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For many years members of the family had been trying to discover what happened to my great great grandfather. We found in the OPR's his marriage to Agnes Coutie on the 26th May 1822 in Kirriemuir, and the births of his four sons, Charles 1824 Kirriemuir, William 16th Feb 1827 Kirriemuir, John 22nd Nov 1829 Dron and James 7th Jan 1833 Aberdeen. In the 1841 census we could only find Agnes Coutie staying in Kirriemuir with two of her sons, John and James. In the 1851 census Agnes now called herself Waddel and she still had John and James staying with her. Where was her husband William?

The next clue was in the marriage certificate of William's son John. He married Betsy Irvine on the 9th Feb 1855 and in it, it states against Father - Gone to Australia! I then asked researchers in Australia how to proceed, and one Graeme Haigh immediately responded with the news that he had found him! Graeme then sent me his indent papers, his Certificate of Freedom, information on who he was assigned to, Joshua Thorpe who had land on the Cook River, Sydney, notices about him absconding on at least two occasions, his death certificate and his burial certificate. Graeme can be found at and his email address is I found his help immense and his costs reasonable!

Following on from this information I then went into West Register House, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, where all court papers in Scotland are archived. I was then able to read all the documents on his trial, including his statement which he had signed at the foot of every page! The precognitions are reference AD14/32/42.   From this access the NORTH CIRCUIT MINUTE BOOK and then the COURT PAPERS! The witness statements gave a graphic account of the deed and of the times! I obtained a photocopy of William's statement and it is shown below. You will find West Register House at

From this information we were able to ascertain that William was born in Caputh, Perthshire on the 15th May 1803 to James Waddel and Susannah Thomson. He married Agnes Coutie on the 26th of May 1822 in Kirriemuir, Angus.  They had four sons, Charles, William, John Brough and James Leslie. I am descended from John, and I have recently discovered a cousin descended from Charles. James died quite young and we cannot find William anywhere. The whole family can be viewed at

On the 1st August 1832 William and a James McNicoll stole two horses from a James Wattie and John Rattray. The horses were stolen from pasturage at (Badfaintoch or Badfiantach or Badfantick) that is in a small glen to the north of the River Dee.

Helen Wattie took her father's horse to the pasturage on the 1st August 1832 from the farm called Rintassin, which is in the parish of Crathie and Braemar.   John Rattray farmed at Breareach in the parish of Crathie and Braemar.

William's statement tells the rest of the story.

At Forfar the 5th day of August

Eighteen hundred and thirty two in

Presence of Andrew Robertson Esquire

Sheriff Substitute of Forfarshire.

Compeared', William Waddel, who being examined declares, that his present residence is in a House No 2, Head of the Windmill Brae, Aberdeen, in which house his wife and family reside. Declares that he was at the last market of Ackyfair (Aikie Fair) in Aberdeenshire, and from that crossed the country - that on Wednesday last, he crossed the River Dee at a place called Boat of Gardyne, as he thinks.   Declares that James McNicoll, whose father keeps a public house in Arbroath, was along with the Declarent at that time.   That McNicoll and the Declarent were in Ackyfair together, where they met in with a person of the name of James Orchardson, whose father lives in the neighbourhood of Forfar - that the Declarent, and McNicoll, were out of work, and went to the market expecting to get employment to drive cattle from it, but they could not get any employment.   That Orchardson advised them to go to the hills where there were plenty of poney's and take a pony each, and go to Kinross where he would meet them and buy them; and the Declarent and McNicoll agreed to do so. 

Declares that while he and McNicoll were travelling on the evening of Wednesday last, the first day of August current, they saw some horses pasturing in a glen, about two or three miles, as he thinks, to the north of the River Dee.   That McNicoll said they should take a horse apiece to take a ride; and each of them accordingly mounted a horse.   That they took the horses about ten o'clock at night as he thinks.   That the one the Declarent took was a brown mare with a long tail, four white feet, and a small white satch down her face.  That the horses were not tethered; that McNicoll had some rope with him of which he and the Declarent made halters.   That the horse, which McNicoll took, was a brown one with his main cut out.   That there were five other horses and a foal pasturing in the glen. 

