Scope and Contents
The volume is dated 1902 and entitled on the front board: 'A Scottish tradition of the House of Napier / Hon'ble Mrs. James Napier. On a facing page to the inside of the front-board it states: 'This Legend of Her Name was illustrated for The Bride / The Artist employed / was Mr. J. Jenks[?] / Schoolmaster / Kilmore [?] / by Oban. The volume contains a tale about the origin of the name 'Napier' and features a fine water-colour of two knights in 'Arts and Crafts' or 'Art Nouveau' style and several blocks of graphic (celtic knotwork) throughout the text.
Biographical / Historical
The name 'Napier' has variant spellings such as 'Naper', 'Napeer' and 'Napper' and others. The name was probably introduced to the British Isles after the Norman Conquest of 1066, and may derive from the word 'nappier', meaning 'linen', and used in an occupational sense as 'napperer' to describe the official at a royal court or a noble's castle; one who was in charge of the banquetting. Such positions were highly sought after, and often lead to the creation of noble families in their own right, with another example being the Stewards of Scotland who later became the royal family of Stuart. The Scottish Napier family, who once held the earldom of Lennox, are descended from the hereditary naperers to the kings of Scotland in the 12th Century. There have been many distinguished bearers of the name, including Sir Alexander Napier, the controller of the household of the Queen mother, 1449-1461, and who was also Scottish ambassador to England, 1451-1461. John Napier, (1550-1617), was the inventor of logarithms, and General Sir Charles James Napier, was the general of cavalry under the Duke of Wellington in the Napoleonic Wars (1792-1815). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peter Napier. This was dated 1148, in the Winton Rolls of Hampshire, during the reign of King Stephen of England, 1135-1154.