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David Leslie, Lord Newark, started his military career as a captain in Alexander Leslie's [SSNE 1] recruited regiment about 1630. He was the fifth son of Patrick Leslie of Pitcairly and thus a brother of Ludovick Leslie [SSNE 396]. His mother was Jean, daughter of Robert Stewart, Earl of Orkney. Patrick had been one of the gentlemen adventurers of Fife engaged in the plantation of Lewis, along with James Spens [SSNE 1642]. It is possible that it was through this connection that young David obtained a position in a Scottish regiment in the Swedish army. He was certainly a captain in John Ruthven's [SSNE 191] recruited regiment the following year. There is a record of a Captain David Leslie who appears in Russian service under Alexander Leslie of Auchintoul [SSNE 2916] in 1632, and it is probable he served at Smolensk. He bore testimonials from Charles I which honoured him as a Commander in wars of France, Germany, Sweden and Low Countries". Auchintoul, David Leslie and about 100 Scottish officers were sent by the Swedes to bolster the Russian army and open up an Eastern front against Poland to leave Gustav II Adolf’s flank undisturbed as he entered Germany. This service would eventually save Auchintoul's life. After being captured at the the Battle of Philiphaugh in 1645, Auchentoul's life was spared only after the direct intervention of David Leslie with the Argyll-led regime in Scotland.

David Leslie re-appeared in the Swedish army in 1634 where he served as a colonel. He apparently served as General Baner's adjutant-general for a time and possibly served at Wittstock in 1636). Leslie petitioned to leave Swedish service in August 1640 after being wounded in battle. The Swedish Riksråd (Royal Council) records show that he and Colonel James Lumsden [SSNE 3003] asked to return to Scotland at the same time. The seriousness of Leslie’s wounds are questionable. Both these officers were rewarded with a severance deal which included 200 muskets and 200 suits of armour each. Leslie also recieved a valuable gold chain as an indication of his loyal service to the Swedish Crown. Lumsden had his pension made payable in Hamburg and the men were joined six days later by Lt. Colonel George Monro [SSNE 3119] who also received a two month salary advance parting gift. The arms given to Leslie and Lumsden comprised a similar deal to that given to Field Marshal Alexander Leslie and suggests a willingness by them to take part in the Bishops’ Wars. The Stuart ambassador in Hamburg, Sir Thomas Roe [SSNE 4421], informed London of Leslie’s departure with Colonel Lumsden and 24 other Scottish officers from that city. He believed the Royal Navy would find it easy to intercept them but was proven wrong and Leslie’s party arrived safely in Scotland.

After the parliaments of Scotland and England agreed the Solemn League and Covenant in 1643 David Leslie became a Major General under Alexander Leslie now Earl of Leven. In 1644 he was commander of Horse when the Army of the Solemn League and Covenant entered England. He played a leading role in inflicting defeat on the Royalists  at the Battle of Marston Moor. He defeated James Graham, Marquis Montrose [SSNE 1523] at the battle of Philiphaugh in September 1645 where Colonel Alexander Leslie of Auchintoul was captured and saved by David Leslie's direct intervention (confirming the hypothesis that the two had served in Russia together). Auchintoul was spared, but banished and returned to Russia thereafter.

David Leslie was given temporary command of the Army of the Solemn League and Covenant in 1646. It was during this period that Charles I made his way into the Covenanter camp outside Newark where he was persuaded to order the surrender of Newark to the allied forces.

After the execution of Charles I in 1649, Axel Oxenstierna became concerned at the role of his friend Leven in the Regicide. In a letter from Leven to Oxenstierna written in Edinburgh in 1649, Leven makes it clear at his contempt for these actions and that Lt. General David Leslie had endeavoured to keep the Swedes informed of developments. Although Leslie did not join the Engagers in 1648 he was at Dunbar for Charles II and he ultimately became the commander of the new Engager army that fought at Worcester for Charles II in 1651. He was taken prisoner after the battle and imprisoned in the Tower of London until 1660. He was created Baron Newark in 1661 for his role in the surrender of that town. He died in 1682. 

His castle in North East Fife, now a ruin, but still bears the name Newark Castle.


Sources: R. Monro, His Expedition with the worthy Scots regiment called Mackeyes (2 vols., London, 1632), II, List of the Scottish Officers in Chief; Swedish Riksarkiv, P. Sondén, Militärachefer i svenska arméen och deras skrivelser; N.A. Kullberg, et. al., (eds.), Svenska Riksrådets Protokoll, 1621-1658, (vols. 1-18, Stockholm, 1878-1959), VIII, p.184, 5 August 1640; Swedish Krigsarkiv, Muster Roll, 1630/36; 1631/22,24; CSPD 1640-1641, Letter from Sir Thomas Roe, 26 September 1640, p.102; Rikskansleren Axel Oxenstiernas Skrifter och Brefvexling, (15 vols., Stockholm, 1888-1977), IX, pp.514-515, Alexander Leslie to Axel Oxenstierna, Edinburgh, 21 September 1649; PRO SP 91/2-212, Testimonial to the Tsar from Charles I quoted in D. Fedosov, The Caledonian Connection; Scotland Russia Ties Middle Ages to early Twentieth Century. A concise biographical list (Aberdeen, 1996), p.68. For David Leslie's intervention on behalf of Alexander Leslie of Auchentoul see National Records of Scotland, PA7/23/48. 'The Humble Desire of Lieutenant General David Leslie (with sentence noted on the reverse).

