First name
Social status

Text source

James Neave, known as Jacob Näf, may have originally come to Sweden from the Orkney islands. James Neave first appeared in Sweden in 1571 as a page to King Johan III. His Swedish title was Ökna (which is where the link with Orkney may have occurred).

In 1573 James Neave was a private soldier, maybe an ensign, in Andrew Keith's [SSNE 1534] troop. He was certainly well known and of good standing in Stockholm society as that year he stood as guarantor for another Scottish captain, "Joren Michelson" (probably George Michealson) who had lodged with a Stockholm councillor and owed him 100 daler.

Before 1575 James Neave married Karin/Catharina Hampe, the daughter of a Stockholm merchant Jakob Hampe and his wife Dordi. They had four children: Maria [SSNE 6272], Vendla [SSNE 6273], Johan [SSNE 6274] and another daughter who married the customs officer in Gävle, Nils Pedersson Humbla. James Neave had a brother who was buried at St Nikolai church in Stockholm on 17 December 1584. 

According to a statement by James Neave's widow Karin made on 27 October 1600, James Neave had been assigned a plot on Bredegränden, in the western part of Gamla Stan, by the city 26 years earlier, ie around 1574/5. This is probably the same plot released by Lasse Ericsson in March-April 1575. The printed entries in the Stockholm city records are a little unclear: it seems that Ericsson's plot originally belonged to the city (een stadzens tompt), and the address is simply given as to the west (westen till liggiendes), indicating a location off of Västerlånggatan. At the same time this Ericsson returned a plot he had had in Södermalm.

Further, also in 1575 Olof Gregersson appeared before the Stockholm magistrates on behalf of James Neave and his wife, Karin Jacobsdotter, whose parents had a corner plot on Södermalm (lying beside the bridge end, and between the two 'almennegatan', one which led to the sea, the other which headed west) but the letter or document awarding the plot had been lost. Thus a request was made for a renewal as there were still men alive who remembered the original document. A reference to James Neave's 'korsverkshus' (timber house) appears in April 1595 in Stockholm city records. It is uncertain how long he had owned this property and what its location was. 

James Neave had then (at an unspecified date) sold a plot (presumably the one in town) for 120 riksdaler to Olaf Gregersson, town mayor. In 1600 Olaf Gregersson then placed the plot he had purchased from James Neave (Bedegränden) up for sale: it was first announced on 1 September,  a second time on 22 September, and for the third time on 8 October. 

James Neave's career continued to develop: by 1579 he was serving as a Captain of Horse.

On 29 March 1583 James Neave was appointed governor of Västmanland and Dalecarlia.

Around this time James Neave was given land at Marby on Lake Mälar.

James Neave appears in the Stockholm magistrates records in June 1592 as he was involved in a legal case brought by a stonemason, who accused him of not paying the stonemason enough for his work.

James Neave chose to support King Sigismund of Poland (Johan III of Sweden's son) in his fight for the Swedish crown against his uncle Karl (later Karl IX of Sweden). This decision may have been influenced by Neave's active Catholicism, or perhaps loyalty to the late king, Johan III, who was Sigismund's father. It was as a consequence of this choice that James' property, was confiscated by Karl IX.

A first attempt was made on James's life in 1596. In 1598, when proclaiming the banishment of duke Karl, James Neave was killed by the local Dalecarlians.  James was buried in Huna churchyard and his epitaph mentioned his noble Scottish origins.

There are references to both John Neave and James Neave in the Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, dated 14 November 1579 and 20 November 1579. The first is a letter from King James VI to King Frederick II of Denmark-Norway written on behalf of John Neave; the second is a letter from James VI to King John III of Sweden written on behalf of James Neave.

Sources: T. Berg, Johan Skytte, (Stockholm, 1920), p.112; Uppsala University Library, Palmskioldiska Samlingen, vol.227, p.11, 13, 15; D. Almquist, ed. Stockholms stads tänkeböcker från år 1592, part 1 (Stockholm, 1939),p.56 and 307; Stockholms stads tänkeböcker, 1568-1575 (Stockholm, 1941), p.336, 341,502, 558, 559, 566, 610; Stockholmsstads tänke böcker 1592-1595 (Stockholm, 1939), p.307; Stockholmsstads tänkeböcker 1596-1600, (Stockholm, 1954), p.110, 113, 116, 118. B. Schlegel and C. A. Klingspor, Den med sköldebref förlänade men ej å Riddarhuset introducerad Svenska Adelns Ättar-taflor (Stockholm, 1875) p.201; J. Berg and B. Lagercrantz, Scots in Sweden, (Stockholm, 1962). p.18; T. Fischer, The Scots in Sweden (Edinburgh, 1907), p.67; G. Arteus, Till Militärstatens Förhistoria: Krig, professionalisering och social förändring under Vasasönernas regering (Stockholm, 1986), p.176; Stockholm Stadsarkiv, Register över döda m flera enligt Nikolai församlings räkenskaper, I 1546-1623, p.54; Birgitta Lager, Stockholms befolkning på Johan III:s tid (Stockholm, 1962), p.132, p.133; Steve Murdoch, Network North: Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe, 1603-1746 (Brill, Leiden, 2006), pp.59, 98-100. Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, first series, vol.14 Addenda, p.348.


Service record

Arrived 1571-01-01, as ENSIGN
Departed 1582-12-31, as CAPTAIN
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1583-01-01, as GOVERNOR
Departed 1598-12-31, as GOVERNOR
Capacity GOVERNOR, purpose MILITARY