First name
Social status

Text source

Richard Clerck was born in Happingworth, Scotland in 1604. He was the son of John/Hans Clerck the elder [SSNE 4159], who was also a Swedish holm admiral. Hans was the brother of Richard Clerck the elder [SSNE 4137], making Richard Clerck the younger his nephew. Some sources claim that Richard Clerck, the younger, was the son of Captain William Clerk [SSNE 4349] but this remains to be proven.

Little seems known as to when and why Richard Clerck came to Sweden but in 1628 he was serving as a ship's captain in the Swedish navy. That year he was sent to Norrland, Finland, and Åland to bring "lodjor" to Stockholm. Not long after, Richard Clerck was appointed to serve in Danzig. However, on the death of Adiral Hans Horn in August 1629, Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna ordered Richard Clerck to take over command of the ships at Pillau.

In 1630 Richard Clerck was appointed 'holm captain' at the Skeppsholm shipyard in Stockholm. He was promoted to holm major in 1638 (although one source notes it later, in 1641).

In 1640 Richard Clerck was sent to Amsterdam with 5 vessels on a mercantile mission, which is interesting timing as it coincided with the Covenanters actively seeking military supplies from the Swedes. By 1644 Richard Clerck held the rank of major in the 3rd squadron of Admiral Claes Flemming's fleet, and served as adjutant to the commander on the Dalarö-based fleet. On 1 July that year he was appointed chief of the warship Svärdet and partook in the seabattle against the Danes. In 1645 Richard Clerck served in Admiral Erik Ryning's fleet.

In 1647 the Krigskollegium sent instructions to Richard Clerck and Benjamin Bonnell to deliver 10 lasts of coal to the artillery smithy.

Richard Clerck was ennobled in 1648, on 7th December, and introduced into the Swedish House of Nobility in 1649 under nr.442.

In 1652 Clerck acted as muster-master general for the Västergötland regiment. The following year his ship Stockholm (co-owned with Benjamin Bonnell) was taken by English Privateers leading to  protracted court hearings in England. 

Richard Clerck was promoted to lieutenant admiral in 1654, and by 1655 he was 'holm admiral' although his duties at Skeppsholmen (Stockholm shipyard) regarding shipbuilding and ship furnishing remained unchanged. Two years later Richard Clerck was appointed vice-admiral in Claes Bielkenstierna's fleet, and the same year, 1657, he commanded the fleet in Wismar.

During the war with Denmark, 1658-1660, Richard Clerck retained sole responsibility for Skeppsholmen.

Richard Clerck married, in 1633, Lunetta Maclean [SSNE 5434], daughter of the Scottish merchant James Macklier [SSNE 5433] of Stockholm, although she died in June the following year. Richard Clerck was married two further times, on both occasions to Swedes, one of whom was called Brita Lindrom. According to Etzel Richard Clerck had only one son and he never married so the family line died with his son. Richard Clerck had a sister, Elizabeth [SSNE 2836], who was married twice, both times to Scottish officers.

Richard Clerck died on 6 April 1668 in Stockholm and was apparently succeeded by his "brother" (?) (IF his father was William Clerck), lieutenant admiral Hans Clerck [SSNE 4160]. However, it seems his successor was of a different Clerck family branch from Richard.

Sources: A. Zettersten, Svenska Flottans historia Aren 1635-1680, (Norrtelje, 1903), p.598; Biografiska Anteckningar om Officerare vid Orlogsflottan 1600-1699, p.111; A letter can be found in 'Krigskollegium Kancelliet; Adressatregistratur till Krigskollegiets Registratur 1631-1654', on "öppen sedel till honom och Benjamin Bonell att undsätta pa någon tid artillerismedjan 10 laster stenkol 28/8/1647"; For the ship Stockholm see TNA HCA 13/65 ff.62-65 The Claim of Benjamin Bonnell and Richard Clerck (plus depositions), 20 August 1651; Svenska Adelns Ättartavlor, vol. 2, p.23, p.142; A. Zettersten, Svenska Flottans Historia Åren 1522-1634 (Stockholm, 1890), p.258; Uppsala University Library, Palmskiöldiska Samlingen 422, Lunetta Macklier - Here Clerck is noted as Rotgert Klerck. E. Wendt, Amiralitetskollegiets historia part 1 1634-1695, (Stockholm, 1950), p.91, 94, 97, 103, 140, 153, 156, 194, 213; Rikskansleren Axel Oxenstiernas skrifter och brefvexling, first series IV, pp. 586-8; E.E. Etzel, 'Notes on Swedo-Scottish families', Scottish Historical Review, vol.9, no.35, April 1912, p. 269.

Service record

Arrived 1628-01-01, as CAPTAIN
Departed 1668-12-31, as HOLM ADMIRAL
Capacity ADMIRAL, purpose NAVAL