First name
Social status

Text source

Alexander Lindsay was the son of the First Lord Spynie [SSNE 1544]. He became Lord Spynie in 1607. In 1617 he obtained a license to travel and remained abroad for 3 years. He was appointed General Muster-Master and Colonel of all Militia in Scotland, or commander-in-chief of Scotland, for life in 1626, a position which was confirmed in 1633. He was one of three colonels, including Robert Maxwell, Earl of Nithsdale [SSNE 531] and James Sinclair of Murckle [SSNE 538] who engaged to raise regiments for Danish service. Lindsay was appointed Colonel of a regiment in Danish service of 3,000 Scots on 1/3/1627. Within days he was authorised by the Privy Council of Scotland to recruit it, and on 15 March he, Nithsdale and Sinclair received a total of £8000 sterling to cover their levying expenses. Lindsay entered Danish service in July 1627 and garrisoned his regiment at Stade between July 1627 to January (April?) 1628. They moved to Gluckstadt between April-May 1628. On 28/9/1627, he was to levy 600 more men in Scotland in order to complete his regiment. 

By 30/11/1627, Lindsay was the commander and interim colonel of Colonel James Sinclair's men until the latter's arrival in Denmark. In December of that year, Christian IV named three new 'General Commissioners' for the regions of Skåne, Halland and Blekinge. Alexander Lindsay Lord Spynie was to take over Skåne in a capacity not too dissimilar to that of a Governor-General. The letter of appointment makes their role as military governors quite clear. In addition to assuming overall command of the garrisons in their regions, they were also responsible for the defence of the countryside surrounding them. Good relations were to be maintained between the soldiers and civilians. To ensure the preservation of discipline Courts of Justice, war trials and executions arising from them were to be held on a weekly basis. We know from other royal missives that Scottish regiments comprised the majority of Spynie's garrisons, but that he also had 250 Danish soldiers under his command. These, the king insisted, were to be accommodated as comfortably as the Scots. Along with his men he was billeted at Malmø between May-July 1628, and ordered to embark for Stralsund with his men on 4/7/1628. In the action at Stralsund his regiment suffered heavy losses. The remaining four companies were to be joined into a frifænnike under Capt. John Lindsay in September 1628, and Christian IV allowed the rest of the regiment to return to Scotland later that month. Many sources refer to his service under King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden between 1628-33. 

During the British Civil Wars, Lindsay supported the king against the Covenanters. He married twice, first to Joanna Douglas (no issue) and secondly to Lady Margaret Hay, daughter of George, the First Earl of Kinnoul (two sons, two daughters). The Saltoun papers in the National Library of Scotland reveal that Colonel Harry Lindsay drew up a bond of assignation of 11,000 merks in 1637. Lord Spynie was to receive 8,000, Colonel Robert Douglas was to get 2,000 and Lyndsay (Earl of Crawford?), 1,000 merks. It is yet to be established his role in the Bishops Wars or the English Civil War. Certainly, in September 1644, Spynie was with the Marquis of Montrose at Perth and then at Aberdeen. He was then imprisoned by Argyll for his troubles. Spynie died in March 1646.

Sources: National Library of Scotland, Saltoun Papers, 'Papers concerning Henry Lindsay, son of John of Ballinscho and colonel in the Swedish service, 1637-1648; R. Monro, His Expedition with a worthy Scots Regiment called Mac-Keyes (London, 1637), I, pp.78-9; E. Marquard (ed.), Kancelliets Brevbøger Vedrørende Danmarks Indre Forhold i Uddrag 1627-1629 (Copenhagen, 1929), p.259. Letter of Appointment, 1 December 1627 and p.435. Missive til Kommissarierne i Skaane, 26 May 1628; Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, 2nd series, I,II and VIII, passim; G. Lind, Danish Data Archive 1573; Sir James Balfour Paul, The Scots Peerage (8 vols., Edinburgh, 1904-1911), VIII, p.217 and XII, p.164; T. Riis, Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot (Odense, 1988), II, pp.122 and 137; G.E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, (London, 1953), vol.xii, p.164.


An example of a letter (translated from Latin by Dr Peter Maxwell Stuart):

Danish Rigsarkiv, TKUA, Skotland AII 4. Lord Spynie to Christian IV (n.d. but c.1627)

Most serene King,

When I heard that your Majesty had appointed the Earl of Nithsdale Commander General of your troops in Scotland, I could not have believed my ears, were not Nithsdale himself bragging about all kinds of things which ought to have hindered his being appointed to such honours in the first place. Indeed, the nobility as well as the common people were astonished what your Majesty could have intended by appointing a man who has done nothing and has no reputation at home, who is not only in thrall to the Catholic religion, but is also its defender in Scotland, (and, what is more, has not long come back from Italy, where he is believed to have been the driving force behind criminal plans, along with the bishops), and by raising to such great honours a man who has had absolutely no military experience. The result is that those who are reasonably acute are concluding that he solicited this appointment for no other reason than to discover your Majesty's plans and betray them to the enemy.

I hope your Majesty will not believe that all these reflections come from me because I enjoy slandering [people]. The truth is open to all Scots, and I cannot persuade myself that many are going to reject your commands. So let me most humbly beg your Majesty not to saddle everyone with a thoroughly hateful man, and one whose loyalty is much in doubt. Even though his public bragging has not got him anywhere, I ask only that you order a thorough public investigation to find out whether the things people say about him are true or not, and that you be willing to attribute this impertinence of mine to my devotion to your service.

May Almighty God protect your Majesty for a long time.

Your Majesty's most humble servant,

Spynie (Colonel)

Service record

Arrived 1627-03-01, as COLONEL
Departed 1628-10-03, as COLONEL
Arrived 1628-01-01, as COLONEL
Departed 1633-12-31, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1644-01-01, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY