Scots in Sweden, by Jonas Berg
and Bo Lagercrantz
Seventeenth Century - Part 2
David Drummond (1593-1638)
was the son of a Scottish nobleman, and was Spens son-in-law. He entered
Swedish service as a Lieutenant in the Lifeguard in 1617, was promoted to
Captain in 1619 and raised to the nobility in 1627. In the same year he
succeeded Patrick Ruthven as commanding officer of a Smâland regiment, and
in 1631 his regiment was transferred to Pommerania, where it remained in
the garrision of Stettin until 1634. In this latter year Drummond was
promoted to Major-general. He distinguished himself in the capture of
Gartz in 1637, and became Commandant of the town. The enemy took Gartz by
surprise in the following year. Drummond was wounded, fell prisoner, and
died shortly afterwards in Spandau.
He was buried in
Riddarholmskyrkan in Stockholm. When the now lost coffin was opened in
1758 it was found to contain only a sawn-off skull. This was probably a
purely practical arrangement to facilitate transport.
Stockholm. Detail of Swidde's
Alexander Leslie, later
Earl of Leven and Lord Balgonie, born 1582 at Castle Blair in Athol, died
1661 at Balgonie. Son to George Leslie.
Leslie took part in the
Dutch-Spanish War in 1605, as Captain. In 1608 he entered Swedish service,
and took part in de la Gardies campaign against Moscow. In 1622 he became
Lt. Colonel with Ruthvens Smāland Regiment. From 1623 to 1629 he was
Colonel of a regiment from Södermanland, Närke and Värmland.
In 1626 he was given
command of the fort at Pillau, where he remained until 1628, when he
commanded the force that was sent to relieve Stralsund, which he defended
against Wallenstein. The main attack was, however, over by the time Leslie
arrived. In 1630 he expelled the remaining Imperial troops from Rugen
before the Swedish landing.
In 1631 he crossed to
London to assist Lord Hamilton as Chief of Staff in transporting the
latters troops to Germany. On his return he was made Major-general and
Commandant of Stralsund.
In 1632 he fought against
Pappenheim, without marked success, and took part in the battle of Lutzen.
During the years following he commanded an Army Corps operating between
the Elbe and the Weser. In 1636 he was made Field Marshal and Commandant
General of the army in Westphalia. Shortly before the battle of Wittstock
he joined the main army. It was in this battle that he served Sweden with
most distinction, by the way in which he commanded the furious struggle in
the centre. Banérs brilliant victory was due in no small measure to his
The Battle of Wittstock 1636
In 1638 he retired from
Swedish service and returned to Scotland, where he was given cornmand of
the Covenanters when they crossed into England in 1639. After his capture
of Newcastle in 1640, the Covenanters and the King came to terms in 1641.
In the same year Charles I appointed him Privy Councillor, Earl of Leven
and Governor of Edinburgh Castle.
Most famous of all the
members of the Ramsay family who entered Swedish service was Major-general
James Ramsay (c. 1589-1638), the defender of Hanau. A branch of the family
had settled in Sweden before his time. The father of Captain of Horse Hans
Ramsay of Dalhousie, who was introduced into the House of Nobility in
1633, emigrated to Sweden as early as in 1573.
Hans Ramsay lived in
Finland, and it is from him that the still existant Swedish-Finnish line
of Ramsay (a branch of which was ennobled in the 19th century) is
descended. One of the members of the Finnish line, Carl Henrik Ramsay
(1866-1951)was a member of the Finnish Government during World War
II, and was for some time Foreign Minister.
John Hepburn was born
c.1598in Scotland. After serving Frederick of Bohemia 1620-23
under Mansfeld he entered Swedish service, and was made a Colonel in 1625.
He distinguished himself in the Prussian campaign and in the storming of
Frankfurt an der Oder in April 1631. At the battle of Breitenfeld he was
in command of the second division of the centre, but lead the entire
centre when General Teuffel fell. His brigade were known as "the Greens"
from their colours, and consisted normally of his own and Spens Scottish
regiments and Monro of Fowlis enlisted German regiment, whose officers
were mainly Scottish. In 1632 he left to enter French service, which is
possibly connected with the fact that, unlike almost all of the other
Scottish officers in Sweden, he was a devout Roman Catholic. After leaving
Swedish service he fought in Alsace and Lorraine, entered the service of
Bernhard of Weimar in 1635and fell at the siege of Zabern in the
Scots in Civil Service
It was not only soldiers
who were attracted by the rich opportunities of martial Sweden. The rising
great power, with its newly discovered natural resources, attracted also
men of business. The Scottish immigrants in particular were of a variety
of trades and professions.
