Anstruther, Sir William, Lord Anstruther d. 1711, judge, of old Scottish family, was son of Sir Philip Anstruther of Anstruther, a royalist who was taken prisoner at the battle of Worcester, had his estates sequestered by Cromwell and restored to him by Charles II, and died in 1702. Sir William represented the county of Fife in parliament in 1681, and strongly opposed the measures of James, Duke of York, then lord high commissioner in Scotland. He was again returned for that county in 1689, and continued to represent it until the union (1707). In the revolution of 1688, Sir William took the side of the Prince of Orange, and was rewarded by being appointed one of the ordinary lords of session (22 Oct. 1689), and later a member of the privy council. In 1694 he was created baronet of Nova Scotia. In 1704 he was nominated one of the lords of justiciary in the room of Lord Aberuchil. By a charter under the great seal dated 20 April 1704, and ratified by parliament 14 Sept. 1705, the baronies of Anstruther and Ardross and the office of bailliary of the lordship of Pittenweem, with certain minor estates, rights, and privileges, and the office of carver and master of the household to her majesty and her heirs, were granted to Sir William Anstruther and his heirs for ever. Sir William Anstruther was strongly in favour of the union, and his name appears frequently in the division lists during the period when the question was agitating the Scotch parliament. He was the author of a volume of essays, interspersed with verse, published in 1701 under the title of Essays, Moral and Divine, of which his friends thought so poorly that in his own interest they begged him not to publish it; and it is said that after the death of the judge, which happened in 1711, his son bought up all purchasable copies and suppressed the work. The contents of the volume were as follows: (1) Against Atheism; (2) Of Providence; (3) Of Learning and Religion; (4) Of Trifling Studies, Stage Plays, and Romances; (5) Of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ and the Redemption of Mankind. Sir William was married to Helen Hamilton, daughter of John, fourth Earl of Haddington.
Douglas's Baronage of Scotland, 316
Brunton and Haig's Senators of the College of Justice
Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, VIII, IX, X, XI, 232, 255-6, 321-422
Melville Papers (1689-91), 307
Hume of Crossrigg's Diary (1700-1707), 33, 40
Beatson's Political Index, iii. 76, 112
Haydn's Book of Dignities, 413
Anderson's Scottish Nation.
Contributor: J. M. R. [James McMullen Rigg]