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Sir Andrew Gray (f.1574-1629), served as a diplomat, soldier and quartermaster to Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia. Andrew Gray had already seen military action in Scotland in 1594 when he served as part of the Earl of Huntly's army, which according to Alaistair Campbell was "1200 to 4000 in number, but with a high percentage of horsemen, it contained a considerable number of professional soldiers and six guns".Despite being a Roman Catholic, Gray began his military career in the service of the Swedes, firstly in Patrick Ruthven's [SSNE 3413] and then James Spens' [SSNE 1642] regiments. This is probably the same Andrew Gray noted in Stockholm in December 1606 as one of four Scots accused of the murder of Anders Svensson. Although several local people were called in as witnesses, no verdict is recorded in the case, but it is known that these four Scots were imprisoned for a time. By 1613 he had left Swedish service to escort the Princess Elizabeth to her new home in Germany at the Court of her husband, Frederick V of the Palatinate. However he again reappears in Sweden the following year as a colonel with various captains in his company.

After the Bohemian Revolt of 1618, pressure was brought to bear on King James to send military support to the army of his son-in-law. James at last countenanced limited support from his kingdoms organised by Sir Andrew Gray. This was perhaps surprising given his Catholicism.

Sir Andrew arrived in London in February 1620 having been sent by the new King of Bohemia to levy 2,000 foot in Britain (Sir Francis Nethersole claimed Frederick had made him Lieutenant General of Artillery).  Gray's orders were to raise a British regiment composed equally of Scots and English. By March he had been granted permission to raise his levy, though he was to do so quietly and not to ‘beat the drum’ in order not to upset the Spanish ambassador. This restriction was later lifted and the drum started beating in London on the very day and close to the hour of the arrival of the Spanish ambassador, resulting in an official complaint being registered. The Scottish Privy Council ordered Alexander Downie to have his ship ready to transport the assembled soldiers and Colonel Gray to the Germany. Dutch ships were to be stopped in the Firth of Forth and searched for pilots for the Hamburg journey. Colonel Gray’s Scottish volunteers set sail for Hamburg with 1,500 men. They were to be followed the next day by 1,000 recruits leaving from London. The Venetian Ambassador concluded that Gray’s Regiment ‘included a larger number of Scots than English and of better quality, owing to the efforts of that Colonel to show more honour to those of his own nation’. Gray’s regiment were also joined by other Scottish volunteers on the continent. While Gray’s regiment were engaged in Count Mansfeld’s army another 1,000 Scots in Colonel John Seaton’s [SSNE 8434] regiment formed part Frederik V’s army proper in southern Bohemia. As the English Parliament procrastinated over support for the conflict, Joseph Polisensky has observed that the true ‘representatives of British public opinion were Gray’s soldiers. Their arrival into Lusatia was welcomed by British and German observers alike as testified to by contemporary broadsheets. In December 1620 Gray left Pilsen together with Count Ernst of Mansfeld and occupied Falkenau [Falknov nad Oh?í, since 1948 Sokolov, a district of Falknov in Bohemia]. On 11 April 1621 he had to deliver the town to Imperialist troops and went to the Upper Palatinate, leaving behind a burden of debts to the government of Amberg. The stubborn determination of Gray in his various encounters cost the regiment more dearly than simple financial debt. Indeed, by January 1621 their numbers had reduced from 2,500 to just over 300. On 1 October 1621 these troops plundered Kastl (Upper Palatinate) and eventually joined the English troops under Lord Essex in Frankenthal.

Such losses of men as sustained by Gray did not go unnoticed in Britain. Rumours abounded that Mansfeld had disbanded his forces, but these were quashed by Colonel Gray himself. He returned to Britain in 1621 to levy 3,000 more men and told the King he needed £100,000 for Mansfeld’s troops. By June he was told he would not get the support he sought and so he left to rejoin his remaining in the army of Count Mansfeld. Gray arrived back in Britain in March 1623 and, on this occasion, James granted him permission to levy 6,000 troops in Scotland. Spens informed the Swedish Chancellor that Gray’s army was to use his army to reinforce Bergen-op-Zoom en route to Mansfeld’s army. A Spanish-Dutch truce meant that the recruiting had to be undertaken quietly and schemes were hatched to try to make it look as if the levies were going to the service of the Netherlands or Denmark-Norway rather than Mansfeld. Indeed, on 8 April 1623, colonels Gray and Seton [SSNE 8434] requested a commission from the States-General to raise a regiment of English soldiers, a decision left undetermined by the States. These complicated arrangements continued until August when Gray apparently left with his levy incomplete.

