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William Cranstoun [aka Cranston] had been active during the Civil Wars in Britain, first as master of Cranstoun's Foot in the Army of the Solemn League and Covenant from May 1644 until February 1647. In 1648 he was again appointed a Colonel of Foot, but he was captured at Uttoxeter and imprisoned in Hull. He returned to Scotland in 1650. He was also a son in law of Alexander Leslie Earl of Leven [SSNE 1], having married Leslie's daughter, Marie. Leslie provided Cranstoun with both legal and financial surety for the raising of the regiment. Cranstoun and his regiment formed part of the Swedish army garrison at the city of Thorn from 1656-8. His regiment was recruited as part of Cromwell's policy of allowing Royalists who had participated in the Glencairn rising to go abroad to serve rather than to imprison them or have the risk of them continuing to pose a military threat in Scotland. The regiment contained 6 companies, of which Cranstoun's company had: 2 sergeants, 4 subofficers, 6 corporals, 3 drummers, 12 rotmasters amongst others; these included lieutenant-colonel Ludowig Drummond, major William Murray, quartermaster Francis Anderson, scribe James Lindsay, regimental scribe Joshua Cairncer, chaplain Jacmes Ritchie and pastor Thomas Muchrie. Captains George Erskin [SSNE 1115], William Ramsay [SSNE 3327], George "Achmute", George Grant [SSNE 2531], James Fraser [SSNE 2290] were in the regiment with their companies. Cranstoun's good service and friendship of Charles X led the Swedish king to successfully pressure Cromwell for the return of Cranstoun's estates in Scotland. Cranstoun received a travel pass dated 15 December 1656 from King Charles X. In 1664 the Stuart envoy extraordinary, Earl Carlisle [SSNE 2261] wrote to the Swedish king on behalf of Alexander Leslie's inheritors and some of Cranstoun's former soldiers in request of outstanding payment for their services.


Sources: National Records of Scotland (formerly NAS), GD26/13/338 [no date] Cranstoun to Leslie telling him that Sweden sought a levy of 2,000 troops from Britain; NAS GD26/04/841 18 July 1656 bond by Cranstoun to Leslie re Leslie's pension being assigned to Cranstoun and its repayment; NAS GD 135/1032 3 March [1656?] Commission by Cranstoun stating his intention to pass out of Scotland to take up his command in Sweden; Swedish Riksarkiv, P. Sondén, Militärachefer i svenska arméen och deras skrivelser; Otto Donner, A brief sketch of the Scottish families in Finland and Sweden (Helsingfors, 1884), p.41; Swedish Riksarkiv, Extranea 135: IX, 4, interciperade brev 1600-talet, II brev till Skotska officerare; Swedish Riksarkiv, Kammararkivet 554 Preussiska Räkenskaper 1658, vol 1; Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 522; Swedish Krigsarkiv, Muster Roll, 1656/8,10; 1657/6; P. Wieselgren, (ed.), De La Gardiska Archivet, part 10, (Lund, 1838), p.20; 


Hans Landberg, Lars Ekholm, Roland Nordlund and Sven A. Nilsson, Det kontinentala krigets ekonomi: Studier i krigsfinansiering under svensk stormaktstid (Uppsala, 1971), p.89; E. Furgol, A Regimental History of the Covenanting Armies (Edinburgh, 1990); T. Fischer, The Scots in Eastern and Western Prussia (Edinburgh, 1903), pp.134-5; A. Grosjean, 'Royalist Soldiers and Cromwellian Allies? The Cranstoun Regiment in Sweden 1655-1658' in S. Murdoch and A. Mackillop (eds.), Fighting for Identity: Scottish Military Experience c.1550-1900 (Leiden, 2002), pp.61-82; Steve Murdoch, Network North: Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe, 1603-1746 (Brill, Leiden, 2006), pp.138-221.


See also:Riksarkivets ämnessamlingar. Personhistoria


Riksarkivet Coyetska Samlingen 3399

vol.3, f.106 letter of Alexander Leslie 1655 (no date no place) German

Ich Alexander Lessle Graff von Leven und Feldt Marschall...Baron William Cranstoun

f.107, copy of a letter Hamburg 15 June 1655

re Cranstoun and 12000 (men?) - an error surely for 1200!


Coyetska Samlingen 3400

undated receipt signed by Cranstoun, Orcharton and Leslie (1655?)

I underwritten doe acknowledge heere with to have receaved by order of the right honble Peter Julius Coyet Envoye from His Matie the King of Sweden the summe of three thousand rixdalers according to the present value thereof in Hamburg obliging myself also by these that I shall use all possible endeavour in the speedy raising, transporting and delivering off that number of men at the appointed place beyond the Seas wherunto I am bound by vertue of the capitulation and articles passed between his said Matie the king and Sweden and myselfe. And that I shall not faile to send with thefirst to the said Swedish envoye the caution or security signed and sealed with the hand and seale of the Earle of Leven my father in law and attested as it is usuall with the witnesses besides without any spotting or underlining according as my said father in law hath passed his promise in my behalfe to keep his said matie the king of Sweden harm lesse and indemnified heerin.

