SPEIRS, a surname,
sometimes written Spears, having reference evidently to that well-known
military weapon, the lance. A band of spearmen was numbered by their
spears, just as 500 cavalry are now styled 500 sabres.
In Renfrewshire are the
families of Speir of Burnbrae, and Speir of Blackstoun, as also Speirs
In 1760, the lands of
Inch near Renfrew were purchased by Alexander Speirs, Esq., an eminent
merchant in Glasgow, and in 1769 he bought from Mrs. Campbell of
Succoth, mother of Sir Ilay Campbell, baronet, lord-president of the
court of session, the estate of Elderslie in the same county, with which
the name of Sir William Wallace is so intimately associated. That lady
was of the hero’s name and lineage, being the only child and heiress of
John Wallace of Elderslie. Mr. Speirs having in 1777-82 built a spacious
mansion-house at Inch, gave it the name of Elderslie house, from the
estate whence he took his designation. He died in 1782. His eldest
surviving son, Archibald, in early life held a commission in the 3d
dragoon guards, and from 1810 to 1818, was M.P. for Renfrewshire. He
died in 1832, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Alexander Speirs,
Esq. of Elderslie, at one period lord-lieutenant of the county, and M.P.
for Richmond. He died in 1844.
His only son, Archibald
Alexander, born in 1840, was educated at Eton; a lieutenant Scots
fusilier guards, and a magistrate for Renfrewshire.