Alexander Erskein was the
son of a merchant in Greifswald, who had emigrated with his wife from
Scotland. After studying at several German universities and in Denmark, he
entered Swedish service in 1628. He was employed as a diplomat and agent
and in 1643 he was made President of the Court of Appeal in Pomerania, and
raised to the nobility. He took part in the Congress of Osnabrück 1647-48,
and during the period 1648-1656 was at times President of the War Council.
He was created Baron in 1655, and died in imprisonment in Poland in the
For more than two decades
Erskein stands out as one of Swedens most distinguished civil-military
agents and diplomats, not only during the war but on its conclusion by the
Peace of Westphalia and in the following negotiations.
Doctor Jakob Robertson of
Struan came to Sweden in 1614, and became physician to Gustavus Adolphus.
In 1623 he was granted the right to a new apothecarys in Stockholm, which
was given the name "Markattan" ("The Long-Tailed Monkey"). He was raised
to the nobility in 1630, and was from 1639 physician to Queen Christina.
He died in Stockholm in
1652, aged 86, and is reputedly buried in Spânga Church. On one of the
bells in this church was inscribed his name, "Jacobus a Struan Robertsone
Schotus", by the side of the names of two counts of the old Swedish
nobility, which is some indication of the high respect in which he was
He had two daughters, both
of whom married Swedish noblemen.
The Scots Return Home
From as early as 1637, when
liturgical dissent began to flame in their home country, we see how the
interest of the Scottish officers began to turn to the situation in
Scotland. In 1639 they returned home in increasing numbers.
Towards the end of the
1630s changes in the political equilibrium in England made it apparent
that civil war was unavoidable. This naturally aroused the interest of the
many Scottish officers in Swedish service, who, unlike their colleagues in
Scotland and England, had a good training and experience of practical
military operations. In 1639-40 large bands of them returned: it is
recorded. for instance, that when Alexander Leslie landed in Leith in 1641
he met no less than 36 felIow officers from Germany. The returning
soldiers were of all ranks, from Field Marshal (like Leslie and Patrick
Ruthven) downwards. Not only officers but also other ranks were needed,
and General James King was sent to the Continent and to Denmark to enlist
men. The situation had been completely reversed.
Several officers, even so,
stayed in Swedish service, many of them having married and having stronger
ties in Sweden. Some of these attained high rank, and distinguished
themselves in the final stages of the Thirty Years War and in the Polish
and Danish wars of Charles X.
It can be mentioned, too,
that a number of the weapons used in the fighting between Scotland and
England were of Swedish origin, and had originally been gifts to retiring
officers. Lord Hamilton, for instance, received six cannon in 1635,
while Alexander Leslie received 2000 muskets in 1638 and a further 2000
muskets and a large quantity of shot in 1645. In 1640 Colonel Lumsden was
presented with a number of muskets and cuirasses.
Robert Douglas was one of
the many children of Patrick Douglas of Standingstone, the younger son of
William Douglas, laird of Wittingham. Wittingham was a collateral line to
Douglas of Dalkeith. The mother was a Leslie, probably of the same family
as Field Marshal Alexander Leslie (Earl of Leven).
Robert Douglas was born in
1611 at Standingstone, and came to Sweden with an enlisted troop in 1627
with three elder brothers, all of whom died young. When the men were
mustered in Sweden Robert was thought to be somewhat too young for
military action and was employed as a page by Gustavus Adolphus
brother-in-law, the Count Palatine Johan Kasimir. In 1634 he was given his
first commission, and after only a few years of service with the regiments
of Alexander Leslie and Alexander Hamilton he was made Lt.Colonel in 1634,
and in the following year was given a regiment. In 1643 he was made
Major-general in 1651 General and Baron Skalby; and in 1654 Count of
Skanninge. He took part in the battle of Warsaw, and was made Field
Marshal in 1657. In the years 1658-60 he was commander-in-chief in
Livonia, taking e.g. Wolmar and Mitau.
Robert Douglas' manor Stjarnorp
He built the manor of
Stjärnorp in Ostergotland, and died in Stockholm in 1661.
Both as general and
administrator Robert Douglas played an important role in the building up
of Sweden to a great power. Many of his descendants have also been
prominent men. His grandson entered Russian service and in 1717 was made
Peter the Greats Governor General over Finland. In the 1890s the then
head of the family, Count Ludvig Douglas, was a distinguished Swedish
Foreign Minister. The latters son was Commander in Chief of the Swedish
Army during World War II.
In 1646 Robert Douglas
married Hedvig Mörner, who bore him six sons and a daughter. Two of the
sons died in their infancy, and three became officers, and died without
issue. The daughter married an Oxenstierna. The remaining son, Gustaf
Douglas, first of the Swedish noble line of Douglas, became a Colonel, and
Governor of Västerbotten.
The Forbes Family
The many branches of the
Scottish family of Forbes were apparently represented in the troops of
Gustavus Adolphus by no less than some 40 members. Several interesting
members of the family had visited Sweden.
The Calvinist theologian
John Forbes (c. 1570-1634), after being exiled by James VI, was invited in
1608 to Sweden, where Charles IX was strongly interested in Calvinism. At
the Kings order there was arranged in Upsala a disputation between Forbes
and Swedish Lutherans. The latter emerged victorious, and the phrase "Ad
haec Forbesius nihil" has since remained a common cliché in Sweden. Forbes
left Sweden in 1610, after the King had been forced to abandon his
attempts to bring the two Protestant doctrines closer to each other.
The first Forbes in Swedish
military service appears to have been Henry Forbes of Tolquon, who fell at
Kirkholm in Russia in 1605. His eldest son, Jakob Forbes, was the first of
the Swedish family Forbes of Lund. The younger son, Peter Forbes, became a
paymaster of the army.
In the early 17th century
there emigrated to Finland, via Mecklenburg, one Ernald Forbes of
Corsindae, whose two sons, Arvid and Mattias, were introduced into the
Swedish House of Nobility in 1638. Arvid Forbus was born in 1598,
in Borgâ in Finland, whither his father had emigrated. His father, who was
a customs officer, died when Arvid was seven. Arvid started as a private,
and gradually rose in rank. In 1630 he was made Lt.Colonel. In the early
1630s he was one of the leading enlistment agents, not only in England
and Scotland but on the Continental market. He distinguished himself under
Bernard of Weimar, whose infantry he often commanded. He played an
important part in surprising Rheinfeld in 1638, and was raised to the
nobility in the same year. In 1641 he was made Commandant of Hither
Pomerania, and in 1646 he was promoted Major-general. In 1650 he was
elected to the Academy of War. Two years later he was created Baron, and
in the following year became Privy Councillor. He took part in the wars of
Charles X, and was made a full General in 1658. He died in Stettin in
The Hamilton Family
The two lines of the
Swedish family of Hamilton stem from Malcolm Hamilton of Dalserf,
Archbishop of Cashell, Ireland. His sons Hugo and Ludvig entered Swedish
service during the Thirty Years War, and in 1654 they were created Barons
under the name Hamilton of Deserf. Ludvig Hamilton died in 1622, and Hugo
returned home to Ireland in the same year, with the surviving family of
his brother. His descendants were still living in Ireland in the late 19th
century. A third brother to Hugo and Ludvig, Captain John Hamilton, had
two sons, Malcolm (1635-1699) and Hugo (1655-1724) who came to Sweden in
1654 and 1680 respectively, and were created Barons in 1689 under the name
Hamilton af Hageby. The former was Major-general and Governor of Northern
Sweden. The latter was made Lt.General by Charles XII and in 1715, by
reason of his Scottish origin, was made commander of the planned
expedition to aid the Jacobites. Malcolm Hamiltons son, Gustaf David
(1699-1788) became Field Marshal, and was created Count.
Hamiltons of both lines
have played prominent roles in Swedish life right up into our own time.
Montrose in Sweden
In February 1649 Patrick
Ruthven over seventy years old arrived in Stockholm as emissary from
Charles II followed in September by James King, Lord Eythin.
On 15th November 1649 James
Graham, 5th Earl of Montrose, arrived in Gothenburg from Copenhagen, and
stayed with a Scottish merchant, James Maclean, who had been raised to the
nobility in May 1649, under the name Makeléer. Maclean, or Makeléer had
been an officer in the British Royal Navy before settling in Gothenburg in
1629. He had always been a warm supporter of the House of Stuart.
Montrose stayed for three
months negotiating through King, for the purchase of warships from the
Swedish Crown. In December 1649 a ship with fighting men arrived from
Copenhagen, and the purchase of a ship from the Swedish Crown was settled.
