Matthias Thierens Guyana

Biography of Matthias Thierens

Matthias (or Matthijs) Thierens was born in 1789 in Demerara (now Guyana), formerly a Dutch colony but which was formally ceded to Britain in 1815. He was probably related to the Matthijs Thierens who was commander of the colony from 1791-1793 and was thought to be his ‘circumstantial’ father. The Thierens family were Dutch merchants and planters at Wisselvalligheid on Leguan Island. By 1815 it produced over 220,000 pounds of sugar and 3,142 gallons of rum. There was a strong Scottish connection and both Matthias and his brother Albertus married Scottish girls.

Matthias studied Medicine at Glasgow University from at least 1810-1812 and graduated M.D. in 1816. In the October of that year he married Elizabeth Kirkland from the Greenock area and returned to Demerara. Their only daughter, Henrietta, died there in 1837 at the home of her uncle Albertus. Matthias also died young, probably around 1821. His widow Elizabeth returned to live in Scotland at some stage and helped bring up Albertus’s daughter Cornelia after her mother died. In the 1871 Census Elizabeth is described as an ‘annuitant’ and boarder at 24 West Cumberland Street, Glasgow. The occupations of the other residents suggest a comfortably off background. She died in 1873. The wider Thierens family had substantial wealth in land and enslaved people. Matthias’s brother Albertus held a half share in two plantations and benefitted from over £4,000 from compensation claims in 1836. He returned to live in Scotland after his wife’s death in 1842 and died in Glasgow on 3rd September 1845. He is buried in Glasgow’s Necropolis.


Matthias Thierens
Born 1789, Guyana.
Died 1821.
GU Degree: MD, 1816;
University Link: Graduate
Record last updated: 12th Apr 2021

Country Associations

Guyana Guyana
Place of Birth

University Connections

University Roles