Merchant Banking Company of Stirling

Scope and Content

Collection consists of four bundles of documents relating to sequestration of the Merchant Banking Company of Stirling and claims on the sequestrated estate.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Merchant Banking Company of Stirling, also known as Belch and Company, was founded by a group of six partners in 1784. It remained a small operation throughout its existence and ultimately failed in 1804-05.

While the Bank's numerous speculative investments in agriculture during a period of depressed agricultural prices were undoubtedly responsible for much of its difficulties, there was also an element of criminality in its final collapse. According to S.G. Checkland, the Bank 'acquired quite early an unsatisfactory reputation'. Before its failure, Andrew and John Belch, the only remaining partners, were contemplating a ficticious bankruptcy and to this end almost all of the floating capital was put under Andrew Belch's control with the evident intention of individual appropriation. Andrew Belch absconded to London with £13,957 in notes and bills but was soon apprehended.

He appeared before Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 27 September, 1805. The brothers had also planned to distribute £5,000 worth of notes to their friends for claims against the Bank. The failure of the Merchant Banking Company of Stirling was the first failure of a Scottish bank in which the public lost money. At the time of its failure it had liabilities of £50,140. Of this, £34,500 were liquidated, leaving a shortfall of £15,640.


The collection is arranged into the following :

  • GB1830 MBS/1 Papers re sequestration.
  • GB1830 MBS/2 List of unclaimed dividends due from the sequestrated estate, consigned in the Bank of Scotland by James Dundas, Trustee of said estate.
  • GB1830 MBS/3 Bundle of receipts for banknotes of the Merchant Banking Company of Stirling
  • GB1830 MBS/4 List of unclaimed dividends due.

Access Information

Access is by appointment only, and at the discretion of the Archivist. Closure periods apply to some records less than 100 years old. Please e-mail for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying of material is permitted at the discretion of Lloyds Banking Group Archives.


No further accruals expected.

Related Material

GB1830 BOS/2/2/9/3: Bank of Scotland Secretary's Letter Book, Oct 1805-Nov 1830. Contains letters relating to legal matters written by Bank Secretary George Sandy W.S. including letters to various correspondents involved in the winding up of the Estate (James Dundas, Accountant, Trustee on the Sequestrated Estate of the Merchant Banking Company of Stirling, Messrs Gilbert Hamilton & Son, Glasgow; Mr James Ferguson W.S.; Messrs Thomas Coutts & Co, London etc ).

Records relating to the sequestration of the company may be found in the Court of Session Records held by National Records Scotland: Sequestration Journals, 1805 (CS96/2349-53); Extracted Processes, 1822 (CS44/Box 75); Sequestration Journals, 1826 (CS96/2346-8; 2345-9); Sederunt Books, 1805-20, 1826-30 (CS96/2346-50, 2351-60).


George Joseph Bell, Commentaries on the Laws of Scotland and on the Principles of Mercantile Jurisprudence Vol. 2 (London 1826)

John Burnett, A Treatise on Various Branches of the Criminal Law of Scotland (1811)

S. G. Checkland, Scottish Banking A History 1695-1973 (1975)

Andrew William Kerr, History of Banking in Scotland (London, 1926)

Charles A. Munn, The Scottish Provincial Banking Companies 1747-1864 (Edinburgh, 1981)

Richard Saville, Bank of Scotland, A History, 1695-1995 (Edinburgh, 1996)

The Scots Magazine, Volume 68, 1806 contains brief report on Andrew Belch case before the Court of Justiciary.


Geographical Names