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Sir Robert Anstruther (1578-1645), British and Danish Ambassador and Privy Councillor, was the second son of Sir James Anstruther (d.1606), fiar of Anstruther, and Jean /Gene Scott of Abbotshall. Anstruther was baptised in Anstruther Wester on 23 April 1578. He was partly educated at the Danish court, where he served as a page from 1598. In 1602 Anstruther participated as a courtier in the embassy of Prince Johann of Schleswig-Holstien when the latter travelled to Russia to marry Ksenia, the daughter of Tsar Boris. The last mention of him there was at the funeral of the Prince which took place slightly before the planned wedding.

In 1603 Anstruther carried falcons to Scotland as a gift from Christian IV to James VI. From 1606, Anstruther served in Danish service as an agent of the Stuart Court. He is mentioned in 1612 as 'famulis communis' of the two kings. He mediated, with his step-relative (often called half-brother but actually his grandfather's step-son), Sir James Spens of Wormiston [SSNE 1642], the Knäred peace treaty between the Scandinavian countries 1612-3. Axel Oxenstierna, Nicolas Bielke and Gustav Stenbock wrote to King James on 21 January 1613 highlighting Anstruther and Spens' "fide, diligentia and industria". 

Early in 1614, James VI & I had been asked by Christian IV to arbitrate in his dispute with the city of Lübeck. Sir Andrew Sinclair achieved a short term settlement in the dispute. During the following embassy in 1615 Anstruther continued the mediation and once more proved influential in resolving Christian's disputes peacefully. His favour with the king meant that he had permission to freight shiploads of timber for building purposes tollfree from Norway in 1620 and 1623. 

When tensions in Bohemia flared in 1618, Anstruther travelled to Denmark and Germany as the main negotiator of James VI & I. Peace proving elusive, Anstruther returned to Denmark in April 1620 to raise money for the Elector Palatine's cause. Christian IV was so pleased with Anstruther that on one celebrated evening he resigned the Danish Crown to him with which he was invested for the duration of the feast. 

On a business level, Anstruther negotiated with Christian IV for a loan of £100,000. By 1621 this sum was costing King James £6,000 per annum in interest payments alone. That same year Anstruther travelled to the United Provinces to give Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia £20,000 compensation for her lost household goods. He also spoke to the States Council seeking arms for a military campaign in Bohemia. James also sent Anstruther to the Segeberg Conference to seek a military alliance between Denmark-Norway, Great Britain and the United Provinces resulting in the Hague alliance of November 1621. The following year Anstruther could be found in the English Parliament translating the speech of the Imperial Ambassador, Count Schwarzenberg for King James. After many more rounds of discussion, Anstruther set out to negotiate with Christian IV, Gustav II Adolf, John George of Saxony and the Lower Saxon Circle in 1624. By February 1625, Swedish plans were rejected and James accepted Christian IV's terms. Anstruther continued as ambassador to Denmark-Norway after the coronation of Charles' I. He delivered £46,000 to Christian IV in June 1625 and undertook continual diplomatic missions in Denmark-Norway, Sweden and Germany between 1625-1629 incliding an 8 week mission to the Holy Roman Emperor and the Palatine Court in the Hague from August 1625. 

The British officers in Danish service, captains Ciningsbie [Cunningsby] and Douglas were ordered by the English Privy Council to take orders from Anstruther in Stade in General Charles Morgan's absence. On 16 April 1627, Anstruther directed these soldiers to move to Bremen and his advice was such that the English Privy Council ordered an open warrant for soldiers to take advice from Anstruther while Morgan was absent. Discontent among the soldiers promted Anstruther to write to the English Privy Council requesting payment for Morgan's troops to avoid further complaints from Christian IV. On 9 January 1627/28 Anstruther eventually paid Morgan 3000 which the English Privy Council ordered to be reimbursed by the City of London to Philip Burlemachi and given by him to the Hamburg merchant Marcus Calandrini. When Morgan eventually received orders to reform his regiment in August 1628 he was himself instructed to receive his orders from Anstruther. Throughout this period Anstruther employed many people in his service. These included Clemant Messerve Gent, George Rivers and Thomas Jones who were authorised by the English Privy Council to cross to the Low Contries with three of Anstruther's trunks on 16 February 1626/27. On 5 April that year a further pass was issued for a nurse and another servant to follow Anstruther to the continent with a rich bed and furnishings, eight hangings, 3 dozen chairs and stools and six dozen chests and trunks. 

After the Treaty of Lübeck in 1629, Anstruther left Christian IV's Court and travelled to Hamburg from where he conducted much of his remaining 'Danish' residency. This included helping the likes of Rowland Pittes, Charles I's 'Purveyor of Sea Fish' to source sturgeon in Hamburg in April 1629. More seriously however, in the Spring of 1630 Anstruther wrote to Sir Thomas Roe that unless directed by Charles I or personally summoned by Christian IV, he had no intention of visiting the Danish king. Yet he would not tolerate any slander of Christian IV. Roe sought to discredit Christian IV due to the Lübeck agreement with Ferdinand II. Anstruther steadfastly defended Christian's integrity. Nonetheless, Charles I felt it was time for Anstruther to undertake new missions. In August 1630, Anstruther set out to the Diet of Ratisbon in the company of the ambassador of Frederick of the Palatinate. The author of The Swedish Intelligencer described Anstruther as 'the King of Great Britaines Ambassador'. Ferdinand II received Anstruther with 'great honour and courtesy' though ultimately, the Diet dissolved in November achieving little. Anstruther related to Roe the futility of the Diet which he described as an exercise in protecting Electoral dignity. Despite his reluctance, Anstruther returned to the Diet, now relocated to Vienna, where he gained another audience with Ferdinand II on 15 June 1631. He found that the negotiating parties approached the Diet from such opposing positions that he could see little scope for solutions. Anstruther returned to his Scandinavian duties arguing that to remain would be detrimental to the House of Stuart. In December 1631, an agent of the Duke of Bavaria arrived in London accusing Anstruther of being a 'violent partisan of the King of Sweden' and for that reason he could not enjoy any intimacy at the Imperial Court. Anstruther returned to the London where he convinced Charles I of Ferdinand II's false intentions. On hearing Anstruther's account, Charles declared that 'he would to God he was served thus by all his ministers'. After visiting London, Anstruther returned to Hamburg. En route he visited The Hague to discuss new proposals offered by Charles I. These centred on trying to get the Duke of Bavaria elected as Emperor, which would have separated him from the Austrian camp. Undaunted by Dutch reservations, Anstruther attended the Diet of Allied Princes at Heilbronn. There he revealed his instructions to offer up to £10,000 per month to the new alliance. He also travelled several times to the Danish Court. Despite the disastrous recent visit of the Earl of Leicester, Anstruther managed to bring the Danes closer to the Stuart position than they had been since Lübeck. He continued pressing for ratification of the disputed Hague Treaty of 1625, and Christian IV eventually conceded the need for a new confederacy. Anstruther travelled back to the Diet of Protestant Princes in 1633 accompanied by the Scottish cleric, John Durie. At this time Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna described him on his arrival at Frankfurt as "the English ambassador", and he met him in person later in March regarding a state alliance with Sweden. He failed to ratify any kind of treaty with the ambassador citing lack of authorisation on Anstruther's part as Vane's previous mission had left Charles I with the impression that on King Gustav II Adolf's death Sweden was no longer a significant player in European affairs. When Oxenstierna again approached Charles I for aid in late April 1633, he also highlighted Anstruther's efforts regarding the common cause.The Swede met Anstruther again in May. It was during this year that Anstruther exchanged letters with Maria Eleanora, Dowager Queen of Sweden,

Anstruther continued to negotiate in Scandinavia and Germany until April 1635 during which time he joined the intellectual German society Fruchtbringenden Gesellschaft where he was given the name Der Fleissige, or 'the diligent' for his diplomatic endeavours in Europe. But European diplomacy frequently fell behind events. By 1634, most of the Palatinate had been occupied by the French. This placed pressure on Ferdinand II to find solutions to his growing problems in Germany. Any glimmer of hope for Anstruther's negotiations was upset by the Peace of Prague in 1635, which undermined Stuart credibility in Germany. In 1638 it was decided to finally resolve differences between Christian IV and Charles I. These talks were scheduled to take place in Hamburg. Anstruther was again selected to represent Great Britain, though he turned the appointment down. Anstruther's refusal to accept the appointment perhaps centred on political developments in Scotland. Indeed, one of the rare mentions of Anstruther as a Scot in diplomatic dispatches appeared in April 1638 in a letter largely concerned with the background and progress of the Scottish Covenanting movement. By May an unfounded rumour circulated that Anstruther had been dismissed rather than having stood down himself. Rather, he was being asked to involve himself in translation work for Philip Hainhofer in a transaction concerning the potential sale of expensive furniture to Charles I! 

Whatever his motovation, Anstruther declined the mission and Sir Thomas Roe was appointed instead. Anstruther, correctly, predicted that the negotiations would come to naught and, as Roe found to his cost, negotiating for the Stuart's could prove both futile and frustrating. None-the-less, in 1641 Anstruther is said to have returned to Denmark to negotiate for the House of Stuart. It is not yet known if he was a signatory to the National Covenant, though his sympathies certainly lay in that direction. A document in the University of St Andrews Special Collections reveals Anstruther as a signatory to the Solemn League and Covenant. Anstruther acted as the Danish envoy both to Charles I and to the English Parliament in 1644. He died in late 1644 after a lifetime as one of the Stuart's most important diplomats. He was buried in Westminster Abbey on 9 Janaury 1645.

Anstruther found time away from his diplomatic career, at the age of 39, to marry Mary Swift (not Catherine as sometimes recorded) in 1617, a daughter of Sir Edward Swift of Doncaster and through her gain the estate of Weetly in Yorkshire. With her he had two surviving sons, Robert and Philip as well as two surviving daughters, Elizabeth and Sarah. Robert took over to Weetly Estate but died in 1630. Philip succeeded his uncle in his Scottish estates in Fife. Philip was knighted by Charles II at Scone and eventually captured at the battle of Worcester. His Estates were returned at the Restoration. There was a child called Christian Anstruther who was baptised in the English Church in Hamburg on 12 July 1627 which may have been a non-surviving child of Sir Robert, though that remains to be established. If so, it places Mary Swift in Hamburg at a period when Robert was thought to be based in Copenhagen .


The Diligent Ane

Parsley: At the ae time cried baith day an nicht,

At diligently pits tae the priuf its pouer at ilka time -

agin host, lug-ache, the stane, wild fire’, gravell an the gutt.

Syne then, “Diligent”, I think a name baith warth an fit.

Aye: Day an nicht, “diligently”, I’ll learn masel virtue!

Virtue in the learned Doctrine o The Lord - An in thy britherly love.

Yon, siccar, is quhat the human soul maun dae,

For there it finds the fruit it needs, as ilkanither gangs agley



Axel Oxenstierna to the Swedish Privy Council, 6 May 1633 [RAOSB, VIII] “I lijke motte ähr hijt ankommen uthi varande möthet kongen i Engellandz ambassadeur her Amstrytter. Hade först varit i nederlandh hoos Staterne och drotning i Böhmen, dädhan ähr han reester på Trier, och så till administratoren af Phaltz phaltzgraf Philip Ludwik, kongens i Böhmen broder. Uthur Franckfurt schreff han mig breff till och jag honom därpå svaradhe under lit. N. Sedhan han hijt komm, hafver han begäret audientz, öfverantvardat sitt creditif och sine värff under lit.O. Därpå jag mundtligen först och så schrifftlig hafver svarat per recreditif och resolution under lit. P. Denne Engliske gesanten tesgmonierer medh orden på sin kongens vegner en stoor affection till restaurationen af dedh gemene väsendh, och låttes inthed tvijffle, att hans konung skall och göra sitt till saken. Men hvadh därpå föllier, gifver tijden medh. Så mycket kan jag af honom merckea, och dölier han dedh inthed, att han på sin instruction, som han undfånget hafver, inthed kan negociera; aldenstundh han hafver häruthe funnet alle saker annorlundha fatte, ähn, då han uthur Engellandh drog, dhe där meente. Jag mercker dem hafve inthed annatt troot, ähn att Sverriges nampn effter s. Kongl. M:ttz dödh inthed mehra häruthe skulle komma i consideration, uthan att alt skole deriveras på churfursten af Saxen; förnimmer och, att den Engelske gesandten, som if fiol här var, Hendrick Wain, hafver giordt sådhan rapport, serdeles omm den Phältziske saken, att kongen där heelt hafver varit alieneret ifrån oss. Nu deene gesandten kommer hijt och finner icke allenast alt att dirigeras ähnnu undher Sverriges chrones nampn och auspicio; churfürsten af Saxens consilia att inthed så högt respecteras; mig och att hafva icke allenast accorderat öfver Phaltzes restitution, uthan och på dette möthet skaffet och bearbetet administratoren sitt churfürstlige stele och votum iblandh ständerne, och således giordt ingång till restitutionen till churfürstlige digniteten, dedh ingen lätteligen hadhe troott och uthan Sverriges chrones intercession nepligen någon af dhe andre ständerne hadhe bevilliet och inlåthet sigh uthi; så hafver han sielf emot mig bekent, att han på sin förre instruction inthed kunne tractera, uthan förvente en ny; och effter som han här finner sakerne better, ähn han hadhe hoppedz, så veet han och, att hans konung alt skulle göra, dedh Sverriges chrone ähr till tiänst och kan dette vercket befordra. Förventer altså ny instruction, och i meddler tijdh reser han neder till churfürsterne, och så till Hennes M:ytt vår allernådigste drottning, att condolera Hennes M:ytt vår sahl. Konungz dödh. Vedh min conference medh Engelske gesandten förmerckte jag kongens I Engellandz intention vara, att taga Phaltz I sin protection och holla där något folck; dedh jag icke allenast hafver remonstrerat vara onyttigt, uthan ochså heelt och hollet contradicerat, såsom dedh jag på Sverriges chrones och dhe andre allieredes vegner inthed lijdha kundhe, bådhe för den confusion, däraf föllia ville, såsom och för andre orsaker skuldh, och badh honom sådant att afstella. Men där kongen i Engellandh ville något extraordinarie göra hoos sijn syster och systerbarn, att dedh skedde medh penningerne; och att han, tagendes exempel af Franckrijke, giordhe ett förbundh medh Sverriges chrono till begge rijkens styrcke, till Phaltzens restitution och restauration af staten i Tysklandh, och därtill hulpe en anseligh sum peningerne, och tilläthe i rijker en frij verffning; hvilket alt gesanten på sijdstonne gilladhe, och sadhe sig förmodha däröfver af sin konung en behagelig resolution. Hvad nu härpå föllier, gifver tijdhen medh; men jag hafver dette anseende haft, att där jag ingen annan alliance kan af Engellandh uthrycke (däröfver man lijkväl hafver orsak att arbete), man doch åthminste bör beflijte sigh omm, att beholla den konungs dedh dhe mage afhålles att icke conjungera sigh medh våre vedervertige, och serdeles våre affvundzfulle granner. Begärer därföre, att Rijksens Rådh vele förklara sigh emot mig, omm jag rätt giordt hafver; och där konungen I Engellandh vill tractera ett förbundh medh vår drottning och Sverriges chrono, omm jag må slutadt medh sådane eller aequipollente conditioner, såsom medh Franckrijcke ähr skett, och sahl. Kongl. M:tt i fiol hafver varit till vercka medh?”


The National Records of Scotland, Old Parish Registers, Births, 403/0010 0026 Anstruther Wester, 23 April 1578 [with great thanks to my late father, Charles Campbell Murdoch, for finding this document "a genealogist's gift to his historian son" he smiled]; The National Archives, Kew [PRO] PRO SP75/5, f.3, Christian IV to Sir Robert Anstruther, 8 August 1612; PRO SP75/5, f.63. James VI guarantee of Danish-Swedish peace, 26 January 1613; PRO SP75/5, f.73. A copy of the contract of peace procured by the King's most Excellent Majestie of Greate Brittaine and betwixt the Kings of Denmark and Sweden, 26 January 1613; PRO SP75/5, f.235-8. Anstruther to Secretary of State, 10 March 1621; PRO SP75/5, ff.241 and 253. Anstruther to Sir George Calvert, 31 March and 12 April 1621; PRO SP75/5, f.312-5. Instructions to Sir Robert Anstruther, June 1624; PRO SP75/6, f.58. Instructions to Sir Robert Anstruther, 10 May 1625; PRO SP 75/11, f.70. Anstruther to Dorchester, 24 April 1630; PRO SP 75/11, f.5. Anstruther to Charles I, 25 January 1630; PRO SP88/7.2, ff.232-235. Anstruther to Roe 11/21 March 1630; PRO SP 75/11, f.224. Anstruther to Averie, 4/14 August 1630; PRO SP 75/12, f.20. Anstruther to Roe, 13 January 1631; PRO SP 75/12, f.20. Anstruther to Roe, 13 January 1631; PRO SP 75/13, f.88. Coke to Anstruther, 25 September 1633; PRO SP 75/13, f.88. Coke to Anstruther, 25 September 1633; PRO SP 75/13, f.143. Anstruther to Coke, 21 December 1633; PRO SP 75/13, f.196. Anstruther to Coke, 31 May 1634; PRO SP 75/13, f.198. Anstruther to Vane, 31 May 1634; PRO SP 75/15, f.150. Abstract of business, Christian IV and Vane, 15 April 1638; PRO SP 75/15, f.168. De Vic to Secretary of State, 3/13 May 1638; PRO SP 75/15, f.194. De Vic to Secretary of State.

Swedish Riksarkivet 'Svenske Sändebuds till Utländske Hof och Deras Sändebud till Sverige, unpublished manuscript, 1841, pp.82-83'; Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 5. Anstruther to Spens, 17 July 1612; Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 5. Anstruther to Spens, 18 July 1612; Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 5 SB Hand., Gustav II Adolf, safe conduct for James Spens, 17 September 1613; Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 3. Spens to Duke Johan of Ostergotland, 10 January 1614; Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 5. Spens to Axel Oxenstierna, 9 May 1614; Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 3. Spens to Axel Oxenstierna, 4 June 1614; Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 5. Spens to Axel Oxenstierna, 1 March 1615 and 26 May 1615; Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 5. Spens to Axel Oxenstierna, 20 April 1620; Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 5. Anstruther to Spens, 1 August 1624; Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 5. Spens to Oxenstierna, 12 July 1626; Swedish Riksarkiv, Hamburg Germ. A.III, 1628; 1 Raschs brev Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 522. Anstruther to Karl IX, 10 January 1614; Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 522 or 523 Frankfurt (2) 1633; Linkopings stiftsbibliotek, Brevskrivarregister- Brahe (E005/B 63). letters 43b and d; Anstruter to and answer from Maria Eleanora, 1633; Swedish Riksarkiv, Frankfurt, brev fran konventet i Frankfurt 1, 1635; The Swedish Intelligencer: The First Part (London, 1632), pp.10-13. Calendar of State Papers Venetian [CSPV], CSPV, 12, pp.507-509. Antonio Foscarini to Venice and Robert Anstruther to the Council, 15 March 1613; CSPV, 13, 1613-1615, pp.88-89. Antonio Foscarini to Venice. 1 February 1614; CSPV, 16, 1619-1621, pp.533-537 and 566-567. Girolamo Lando to Venice, 22 January and 16 February 1621; CSPV, 22, 1629-1632, pp.xxxii and 119-121. Alvise Contarini to Venice, 6 July 1629; CSPV, 22, 1629-1632, pp.71-71. Giovani Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador to the United Provinces to Venice, 28 May 1629; CSPV, 22, 1629-1632, pp.xxxiii and 382-383. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands to Venice, 27 July 1630; CSPV, 22, 1629-1632, pp.512 and 517-520. Sebastiano Venier, Venetian Ambassador in Germany to Venice. 14 and 21 June 1631; CSPV, 22, 1629-1632, pp.546 and 549. Pietro Vico, Venetian Secretary in Germany to Venice, 27 September and 1 November 1631; CSPV, 22, 1629-1632, pp.xxxvii and 567-568. Giovanni Soranzo to Venice, 12 December 1631; CSPV, 23, 1632-1636, pp.45-46. Vicenso Gussoni to Venice, 17 December 1632; CSPV, 23, 1632-1636, pp.vii and 66-67. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador to the Netherlands to Venice, 27 January 1633; CSPV, 23, 1632-1636, pp.51-52. Vicenso Gussoni to Venice, 31 December 1632; CSPV, 23, 1632-1636, p.73. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands to Venice, 10 February 1633; CSPV, 23, 1632-1636, pp.x, 66-7, 75-77, 82-83, 98-99 and 115-117. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands to Venice, 27 January and 17 February 1633; Vicenso Gussoni to Venice, 18 February and 29th April 1633; Vicenzo Gussoni to Venice, 11 March 1633; Vicenzo Gussoni to Venice, 17 and 24 June 1633; CSPV, 23, 1632-1636, p.146. Antonio Contarini, Venetian Ambassador to the Netherlands to Venice, 17 September and 22 September 1633; CSPV, 23, 1632-1636, pp.150-151 and 175-176. Vicenso Gussoni to Venice, 30 September and 23 December 1633; CSPV, 23, 1632-1636, pp.247-248. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England to Venice, 21 July 1634; CSPV, 24, 1636-1639, pp.xviii, 399-401 and 409-411. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England to Venice, 23 April and 14 and 21 May 1638; CSPV, 25, 1640-1642, p.135. Giovanni Giustinian to Venice, 5 April 1641; C.F. Bricka and J.A. Fredericia, Kong Christian den Fjerdes Egen-Haendige Breve, (8 vols., Copenhagen, 1878-1947), Vol. I, pp. 72, 87, 89, 171, 176, 182, 188, 196-8, 383, 402-4, 420-3, 440-52, 472; Vol. II, pp. 43, 95, 230, 233, 354; Vol. III, pp. 30, 151, 158-61, 170, 227; Calendar of State Papers Domestic [CSPD], CSPD, 1619-23, p.437. Warrant authorising payment of £6,000 interest money to Christian, 5 August 1622; CSPD, 1634-35, p.338. Roe to Wentworth, 1 December 1634; CSPD, 1634-1635, John Durie to Roe, 22 June 1634, p.89; CSPD, 1640-41, pp.120-121. Charles Louis to Roe, 30 September/10 October 1640; CSPD, 1640-41, Charles Louis to Roe, 7 May 1641; CSPD, 1641-1643, p.436. Charles Louis to Roe, 2/12 January 1643; Acts of the Privy Council of England, vol. January 1627-August 1627 pp.65, 145, 198, 227, 421, 476. Vol. September 1627-June 1628, p.225. Vol. July 1628-April 1629, pp.93-94, 413-414; The Hartlib Papers, Extract. Philip Hainhofer to (Herr Vetter?), 12/22 April 1638.

Robbert Sibbald, The History of the Sherrifdoms of Fife and Kinross (Edinburgh, 1710), p.132. Gives information about Anstruther's ambassadorial role to both Charles I and Elector Palatine as ambasador to the Emperor, Commission dated 2 June 1630.

