He worked as an Advocate from 1860, and was Legal Secretary to the Lord Advocate from 1861–1866 and 1868–1870, Queen's Remembrancer for Scotland from 1870–1881, and Registrar-General for Scotland and Deputy Clerk Register from 1881–1909.
He was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1885 and promoted to Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 1895, thereby receiving a knighthood.
He is buried with his wife Georgina More Nisbett (1838-1916) who had died only a few weeks earlier. They lie together in Dean Cemetery in western Edinburgh. The grave is on the north wall of the north extension of the original cemetery, near the north-west corner.
- "Agnew, Stair Andrew (AGNW851SA)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1905-6
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