Alexander Bruce, 6th Lord Balfour of Burleigh

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Balfour of Burleigh
6th Lord Balfour of Burleigh.jpg
Secretary for Scotland
In office
29 June 1895 – 9 October 1903
Monarch Queen Victoria
Edward VII
Prime Minister The Marquess of Salisbury
Arthur Balfour
Preceded by Sir George Trevelyan, Bt
Succeeded by Andrew Murray
Personal details
Born 13 January 1849 (1849-01-13)
Kennet, Clackmannanshire
Died 6 July 1921 (1921-07-07)
Cadogan Square, London
Nationality British
Political party Unionist
Spouse(s) Lady Katherine Gordon
Alma mater Oriel College, Oxford

Alexander Hugh Bruce, 6th Lord Balfour of Burleigh KT, GCMG, GCVO, PC, JP, DL (13 January 1849 – 6 July 1921) was a Scottish Unionist politician, banker and statesman, who took a leading part in the affairs of the Church of Scotland. He was Secretary for Scotland between 1895 and 1903.


The son of Robert Bruce, at one time Tory Member of Parliament for Clackmannan, he was born in Kennet in that county and educated at Loretto, Eton and Oriel College, Oxford. In 1868, four years after his death, Robert Bruce's claim to the peerage was recognised by the House of Lords, and so his son became sixth Lord Balfour of Burleigh on the reversal of the title's attainder by Act of Parliament in 1869.

Political career

In 1876 Balfour was elected a Scottish representative peer. Six years later, he was made an Education Commissioner for Scotland, and in 1887 he entered Lord Salisbury's administration as a Lord-in-Waiting. The following year, Lord Balfour became Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, a position he held until the Liberals returned to power in 1892, and for three years he chaired the London Water Supply Commission until his return to government as Secretary for Scotland in 1895. Appointed a Knight of the Thistle in 1901, Balfour resigned office two years later with the split that occurred in the Conservative and Unionist Party over Joseph Chamberlain's campaign for tariff reform, a campaign which he opposed.

Banking career

Balfour was Governor of the Bank of Scotland from 1904–1921.

Other public appointments

Balfour was appointed Lord Rector of Edinburgh University (1896–1899), and elected Chancellor of St Andrews University in 1900, a post he held until his death. An active figure in the Church of Scotland, he was President of the World Missionary Conference held in Edinburgh in 1910, and was an important negotiator in the discussions on church union in Scotland which came to fruition in the 1920s. In 1916 he was appointed as chairman of the Committee on Commercial and Industrial Policy by Lloyd George and the economisers in the Cabinet in acknowledgement of his free trade credentials. In 1917 he was appointed convener of the Carnegie trust for the universities of Scotland. He became Lord Warden of the Stannaries in Cornwall and a member of the Council of the Prince of Wales in 1908.


In June 1901 he received the honorary degree Doctor of Laws (DLL) from the University of Glasgow,[1] and later the same year he received the Freedom of the City of Glasgow for his services in facilitation legislation for the city.[2] The following May, he was at Carnavon to receive the honorary degree LL.D. (Legum Doctor) from the University of Wales during the ceremony to install the Prince of Wales (later King George V) as Chancellor of that university.[3]

He was appointed a Knight of the Thistle (KT) in March 1901, and invested by King Edward at Marlborough House 18 March 1901.[4] He was appointed a GCMG in 1911, and GCVO in 1917.

History of Presbyterianism

Balfour wrote An Historical Account of the Rise and Development of Presbyterianism in Scotland, published in 1911 by the Cambridge University Press as part of their series Cambridge manuals of science and literature.


Balfour married Lady Katherine Eliza, youngest daughter of the George Hamilton-Gordon, 5th Earl of Aberdeen, in 1876. They had two sons and three daughters. His eldest son, Robert Bruce, Master of Burleigh, was killed in the First World War. Lord Burleigh of Balfour died at Cadogan Square, London, in July 1921, aged 72. He was buried in Clackmannan. Lady Balfour of Burleigh died in February 1931, aged 78.


  1. "Glasgow University jubilee" The Times (London). Friday, 14 June 1901. (36481), p. 10.
  2. "Court circular" The Times (London). Tuesday, 13 August 1901. (36532), p. 7.
  3. "The Royal visit to Wales" The Times (London). Monday, 5 May 1902. (36759), p. 10.
  4. "Court circular" The Times (London). Tuesday, 19 March 1901. (36406), p. 8.
  • Torrance, David, The Scottish Secretaries (Birlinn 2006)
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Onslow
Succeeded by
The Viscount Torrington
Preceded by
The Earl of Onslow
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
Thomas Burt
Preceded by
Sir George Trevelyan, Bt
Secretary for Scotland
Succeeded by
Andrew Murray
Court offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Ducie
Lord Warden of the Stannaries
Succeeded by
The Lord Clinton
Academic offices
Preceded by
Baron Robertson
Rector of the University of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
Marquess of Dufferin and Ava
Preceded by
The Duke of Argyll
Chancellor of the University of St Andrews
Succeeded by
The Earl Haig
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
Robert Balfour
Lord Balfour of Burleigh
Succeeded by
George Bruce