Sir Andrew Gray arrived back in London in 1624 to raise more men and was appointed colonel of the 12,000 soldiers, mostly who were to be mustered and sent to Mansfeld in Holland. Many of these men must have been raised on the outstanding warrants issued to Gray in 1623. Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia seemed most surprised and delighted by this levy. She wrote to Sir Thomas Roe announcing ‘some certain good news out of England where there is therteene thousand men a levying for Mansfeld. What they are to doe I know not for the king and I are utterlie ignorant of all, though they say it is for our service’. These men were woefully under-provisioned and languished in England for weeks before being put on ships. Once at sea they were apparently not given permission to land in the United Provinces immediately, possibly due to disease spreading amongst them. Many of the soldiers died of malnutrition and disease, their bodies being buried at sea. Indeed most reports simply write off the expedition as being totally wiped out or ineffectual. The Swedish agent in Denmark-Norway, however, provided evidence of 6,000 of these soldiers eventually landing at Vlissingen in the United Provinces. Here they were joined by 2,000 cavalry under Christian of Halberstadt on the 13th of March. Reports on what happened next conflict. Some of the Scots survivors apparently took service with Mansfeld while others joined the army of Gustav II Adolf probably believing that the Swedes were about to enter the war on the side of the Protestant League. Despite Gray’s attempts to keep a Stuart military presence on the fields of Europe, hopes for European Protestants now centred firmly on the Northern powers. In 1627 his wife, Margaret, Lady Gray [SSNE 7374], the daughter of Sir George Elves, petitioned the Scottish Privy Council stating that Andrew had married her 12 years previously in Stockholm but that she had been so neglected by him since then that "she is unable to express the miseries she has suffered". Margaret requested that any money due to Andrew be paid to her. There has been some confusion of this man with a later Andrew Gray [SSNE 6637] who entered both Danish and Swedish service, but also Andrew 7th Lord Gray [SSNE 8054] who served in France..


Sources - Swedish Service

Stockholms stads tänkeböcker, 1605-1608, (Stockholm, 1963), pp.194-5; Riksarkivet, Stafsundsarkivet. Autografsamlingen. (RA/720807.005) Volym 17. 1614-07-30 kvitto på krut och bly; T. Fischer, The Scots in Sweden (Edinburgh, 1907), p.224.

Bohemian and Palatinate Campaigns

Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 5. Spens to Axel Oxenstierna, 20 April 1620, 3 November 1622; Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 5. Spens to Gustav II Adolf, undated, 1620; CSPD, cxii 1619-23, p.125, 26 February 1620; L. Tandrup (ed.), Svensk agent ved Sundet; Toldkommissær og agent i Helsingør. Anders Svenssons depecher till Gustav II Adolf og Axel Oxenstierna 1621-1625 (Aarhus, 1971), pp.546-547. Anders Svensson to Axel Oxenstierna/Gustav II Adolph, 14 March 1625; RPCS, 1619-1622, pp.257-261; Anon., A most true relation of the late proceedings in Bohemia, Germany and Hungaria […] As also of the happie arriual of Sir Andrew Gray into Lusatia (London 1620), p.10; Anon., Certaine letters declaring in part the passage of affairs in the Palatinate from September to this present Moneth of April (Amsterdam, 1621), pp.11-1, 29 January 1621 and 26 February 1621; John Taylor, Taylor his Trauels From the Cittie of London in England to the Cittie of Prague in Bohemia (London, 1620), p.D1(sic); Letters and other documents illustrating the relations between England and Germany  at the commencement of the Thirty Years War ed. S.R. Gardner (Camden 2nd series, 1868), vol 98, p.143. Commission for Sir Andrew Gray (mistakenly called Jean Gray) Frederick of the Palatinate to King James, 16/26 January 1620; Ibid, p.178. Sir Francis Nethersole to Sir Dudley Carleton, 20 February/ 1 March 1620 noting arrival of Gray in London on his recruiting drive and claiming his rank as Lieutenant General of Artillery, (though this has not been substantiated elsewhere yet. CSPV, 16, 1619-1621, pp.262-263. Girolamo Lando to Venice, 28 May 1620; CSPV, 16, 1619-1621, pp.326-7. Girolamo Lando to Venice, 9 July 1620; CSPV, 17, pp.294-6. Girolamo Lando, 22 April 1622; CSPV, 17, pp.294-6. Girolamo Lando, 16 June 1622; RPCS, second series, 1625-1627, pp.50-52; Calendar of State Papers Domestic, 1627-8, London 1858, p.497; Steve Murdoch, Network North: Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe, 1603-1746 (Brill, Leiden, 2006), pp.70-71, 100; Resolutien der Staten-Generaal, Nieuwe Reeks, Deel 6, 1623-June 1624, No. 666, 8 April 1623, p. 103.

Dr Bernd Warlich kindly provided the following references: Elmar WEIß, Die Unterstützung Friedrichs V. von der Pfalz durch Jakob I. und Karl I. von England im Dreißigjährigen Krieg (1618-1632), Stuttgart 1966, p. 20, 21f., 25, 31, 32, 51 footnote 26; Stefan HELML, Die Oberpfalz im 30jährigen Krieg – der Deutschland und Europa in seinen Bann zog (Amberg, 1990), pp. 23 & 27; KRÜSSMANN, Walter: Ernst von Mansfeld (1580-1626). Grafensohn, Söldnerführer, Kriegsunternehmer gegen Habsburg im Dreißigjährigen Krieg. Historische Forschungen vol. 94, Berlin 2010, see p. 186, 196-198, 212, 214, 217, 223-224, 226, 267, 271, 276, 388, 483, 547, 587.


Updates provided by Mr Jack Abernethy.

Service record

Arrived 1594-09-26, as COMMANDER
Departed 1594-10-03, as COMMANDER
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1610-01-01, as CAPTAIN
Departed 1612-12-31, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1613-01-01, as COMPANY CAPTAIN
Departed 1613-12-31, as COMPANY CAPTAIN
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1614-01-01, as COLONEL
Departed 1615-12-31, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1620-01-01, as COLONEL
Departed 1622-12-31, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1622-01-01, as COLONEL
Departed 1627-12-31, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1628-01-01
Departed 1629-12-31
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MISC