Thomas Tod Stoddart was born in Edinburgh on 14th
February 1810. He was one of seven children of Captain
(later Admiral) Pringle Stoddart and Frances Sprot. After
Edinburgh High School, Thomas went to the University of
Edinburgh, at the age of 15, to read law. In 1833 he was
admitted to the Faculty of Advocates, but never practised.
Thomas had developed a passion for angling and the art
of angling – a passion that had been passed down from his
father, and it was angling that became his chief occupation.
Thomas Tod Stoddart was known as an expert angler and fly-maker and he formed friendships with renowned anglers such as Rob Kerss of the Trows. He began writing on the subject of angling and his papers on “The Art of Angling” were published in Chambers’s Journal. In 1835 these were published in book form which was the first treatise of its kind in Scotland. A new and enlarged edition followed a year later and Angling Reminiscences in 1837. Ten years later The Angler’s Companion to the Rivers and Lochs of Scotland was published. His fourth and last book on angling was An Angler’s Rambles and Angling Songs which consisted of fascinating reminiscences interspersed with verse. From childhood, Stoddart loved writing verse and his poetry received a prize for “idolatry” at the age of 16. His first printed verses were entitled “An Address to the Scottish Thistle” which appeared in the short-lived publication Lapsus Linguoe. Stoddart published volumes of verse including “Songs of the Seasons”, “Angling Songs” and “The Death- Wake or Lunacy, a necromaunt in three chimeras”. He had many friends in the literary world including James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, who was also a fishing companion.
In April 1836 Thomas married Elizabeth (Bessie) MacGregor of Contin, Ross-shire and the following year the couple moved to Kelso, eventually setting up home at Bellevue Cottage. He found Kelso a place congenial to his tastes and for forty-three years it was his home. He was president and secretary of Teviotdale Angling Club and he was also president of the Kelso Angling Club. Thomas Tod Stoddart died in Kelso on 21 November 1880 and is buried at Rosebank Cemetery beside his wife who died in 1886 and their daughter who died in 1911. His two sons Pringle and John lived in New Zealand. During his funeral the bell of the Town Hall was tolled at intervals of a minute.
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