Witnesse my hand and seale. Actum the [blank] November at London 1655


Jo orchartonn wittness

Alex Leslie wittness



Coyetska Samlingen 3398

vol.2, f.4 letter from Cranstoun to PJ Coyet London July3, no year? in English

My Lord

I made bould to kisse your Lordships handes? with one off mine? and to implore your assistance before ? his Majesty? My lord I am in a very hard conditione my officeres freinds hath? seized? upon my esteate for the remnantie? off my levy Moneyes? If itt could be effectuated before ? his Majestie that those 3000 and? 400 doleres could be payed to Me here att Londone it wold both save my credite and my esteat from enter ruine. My Lord I have none I can have my recorsse to bot your Lordship for the opportunity therof and I doe earnestlie beg this favour att your handes and I herde? ther was some Moneyes? appointed for me by his Majestiefor performance off my jurney but ther is non to bee hade from Hamburgh the resident Mr Cambro from / Mr Cambrosous denayeng? any such? orders Iff your Lordship hathe? any commanded to lay uppon your forbande?/servante in these partes you may advertise me with the first occasion bee asured ther shal none prove more reddie to serve you then

My Lord your Lordships humble servant



vol.2, f.130 letter from Cranstoun to PJ Coyet Hamburg Oct 17 1657

I am affrayed to become trobelsome to your Lordship with unfortounat?/unp??tennatinge? you with my letteres bot My Lord My presente condition of affaires boath heir and att home are soe pressinge that I am necesitated heirto. My Lord the Englishe shipes?/shiper?  are to goe away within a fourthneighte therfor I shal humblay with this beg your Lordship will bee pleased to purchasse me my fearloafe? within that tyme otherwyes I will loose my passage this winter. My Lord if ther be any thynge in my power where I can serve your Lordship here ore in England belive me my Lord you shall sende? noe bodie or ? if you will be bot pleased to honoure me with your commandes again

My Lord your most humble servant Cranstoune



vol.2, f.136 letter of Cranstoun to PJ Coyet Hamburg 28 Oct 1657

My Lord

I have all this tyme expected that hounore of his Majesties forlosse? bot I see nowe a necessatie off goeinge withoute itt nott beeing in a capacitie to attende any longer beeing called home bay the bade condition off my affaires and alsoe be resone I can not subsiste any longer heire. My Lord I doe acknoladge your Lordships many imparted liberties? and could wish that my abilatie wer such as to retaliate them sufficiently with my services. I houpe your Lordship will bee meindfull of your servant in his absence and when occasione offers will have the Kinge the distressed conditione his servant hath reduc? me onto. Soe that I am necesitated to sell my landes to satisfie my officeres of ther levy munay whoe att present are personing?/persuing my Waife in Skotland. And I moste be necessitated to pay the skipperes broughte over his Majesties saaldiar otherwayes to forfalt the somme double. Grave [ie Graffen] Mayen? hath disposede of my Regimente in Lifland and given itt to my Lvtenante Collonel My Lord this is my presente conditione yeit all wold not greave me if I hade bot his Majesties favour which your Lordship can helpe me to. And I shal once more bey att your handes ye will procour me his Majesties passe and commandes I intende to have come myselfe to Wismare bot I have not soe much as to cary my charges if your Lordship th? itt fitting I shal send a petitioune to his Majestie I will not trobell your Lordship any furder bot with the keind respectes and best wishes of my Lord

Your Lorship most humble servant Cranstoune 



Coyetska Samlingen 3400

vol.4, f. 18 letter from king Karl 10 Gustav to O. Cromwell, Dec 1654 (latin)

Nos Carolus Gustavus Dei Gratia Svecorum, gothorum Vandalorumq Rex, Magnus Princeps Finlandiae, Dux Esthoniae, Careliae, Bremae, Verdae, Stetini Pomeraniae, Cafsubiae et Vandaliae, Princeps Rugiae,Dominus Ingriae et Vismaniae, nec non Comes Palatinus Rheni, Bavariae, Juliaci, Cliviae et Montium Dux etc Serenissimo A Celsissimo Nostro Bono Amico Olivario Domino Protectori Reipub. Angliae, Scotiae et Hyberniae suarumq ditionum, saluem et prosperitatis incrementum serenissime et celsissime domine protector bone amice! Memor arctae illius necessitudinis ac cognationis qua cum familia Metellana conjungitur Illustris et Generosus Nobis sincere fidelis Stabuli Nostri Praefectus Collegisq Militaris Consiliaris et Generalis dn Robertus Douglas Comes de Skeninge, Baro Haereditarius de Wittingen Liber Baro de Skalby Dominus de Hogzater e Lewen humillimi a nobis flagitavit velimus comendatione nra apud Celsnem Vam anniti ut comes de Laderdal ejusq Frater qui in arce Londinensi captivi detinentur, libertati bonusq suis restitui, atq ex tam gravi et diuturno carcere eliberari possint. Nos etsi rebus alenis nos aegerrime immisceamus, ne tn. affectui nostro erga nationem Scoticam utpote plurimis officijs a longo iam tempore genti nostrae cognitam vel precibus illiu viri qui tam bene de nobis regnoq, nostro multi doi militiaeq praeclare gestis meritus est, deniq laudabili illius in propinquos suos pietati deesse videamur a Celne Vm amice contendimus velit hoc commendationi nostrae tribuere ut dicti comites libertati suae et si fieri possit bonis reddi queant Hoc pacto nos plurimum dsvinciet Celdo Va et optimae erga eandem voluntati nostrae ingentem stimulum addet, repensatieri quod nostri gratia factum fuerit fucrit prompto vicissim affectu amicitiaq. Quibus finientes Celsnem Vam divinae tuitioni ex animo comendamus recteq valere cupimus. Dabantur n Regia Nra Stockholmesi die    Decembris A 1654 Vester Bonus Amicus



