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Alexander Leslie was one of the sons of Alexander Leslie, later Earl of Leven [SSNE 1] and Agnes Renton [SSNE 8400]. He served in his father's regiment in Swedish service from the early 1620s. He entered his father's Sodermanland, Narke and Varmland regiment in 1623. By 1627 he became an ensign in the reorganised Närke-Varmland's regiment. In April 1628, when Gustav II Adolf was heading back out to Prussia on campaign, he informed his Riksråd (state council) of which troops he was taking with him. Among them was 4 companies of the Södermanland regiment, under Colonel James Scott's command, and one of the 4 captains named was Alexander Leslie. On 8 May 1628 the Riksråd records sending a letter to Leslie  telling him to take over command from James Scott; and on 12 May this is repeated specifying it is Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Leslie, thereby promoting him. on 14 July that same year Leslie appeared before the Riksråd in person to discuss the troops being sent out to Prussia. Leslie was still a lieutenant colonel in 1632 and full colonel before 1637 (serving at Wittstock in 1636), although that year he sought release from Swedish service and received a pension of 800 riksdaler. The following year, in 1638, a Colonel Leslie was awarded funds along with a Colonel Hamilton to recruit 1000 Scots each for their regiments. It is not clear if this was Alexander Leslie or David Leslie, future Baron Newark.

Leslie had previously been married to Margaretha Michelsdottir and received a farm in Nolby in 1627. He later married Lady Margaret Leslie, daughter of John 6th Earl of Rothes, in 1636. It is said that it was this connection (as Rothes was against Charles I's religious reforms) that brought Alexander Leslie senior back to Scotland in support of the Covenanters, although his father's fosterage relations to the Campbells of Glenorchy are also possible. Lord Balgonie fought as commander of his father's regiment, the Earl of Leven's Horse at Marston Moor in 1644. This regiment composed two squadrons: one of lancers, one of cavalry. They are accredited with routing a Royalist regiment of foot at that battle. 

Alexander Lord Balgonie died in 1645 having left a will the year before.


Testament of Alexander Lord Balgonie, 12 January 1644 [in Scots] "I, Alexander, Lord Balgonie, considdering that the dayes of man ar schort and uncertaine, and nothing mair certane nor death, and nothing mair uncertane nor the tyme thairof, and that it becumes all Christianes tymuslie so to dispose of thair worldlie effaires that all contraversies that may fall furth thairanent efter thair deceis may be prevenit, in respect quhairof I, be thir persentis, mak and constitut William, Maister of Cranstoun; Sir Johnne Ruthven of Dunglas, knyght; Walter Dundas, younger of that ilk; Sir Johnne Leslie of Newtoun, knyght, ane of the senatouris of the colledge of justice; Arthur Erskein of Scottiscraig, and Johnne Rentoun of Lambertoun, tutouris testamentares to Alexander Leslie, my lawfull sone, and to Ladie Catharin and Ladie Agnes Leslies, my lawfull dochteris, or to sua many of them as sall not be past thair aige of tutorie the tyme of my decies quhen the samyn sall happin, the saidis Arthur Erskein, Walter Dundas, younger and Johnne Rentoun, or any of them, to be sine quo non, and they, or any of them, with ony twa, of the uthir tutouris abouenominat, to be ane quorum: Lykas I, be thir preesntis, nominat and intreit my honourabill freindis, Johnne, Erle of Rothes, Hew, Lord Montgomrie, Alexander, Erle of Leven, Capitane Johnne Leslie, and Mr. James Baird, advocat; the saidis Erles of Rothes and Levin, or athir of them, being allwayes ane, and they, or athir of them, with ony twa of my saidis uthir honourabill freindis immediatlie aboue mentionat, to be ane quorum; to be overseares, and to haue a cair that the foirsaidis tutouris, or thair quorum abouementionat, dischairge and behave them selfes dewtifullie and fithfullie for the weill of my saidis bairnes, or sua many of them as sall be minouris for the tyme as said is, and for that effect to exact ane compt of the saidis tutouris or thair quorum anes or oftener in the yeir; and for the mair securitie I am content and consentis that thir presentis be insert and registrat in the buikis of counsall and sessioun, thairin to remane ad futuram rei memoiram, and for registratting heirof constituttis my procuratouris, promittentes de rato. In witnes quhairof I haue subscryuit thir presentis with my hand (Written be Alexander Leslie, writter in Edinburgh), att Edinburgh the tuelf day of Januar jm vic fourtie four yeires, befoir thir witnessis, Johnne Fairfull, my seruitour, and the said Alexander Leslie. Balgonie. Alr Lesly, witnes. Jo. Fairfowll, wittnes."


Sources: Krigsarkivet, Karl Viggo Key samlingen (unfoliated), 1 October 1633 (mis-attributed to his father;  C.O. Nordensvan, (ed.), Värmlands Regementes [Närkes och Värmlands Regementes] Historia: Andra Delen, Personal Historia (Stockholm, 1911), p.31; R. Monro, His Expedition with a worthy Scots Regiment called Mac-Keyes (London, 1637), II, The List of the Scottish Officers in Chiefe; Swedish Riksarkiv, P. Sondén, Militärachefer i svenska arméen och deras skrivelser; Swedish Krigsarkiv, Muster Roll, 1623/3; 1626/1,8,10; 1627/12; 1629/3; N.A. Kullberg, et. al., (eds.), Svenska Riksrådets Protokoll, 1621-1658, (vols. 1-18, Stockholm, 1878-1959), I. ppxxvi, ref to Captain Alexander Leslie of one of the Sodermanland companies under Colonel James Scott's command being among those sent out to Prussia with Gustav II Adolf; I, pp. 66-7 1st ref to lt col; I, p.98 ref to Lt Col present at Riksråd; VII, pp.359-60, discussions on recruitment, 23 November and 4 December 1638; Sir James Balfour Paul, The Scots Peerage (8 vols., Edinburgh, 1904-1911), V, pp.383-384; Sir W. Fraser, The Melvilles Earls of Melville and the Leslies Earls of Leven, (Edinburgh, 1890), vol. 1, pp.391, 434; vol. 2, pp.172-3; Riksarkivets Ämbetsarkiv, Huvudarkivet FV a:31-32 Ang. Skottar i svensk tjänst, notes compiled by Hammerskjöld; Steve Murdoch, Network North: Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe, 1603-1746 (Brill, Leiden, 2006), p.42.

Bishops Wars; English Civil War

Service record

Arrived 1623-01-01, as ENSIGN
Departed 1628-03-31, as CAPTAIN
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1628-05-12, as LIEUTENANT COLONEL
Departed 1637-12-31, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1638-01-01, as COLONEL
Departed 1645-12-31, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY