Dr Lucas

Dr Thomas Lucas (1756-1822).

Dr Thomas L. Lucas was a surgeon who lived at Marieville, Upper Bridge Street, Stirling. Through his surviving diaries, memorandum book and other archival sources held at Stirling Council Archive, we can learn about Thomas and his family’s life in Stirling.

Map of Stirling showing Marieville

Map of Stirling, showing Dr Lucas’ house, Marieville, in Upper Bridge Street, Stirling which he built in 1810.  OS 1st edition 1860 sheet XVII.3.4 (Crown Copyright)   

Dr Lucas's House

Image of Dr Lucas’s House , Marieville.  Source: ‘Auld Biggins of Stirling’ by William Drysdale (Stirling, 1904)

Thomas Lucas' property, 1820 map of Stirling

Dr Lucas’ property, Marieville, Stirling as shown on the 1820 map of Stirling Burgh by John Wood.

The Lucas Family:  Thomas was married to Isabella Whitehead, and together they had eight children – Mary (died 1803), Mary, Jane, William, James, Walter, Isabella and Agnes.   Thomas died in Stirling on the 16th of February 1822, aged 66 years.  He was long outlived by his wife, Isabella, who lived until the age of 80, when she died on the 2nd of September 1850 at their family home.

Death notice for Thomas Lucas.

Death notice in the Stirling Journal for Thomas Lucas, who died age 66 on the 16th of February 1822.

Burgess and Guild Brother. Thomas Lucas was a prominent member of Stirling local society and as such was both a Freeman of the Burgh and a member of the Merchant Guildry of Stirling. The Council Archives holds the Burgh records and the minute of Dr Lucas’ entry as a Burgess can be found in the Town Council minute book for 1789 – 1811:

The entry date is 21st January 1791, which would have been when Dr Lucas was about 33 years old. Originally, when the Burgh was founded in the mediaeval period, anyone who wanted to trade in the Burgh would have to be a Burgess as Freemen of the Burgh were known, but by this date, membership was more an indication of high status and wealth in the community. Shortly after this, on the 25th January 1791, Dr Lucas is recorded in the minutes of the Guildry of Stirling, the Merchant Guild, as having been accepted as a Guild Brother:

The activities and elections of the Guild are mentioned quite frequently in the diaries. Both the Council minutes and the records of the Guildry and the associated Incorporated Trades of Stirling are all good sources of information for both family and local history and are fascinating in their own right. Access is free at the Council Archives.

B66/21/14 Town Council minutes entry for 21st January 1791

B66/21/14 Town Council minutes entry for 21st January 1791

PD6/1/7 Guildry minute of 25th January 1791

PD6/1/7 Guildry minute of 25th January 1791

Stirling Council Archive hold two diaries written by Dr Lucas covering  the dates 1 March 1808 – 31 May 1821, References PD16/4/2-3     (W B Cook Collection).  The entries for January – December 1813 will be posted in this blog.

We would like to thank all of the Archivists who have worked on the Dr Lucas diaries PD16 over the years, and in particular mention the excellent and painstaking work of Mrs Kirkpatrick who originally transcribed the diaries in the 1980s, making them immediately more accessible.  Thanks are also due to Mr W B Cook who donated the item to the Archive Service – and last but not least, to Dr Thomas Lucas himself, without whom we would have no diaries to marvel over.

Other sources of information: We have been able to piece together more information about Dr Lucas and his family using other archival material such as Stirling Burgh and Stirling County Sasines, council minutes and maps.

Other material held elsewhere:  One of Dr Lucas’ Day Books is also in existence, and kept at the National Records of Scotland.

For any further information about Dr Lucas’ diaries, or any other aspect of the archives, please contact us and we will be happy to help!



4 thoughts on “Dr Lucas

    • Hello Myra, thank you for your comment.

      We think Dr Lucas must have been quite busy during the summer months (out in his garden perhaps?) because he isn’t writing in his diary quite as often as he was in the spring. It’s nice to think of him out and about in Stirling’s old town, marching over the cobbles and then climbing the hill back home to pick his peas, dig his new tatties and potter with the cabbages of a summer’s evening in his lovely and large garden.

      Sadly, Dr Lucas is a wee bit early for photographs by a couple decades but one does wonder if there isn’t a family portrait or two out there somewhere! Our Dr L does seem to have been quite a frugal and shrewd businessman, so would he spend money on a portrait? Alternatively, one might think that as he built such a large and impressive house, a portrait or two would have suited it very nicely. It would be fantastic to find a family portrait showing Dr Lucas and the elusive Mrs Lucas and his children, who must surely have appeared in photographs or portraits in subsequent decades at some point.

      If anyone out there can find a portrait or photograph of any of the Lucas family, we’d be delighted to hear about it!

      Yours, Stirling Archive

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