First name

Text source

John Monro of Obsdale ('of Obstell') and Lemlair was the brother of Colonel Robert Monro [SSNE 94] author of "Expedition", and a cousin of Robert Monro [SSNE 179], Baron of Fowlis. Obsdale was served heir to his father in 1607. In November 1608, he was probably the John Monro recorded as tutor to his said cousin and chief Robert. John was at Cromarty with Sir Donald Mackay [SSNE 93] on 23 September 1626 and so might have embarked with Mackay troops then. John was a captain in Danish-Norwegian service from 1627-8. In May 1627, Monro carried a letter from Donald Mackay to King Christian IV. It seems that at some point after 15 June 1628, Obsdale was ‘of Intentioun To pas furth of yis realme [i.e. Scotland] to ye kingdome of denmark In or kingis majesties sruice’ but by 21 May 1629 he ‘hes happilie returnit to this realme’. Monro then, like many others particularly in Mackay's regiment, entered Swedish service. He appears to have begun as a lieutenant then a captain in Donald Mackay's regiment in 1629. He then served as a captain in Patrick Ruthven's [SSNE 3413] regiment that year. He was promoted major in Donald Mackay's regiment in 1630. Soon afterwards he became a colonel. In April 1632 Chancellor Oxenstierna requested that the rest of Monro's recruitment monies and clothing for his soldiers be made available to him. That month Monro and his company marched to join Ake Tott's army. There is a letter from Colonel John Monro of Obsdale to Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun written at Duderstadt and dated 3 August 1632. This Sir Robert Gordon, a former tutor to his nephew the earl of Sutherland and a gentleman of the royal privy chamber, was well-informed of the course of events in Germany as he also received letters from Colonel Robert Monro [SSNE 94]. Colonel John Monro's letter mentions having received two from Sir Robert Gordon, and goes on to discuss personal finances, Lord Reay's [SSNE 93] problems and the likelihood that all foreigners would have to leave Swedish military service due to financial stringency. Colonel John Monro lists quite a few soldiers who have been captured, many released, and some of whom were related to Sir Robert Gordon. The capture of the town of Duderstadt is also discussed: 'quhair Captane Betoune, Doctor Beatounes sone, was killit, ane hoipfull brawe gentelman'. Monro organized some of his finances through Gordon who in September 1632 paid 5,998 marks to Francis Dick who then asked the Edinburgh financier, William Dick, to pay a number of lairds for Monro’s use. This is probably the same as the Colonel Monro whom Jacob de la Gardie refers to in January 1633 when he thanks Axel Oxenstierna for placing his son, Turos, in Colonel Monro's company. On 11 March 1633, Monro was killed in action by German soldiers at an unidentified ‘closter’ in Wetterau near Frankfurt and buried at Bacharach on the banks of the Rhine. But according to the said Sir Robert Gordon Monro ‘hade bin killed by mischance by one of his own partie’.

J.Bannerman, The Beatons, A medical Kindred in the Classical Gaelic
Tradition, (Edinburgh, 1998), pp.72-3. Thanks to Aonghas Maccoinnich for this information

Swedish Krigsarkiv, Muster Roll, 1629/11,14,16,18-20; 1630/22-28,36; J. Grant, Memoirs and Adventures of Sir John Hepburn, (Edinburgh, 1851), p.254; Rikskansleren Axel Oxenstiernas skrifter och brefvexling, first series, VII, p.163, 796; ibid, second series, III, p.283; G. Lind, Danish Data Archive 1573; T. Riis, Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot (Odense, 1988), II, p.125; Sir William Fraser, The Sutherland Book, Vol.2, pp.156-7; J. Mackay, 'Mackay's Regiment' in Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, VIII, 1879, p. 187; R. Monro, His Expedition with a worthy Scots Regiment called Mac-Keyes (London, 1637), I, p.19, 100; II, pp. 178, 180, and The List of the Scottish Officers in Chiefe. The Munro Tree: A Genealogy and Chronology of the Munros of Foulis and Other Families of the Clan, ed. R. W. Munro (Edinburgh, 1978), R/4; R. Gordon, A Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland (Edinburgh, 1813), pp. 402, 473; NLS, Gordons of Gordonstoun and Cummings of Altyre Papers Dep. 175/53, bundle 132, letter Francis Dick to William Dick, 17 September 1632; NRS, Particular Register of Sasines for Inverness, Ross, Sutherland and Cromarty, 1st ser., 1617-1660, RS37/3, fo. 291v; RS37/4, fos. 155v-6v.

This record was also kindly updated by Dr Thomas Brochard

Service record

Departed 1628-09-10, as CAPTAIN
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Departed 1630-12-31, as MAJOR
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Departed 1633-12-31, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY