Dr Alexander MacFadzean (1788 – 1849), physician and philanthropist who worked to improve the welfare of the poor in Ardrossan.

Dr Alexander MacFadzean died at the age of 60 on the 8th of January, 1849. Alexander was a greatly respected philanthropist who worked tirelessly for the welfare of the inhabitants of Ardrossan and gave freely to relieve the suffering of the poor.  He encouraged the development of good standards of hygiene and was instrumental in providing Ardrossan  with a filtered water supply for the general use of its inhabitants and the service of its industries. 

The Earl of Eglinton said about him: It must give you great pleasure to know that your name is identified with the prosperity of Ardrossan by being connected with every beneficial undertaking which has been commenced since you came to live among us … and know that your name is pronounced with affection and gratitude in what were once the abodes of suffering and misery.” 

Alexander’s funeral was attended by his family and friends and over 500 members of public joined the procession. He was buried in Glasgow. 

Shortly after his death, a monument to him was erected at the top of Castle Hill in Ardrossan, which towers over the town to this day. 


  • Inscription on the monument: Erected to the memory of Alexander MacFadzean,  Esquire,  M  D1by  his  friends  in Ardrossan  and  elsewhere  as  a  monument  of their high esteem for his active benevolence in the  exercise  of  his  profession,  united  to  great and  untiring  zeal  in  the  promotion  of  those measures  and  institutions  which  had  for  their objective the  moral  and  religious  improvement and the welfare of the inhabitants of Ardrossan and neighbourhood.  Obiit 8 Jan 1849, Aetat 60. 
  • 9th of January 1849 – Ayr Observer: It is  our  melancholy  duty  to  announce  the  death  of  another  of  our esteemed  and  efficient  Ayrshire  medical  practitioners,  Alexander MacFadzean, esquire, M D, Ardrossan.  This gentleman died yesterday morning after an illness of a few days, caused by rose in his limbs. By his demise, Ardrossan, Saltcoats and surrounding country have been deprived  of  a  zealous  promoter  of  all  works  of  utility,  an  efficient county  magistrate  and  a  skilful  surgeon  who  held  a  long  and  high professional position in these localities.  He bestowed much of his time and professional skill with gratuitous medicine on the poor. From his situation,  he  had  opportunities  on  minutely knowing the  peculiar circumstances  and  characters  of  the  indigent  and,  by  his  judicious advocacy  of  their  claims  to  the  wealthy  and  benevolent,  alms  and clothing   were   freely   doled   out,   through   such   agency   to   many deserving  objects  who  might otherwise have  not  been  recipients  of such  bounty. In  private  circles,  he  was  deemed  humorous  and agreeable.    In  his  professional  capacity, he  was  confiding,  attentive, soothing  and  tender-hearted  and  all  classes  of  various  shades  of political and religious opinion will long cherish a warm respect for his memory.   By  the  loss  of  Dr  MacFadzean,  James  Oswald, esquire  of Auchincruive  and  Cavens;  Alexander  Oswald,  esquire,  Member  of Parliament for Ayrshire; Lady Louisa Oswald; Andrew and Alexander Oswald Mitchell, esquires, writers, Glasgow and the other members of the family of the late Andrew Mitchell, esquire, of Maulside et cetera, will be placed in mourning. 
  • 19th January Kilmarnock Journal: The funeral of Dr MacFadzean took place on Thursday.  Out of respect to his memory, all the shopkeepers in town close their places of business.    His relations purposed making the funeral strictly private but, learning that the public was desirous of attending it, they acquiesced when upwards of five hundred individuals joined the solemn procession.  Of these, about two hundred of Messrs Barr and Shearer’s workmen participated and the Magistrates and Town Council of the burgh were present.    The remains of Dr MacFadzean were conveyed, per special railway train, for interment to Glasgow. On Sabbath, the Reverend Mr Bryce of the Barony Church, Ardrossan paid a tribute of respect to the memory of the deceased gentleman’.