Agnes Colquhoun Thomson

On 19th May 1913, Agnes Colquhoun Thomson was tried, alongside suffragettes Arabella Scott, Edith Hudson, Elizabeth Thomson and Donald McEwan, at Jedburgh Sheriff Court before Sheriff Chisholm KC and a jury. On 5th April they had been caught attempting to set fire to the new stand at Kelso race course with fire lighters and oil. At the front of the race stand they had left small flag and copy of The Suffragette magazine. As the group were taken to the local police office they sang 'March On' - a song adopted by the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1910.

In court, Arabella objected to the jurors saying that those on trial were to be judged by their peers, and the male jurors were not their peers. The Sheriff replied that they would be tried in line with the law.

Agnes' charge was found to be not proven and she was discharged. Scott, Hudson and McEwan were each given 9 months' imprisonment and Elizabeth Thomson was given 3 months. There were cries of 'shame' and 'never surrender' from the gallery of other women supporters and Arabella Scott said 'we shall not serve these sentences'.

Agnes was born on 25th October 1845, in Glasgow, the second child of Robert Dundas Thomson, M.D, and Margaret Agnes Thomson. The family moved to London and lived in St John's Wood, Marlborough.

In the 1880s and 1890s Agnes travelled the world with her sister Elizabeth Thomson, who also campaigned for women's suffrage. They worked as teachers and missionaries in countries including India, Japan and USA. After returning to Britain, Agnes joined the WSPU.

Agnes' case can be examined in a file held by National Records of Scotland.