Thomas Ruddach

30th Jun 1754 - 1798


Owner of Adelphi and the (as yet unidentified) Harmony Hall estate on Tobago, dying in 1798. From Orkney, arriving in Tobago from Virginia.

  1. Thomas Ruddach, born 30/06/1754, was one of the three sons of Cecelia Stewart and the Reverend Alexander Ruddach of Kirkwall and St Ola, Orkney, Scotland. The father was born in Grange, Banffshire, Scotland, educated at Kings College, Aberdeen, and was ordained in the Church of Scotland in 1749. When Rev Alexander died in 1763, the boys' uncle, Charles Stewart, appear to have taken responsibility for the boys' future.

  2. Will of Thomas Ruddach merchant of Tobago proved 06/08/1800. In the will he pledged his lots and buildings in Scarborough, then the crop of the Adelphia [sic] estate and then the sale of Harmony Hall to meet his debts if his personal estate were not sufficient to pay them. He was about to enter a new partnership with Daniel Campbell and James Morison. He authorised his executors to sell his estate if the purchaser paid one-third down and obtained security in London for the remainder. The proceeds were to go in one-fourth shares to his brothers Charles Ruddach [given later as of Clarendon Jamaica] and Alexander Ruddach [given as of Frith street Soho], his mother and the children of his deceased sister Isabella Ruddach. In the will he pays tribute to his uncle Charles Stewart of no. 17 St Andrews Square Edinburgh who had, he said, many years previously lent Ruddach the money that allowed him 'to begin the world and to realise what I may die worth.' He left a piece of land near Kirkwall in the Orkneys called Mudderdale [probably in fact Muddisdale] to the child of his sister Isabella. He bequeathed 30 joes to Elizabeth Campbell free mulatto together with such slaves as she might pick out up to the value of £150, which would be her property for life, and then pass to 'my daughter Eliza by the said woman', as well as six acres of Harmony Hall and an annuity for Eliza of £30 p.a. He wished his 'negroes' to have two suits of clothes each annually and to be well treated. His residuary legatees were his brothers Charles Ruddach (q.v.) and Alexander Ruddach, whose will was proved 23/10/1812.

  3. 'Pursuant to a Decree of the High Court of Chancery, made in a Cause Ruddach against Nolan, the Creditors of Thomas Ruddach, late of the Island of Tobago, in the West Indies, Merchant, deceased (who died in or about the month, of February 1798), are by their Solicitors forthwith to come in and prove their debts before William Alexander, Esq. one of the Masters of the said Court, at his Chambers, in Southampton-Buildings, Chancery-Lane, London, or in default thereof they will be excluded the benefit of the said Decree.' Thomas Ruddach was the brother of Charles Ruddach: Charles and a third brother, Alexander, were the residuary legatees of Thomas Ruddach's will (proved in 1800). This lawsuit was between Thomas Ruddach's nephew Robert Steuart Rudddach and John Babington Nolan, who had married Charles Ruddach's widow.


Alan Karras, Sojourners in the Sun pp. 161-163 shows the role of Charles Stewart or Steuart in guiding Thomas Ruddach's career. Harmony Hall in Tobago has not yet been traced.

  1. GROS OPR Births 21 20 142 Kirkwall; Hew Scott, Fasti Ecclesia Scoticanae vol. 7 p. 227; C. Duncan Rice, 'Archibald Dalzel, the Scottish Intelligentsia, and the Problem of Slavery', Scottish Historical Review, Vol. 62, No. 174, Part 2 (Oct., 1983), pp. 121-136, see p. 124.

  2. Will of Thomas Ruddach merchant of Tobago, PROB 11/1346/64. Will of Alexander Ruddach Commander in the Royal Navy of Kennington, PROB 11/1538/1365: in his will he states that he is about to make a voyage to Tobago, and refers to his property on the island; he left an annuity of £50 p.a. to his wife Elizabeth and his residuary estate to his son Robert Stewart or Steuart Ruddach and daughter Elizabeth Cecilia Ruddach (Robert Steuart Ruddach formerly a Captain in HM's 19th Regiment of Lancers but late of Magdalen Villas St Leonards-on-Sea died 07/11/1860, effects £25,000 (resworn from £20,000), National Probate Calendar 1861; Elizabeth Cecilia Ruddach married William Fitch Arnold (1794-1846), son of Benedict Arnold, and died 'late of Novohal near Kinsale county of Cork' in 1868, leaving £1500, National Probate Calendar 1868).

  3. London Gazette 17447 06/02/1819 p. 252; London Gazette19158 25/05/1834 pp. 969-970.

We are grateful to Vilma Ruddock for her assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information


Associated Estates (1)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
- 1798 [EY] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Physical (1)

Muddisdale or Modesdale  
description →
Land at Muddisdale near Kirkwall, Orkneys, bequeathed by Thomas Ruddach to his sister Isabella's daughter (probably Isabella Stevenson nee Murray) in 1798. ...

Relationships (1)


Addresses (1)

Orkney, Highlands & Islands, Scotland