Alexander Hume ca.1557-1609

From Book Owners Online

Alexander HUME ca.1557-1609

Biographical Note

Second son of Patrick Hume, 5th baron of Polwarth in Bewickshire and Agnes Hume, daughter of Alexander Hume of Manderston. He was educated at St Mary’s College, St Andrews, graduating BA in 1574. He then lived in France for the next four years, where he likely studied law. He was appointed minister of Logie in the Church of Scotland in 1598, where he served until his death. He was at some point a public notary in Edinburgh. He is best known as poet and author of several devotional treatises. He married Marion Duncanson, with whom he had a son and two daughters.


Hume was the owner of an important sixteenth-century legal manuscript written in Scots, afterwards known as the Marchmont manuscript. It was gifted to him by his maternal uncle Alexander Hume of Manderston in 1582. The manuscript contains the bookplate of his descendant Patrick Hume 1641-1724, 1st Earl of Marchmont, suggesting that some of his library was in the family library at Redbraes.

The full extent and disposition of Hume’s library is unknown. Those identified in institutional collections in the UK are:

Flavius Josephus De antiquitatibus iudaeorum (Lyon, 1539), inscribed “Liber Alexandri Humei a Poliverso secundi-geniti, MCXCVI” (Edinburgh University TR.928)

Platina’s history of the Popes Opus de vitis ac gestis summorum Pontificum (Cologne, 1562), bought from Hercules Rollock fl.(1577-1599), and inscribed “Liber Alexandri Humei a Poliuerso, emptus ab Hercule Rolloco, Edinburgi 3 Non. Apr. 1596” (Glasgow University Sp Coll Bk6-e.6)

Opuscula diui Augustini (Paris, 1513), gifted to him by the schoolteacher Adam Mure with the inscription “Liber alexandri home notarii publici ex dono magistri adami mure ludimagistri edinburgensis Teste manu propria." (Aberdeen University : BCL S102)

Both of the above books were afterwards owned by Charles Lumsden ca.1561-1630, with Platina’s history dated as owned by Lumsden in 1610. This suggests that Hume’s books were circulating in Edinburgh shortly after his death.

Characteristic Markings

Books identified as his have been inscribed with his name (examples above).