Declares that he and McNicoll proceeded along the Deeside road westwards and crossed the Dee by a bridge and then proceeded southwards by the Spittal of Glenshee, and from thence to Kirriemuir where they arrived the next night, being Thursday.   That they stopped to let the horses eat grass but the Declarent and McNicoll did not go into any house before they reached Kirriemuir.  That they met with several persons travelling on the road, but he did not know any of them having never been in that country before. 

That the Declarent and McNicoll stopped in the house of one Mitchell, a Vintner in Kirriemuir.   That they reached Mitchell's house between eight and nine o'clock on Thursday evening and stopped there till about six o'clock next morning when they set off with their horses and went to Forfar, where they breakfasted in the house of Mrs Watterston.   That after breakfast, the Declarent went to the house of William Nicoll, Vintner, High Street, Forfar, in order to get some money which he was due to the Declarent for a watch.   That McNicoll went along with the Declarent, and before the Declarent had said anything about said money, McNicoll and Nicoll began talking about horse-couping, and McNicoll offered to sell the brown horse to Nicoll.   That they and the Declarent returned to Mrs Watterstons, where the horses were, and where Nicoll was shown the brown horse, which McNicoll had taken as before mentioned.   That the Declarent thought the brown horse worth about twelve or fourteen pounds.  

Declares that McNicoll sold said horse to Nicoll for a blue one which he had, (and which was lame) and fifteen shillings in money.   That McNicoll told Nicoll, that he, McNicoll, had bought the brown horse in Kinross.   That Mrs Waterston was present when the brown horse was sold.   Declares that McNicoll, the Declarent, and Nicoll, returned to Nicoll's house where the fifteen shillings were paid to McNicoll, and that the blue horse was sent to Mrs Waterstons and the brown horse was brought from there to Nicoll's house.   That an old man of the name of James Milne and Nicoll's wife were present when these things were going on.   That Nicoll and McNicoll began talking about reselling the blue horse to Nicoll and McNicoll agreed to give back the blue horse for two or three and twenty shillings as the Declarent thinks, but they did not conclude the bargain at that time.   That the Declarent did not offer to sell the brown mare which he had taken.  

That in a short time the Declarent, McNicoll and Nicoll returned to Mrs Waterstons where they were joined by a brewer lad, whose name the Declarent does not know.  That after stopping a short while and getting some drink, McNicoll took the mare, which the Declarent had taken and the blue horse from Mrs Waterstons to Nicoll's house.  That the Declarent did not go along with him but went to call for a friend of the Declarent's wife in Forfar.   That about two o'clock the same day, the Declarent went to look for McNicoll and found him riding the brown mare on the Dunnichen road near Forfar.  That McNicoll was very drunk.   That he asked the Declarent to go and drink with him, but the Declarent gave him no answer and immediately parted with him.  That there was a farm servant with a horse and cart along with McNicoll at that time and in a little after the Declarent fell in with the same farm servant and entered into conversation with him.   That he was an acquaintance of McNicoll's and the Declarent agreed to go with him and get a bed for the night. 

That the Declarent accompanied that farm servant to his house, which is on the farm of Newton of Idvies as the Declarent understands.  That the Declarent remained there till about five o'clock yesterday morning, when he left it to go to Cononsyth where an uncle of McNicoll resides, and where the Declarent expected to find McNicoll.   That as the Declarent was approaching Cononsyth he saw McNicoll coming out of the door of a house, that they conversed a little together.  That McNicoll then went and got the brown mare and they proceeded on to Arbroath, where he said he would get some person to purchase her.   That the Declarent proposed to leave the mare on the road and to go home, but McNicoll objected to this.   That they arrived at Arbroath in the course of the forenoon and went to a public house kept by a man of the name of Sheriff.   That about six o'clock in the evening McNicoll brought a man with a horse and cart to Sheriff's house where the Declarent was and the Declarent sold the mare to that man, for the horse which he had and thirty shillings.   That the Declarent understands said mans name is Beattie.  

