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Scotland, Scandinavia & Northern Europe 1580 - 1707


The SSNE database comprises of information relating to c.5000 individuals from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales who migrated to or worked in Denmark-Norway and Sweden-Finland between 1580 and 1707. They represent the military, naval, diplomatic, intellectual and social elite from the British Isles who operated in northern Europe. The names included here are drawn from a variety of primary and secondary sources. Their entries are being constantly updated and added to as new information becomes available.

Previous studies have often failed to place the Scottish connection with the Scandinavian countries into a satisfactory context. They have not allowed for an accurate estimation of the importance of the Scottish presence since we do not know whether it is a small or a large percentage of those arriving from the British Isles. The SSNE database means that for the first time a reasonably accurate comparison of Scottish, English and Irish involvement will be feasible. That comparison is all the more useful since the citizens of the three kingdoms were all subjects of the same monarch.

Scrutinising the existing works, it became clear that it was of little value to include all the Scottish names we had available for our purposes. We opted therefore not to include all the Scots or individuals that we had details for, but instead to define groups of people we would incorporate. The selection process was based on the usefulness of the various categories. We feel we have achieved a balanced and manageable selection of individuals for comparative research.

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And here is an example entry that was found in the database...

Thomas Meldrum (c.1605-1693), general and military governor, was born in Scotland around 1605. There is very little information on his early life and indeed the details of his early military career appear confusing. There are references in Danish archival sources to a Thomas Meldrum in Danish service during their period of the Thirty Years' War (1625-1629). However, there does not appear to be agreement as to which rank he had or in which regiment he served. According to the Danish military historian Gunner Lind, Meldrum joined the Sjælland Knight's regiment on 1st August 1627 as a private and departed from Danish-Norwegian service on the 12th June 1628 (Lind, 1995). Another Dane, Thomas Riis makes mention of a Captain Thomas Meldrum commanding a company of the Sjælland National Foot by February 1628 and departing from Danish service in June 1629 (Riis, 1988, II, 115). It is not implausible that these are the same man given the chaotic state of the Danish army during this period. Further, neither author notes another man of that name in their detailed listings of officers in the Danish-Norwegian army derived directly from the muster rolls. In 1629 Denmark-Norway signed the Treaty of Lübeck and withdrew from the war against the Habsburg Empire. Many Scottish officers and soldiers transferred from the army of Christian IV to serve in the Swedish army of Gustav II Adolf. It appears that Thomas Meldrum was one of these men. Certainly a Captain Thomas Meldrum fought for the Swedish army in Germany as a member of Alexander Cunningham's Scottish infantry regiment in 1632. J.C.W. Hirsch and Gunner Lind indicate that this is the same man who re-enlisted into Danish service for their wars against Sweden between 1657-1660. From this point on, Meldrum's military service can be traced more easily. He re-entered Danish service from that of Brandenburg in January 1657. Meldrum initially served as a captain in the infantry regiment of the Scotsman, Major-General John Henderson. He did not stay with the unit long which allowed him to avoid capture when Henderson surrendered the garrison of Hindsgavl in January 1658. Lind indicates that Meldrum temporarily became a dragoon captain in October 1657 departing from his usual capacity as an infantry officer. He later returned to foot service when he served as a captain of the student's regiment during the siege of Copenhagen in April 1658. In 1659 Meldrum served as a captain in Krag's infantry regiment and remained an infantry captain until 1663. Sometime after 1670 he gained his promotion to lieutenant colonel of infantry stationed in Copenhagen. War broke out between Denmark-Norway and Sweden in 1675 as the Danes sought to recover their former territories east of the Sound. The Treaty of Copenhagen had ceded these to the Swedes in 1660. Meldrum took an active part in the Danish campaign and earned the title of commander and full colonel at the battle of Lund. By 1677, Meldrum acted as vice-commander of the newly captured Swedish town of Landskrona, and finally as military governor of the castle. It was from this strategic position commanded by Meldrum that Christian V conducted his devastating campaign against Swedish Skåne. Yet despite Danish success in the campaign, the French brokered the Peace of Lund in 1679 which ensured that Sweden retained the former Danish provinces. Thereafter Meldrum returned to Denmark where he remained on active service within the army. In 1684 he gained further promotion to the rank of brigadier. Thomas Meldrum died with the rank of general in 1693 aged about 88 years old. The few scattered references that remain in Scandinavian military archives appear to be all that remain of a career which spanned nearly sixty years and saw Meldrum rise from a common soldier to a respected commander. ......................................................................... J.C.W. Hirsch and K. Hirsch (eds.), 'Fortegnelse over Dansk og Norske officerer med flere fra 1648 til 1814 (12 vols. compiled 1888-1907), VII, vol. 2; G. Lind, Danish Data Archive 1573, database, (Copenhagen, 1995 version); Swedish Krigsarkiv, Muster Roll, 1632/30; T. Riis, Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot…Scottish-Danish relations c.1450-1707, (2 vols., Odense, 1988), II, pp.92 and 115; Danish Rigsarkiv, Kanc. B 150, fol. 116r.-v. no.155; N. P. Jensen, Den Skaanske Krig, 1675-1679 (Copenhagen, 1900), pp.51, 61, 73, 100, 123, 181, 245, 262, 320, 393, 453.


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