Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, 9th Baronet

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Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, c. 1870, photograph by Thomas Annan

Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, 9th Baronet, of Pollok (8 March 1818 – 15 January 1878), was a Scottish historical writer and art historian, politician and virtuoso.

Early life[edit]

He was born at Kenmure, the son of Sir Archibald Stirling, Esq., of Keir and Cawder, and Elizabeth Maxwell, sister of Sir John Maxwell, 8th Baronet and Harriet Maxwell (d. 1812) and daughter of Sir John Maxwell, 7th Baronet and Hannah or Anne Gardiner, daughter of Richard Gardiner, of Aldborough, Suffolk, and studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating a BA degree in 1839 and a MA degree in 1843.[1] He travelled in Spain and the Levant and contributed to Fraser's Magazine and the Examiner. In 1848 he published his pioneering Annals of the Artists of Spain. He succeeded to the Keir estates in 1847.


He served as Member of Parliament for Perthshire from 1852 to 1868 and again from 1874 to 1878. He was appointed a Member of the Universities Commission in 1859 and of the Historical Manuscripts Commission from 1872 to 1878, as well as of the Scottish Education Board (a forerunner to the Scottish Office). He was Rector of the University of St Andrews in 1862 and of the University of Edinburgh in 1872.

He succeeded to the Maxwell Baronetcy (in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia) in 1865, assuming the additional name of Maxwell.

He was appointed Chancellor of the University of Glasgow in 1865 and was awarded an Honorary DCL from the University of Oxford in the same year. He was a member of the University of London Senate and a Trustee of the British Museum and the National Gallery.

He was a breeder of shorthorns and Clydesdale horses, an ardent bibliographer and collector of works of art.

Marriages and issue[edit]

He married firstly Lady Anna Maria Leslie-Melville (d. 8 December 1874), daughter of David Leslie-Melville, 8th Earl of Leven and Elizabeth Anne Campbell, and had, at least:

  • Sir John Stirling-Maxwell, 10th Baronet, of Pollok
  • Brigadier General Archibald Stirling, of Keir (14 September 1867 – 18 February 1931), married on 14 April 1910 The Hon. Margaret Mary Fraser (25 June 1881 – 4 August 1972), daughter of Simon Fraser, 13th Lord Lovat and Alice Mary Weld-Blundell, and had six children:
    • William Joseph Stirling, of Keir (9 May 1911 - 1983), married on 22 November 1940 Susan Rachel Bligh (12 August 1916 - 1983), daughter of The Hon. Noel Gervase Bligh and Mary Frost and granddaughter of Ivo Bligh, 8th Earl of Darnley and Florence Rose Morphy, and had five children:
      • Archibald Hugh Stirling, of Keir (b. 18 September 1941)
      • James Joseph Stirling (1943-1943)
      • Hannah Ann Stirling (b. 29 May 1944), married on 7 January 1970 Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury (b. 30 September 1946)
      • Magdalen Stirling (b. 25 November 1945), married in 1969 Patrick Petit, and had issue
      • John Alexander Stirling (b. 26 February 1948), married firstly in 1971 Susan Black, without issue, and married secondly in 1985 Olivia Louise Waller, and had three children:
        • Joseph Patrick William Stirling (b. 1985)
        • Christabel Georgia Stirling (b. 1987)
        • Hugh David Archibald Stirling (b. 1993)
    • Peter John Stirling (1 February 1913 - ), married on 6 February 1963 Mahin Feli
    • Colonel Sir Archibald David Stirling (15 November 1915 - 4 November 1990)
    • Hugh Joseph Stirling (4 May 1917 - k.i.a., World War II, Libya, 22 April 1941), unmarried and without issue
    • Margaret Elizabeth Mary Stirling (4 July 1914 - 9 February 1997), married on 26 June 1940 Simon Ramsay, 16th Earl of Dalhousie (17 October 1914 - 1999)
    • Irene Katharine Teresa Stirling (9 March 1919 - 1992)

In March 1877 he married secondly noted author and society figure Caroline Norton, a granddaughter of the famous Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. She died three months later.


  1. ^ "Stirling (post Stirling-Maxwell), William (STRN835W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 



External links[edit]

Scottish Parliament
Preceded by
Henry Home-Drummond
Member of Parliament for Perthshire
Succeeded by
Charles Stuart Parker
Preceded by
Charles Stuart Parker
Member of Parliament for Perthshire
Succeeded by
Henry Home-Drummond-Moray
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Lord Moncreiff
Rector of the University of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
The Earl of Derby
Preceded by
Ralph Anstruther
Rector of the University of St Andrews
Succeeded by
John Stuart Mill
Preceded by
The Duke of Montrose
Chancellor of the University of Glasgow
Succeeded by
The Duke of Buccleuch
Baronetage of Nova Scotia
Preceded by
John Maxwell
(of Pollok)
Succeeded by
John Stirling Maxwell