Alexander MacKenzie

Alexander's connection with Charlotte Chapel was only brief: he was almost 60 when he became one of its first Trustees, and he died a few months before the congregation reunited with the Scottish Episcopal Church in 1805. He could be regarded, however, as the congregation's patriarch, with more descendents connected to Charlotte Chapel than anyone else. His acquisition of the estate of Portmore demonstrated how a solicitor could use his own skills to become a landed gentleman without troubling too much about the land itself.

Lived
5 February 1740 - 4 September 1805
Origin
Dingwall
Father
Alexander MacKenzie of Tollie or Tolly, Provost of Dingwall, and grandson of Kenneth MacKenzie of Gairloch.
Mother
Annabella Bayne, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Donald Bayne of Tulloch (an elusive figure), through whom their descendents' coats of arms bear a wolf's head proper. She was accidentally shot in 1751, while looking out of her window during a Dingwall election riot.
Address
14 Princes Street
Estate
Portmore, Peeblesshire, which he purchased from the Conyears Earls of Portmore. William Chambers wrote,
Among all the good bargains of land it is our pleasant lot to record, none, we think, can be compared with that about to be mentioned. In 1798, the Portmore possessions in Haddingtonshire and Peeblesshire were purchased for £22,000 by Alexander Mackenzie, who, in 1799, sold the Haddingtonshire portion, comprehending the barony and village of Aberlady, to the Earl of Wemyss for £24,000... the portion in Peeblesshire, formerly a part of Halton-Murray, consisted of the East and West Lochs, Kingside, Courhope, Cloich, Shiplaw, and Over Falla, in the parish of Eddleston, and East and West Deans' Houses, in the parish of Newlands...
      Alexander Mackenzie, the fortunate purchaser ... getting the Peeblesshire property as it may be said for nothing, neither he nor his immediate successor made much of it, in consequence of the lands being let on exceedingly long leases at a very insignificant rent... (3)
Profession
Writer to the Signet. He left Dingwall and settled in Edinburgh but kept up close relations with his northern roots, handling much of its business. His inventory suggests he did a lot of financial work for his clients.
Wealth at death
£7,549, including £3000 from George Udney MacKenzie of Clarendon, Jamaica. He had £50 worth of shares in Charlotte Chapel. He bequeathed his younger sons William and John £3,000 each. His son George Udney MacKenzie had alredy received £2,000 so was left one.
Chapel connection
Trustee of Charlotte Chapel. He died long before the congregation had its own graveyard, or even kept a register of funerals. He was buried in a family plot in Greyfriars where his sons were also buried, even though Colin was one of the men who had established St John's burying ground as a private venture in 1828, selling family plots.
Married on
25 February 1766
Spouse
Anne MacKenzie, daughter of Colin MacKenzie of Kilcoy and Martha Fraser, daughter of Charles Fraser of Inverallochy.
Children
Alexander (Lt Col in 23 Light Dragoons, 1769-1796, died unmarried in the West Indies) Colin, George Udney (died young), John (died young), Charles (1779-1783), William, Sutherland (1785-1853, unmarried, manager of the Scottish Union Insurance Company), John, Martha, Annabella, Jean, Elizabeth, Catherine (all his daughters died unmarried)

Portrait by
Henry Raeburn

Sources

  1. Registers of Charlotte Chapel (NAS CH12/3)
  2. Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1818
  3. Alexander MacKenzie, History of the MacKenzies (A and W MacKenzie, Inverness, 1894) p.461
  4. William Chambers, History of Peeblesshire (Chambers, Edinburgh, 1864) p.355-6
  5. Inventory and will of Alexander MacKenzie, National Archives of Scotland, CC8/11/1/517

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