Thomas Tod

The year of Waterloo was a turbulent one for Thomas Tod. His healthy daughter was born a fortnight before the battle, on 5 June 1815. A month later her mother, his bride of a year Susan Carnegy died, followed in October his uncle Alexander and in November by his mother, in whose house he lived. In 1818, as a judge of the Commissary court, he was one of those who gave a particularly condemning judgment in the case of the organist John Mather, convicted of flagrant adultery and domestic violence.

1771 - 23 November 1850
Thomas Tod, 1726-1800, Writer to the Signet.
Jean Gartshore, d.5 November 1815, daughter of James Gartshore, WS.
In 1811 he was living with his mother in 21 George Square. From her death in 1815 until 1820 there is no sign of him in the Directory, but thereafter he lived at 15 Coates Crescent
Political views
Whig. With his brother John he voted for the Whig candidate Eliot in the Roxburghshire election of 1812. He was the only member of the Faculty of Advocates in this group to vote in favour of the proposal in March 1807 to create a new Court of Review in Scotland: other Whigs and Tories including Archibald Campbell Colquhoun, Robert Hodshon Cay, James Clerk, Walter Scott, Ranald MacDonald, William Fraser Tytler, Adam Duff, and Henry Cockburn voted for Francis Jeffrey's motion that it was unnecessary. His support would make sense if it was a government bill, seeing as he had just been given an appointment by the same government.
Religious views
He came from a Scottish Episcopal family: his father Thomas Tod was on the committee which built the Cowgate Chapel in 1774, along with William Forbes' father. (6)
He became an advocate in 1795 and in 1807 was appointed (by the Whig Ministry of All the Talents) a Judge of Commissary Court, which dealt with marriage, divorce and bastardy. He was one of the Directors of the British Linen Company (7).
Wealth at death
Assessed taxes 1811
He lived with his mother whose house had 19 windows and a rental value of £52, and who kept one male servant. Thomas paid tax for one horse and for hair powder.
Chapel connection
1815, baptism.
Married on
15 March 1814
1. Susan Lyndsay Carnegie 2. Amelia Erskine (m.15 April 1822)
Susan Mary Elizabeth (b.1815, married Robert Oliphant and had children)
Related to
John Tod, brother; Alexander Tod, uncle.
He was one of the Commissaries who judged the organist of Charlotte Chapel John Mather when his wife Maria took him to court for separation and aliment. The Commissaries,
Find that the Def[endant] is proved on many occasions to have most brutally and disgracefully abused and beaten his wife the pursur atho[ugh] her conduct to him and her family was unexceptionable and exemplary, and from no other cause that appears but the unhappiness produced a short time before he drove her from his house by the undisguised and extreme profligacy of his own conduct as a husband and father; ... that these outrages often took place in the presence of their family, servants and friends; Therefore ... Find the libel completely proved and that the said Maria Frost Purs[ue]r is at liberty to live serparately from the said John Mather ... ordain the said John Mather ... to separate himself from the said Maria Frost ... in all time coming; ... find the said Maria Frost ... entitled to an aliment out of the estate of the said John Mather ... to the sum of £150 st[erling] yearly'. (3)
This judgement was singled out in a history of Scottish divorce as a particularly strongly worded expression of disgust. (4)


  1. Registers of Charlotte Chapel (NAS CH12/3)
  2. Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1818
  3. Maria Frost v. John Mather, process of separation and aliment, National Archives of Scotland CH8/6/1703
  4. Leah Leneman, Alienated affections : the Scottish experience of divorce and separation 1684-1830 (Edinburgh University Press 1998)
  5. Thomas Tod's will and inventory, National Archives of Scotland SC70/4/18/259 and SC70/1/74/99
  6. Thomas Veitch, The story of St Paul's and St George's Church, York Place, Edinburgh (Edinburgh 1958) p.15
  7. Caledonian Mercury 6 March 1794.
  8. Caledonian Mercury 12 March 1807

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