Captain Alexander Tod

Captain Tod had made a fortune trading to the East Indies in the 1770s and 1780s, after which he appears to have retired shortly after his marriage and lived in great style in Edinburgh: at the end of his life he lived in one of the biggest houses in the New Town. He must have appeared something of a patriarch in Charlotte Chapel: this study also includes his daughter Susan, his two nephews John and Thomas, and a younger Captain whom he had trained, Thomas Robertson, one of the first vestry of St John's.

1732 - 1 October 1815
Archibald Tod, W.S. 1699-1777
Susannah Hay, 1699-1720, daughter of John Hay and Margaret Holbourne.
32 George Square, then from 1811 he lived at 121 George Street. When this was sold on his death the house was described:
That commodious and elegant house, No. 121, George Street, north side, belonging to the late Captain Alexander Tod, being one of the largest in the street, and containing every accomodation for a nobleman or gentleman's family. The public rooms are uncommonly spacious, double stair-case, and every coneniency for a numerous family. The house is fully furnished, and behind there is a double coach-house, stable, cow-house, waste-house, coachman's rooms etc. all in perfect repair. (10)
Alderstone, East Lothian
Political views
In 1788 he voted in the interest of Sir George Douglas in the Roxburghshire election. Of this constituency the View of the Political State of Scotland said,
Roxburghshire. The two chief interests in this County are those of the Duke of Buccleugh and the Duke of Roxburghe. They have each of them very great estates, and divide the county into two parties... Sir Gilbert Elliot has a good estate, and very great interest in this county. His good sense, integrity and firmness are universally acknowledged, and he is deservedly popular in the county. [implication being that he is independent of Roxburgh and Buccleuch]. Sir George Douglas of Springwood Park, the present member for this county... has also a good estate and interest, and is supported by the Duke of Roxburghe. (9)
Assessed taxes 1811
His house in George Street had 45 windows and a rental value of £140. He had two male servants, a four-wheeled carriage, a dog, and paid duty for armorial bearings and hair powder. In terms of windows, this was the biggest townhouse in the group, larger than those of the banker William Forbes and the lawyer David Hume (8)
He became a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy in 1758 before moving to the East India Company. He was sworn in 18 October 1771 to the Earl of Lincoln, 499 tons, sailing to Coast and China between December 1771 and July 1773. In 1779 he sailed the General Barker, 758 tons, on a voyage to Coast and Bay, but she was lost off the Coast of Holland 16 February 1781. From 11 Set 1782 to 7 August 1784 he sailed the Busbridge, 755 tons, to Coast and Bay: his 2nd officer on this voyage was Thomas Robertson, who in 1788 commanded the same ship. In 1800 Captain Tod held the rank of superannuated Royal Navy commander. (5, 6) In 1813 he was owed £4,877 by the trustees of the Nabob Wallah Jab, formerly Nabob of Arcot and the Carnatic, to whom he had sold 'a state carriage, which he the said Captain Tod had brought from England' (7)
Chapel connection
1815, funeral
Married in
1783 in Calcutta
Charlotte Bruere, c.1760-1827, daughter of George James Bruere and Elizabeth Neale, born in Alderston. After her husband's death she lived at 9 Melville Street.
Sussanah, Alexander Bruere (1784-1853), Archibald George James (1785-c.1833), Charlotte Bruere (1787-1860), George (1788-1870), Eliza (1792-1848), Susan, Jane (1795-1865), Frances (1797-1856).
Related to
John and Thomas Tod, nephews: Alexander was the brother of their father Thomas Tod W.S.
He was succeeded as Captain of the Busbridge by Thomas Robertson


  1. Registers of Charlotte Chapel (NAS CH12/3)
  2. Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1818
  3. Tod Family Tree (Online accessed 20 January 2012
  4. India Office Family History Search (Online, accessed 20 January 2012.
  5. Horatio Charles Hardy, A Register of Ships Employed in the Service of the United East India Company 1760-1810 (London, W. Heseltine, 1811).
  6. Commissioned sea Officers of the Royal Navy, 1660-1815 (Navy records Society 1994)
  7. Papers etc (East India Company), November 1812 - July 1813, vol.10.
  8. Assessed taxes for the Burgh of Edinburgh year ending at Whitsunday 1811, National Archives of Scotland E327/51
  9. Charles Elphinstone Adam, View of the Political State of Scotland in the last Century (Edinburgh, David Douglas, 1887) p.304.
  10. Caledonian Mercury, 22 March 1817

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