Bill Napier is an astronomer at the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland and is an internationally recognised authority on the celestial hazard issue. He was one of the first astronomers to recognise that the Earth is at risk from its interplanetary and galactic environments, and that celestial bombardment may even have precipitated the collapse of early civilizations.

Early Napiers in Scotland.
Brigadier General John H Napier III, Ramer, Alabama, USA, privately published 1999.
Originally written in 1997 but revised after comments by the compiler of this bibliography. It tries to establish links between the Napiers of Kilmahew and the Napiers of Merchiston. It relies heavily on research done by Richard MacAuley, an American student of architectural archaeology doing a Ph.D. at Glasgow School of Architecture (which he completed in 1999). The MacAuleys held the lands of Ardincaple in Dumbartonshire which was virtually next door to the lands of Kilmahew. It is a follow-on from his book on his descent from the Napiers of Kilmahew (see above) and the Source List for the same family compiled by him and the compiler of this bibliography. It contains many references to original sources.

Coming Home from Sea: Selected Poems.
Priscilla Napier, Erskine Press, The Old Bakery, Banham, Norwich, Norfolk NR16 2HW, 1999. ISBN 1 85287 060 X.
A collection of poems by Priscilla Napier, written between 1929 and 1998. The last one was written just six weeks before her death in 1998.

Sheet Anchor.
Priscilla Napier, Erskine Press, The Old Bakery, Banham, Norwich, Norfolk NR16 2HW, 2000. ISBN 1 85927 060 X. First published by Sidgwick and Jackson Limited, 1944.
Priscilla Napier wrote poetry her whole life from the age of 16 until just six weeks before her death at the age of 90 in 1998. This is a collection of poems to the memory of her husband Commander Trevylyan Michael Napier RN, who died on 30 August 1940. Left with three young children to raise on her own Priscilla assuaged her grief by writing these, and other, moving poems..

Plymouth at War: A Verse Documentary.
Priscilla Napier, Erskine Press, The Old Bakery, Banham, Norwich, Norfolk NR16 2HW, 2000. ISBN 1 85297 063 4. First published privately in 1978.
To quote Priscilla, "This piece of verbatim reporting was made during the years 1939-46 and embellished with verse as it went along. There could have been no question of publishing it then; because what was said was said by real people under great stress and in private." This is the story of the people of Plymouth during the Second World War. It was broadcast by BBC Radio 4 subsequent to its first publication.

Napier Motor Carriage Centenary 1900-2000.
Illustrated programme for the centenary celebrations of the Napier motor car held at Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey, on Sunday 18 June 2000 and organised by the Napier Power Heritage Trust.
It contains short articles on the history of D Napier & Son and the cars, plus coloured photographs of 32 Napier cars including a Lion-engined Napier-Bentley and the Napier-Railton car. It also contains a list of British -built Napier cars.

The Napier Way.
Bryan Boyle, Bookmarque Publishing, Minster Lovell, Oxon OX8 5SX, 2000. ISBN 1 870519 57 4.
The story of the author's life working in the company D Napier & Son starting as an apprentice in 1928 until his resignation in 1962. An insight into life in the Napier factory and the "goings-on" in the design offices.

Bill Napier, Headline Book Publishing ( a division of Hodder headline), 338 Euton Road, London NW1 3BH, 2000. ISBN 0 7472 5994 1.
Another science-fiction type thriller from the pen of Professor Bill Napier, this time about the development of the atom bomb. Another good read..

By Precision into Power. A Bicentennial Record of D Napier & Son.
Alan Vessey, Tempus Publishing Limited, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL52QG, 2007. ISBN-13: 978 0 7524 3888 7.
A whole succession of printing presses, machine tools, motorboats, aircraft, locomotives, automobiles and trucks have been powered by engines from the factories of D Napier & Son. From racing cars to weighing machines for the Bank of England, from world-class Deltic locomotives to the Napier Lion racing aircraft engine, the most powerful of the world's machines have been Napier powered. This volume tells the history of D Napier & Son from the company's beginning in Lambeth to the great works in Acton, north-west London. Other works were later located in Luton and Liverpool. At its peak 20,000 people worked for the Napier company, but produces from from the Siemens works at Lincoln. In 2008 Siemens sold the company to Primary Capital, an investment company.

© Charlie Napier,
Morningside, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Last modified:
31 October 2015

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