Alexander Taylor Innes

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Alexander Taylor Innes
Alexander Taylor Innes.jpg
Born (1833-12-18)18 December 1833
Tain, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland, UK
Died 27 January 1912(1912-01-27) (aged 78)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Pen name A. Taylor Innes
Occupation Writer, lawyer, church historian, biographer
Nationality Scottish
Genre Non-fiction, biography, church history
Spouse Sophia Fordyce
The grave of Alexander Taylor Innes, Dean Cemetery

Alexander Taylor Innes FRSE LLD (1833–1912), was a lawyer, writer, biographer and church historian. In authorship he is usually abbreviated as A.T.I.


He was born on 18 December 1833 at Tain, Ross and Cromarty. His father was Alexander Innes, an accountant and bank agent, and his mother, Martha Taylor. He was educated at the Royal Academy in Tain and from 1848 to 1852 at the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated MA. Taylor Innes entered the legal profession although he originally intended to study theology and become a minister. His scruples about accepting the Westminster Confession of Faith prevented him from doing so although he remained within the Free Church communion. He contributed to articles on a religious theme to various journals, and his interest in the legal aspects of church creeds and traditions led to the publication of his pioneering work, The Law of Creeds in Scotland, in 1867. He corresponded with W. E. Gladstone on the subject of the disestablishment of the Scottish Church and visited him in May 1868. He also wrote a scholarly paper called "Gladstone in Transition"[1] in which he defended Gladstone's views, and for which he received the latter's appreciation. In 1881, Taylor Innes was appointed Advocate Depute under Gladstone's second government (1880–1885) and was reappointed under the subsequent Gladstone (1892–94) and Rosebery (1894–95) governments. In later life he withdrew from active legal practice to concentrate on ecclesiastical issues, where perhaps his historical significance lies.

In 1880, he married Sophia Dingwall Fordyce, daughter of Alexander D. Fordyce, a landowner and Liberal MP. She died less than a year later.

In 1906 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were John McLaren, Lord McLaren, John Horne, John Rankine and John Sutherland Black.[2]

In later life he lived at 48 Morningside Park in south-west Edinburgh.[3] He died in Edinburgh on 27 January 1912[4] and was buried in Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh.[5]

The tall pink granite obelisk marking his grave lies at the west end of the main east-west path under the trees opposite the pyramid to Rutherfurd.

His Legal career[edit]

  • 1852–1854 – Legal training in a law office in Tain, Ross-shire.
  • 1854–1857 – Completed his law apprenticeship in Edinburgh.
  • 1857–1869 – Legal practice in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
  • 1870 – Called to the Scottish bar.



  • "Innes, Alexander Taylor (1833–1912), lawyer and church historian | Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  • "The British Library - The British Library". Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  • "Welcome to Open Library". Open Library. Retrieved 28 February 2018.


  1. ^ "Mr. Gladstone in Transition." Contemporary Review 15 (1870): 630–647
  2. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783 – 2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
  3. ^ Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1912–13
  4. ^ Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. London: Principal Probate Registry. 1912. p. 221.
  5. ^ Adapted from Innes's biography in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  6. ^ This list of Innes's publications includes pamphlets and is compiled with reference to the British Library online catalogue, the Open Library and other online catalogues.

External links[edit]