Biography of William Alexander 1st Earl of Stirling
William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling
William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling (c 1577-1640) was a poet and politician who served as Secretary of State for Scotland from 1626 until his death. He was honoured for his assistance in securing funds bequeathed to the University in England.
In 1617, a former University student called Michael Wilsone mortified £500 for the repair of the buildings and the support of a bursar of his own kindred or the son of a Glasgow burgess. Wilsone had lived in Eastbourne, and Sir William and Sir James Carmichael of Westraw stepped in when problems arose in gaining access to the money and transferring it from England to Glasgow. The grateful University gave to Sir William and his heirs, and to Sir James and his heirs, the rights to the patronage of two bursaries which were founded in 1621 and 1625.
Stirling was probably educated at the University, but did not graduate. He became tutor to James VI's son Prince Henry, and moved to London with the Royal Court after the Union of the Crowns in 1603. He was knighted in 1609, and found favour under King Charles I who granted him a charter for the settlement of a large area of America known as "Nova Scotia". His attempts to settle the land with Scots settlers failed and the land was later ceded to France. He died heavily in debt.