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William Shiell1

M, #9534, b. 10 July 1800, d. 19 March 1875
  • Birth*: William Shiell was born on 10 July 1800 at Kelso, Roxburghshire, Scotland.1,2
  • He was the son of Anthony Shiell and Jean Holme.2
  • (Groom) Marriage*: William Shiell married Mary Russell on 17 January 1822 at St Cuthberts, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland.1,3
  • (Deceased) Death*: William Shiell died on 19 March 1875 at 26 Minto Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, at age 74 1875 deaths in the district of Newington in the city of Edinburgh, ref 289; William Shiell assistant clerk Court of Session married first to Mary Russell second ... Elizabeth Braithwaite ms [Wilstrope?], 1875 March Nineteenth 9h 30m am no 26 Minto Street Edinburgh, male aged 74 years, parents Anthony Shiell retired merchant (deceased) and Jean Shiell ms Jolmes (deceased), death sudden probably from heart disease [unattended his labourer?] many years as certified by William Giegler MD, signed Anthony Shiell son 28 [Market Street?], registered 1875 March 24 at Edinburgh John Smith registrar.4
  • Obituary: The obituary of William Shiell was was published after 19 March 1875. THE LATE W. SHIELL, ESQ., A.C.S.
    A Kelso man by birth and education, who was for half a century a well-known figure at the clerk's table of the Court of Session, has just passed away in the person of Mr W. Shiell, A.C.S. Leaving our good town at the age of nineteen, he went to Edinburgh to push his fortune, and entered the office of Mr de Maria, then Assistant Clerk and Extractor in the Second Division of the Court. Some six or seven years later, his chief died, and the young Borderer was promoted to the post, which he held down to his death last Friday. During that long period of service, Mr Shiell, from his seat within the bar, must have seen whole generations of lawyers come and go, and have listened to a perfectly appalling amount of forensic oratory. The procedure of the court, too, which was his own especial department, underwent, during his term of office, an extent of change amounting to revolution. His work began in the days of written pleadings, when cases jogged on for years in a fine leisurely manner, the opposite agents accommodating each other with any number of "prorogations of consent;" and "representations " and "reclaiming petitions " being open to the parties at every stage of the process. But he lived to see all that changed, and it maybe worth mentioning, as an illustration of the completeness of the change, that his sudden death was announced to the judges of the Second Division during the hearing of a case which was finally determined within a fortnight of its coming into court. Mr Shiell accommodated himself to all these varied circumstances with a readiness which was the outcome of his even and placid temperament, and always did his work, whether under old or new regulations, faithfully, accurately, courteously, and well. His uniform courtesy was, indeed, a very noticeable thing about him, because a certain amount of gruffness has almost come to be considered a necessary appanage of a clerk of court. The patience of these officials must often, indeed, be sorely tried by the ignorance and occasional pertness of the junior clerks, who are sent to their offices to copy interlocutors and borrow processes. But the effect of Mr Shiell's intercourse with young lawyers' clerks was quite different. It led him to take an interest in their welfare, and to sympathise with their struggles; and for long he was in his own person a kind of clerks' register, whose only fee was the consciousness that he was helping young men along the same road which he himself had honourably and successfully travelled. His love and disinterested efforts in this direction led to his being presented some years ago with a well-merited testimonial. Though visibly enfeebled with advancing years, Mr Shiell continued to discharge the duties of his office down to the last, and ho was about to leave home for his accustomed seat in court when he received the summons of the Judge of all. Most of Mr Sheill’s old friends and connections in this
    locality have gone before him to the undiscovered country, but he leaves a family filling responsible positions in life, and his younger brother has attained to affluence and influence as the head of the well-known firm of Shiell & Small, writers in Dundee. Mr Shiell himself was an elder of the Kirk, and sat in the General Assembly some years ago as one of the representatives of the metropolitan Presbytery. The place which knew him so long will know him no more for ever; but it will not soon forget his honourable and gentle …


    Mr W Sheill, Clerk of Session. -
    Mr W Shiell, who has acted for about fifty years as assistant-clerk in the Second Division of the Court of Session, died suddenly yesterday. He was attending his duties as usual on Thursday, but while at breakfast yesterday morning he felt a severe pain in the region of the heart and died almost immediately. Mr Shiell came from Kelso to Edinburgh in the year 1819, when he entered the office of M. de Maria, assistant-clerk and extractor in the Second Division of the Court. Six or seven years afterwards he was promoted to the office of assistant-clerk, and held it until his death. A period of service so extensive could not fail to secure for almost any one the respect and esteem of those with whom he daily came in contact, but in the case of Mr Shiell regard was strengthened by affection. One great feature of his character was the interest which he took in young men from the provinces, who found in him a faithful counsellor and friend. To him not a few owe their success in life; by his exertions many were enabled to obtain situations, and from his earliest days he seems to have had the deepest sympathy with all who, like himself, came as strangers to the city. Those who participated in these kindnesses showed their appreciation of them several years ago by presenting Mr Shiell with a testimonial in token of their gratitude. Mr Shiell, who was in his seventy-fifth year, was twice married. He is survived by his second wife and various members of his family. He was an attached member of the Church of Scotland, and sat as a lay representative of the Presbytery of Edinburgh in the General Assembly of 1861.5
Last Edited: 25 Aug 2012


Father*: Anthony Shiell2 b. c 1775
Mother*: Jean Holme b. c 1775


Mary Russell b. c 1800


Anthony Shiell6 b. 11 Mar 1823
David Russell Shiell6 b. 8 Dec 1824
William Shiell6 b. 30 Nov 1826
Catherine Shiell6 b. 26 Feb 1828
Jane Shiell6 b. 2 Apr 1830
John Shiell+1 b. 4 Apr 1833, d. 21 Jun 1912
William Shiell1 b. 1 Feb 1837
Colina Mackenzie Shiell1 b. 2 Jan 1844


  1. [S56] International Genealogical Index (IGI) (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: International Genealogical Index), C19500-6 [Jan 2012].
  2. [S56] Unknown compiler, C11793-6 [Jan 2012].
  3. [S56] Unknown compiler, M11989-5 [Jan 2012].
  4. [S50] General Record Office for Scotland, online www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, General Record Office for Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland), GROS statutory death 1875 Newington Edinburgh 685/05 0289 [Jan 2012].
  5. [S40] From RLS [Jan 2012].
  6. [S56] Unknown compiler, C19500-5 [Jan 2012].