Alexander Carlyle (1722-1805)

Alexander Carlyle (1722-1805)

Church of Scotland minister and memorialist

Alexander Carlyle, son of the minister of Prestonpans in East Lothian, was educated at the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Leiden. He was the minister of Inveresk for 57 years. During this time he became leader, along with his historian friend William Robertson, of the 'Moderate' party of the Church of Scotland. He was one of the few ministers to attend John Home's play 'Douglas, a Tragedy' which was controversial because theatre had been banned since the Reformation and its author was a minister. All those involved were admonished and Alexander Carlyle published pamphlets (anonymously) that ridiculed his opponents and increased the popularity of the play. He was friends with many Enlightenment figures, including David Hume and Adam Smith. They called him 'Jupiter' Carlyle because of his imposing presence and love of classical learning. As a minister, he was concerned for the wellbeing of his parishioners and the community in general. He travelled to London to implore the king to exempt Scots from the new window tax.

Marriage in 1760

The Reverend Dr Alexander Carlyle, minister in this parish, and Mary Rodham 'gave up their names in order to marriage' on 12 October 1760. The entry in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for Inveresk and Musselburgh does not give the date of marriage.

Proclamation of marriage entry for Alexander Carlyle (78 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 689/12, page 209

Testament of Dr Alexander Carlyle

National Records of Scotland, CC8/11/3 pp 654-666

Alexander and his wife, Mary Rodham, had several children, all of whom predeceased him. He bequeaths most of his belongings to his 'beloved nephew', Carlyle Bell.

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