That the Declarent remained in Sheriff's house where he was apprehended in the course of last night by Sheriff Officers from Forfar.  That the Declarent gave back Beattie his horse and his money and the mare and the Declarent were brought to Forfar.   Declares that after taking the horse from the pasture and before reaching the Spittal of Glenshee, McNicoll cut away a good deal of the hair from the tail of the brown horse.  Declares that he thinks the value of the brown mare which he took may be about nine or ten pounds, but he is not a proper judge of horses, and all this he declares to be truth.   Twenty-five words deleted before signing.

William Waddel

A.   Robertson

At Forfar the fifth day of August Eighteen hundred and Thirty two years in presence of Andrew Robertson Esquire Sheriff Substitute of Forfarshire.

The declaration written on this and the nine preceding pages with the two marginal notes on page ninth was this day emitted by the therein designed William Waddel freely and voluntarily without compulsion and while in his sound mind and sober senses and having been read over to him he adhered thereto all in presence of the said Sheriff Substitute William Hutchison Procurator Fiscal of Forfarshire John Stewart Sheriff Officer in Forfar and William Morgan Murray Clerk in the Sheriff Clerks Office Forfar by whom the Declaration is written.

A. Robertson

Will Hutchison

Willm M Murray

John Stewart

Aberdeen 14th August 1832

The declaration written on the ten preceding pages is referred to in the declaration this day emitted by William Waddel, present prisoner in the Aberdeen jail, before the Sheriff Substitute of Aberdeenshire.

William Waddel

A. Gordon?

W Simpson?

John Dunn?

Geo Lochburry?


For their crime, William and James were tried in the Court of Justiciary in Aberdeen on the 28th September 1832 and sentenced.   Both pleaded guilty as libelled.   The Advocate Deputy (Mr Simpson) led the prosecution and Mr Murray led the defence.   There are approx. 12 precognitions that give a full story of the events.   They include the two farmers, the daughter of one, a farm servant on the road, and the people they tried to sell the horses to.   The farm servant knew William as he stayed in Glamis about three years earlier.

The sentence passed down by the Lords Gillies and Medwyn was

In respect of the foregoing political confession the Lords Gillies and Medwyn Decree and adjudge the saids William Waddel and James McNicol Pannels to be transported beyond the seas for the period of seven years from this date and that under the provisions and certifications contained in an Act passed in the fifth year of the reign of his late Majesty, William 111, and under order in them, to be carried to the tolbooth of Aberdeen there to be detained till removed for transportation in terms of the said Act.

Wm Gillies

The trial was reported in the Aberdeen Journal on the 3rd October 1832, and the report is as follows.


On Thursday last, the Circuit Court of Justiciary was opened here by the Right. Hon. Lords GILLIES and MEDWYN.    After an Impressive prayer by the Rev. Dr Thomson of St. Clements, and the usual preliminaries.

William WaddeI and James M’Nicol were then placed at the bar, charged with horse-stealing; in so far as on the 1st or 2nd of August last, they stole a horse, belonging to James Wattie, farmer, Rintassin, parish of Crathie; and also a mare, the property of John Rattray, farmer, Breareach, same parish.    Pannels pleaded Guilty.

Mr. Murray read a great many certificates of character in favour of panels, several of them from Ministers and others, from which it appeared that they had, up to the period of the present offence, borne a good character. Mr. Murray said that want and bad company had led them to the commission of this crime, of which they had now bitterly repented; and that Mr. Simpson, the Procurator Fiscal for the County, would bear him out in saying that neither of the panels had ever been charged with crime before.   One of them had a wife and four children.