In the beginning of January
1650 a large amount of weapons was delivered to Montrose from the Crown
armouries in Stockholm and Kalmar. These included 3000 infantry swords,
600 cavaltry swords, 820 pairs of pistols, 2000 sets of cavalry harness,
30 pikes, 20 drums and great quantities of shot and powder. Montrose also
had three standards manufactured in Gothenburg; and it was during his stay
that he wrote the famous declaration to the Scottish people, which was
printed in 1650.
On 10th January 1650
Montrose mustered his little fleet in the archipelago off Gothenburg. It
consisted of three ships; the frigate he had bought from the Crown, and
two merchantmen, one with the 200 men he had enlisted in Denmark, the
other with the weapons he had bought. There he lay for over a month,
waiting for orders from the indecisive Charles II. On the 14th he himself
journeyed by land to Norway with three officers, and on the 17th the three
ships set sail for Bergen, where they rejoined their commander, who had
heard nothing from the King.
Montrose left Bergen in the
middle of March, and arrived after losing one of the merchantmen in a
storm in Kirkwall, in the Orkneys. Here he at last received a letter
from Charles II, dated as early as ten weeks previously. The bearer of
this letter also brought Montrose an Order of the Garter. But the letter
was in favour of an invasion and by 9th April Montrose had mustered his
troops, 300 men on foot and 50 horsemen. On the 12th he crossed to the
mainland. By as early as the 27th he was defeated at Carbisdale, and he
was executed in Edinburgh on 21st May 1650.
Scots and the Swedish
As early as in 1534 Gustav
Vasa wrote to a Scottish sea captain, who had been offered service with
Sweden, trying to persuade him to accept.
In 1550 the King became
interested in two Scottish ships, which had been boarded and brought to
Stockholm on suspicion of piracy. They had shown an excellent performance
under sail, and the King wrote to the Governor at the Royal Palace
ordering that his shipbuilders should inspect the Scottish ships in
detail, and "that he should have them build a ship for the King after the
fashion and appearance that the ships of these Scots are built".
Unfortunately it is not known whether any such ship was actually built.
Some years later Eric XIV
wrote to another Scottish captain, and gave him a warrant to enlist 100
Scottish hands, with unknown result. A document from Reval, from 1574,
shows that both captains and seamen of Scottish nationality were in
Swedish service at that time.
Not until the beginning of
the 17th century do we find the names of Scots in the service of the
Swedish Navy, and at that time they played a very important role. We
learn, for instance, of two Scottish shipbuilders, Jakob Clerck (perhaps
the same man as Admiral Richard Clerck the Elder), who built a ship called
Mars in 1606-08, and William Ruthven, a Captain of Horse who in his
later days served as Shipbuilder and Superintendent at a number of Swedish
yards, in the years 1609-13. And for almost fifteen years all rigging for
the Swedish Navy in Stockholm was contracted for by Scots, first by
Admiral Richard Clerck the Elder, 1615-1625, and after his death by
Admiral Hans (or Johan) Clerck, 1625-1628. These two were probably
The first Scottish Captain
known by name was Anders Stuart, who in 1598 was in command of the
Svenska Björn. He was brother to Hans Stuart, and held several
positions, the most outstanding in 1611, when he travelled to Russia as
Swedish Envoy. For many years he was Colonel of a Swedish regiment. We
hear of him in the Navy only, on one other occasion, in 1621, when he was
Two Captains Forath, most
probably brothers, and from Dundee, deserve mention. Both had on several
occasions the honour of conducting Gustavus Adolphus over the Baltic. Hans
Forath was Captain 1610-1628 and Alexander Forath 1611-1627. The latter
was in command of the Solen at the blockade of Danzig in 1627. A
force of six ships ran into difficulties when ten Polish ships made a
sortie from the city. Four ships fled, the Swedish flagship was boarded by
the Poles, and the Solen, which was the next largest, was blown by
its captain an honourable death.
Naval Battle near Danzig in 1627. The
vice admiral in the Swedish fleet,
Alexander Forath, is blowing his ship and himself up.
One Simon Stewart (son of
Robert Stewart of Touccars) who had come to Scandinavia with Ramsays
unfortunate expedition of 1612, became after a time spent as a prisoner
in Denmark a Captain in the Swedish Navy in 1616, and Admiral in 1630.
He died as a landowner in Uppland.
A Scottish family that
played a much larger role in the Swedish Navy than those mentioned so far
was the Clercks of Coulli. During the 17th century there were generally
one or two Swedish Admirals Clerck. They seem to be of the same family,
but perhaps two different branches, as they have two different
coats-of-arms in the Swedish House of Nobility. One branch would then
include Jakob or Richard the Elder, who was in the Swedish Navy 1606-1625,
his brother Hans or Johan, who was in the Navy 16171644, and the latters
son Richard the Younger, in the Navy 1628-1688. The other branch, which
started in Sweden with William Clerck, Captain in the Army, would include
his son and grandson, both of whom were named Hans, and who were in the
Swedish Navy 1632-1679 and 1663-1711 respectively. We have already
mentioned their interest in shipbuilding and rigging.
In the early 17th century
the stream of Scottish burghers seems to increase. We now find not only
merchants, but a number of craftsmen. In 1619, when Gothenburg replaced
Ny-Lodose, the Scotsmen in this town included not only merchants as Jacob
Linsaj, Thomas Stewardt and Hans Carnegie, but a barber, a hatter, a
weaver, a tailor and a smith. In Stockholm, too, we find the occasional
Scottish craftsman, such as Jakob Clerck the goldsmith, around 1610, but
the great majority of Scots in the capital were merchants, trading above
all in silk (Macher, Morij, Kinnemund, Feif and Petrij) and broadcloth (Rebben,
Ross, Fief, Nairn, Helligday and Greger). Many were wholesale dealers of a
more general kind (Guthrie, and Primeros).
Even in some smaller
Swedish towns Scotchmen played prominent roles. Hans Belfrage was a
wellknown Provost in Vanersborg at the middle of the Century. Many came
from Danzig and settled in Kalmar, where David Haijock became a leading
Gold and silversmiths
A large number of
silversmiths of Scottish birth were active in Stockholm during the 17th
and early 18th century.
Among these were no less
than five by the name of Clerck. Of Jakob Clerck, who was active 1605-15,
very little is known. His son, Sander Clerck was active 1636-65, and
appears to have been a respected burgher with the rank of Lieutenant in
the Stockholm Burgher Militia, and a member of the citys Council of
Elders. Of his sons, Jacob (1636-79) became a magistrate, while
Hans and Nicolaus were goldsmiths. Hans became Master Goldsmith in 1665
and died in 1679, and was one of the leading goldsmiths in Stockholm. A
large number of his works are still extant, but unfortunately nothing is
known of the work of his younger brother Nicolaus.
Johan Willem Helleday
(1670-1711), who was married to Elisabet Feif, daughter of a Scottish
goldsmith, was the grandson of Hans Helleday, from Tulliebole Castle in
Fife, a wine merchant who had emigrated to Sweden in the 1630s. Johan
Willem Helleday had two younger brothers, one of whom was the patron of a
manufacturing estate, and the other a magistrate in Stockholm, which
reminds us of the high social standing enjoyed by goldsmiths.
A third family produced
many goldsmiths, but it would be wrong to talk of a family of goldsmiths.
Three sons of Alexander Feif, a merchant in Montrose, immigrated in the
1630s and became burghers in Stockholm. The eldest brother, Jakob, was a
brewer, and was the first of the noble line of Feif. The second brother,
David, was a draper and a highly respected burgher, with many children and
grandchildren. One of his sons, Henrik, was Chairman or "Alderman" of the
Goldsmiths Guild, and another, Salomon, was also a goldsmith. Work of
both is still preserved. The youngest brother, Donat, was a silk-mercer.
One of his sons was a magistrate, and the other, Donat, became Alderman of
the Goldsmiths Guild. Some of the latters works are preserved. He had
two sons, who were raised to the nobility under the names Adlerstolpe
(1727) and Ehrensparre (1719).
Apart from the above, we
find two persons with the name of Feif in 17th century Sweden,
Hans, a burgher in Gothenburg, and Duncan Feif, who was probably an
officer. The latter was married to a Swedish woman, and in 1641 ordered
from a famous Stockholm founder a church bell "TIL BE GIFIN TO THE KIRK
AND CHAPEL OF KARMEILE". The bell bears his arms, a lion rampart with
seven cannon balls. It was never delivered to its destination and came
somehow to Havero Church sixty miles north of Stockholm.
Curiously enough, the
Adlerstolpe arms are identical with those of Duncan Feif, and the same
components are contained in the Ehrensparre arms. The noble line of Feif,
1705, however, bears quite different arms.
An outstanding member of
the Swedish commoner line of Feif was also Casten Feif (1662-1739), who
began as apprentice to a hatter and advanced to high positions in the
administration of Charles XII. He was raised to the nobility in 1705,
accompanied Charles to Turkey, and after the Kings death became President
of the Exchequer in 1723.
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