SRA Coyetska Samlingen 3400,

vol.4, f.46 Marie Leslie to ? (prob Cranstoun, her husband) Aug 1657, Scots/Eng

deirest harte

it is with no small troble I give you this, sinc the subiect of it as all my others, have bein most be still fresh complaint against your unkyndnes I  had not it thought it had bein posibell you could have bein so unmyndfull of poor me bot alas nou in a wholl years tym to have had bot tuo letters from you maks me afrayd you aither ar in a wery bad condition and so not riting your frinds hew shuld kno it or els hou quet forgotten you had any heir to remember and hou trobelsom and grivious aither of thes are to me I am no mor able to expres then another to hou them so I shal therfor by thes again mak it my earnest desyrs unto you that I may be asertained of your condition what it is and beg it of you as a pledge of that afecttion you ought me that I my no mor be meserable by leaving at uncertentys and sugh a distance from you  I was houpfall that long beifor this tym you wold hav mynded your promises to me at pairting and maid me hapy by making me a sharer wath you of your condition which what ever it had bein could not bot to me hav bein satisfying provyding I had bot mroyd? you bot to be at such a distanc as this and in so many fears and disquyet every day by the diversetys of reports is a thousand deaths in on[e] unto me deir hart I dow not pres you to any thing which may cros your oun mehinations[machinations] bot if you lou me aither risolv to bio with me heir or send for me wher you ar that so I may onc again be hapy in my lyf, my deir I shall nou aquant you with the stait of your busines heir your creditors ar not so easie to be ordered as it seimd they wold hav bein when you left us, ther is only woodhead seteled with my ladys lyf and sir archbald douglas his unkyndnes in ar der to the holding of denholm which hee wil in no ways quyt imposes a nesesetie upon me to sell crelng or loos ale the busines of wachob? hes bein lyk to wrung? and if much frendship had not prewald its lyk we had quyt lost t but it is nou put of til the next sesion and I think sinc our adversaris hes the half of the fears by reason of our neu alayance? who ar  wery cairfull in our busines I am confident you hav receved sum of myn wherin I sheu you of my lord balgonys mariag with my lord howards sister but your silence and not answering anything in relation aither to your busines or other things maks me afrayd that most of myn miscaries my deir the skiper which transported you over hath bein back her and using all meins for his fraught which in end we hav bein forst to giv him bond for if you do not pay him befor the last of Januaire next I shall by thes beg you will be at the trobell nou whenthe king of sweden is in thos places but to ryt to sum of your freinds about him that cours may be taken for the payment of the poor man and we freid of the trobel therof for really your estait is not in a condition to pay thos burdens that ar al radie on it, his bond acording to your charter partie with him cums to four hunder and seven rix dollers his name is Oto pap skeper of the hoy called the whyt dowe of hamburie ther is also another busines most desyr to kno your pleasaur in your liatinant colonel Lodiwick drumond hath wreat hom to his frinds heir and particularly to my lord Roxbrough and sent him your bond wherin you stand ingaged to giv him six dolers upon the man at ther landing in and it is his desyr they willput it in execution against you heir, my hart this will be very hrad?[hard] and uterly ruine you if you shal be mad to pay out of your oun proper estait thos things you ar ingaged to as a servant of the king of sueden and I shall be forst to think you hav not bein aneugh circumspect if you hav discharged him who I am confident did not acomplish all his ingagments to you and left him still in a condition to trobell you I shall therfor besich you with the very first opertunety to giv me an ansuer to thos thing what you wold hav us to doe in them for all we could persuad my lord Konbrough and the rest of thos intrusted withthat business to say to spair ther execution untill wee had hard from you and if you do not mak a spedie returne to us I fear they may proceid to be trobelsum I hav heir sent you an return of General Monck leters which had cum sooner had I found any sum opertunety I besich you let me kno hou to derect my leters unto you and wryt some tyme to the generall who taks it kindly to heir from you and truely did solicit the judges in wach of  busines as if it had bein his oun I shall nou ad no mor but my ernest desyrs you wil send for hir who canot liv hapylie without you nd shall ever apraise? hir self derast hart

yours onlie

marie leslie


Service record

Arrived 1644-03-01, as MASTER
Departed 1647-02-28, as MASTER
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1656-01-01, as COLONEL + CHIEF
Departed 1657-12-31, as COLONEL + CHIEF
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1657-05-01
Capacity COLONEL, purpose MILITARY