First name
Social status

Text source

Axel Mowatt was the son of Andrew Mowatt of Hoveland [SSNE 3837] and Else Tronds (although one source says her name was Else Christophersdatter Rusting and that she had been married twice before), and was born in Sunnhordland on Tysnes Farm (or Hovland farm) in 1592. He was one of two brothers (the other was Christopher [SSNE 1375]) that made a succesful career for themselves in the Danish navy. They also had several half brothers on Shetland including John Mowatt of Olaberrie, James, Gilbert, Malcolm, Patrick and Barrel Mowatt. They also had a sister called Karen Mowatt [SSNE 5371]. In some Danish sources Axel is referred to as 'the young Movat' and was noted as a ships captain in 1628. Mowatt first saw action for Denmark-Norway when he served as captain of 'Havhesten' under Henrik Vind's command against Hamburg's fleet in 1630. The following year he became admiral of all the ships in the seas between Iceland, the Faroes Islands and Norway. In 1632 he personally commanded the ships in the Norwegian sea and wintered in Bergen. In 1633 he was again in service as the admiral of the Norwegian sea. In autumn 1633 and spring 1634 however he was moved from his northern command to act as admiral on the Elbe. He was soon back in Norway however as in 1635 king Christian IV of Denmark-Norway commanded that all the necessary timber for a "bradbaenk" be sent to Christiania for Mowatt and his man to start constructing. Mowatt was also providing important information on privateers in action at that time.During the Bishop’s Wars Axel Mowatt served as the top operational admiral in the Norwegian navy. He was also engaged in December 1639 in conscripting ships captains and sailors in Trondheim (220) and Jemtland (100) regions. He remained in active service until age and infirmity weakened him. Mowatt took up permanent residence in Bergen where he owned several farms. Even in his later years he was used in official and private duties and continued in his these until his death on 27 January 1661. While still a single man, Axel fathered an illigitimate son, Anders Axelsen [SSNE 7275], with Marette Eriksdatter of Dal. Soon after, he married Karen Bildt ca.1625 and they remained together until their deaths. With her he fathered Karen owayy, the famour heiress (SSNE5371].

Axel died on 18 February 1661 (or on 27 January 1661) and two days later was taken from the church to his farm for burial. His wife Karen died the following year. They were both initially buried in Onarheim's Church, but their coffins were later transferred to Kvinnherad Church where their bodies were laid along side the Rosencrantz family. His body is still in the upper crypt in the church and his coffin has a small dress sword laid on top of it. By the time of his death Axel Mowatt was one of the largest landowners in Norway [some sources say Norway's richest man] and had the following property; Rosendal, Hatteberg, Mel, Onarheim, Gjersvik, Malkens, Ask, Axelvold, Haaland along with several smaller farms. In 1639 his landholdings provided 444 tons of hartcorn and by 1660 he paid tax on 951.5 tons of hartcorn, 713 daler, 1 ort. Ludvig Rosenkrantz married Axel's only daughter, Karen, and in 1678 Rosendal was raised to a barony. After Axel's death, Frederik III recognised his services in a letter dated 23 November 1662 in which his faithful service to Christian IV was noted. Rosenholm Castle in Denmark has portraits of both Axel Mowatt and his wife Karen

A.M. Weisner, 'Axel Movat og hans slegt' in Bergens Historiske Forenings Skrifter, no.36, Bergen, 1930; C.F. Bricka and J.A. Fredericia, Kong Christian den Fjerdes Egenhændige Breve, (8 vols., Copenhagen, 1878-1947), vol. IV, p. 333. List of Warships and Crews, 7 May 1640; Dansk Biografisk Lexicon, vol.11; Norsk Biografisk Leksikon, IX, p.372-4; H.C. Wolter, Adel og embede: Embedsfordeling og karrieremobilitet hos den dansk-norske adel 1588-1660, p.97; L. Tandrup, Svensk agent ved Sundet; Toldkommissaer og agent i Helsingør. Anders Svenssons depecher till Gustav II Adolf og Axel Oxenstierna 1621-1625 (Aarhus, 1971), pp. 525-526; C. Owe, 'Anders Mowatt og hans slekt' in Norsk Slektshistorisk Tidsskrift, 36, pp.211-229;; O.G. Lundh, ed. Norske Rigsregistranter, vol.7, (Christiania, 1880), pp. 133, 228, 526, 624; N. Nicolaysen (ed.), Norske Magasin, skrifter og optegnelser angaaende Norge og forfattede efter reformationen, vol. II (Christiania, 1868), p.219; Steve Murdoch, Network North: Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe, 1603-1746 (Brill, Leiden, 2006), p.57.

Service record

Arrived 1628-01-01, as CAPTAIN
Departed 1661-01-18, as ADMIRAL
Capacity ADMIRAL, purpose NAVAL