S. Murdoch, Britain, Denmark-Norway and the House of Stuart 1603-1660; A Diplomatic and Military Analysis (Tuckwell Press, 2003), passim; S. Murdoch, 'Robert Anstruther, A Stuart Diplomat in Norlan Europe' in Cairn, vol. 1 March 1997; Rev. Walter Wood, The East Neuk of Fife. It's History and Antiquities (Edinburgh, 1887), pp.358-359; C. Conermann, Die Mitglieder Der Fruchtbringenden Gesellschaft 1617-1650 (Weinheim, 1985), III, pp.262-263; G.H. Turnbull, Hartlib, Dury and Comenius. Gleanings from Hartlib's Papers (Liverpool, 1947), pp.148-165; J.A. Fridericia, Danmarks Ydre Politiske Historie i Tiden Fra Freden I Lybeck til Freden I Prag, 1629-1635. (Copenhagen, 1972), pp.198-201; T. Riis, Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot…Scottish-Danish relations c.1450-1707 (Odense, 1988), II, p.53; C. Rogers (ed.), The Earl of Stirling's Register of Royal Letters, (Edinburgh, 1885), p.130. Charles I to Sir Robert Anstruther, 8th February 1627; A.H. Millar, Fife: Pictorial and Historical: It's people, Burghs, Castles and Mansions (Edinburgh & Glasgow, 1895), pp.406-407; M. Roberts, Gustavus Adolphus; A History of Sweden, 1611 - 1632 (2 vols., London, 1962), I, p.70; E.A. Beller, 'The Mission of Roe to the Conference at Hamburg, 1638-40' in English Historical Review, XLI, 1926, p.71; G.M. Bell, A Handlist of Diplomatic representatives 1509-1688 (London, 1990), passim; O.G. Lundh and J.E. Sars, (eds.), Norske Rigsregistranter, vol.5, (Christiania, 1874), pp.103, 310; Rikskansleren Axel Oxenstiernas skrifter och brefvexling, first series, II, p.132; VIII, pp.345, 388, 535/ second series III, p.85.

British Library, Add. 35832, HARDWICKE PAPERS, Vol. CCCCLXXXIV, Miscellaneous State letters, etc. Vol. III. 1615-1625: Sir Robert Anstruther, Ambassador in Denmark, discussing at great length various matters bearing upon "the peace of Germanie and the recoverie of the Pallatinatt," and urging him to press the King of Denmark to join the Protestant league, etc. 9 Feb, 1624/5, f.163; Sir Robert Anstruther, saying that he encloses a letter of credence to the King of Sweden in case he thinks it necessary to go to him, but that Sir James Spens is charged with a mission thither; Newmarket, 20 Feb, 1624/], f.178; The same, with the King's instructions as to his conduct of the negotiations with the Kings of Denmark and Sweden in respect of their offers to lead the allied army for the recovery of the Palatinate; Newmarket, 20 Feb, 1624[5], ff.179, 182. See also the following letters in the British Library Eglinton and Sloane collections: Anstruther (Robert) Sir. Ambassador at Vienna Register of correspondence with A. Hopton 1630-1636. Eg. 1820; Anstruther (Robert) Sir. Ambassador to Denmark Autograph in Album 1614. Sloane. 3415 f. 27; Anstruther (Robert) Sir. Ambassador to Denmark Letter from his chaplain to J. Durie 1633. Sloane. 1465 f. 195; Anstruther (Robert) Sir. Ambassador to Denmark Letter to, from Sec. Conway 1625. Add. 35832 ff. 163, 178, 179, 182; Anstruther (Robert) Sir. Ambassador to Denmark Letter to, from the Lords of the Council 1627. Add. 4474 f. 80; Anstruther (Robert) Sir. Ambassador to Denmark Letters from Charles I rel. to 1627-1632. Lat. Copies. Add. 38669 ff. 1, 10 b-12 b, 13-19 b; Anstruther (Robert) Sir. Ambassador to Denmark Letters to Sir T. Edmondes 1624, 1626. Stowe. 176 ff. 258, 272, 274; Anstruther (Robert) Sir. Ambassador to Denmark Safe-conduct for 1620 (?). Draft. Add. 38597 f. 30 b; Anstruther (Robert) Sir. Ambassador to Germany Warrant for expenses 1630. Eg. 2553 f. 65 b; Anstruther is noted in Hamburg Staatsarchiv, 177/2b 'Diplomatenlisten' I, p.42. For Christian Anstruther see in the same archive 'Kirche der English Court', S12-6, 12 July 1627; For Anstruther as signatory to the Solemn League and Covenant see University of St Andrews Special Collections, ms37242. List of [ex] students of St Salvator's College who subscribed the Solemn League and Covenant, 1643-1648. See also Steve Murdoch, Network North: Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe, 1603-1746 (Brill, Leiden, 2006), pp.18, 155, 251-253, 263, 266-267, 275, 290-295, 369-373


We thank Josh Hodil for the fascinating insight into the journey to Russia in 1602. He drew his information from the Diary of Axel Gyldenstjerne, who led the embassy which accompanied Johann to Moscow. The diary was published,albeit in an abbreviated version, in the Historisk Calendar I by L. Engelstoft og Jens Møller (Kjøbenhavn, 1814): Historisk Calendar Google Books. Here, Anstruther is mentioned several times. First in an introduction to the diary, which lists the salaries for various members of Johann's suite. Anstruther is listed among the officers as a "Kammerjunker", with the third highest salary of the group (p. 93). Next, Anstruther appears alongside the Hofmarskal in the ceremonial procession from Johann's abode in Moscow to his first audience with his soon-to-be father-in-law, Tsar Boris. Here he is named simply Robert (p. 130). A few weeks later, as Johann lay dying, he is reported to have told Anstruther that "it may be that God does not want me among these unchristian people, that I should not be seduced to their perverted religion" ("maa vel være, at Gud ikke vil have mig iblandt dette uchristen Folk, paa det at jeg ikke skulde forføres til deres vrange Religion") (p. 152-3). Finally, there is a third mention of Anstruther, though it does not show up in the Historisk Calendar, but rather the Russian translation of Gyldenstjerne's diary made by Iu.N. Shcherbachev, a nineteenth-century Russian diplomat in Denmark. In this instance, Anstruther appears bearing one of the banners which displayed Johann's coats of arms during the funeral procession."


We also thank to Dick Payne who kindly provided updates, corrections and the following information and sources (the links have now broken but were active and checked by ourselves and the staff at the ODNB):

Sir Robert's wife's name was Mary (not Catherine).  See:

1617     Anstruther, Robert   (4) of London , Knt.  and Swift, Mary daughter of Robert Swift, of Doncaster, Knt.     Doncaster (?) (According to the date of the marriage, Sir Robert was 39 years of age at this marriage)

Attested copy of a deed of covenant between Roger and Anne Nix and Sir Robert and Lady Mary Anstruther; 27 May 1637

Wheatley Manor Records: Bargain and Sale CWM/55  17 Jul 1650. Contents: Robert Anstruther of Wheatley, esq., and his wife, Jane, to Dame Mary Anstruther, widow of Sir Robert Anstruther, late of Wheatley, kt., decd. Reversion of the manor of Wheatley now held by Dame Mary for term of her life.

Plus papers at: on the settlement of Sir Robert's estate show different names for daughters: "Deed to lead and declare the uses of a common recovery of the manor of Bothamsall, Nottinghamshire; 25 Nov. 1653

  • First Party: Robert Anstruther, esquire, of St James, Middlesex.  (Sir Robert's son and heir)
  • Second Party: Anthony Collins, esquire, of Middle Temple , London and Anthony Kecke, gentleman, of London
  • Third Party: George Austin of Shalford, Surrey and Thomas Kecke, esquire, of the Middle Temple , London
  • Fourth Party:Elizabeth Anstruther [later Elizabeth Austin] and Sarah Anstruther, sisters of (1)."   (Sarah was under one year at her father's death.)

Service record

Departed 1602-12-01
Capacity PAGE, purpose ROYAL SERVANT
Departed 1602-11-25
Capacity COURTIER, purpose DIPLOMACY
Departed 1605-12-31
Capacity AGENT, purpose ROYAL SERVANT
Departed 1611-12-31
Departed 1613-04-12
Departed 1615-05-27
Departed 1620-09-15
Departed 1621-07-20
Departed 1622-12-31
Departed 1624-10-01
Departed 1624-07-05
Departed 1624-11-10
Departed 1625-04-25
Departed 1625-12-31
Departed 1626-08-31
Departed 1627-08-31
Departed 1630-06-20
Departed 1630-12-02
Capacity AMBASSADOR (for Charles I and Frederick V), purpose DIPLOMACY
Departed 1631-03-20
Departed 1632-12-02
Departed 1633-07-28
Departed 1633-02-04
Departed 1633-05-30, as AMBASSADOR
Departed 1633-12-31
Departed 1634-09-30
Departed 1635-12-31
Departed 1644-12-31