When old sea dogs regaled King James I with tales of the New World, Sir
William Alexander listened. He noted New England, New France and New
Spain. There was NO New Scotland!
In Victoria Park (Halifax, Nova Scotia), a cairn succinctly states Sir
Sir William Alexander
His efforts to create a New
Scotland in the New World
led to the Royal Charter of
Nova Scotia, 1621
Attempts at settlement 1622-3
The creating of the Order
of Knight Baronets of
Nova Scotia 1624-5
The Coat-of-Arms of
Nova Scotia, 1626
and the occupation of
by Scottish settlers, 1629-32
In 1621, King James granted Sir William territory between New England and
Newfoundland as New Scotland (Nova Scotia). The Baronets of Nova Scotia
were created, as a settlement scheme.
Nova Scotia (approximately the Maritimes today) was divided into
provinces, each sub-divided into dioceses. Each diocese was divided into
three counties, then each county into ten Baronies of 16,000 acres each.
Each Baronet paid 1000 merks for his Barony and 2000 merks to maintain six
soldiers in the colony for two years.
Under Scots Law, Baronets "take sasine" by receiving symbolic "earth and
stone" on the actual land. Part of Edinburgh Castle was deemed granted to
Sir William as part of Nova Scotia. The Baronets were installed with
"earth and stone" there while standing in Nova Scotia. Each received a
badge on an orange ribbon, worn about the neck.
In 1629, Sir William Alexander's son brought 70 settlers to Port Royal and
built Charles Fort. When the land was returned to France (1632), the
Baronet of Nova Scotia is a hereditary title. They enjoy the privilege of
wearing the arms of Nova Scotia as a badge, are addressed as Sir, and
place Bt. or Bart. after their names.
Three years after Hon. Angus L. Macdonald, then Premier of
unveiled a plague at Edinburgh Castle (1953) commemorating Sir William
Alexander and Baronets of Nova Scotia, Menstrie Castle (Sir William's
birthplace) was scheduled for demolition. Attempts to bring Menstrie
Castle to Halifax failed when Scots pleaded that it remain in Scotland.
Scots, many in Nova Scotia, financed restoration of
Menstrie Castle and established the Nova Scotia Commemoration Room there.
23 stones from a staircase, of which the Victoria Park cairn is
constructed, are all Halifax obtained of the Castle.
Today the Nova Scotia Commemoration Room requires repair and refurbishing.
The National Trust for Scotland seeks help from Nova Scotians for
Boy Scouts to the rescue?
Gavin Hay and Gordon Sponagle, both
Venture Scouts in Menstrie,
came to Nova Scotia in August 1993 to
fulfill two requirements of the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award: a hiking,
canoe and biking expedition over 50 miles with other Scouts, and research
of historical links between Menstrie and Nova Scotia.
Hon. T. G. D. Galbraith, Parliamentary Secretary of State for Scotland,
noted: "If Menstrie castle had to go, it could not have gone to a more
beautiful or appropriate place, but I am glad that it has been left
standing where it has stood, impregnable, for four centuries."
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