Lord Medwyn said, he gave them credit for their previous good character, which he wished had continued up to the present day, in which case they would not then have had to stand at that bar. The theft had been committed in a highland district, where it was impossible that the cattle could be kept under the eye of their owners, and that circumstances rendered the crime of greater magnitude.   The prisoners could not continue in this country; but, in consideration of their former good character, he would propose that the period of their transportation should be only seven years.

After an impressive speech, Lord Gillies pronounced sentence accordingly."

There is no information on how long they were kept in the Tolbooth in Aberdeen before being moved to Sheerness, Kent.   There they joined the ship, Lord Lyndoch, and sailed from Sheerness on the 4th June 1833 bound for Sydney Australia.  The Lord Lyndoch was of 638 tons and carried 325 male prisoners and a contingent of soldiers.   According to information she sailed to Sydney via Rio and Cape Horn.      The Lord Lyndoch made some four trips to Australia, this was her second.   She was built in Calcutta in 1815 and was a Class E1.   As she was built in Calcutta and a class E1, she may been one of the renowned teak boats!   It took 144 days for the voyage.

All prisoners had an indent.   This was a description of them, their family, their crime, the sentence and where tried, and was in great detail.   The page that William's is on contains details of another 22 convicts.

This is William's indent.


Standing No. of Convict          33-2401

Indent No.                              318

Age                                         29

Education R&W                      R Read W Write

Religion                                   Protestant

Single, Married or                    Married


Children                                   Male           4


Native Place                             Perthshire

Trade or Calling                        Farm servant; sawyer

Offence                                    Stealing horses

Where Tried                             Aberdeen Court of Justiciary

When                                       28 September 1832

Sentence                                  7 years

Former Convictions                  None

Height                                     Feet 5' 6-1/'2" Inches

Complexion                             Ruddy

Colour of            

Hair                      Brown

Eyes                      Hazel

Marks or Scars,           Mole left cheek, mole right side of upper lip, another on forehead


The Lord Lyndoch sailed from Sheerness, Isle of Sheppey, Kent on 4 June 1833.   List of Male Convicts, by the Ship LORD LYNEDOCH (sic), William JOHNSTON, Master, David WATSON, Surgeon Superintendent, arrived from ENGLAND, 18th October 1833.   William’s indent was on pages 141 – 142.

When he arrived in Sydney he was assigned to a Joshua Thorpe of Sydney who had land on the Cook's River, about 5 miles from the centre of Sydney.   He must have spent his whole time with him as he absconded on at least two occasions.   These were reported in the New South Wales Gazette.   On the 30/6/1835 he is reported as being apprehended after running away from T. Thorpe, Cook's River.   In the Gazette of 18/12/1838 he is reported as having absconded from Joshua Thorpe, Cook's River, since 17th December.

On the 28th September 1839 he received his Certificate of Freedom.   He served exactly seven years!   A copy of the certificate follows. Written down the left hand side is a comment which is hard to read, it looks like "Received a hev 29 Sep 1842"


No.          391664

Date        28 September 1839

Prisoner’s No.            33/2401

Name                         William Waddel

Ship                            Lord Lynedock

Master                        Johnstone

Year                           1833

Native Place                Perthshire

Trade or Calling           Sawyer

Offence                        Horse Stealing

Place of Trial                Aberdeen Court of Judiciary

Date of Trial                 28 September 1832

Sentence                       Seven Years

Year of birth                 1803

Height                           5 feet 61/2 inches

Complexion                   Ruddy

Hair                               Brown

Eyes                              Hazel

General Remarks            mole left cheek near the mouth another right side of upper lip another in centre of forehead (then four words that I can't read).

William died on the 14th November 1851 and was buried on the 15th November 1851 in the Camperdown Cemetery in Sydney.   He was a patient in the Infirmary and died of heart disease.   At the time of his death he lived in Druitt Street.   His death certificate and burial details are attached.