Dr David Ramsay Sturrock
Dr David Sturrock spent his medical career as a surgeon with the Honourable East India Company Service. After returning to Dundee, he became a major campaigner for the closure of Dundee Howff. He married late in life to Charlotte Shaw.
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Personal details and history
David Ramsay Sturrock
Date of birth
Place of birth
Name of spouse
Age at death:
Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers
Presumed Episcopalian - His father, John Sturrock, was reported to have been a 'zealous Episcopalian.' His brother, Robert, was also declared to have belonged to the Episcopal church - 'a useful and esteemed member of St Mary's Episcopal Church, Broughty Ferry.' A niece was married to an Episcopalian minister. His wife's funeral was conducted from St Mary's Episcopal Church, Broughty Ferry. David Sturrock demonstrated his support of the Rev Robert Lee. In 1869, he subscribed to the efforts of a Special Committee of the Friends & Admirers of the late Rev Robert Lee, (Professor of Biblical Criticism at the University of Edinburgh, Minister of Old Greyfriar's, Dean of the Chapel Royal and one of her Majesty's Chaplains for Scotland) formed to erect a monument to his memory).
Clubs / societies
David Ramsay Sturrock was reported as 'not having any desire to enter into municipal or public life.'
Subscriber 64 – Messrs Don Brothers & Co – relatives of Dr David Sturrock.
Subscriber 65 – Peter Duncan – David Sturrock’s sister in Law, Catherine Ann Young, was Peter Duncan’s niece.
Subscriber 166 – James Brydon Nicoll – a neighbour of David Sturrock at 3 Park Place.
Subscriber 173 – John Ogilvie – a neighbour of David Sturrock at 4 Park Place.
Subscriber 202 – Archibald Sturrock – younger brother of David Sturrock.
Career and worklife
Physician / Surgeon
David Sturrock was born in 1806 (one of twin boys), to John Sturrock, then a merchant, and Christian Ramsay. The couple had seven of a family, although David’s twin, Sylvester (d 1833), the youngest child John Binny (d 1835) and his older brother John (d 1865) predeceased their father (unusually, they had two sons, living at the same time, both bearing the name John).
In 1827, David’s father was appointed agent for the Bank of Scotland in Dundee, a position he was to hold for thirty years, into his seventies.
Meanwhile, in 1828, David himself, had graduated as M.D. from Edinburgh (approximately 22 years old). The following year, he became Assistant Surgeon. Some years later, in 1845, his status as a Surgeon was realised.
It is difficult to determine when, precisely, David Sturrock entered the Honourable East India Company Services. Records declare that he retired from the Company in 1852 after 20 years approximately. This implies that his entry was circa 1832, while in his mid 20s. However, he was recorded as having been back in Dundee and living with his father in Bank Street, by the 1851 census. David Sturrock remained in the same household as his mother and father, firstly in Bank Street, thereafter in Park Place (following his father’s retiral from the Bank of Scotland). Doubtless, his father ultimately reaching into his 90th year, David Sturrock as a medic, was best placed to oversee their wellbeing, together with his unmarried sister, Christina Sandeman Sturrock.
It was while residing in Bank Street (overlooking the Howff), that Dr David Sturrock opposed the campaign to allow continuing interments within the neighbouring burial ground. Apart from emitting deleterious odours for the residents living in the vicinity, he and others held the opinion that the Howff was a health hazard, in times of scourge (cholera etc), owing to the shallow character of the burials and the risk of infection. Such was his belief that he lobbied citizens to support its closure and embarked on writing a series of letters to the press. The Howff was closed for further burials by 1858 – with one exception, that of George Duncan, M.P., whose burial in 1878 had merited special consideration.
The Sturrocks, as a family, were staunch Episcopalian churchgoers. Coming, as they did, from Forfar, a stronghold of that church, David Sturrock’s antecedents had contributed to its continued existence. David Sturrock’s great grandfather, John Sturrock of Pitreuchie had given the site used for the building of their church ‘after the ’45.’
David Sturrock’s father, John Sturrock, was elected treasurer of St Paul’s Epsicopal Church circa 1809 and retained that office until his death in 1868. In recognition of his unflinching service, John Sturrock was awarded a testimonial then ‘bequeathed to Dr David Sturrock – the silver plate and other articles which I lately received as a testimonial from the members of St Paul’s Episcopal Congregation in Dundee, as an acknowledgement for my services as treasurer to said congregation, to the said David Sturrock, my son, in liferent for his liferent use, the said Testimonial to be kept as an heirloom.’
After the death of his mother in 1867 and his father in 1868, David Sturrock made the move to Broughty Ferry. His younger brother, Robert, (previously a flax spinner at Ramsay Mill) by then an actuary with the Savings Bank, had moved there in the early 1850s.
It would appear that Dr David Sturrock married, at the age of 70 years, Charlotte Stuart Shaw, 28 years his junior. Her father, George Shaw, had spent his working life in the Bombay Civil Service.
Dr David Sturrock, M.D., H.E.I.C.S. died in 1882, at his home, where he had ‘lived quietly and unobtrusively amongst his relatives and friends in Broughty Ferry, not having any desire to enter into municipal or public life but preferring to do good in a quiet way,’
- Old Parish Registers. Dundee. Births. 282/ 90 226. Scotlandspeople website.
- London Daily News. 14 July 1876. p.1. British Newspaper Archive via Findmypast website.
- England & Wales Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915. (1876). Volume 7a. p.897. Ancestry website.
- Census Returns. Dundee. (1851). 282/ 71/ 11. Scotlandspeople website.
- Dundee Directory, 1861-62. p.214. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
- Dundee Directory, 1867-68. p.204. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
- Dundee Directory, 1869-70. p.381. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
- Statutory Registers. Monifieth. Deaths. (1882). 310/ 26. Scotlandspeople website.
- Dundee Courier. 7 March 1882. p.2. British Newspaper Archive via Findmypast website.
- Dundee Courier. 13 June 1894. p.3. British Newspaper Archive via Findmypast website.
- Dundee Evening Telegraph. 12 June 1906. p.2. British Newspaper Archive via Findmypast website.
- Edinburgh Evening Courant. 03 April 1869. p.1. British Newspaper Archive via Findmypast website.
- Dundee, Perth, and Cupar Advertiser. 10 August 1858. p.2. British Newspaper Archive via Findmypast website.
- UK Roll of the Indian Medical Service. 1615-1930. Ancestry website.
- Mitchell, Alison. (ed). Monumental Inscriptions Pre 1855. Volume 4. p.84. The Scottish Genealogy Society.
- Perthshire Advertiser. 16 November 1865. p.4. British Newspaper Archive via Findmypast website.
- Census Records. Dundee. (1861). 282/ 2 8/ 49. Scotlandspeople website.
- Mitchell, Alison. (ed). Monumental Inscriptions Pre 1855. Volume 1. p.143. The Scottish Genealogy Society.
- Legal Records. Wills and Testaments. Dundee Sheriff Court. (1868). SC45/ 31/ 21. Scotlandspeople website.
- Dundee Directory. 1853-54. p.220. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
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