Alexander Wedderburn 1672-1710

From Book Owners Online

Sir Alexander WEDDERBURN, 2nd bart of Blackness 1672-1710

Biographical Note

Eldest son of Sir John Wedderburn of Blackness by Dundee and Rachel Dunmuir. He matriculated at the University of St Andrews in 1686 but took no degree. In 1693, he married Elizabeth Seton, eldest daughter of Sir Alexander Seton, first Baronet of Pitmedden, with whom he had eight children. In 1699 the barony of Blackness was entailed to him and his heirs by his Father. He was admitted “clerk to the bills" on a commission from the Earle of Selkirke, Register, and his father’s demission to half the office in 1701. He was resident in Edinburgh in 1704, where much of his book buying seems to have occured. In the same year he purchased the estate of Logie near Dundee.

He left his heir and son John Wedderburn (1700-1723) in extreme debt.


Wedderburn’s library was auctioned at Dundee on 20th March 1710, for the total sum of £3,533. 6.4 (Scots). It contained 170 folios, 148 quartos, 555 octavos, and 86 smaller books.

Wedderburn was a bibliophile who collected both the old and rare, as well as more contemporary works. Scottish history, law, Greek and Latin classics, and religion, especially those of Church of England authors such as Eddward Stillingfleet and Jeremy Taylor, are all well represented in his library. Titles owned by Wedderburn include:

John Major's His De Gestis Scotorum , printed in Paris in 1521

John Leslie’s (1527-1596) defence of Mary Queen of Scot’s claim to the English throne De titvlo et ivre serenissimae Principis Mariae Scotorum Reginae (Rhemis, 1580) (Aberdeen pi 9(41:42)5 Les 1³)

An edition of John Dun’s Quaestiones, printed in Venice in 1506.

A 9 volume octavo set of Dr Tillotson’s sermons (London, 1694)

Artemidorus's work on the interpretation of dreams Artemidorus de Somniorum Interpretatione (Basel, 1546)

The most expensive book sold at the auction was Bayle's Historical and Critical Dictionary (London, 1710) which fetched £60. 1s (Scots).

Wedderburn was a customer of the bookseller Mrs Ogston in Edinburgh who charged him £452.3.0 for books supplied between 1708-1709, and charged his estate with debts of £264.12.0 and £147.

His name appears on the list of subscribers for Patrick Abercromby's The Martial Achievements of the Scots Nation (Edinburgh, 1711), as well as other similar contemporary works.

Characteristic Markings

It is not known whether Wedderburn used a bookplate, and he does not appear to have inscribed his books. A book identified as his at Aberdeen University Library (pi 9(41:42)5 Les 1³) is inscribed “At the auction of Sir Alexander Wedderburn's books, Dundee April 1710.”


  • Catalogue of books to be sold by way of auction at Dundee, the 20th of March, 1710 (Edinburgh, 1710) [not on ESTC] in MS 2787/3, The Mounie Papers, Aberdeen University Library
  • Weddernburn, Alexander. The Wedderburn Book, A history of the Wedderburns, 2 Vols. Printed for Private Circulation, 1898 [Esp. Vol.2 p.121 which reproduces part of the auction catalogue]