Sir James Balfour Paul, The Scots Peerage (8 vols., Edinburgh, 1904-1911), VI, p.440; E. Furgol, A Regimental History of the Covenanting Armies (Edinburgh, 1990), passim; A. Grosjean, ‘Scots and the Swedish State: Diplomacy, Military Service and Ennoblement 1611-1660’, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Aberdeen 1998, p.177; M. Bennett, Historical Dictionary of the British and Irish Civil Wars 1637-1660, (Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000) pp.131-2; G.E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, (London, 1932), vol.viii, p.2;  A list of the Several Regiments and Chief Officers of the Scottish Army quartered neer Newcastle (London 1644); Ed. Furgol, A Regimental History of the Covenanting Armies, 1639-1651 (Edinburgh, 1990), passim.



From the Earl of Stirling's Register of Royal Letters, Vol II, pp.579-580:

Charles, be the Grace of God, King, &c., To the Most high, mightie, and right noble Prince, The Great
Lord Emperour and Great Duik Michaell Pheodor, M'rch of All Russia, sole Commander of Volodomer, Moskoe, Novogarod, King of Cazan, king of Astroean, King of Siberia, Lord of Vobskey, and great Duik of Smoleskey, Tueskey, Vgorskey, Pannskey, Vatskey, Bolgaskey, and of the other ountreyis ; Lord and Great Duik of Xovogored in the Lower Cuntreyis, of Cheringo, Rezan, Polotzkey, Eostone, Yares, Lanskey, Belozeisky, Leuslandskey, Yondeskey, Obdoiskey, Condinskey, And of all the northerne parts Lord and
Commander ...

Greeting.—Most Excellent Prince, and dear brother and freind. We have sene and pervsed your
iniperiaU Letters of Commission and credance that your Ma. our dear brother, hath gevin to your Maj. Genera Major Sir Alex. Leslie, one of our faythfull subjects of our kingdome of Scotland, of noble and illustrous descent ;

Which letteris thrughout all our dominions, according to our imperiall requeist, shalbe in
all brotherlie requeist observed and performed ; And that so much the more becaus your Emperial affection hath bene most enclyned to have our faythfull subjects' armes and valoris imployed in your Ma. warres,

And in consideration thairof hath made our said subject Sir Alexander Leslie Major-Generall of your
Mjesteis warlyk forces, which preferment is by ws most kyndlie accepted and greatlie esteamed, in preferring one of our Scotts subjects to such high diguitie, assureing your Ma''^ (our dear brother) from ws that ther is no subject in our dominions, who ar willing to serve your Maj. in the qualitie of commander or souldier, bot we will give them our frie leave, consent, and libertie to serve your Maj, which we have [thought] good to certifie vnto your highnes by these our letteris, not doubting bot your Maj. will at our requeist continew towards your Maj. servants our subjects all perfection and promotion ; Whom we desire your Ma'j. will continew as yow have begun to advance him, as lykwyse to performe vnto him, and all others our subjects vnder your Maj. Command, as ar mentionat in your Maj.  imperiall Commission and letteris of Credence gevin vnto him :

Moreover, we have, in regard of your Emperial Commission gevin to your Maj General, Sir Alexander Leslie, granted libertie vnto our faytlit'ull subject Captan David Leslie for to retume him selff vnto your Maj. emperiall court ther, to attend your Maj service, of whois wisdome, valour, and faythfulnes we have thoght good to certifie your Maj, as descendit from noble, illustruous, and marschall parentage, and quho in his owin persone hath gained to him selff great honour, and hath gevin sufficient proolf thairof for many yeires that he hath caryed charge in the qualitie of a Commander in the VVarres of France,Germanie, Sweden, and the Low Countreyes :

Therfor [having] thoght good to recommend him with these our saids letteris of recommendation vnto your Maj, that he may be employed according to his qualitie, worth, and merite. Our part shalbe to doe the lyk. And to answer your Maj, our dear brother, gratious inclination and disposition by all princelie offices of love and respects, to manteane and preserve the amitie and mutuall correspondencie [of] long and happie continuance between our Crounes and Kingdomes : And
so we leave your Maj. to the protection of Almigbtie God.—

From our Palace of Westminster, the 26 of Feb., in the 7 yeir of our regne of Great Britane, France, and Irland.
Subscribitur, Charles R."


English Civil War; British Civil Wars; Bishops Wars

Service record

Arrived 1630-01-01, as CAPTAIN
Departed 1630-12-31, as CAPTAIN
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1631-01-01, as CAPTAIN
Departed 1631-12-31, as CAPTAIN
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1632-01-01, as CAPTAIN
Departed 1634-12-31, as CAPTAIN
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1635-01-01, as COLONEL
Departed 1640-08-31, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1643-11-26, as COLONEL
Departed 1643-12-31, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1644-01-01, as MAJOR GENERAL
Departed 1651-12-31, as LIEUTENANT GENERAL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY