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Sir Robert Stuart/Stewart of Middleton was the son of the Earl of Orkney (an illegitimate brother of Queen Mary, and uncle to King James VI and I).His military service began as a lieutenant in Colonel Samuel Cockburn's [SSNE 4219] regiment in Swedish service in 1609, Stewart is also listed as in Swedish service 1611-17. In 1612 Stewart was engaged in seeking payment for his military service to the Swedish Crown, for sums varying between 500 and 35,000 daler. Stewart was keen to accept the payment in copper, iron or other goods, and he was happy to have part of the payment transferred to Lubeck or Hamburg. The Scottish Privy Council provided Stewart with a pass in 1622 to travel to Denmark, as King James VI and I had authorised the levy of Scottish troops for Sigismund III of Poland, and these troops had to pass through the Sound. The English Privy Council also issued authority for Robert Stewart 'employed in His Majesties business in Poland and Denmark' to leave the country with six servants. However, Stewart chose to use his visit to promote himself with Sigismund III. He contracted himself on 20 April 1623 to raise 10,000 men for Polish service, which he was to command in an invasion of Älvsborg while Sigismund III and the Spanish under Johan Weijer would attack Sweden's eastern coast at Kalmar. News of Stewart's activity quickly filtered back to Sweden from agents in Poland, Britain and Denmark, particularly through the dispatches of the Swedish Toll Commissioner, Anders Svensson. This agent proved to be a valuable source of information relating to Danish intentions towards Stewart. By June 1623, it was believed Stewart had been granted permission to recruit in Scotland, England and Ireland, although he had still not managed to gain an audience with Christian IV relating to free passage for them through the Sound. At that time a Captain John Forbes [SSNE 6531] had been arrested after the French ambassador to Britain accused him of recruiting troops for La Rochelle. James sent Robert Stewart to Poland in 1623 to explain this development. Gustav II Adolf drew up a set up instructions in September that year for Sir James Spens [SSNE 1642] which were explicit in their content. He was to proceed with haste to the Court of James VI & I and do his utmost to prevent Stewart and his accomplices from raising soldiers for the king of Poland. He was also to add, however, that should James allow both sides to recruit then the Swedish king would be satisfied with James's neutrality. During the meetings between James VI and Spens, Spens had been able to persuade the British king to withdraw his unconditional consent for the Polish levy, insisting that the troops should not be used against a Christian enemy i.e. Sweden. The ambassador had indeed been diligent in his work and informed Gustav II Adolf that he doubted Sweden had anything to fear from Poland - highlighting that his intercessions with James VI had overturned Stewart's plans. With both the diplomatic and clandestine campaigns of Sir James Spens having taken their toll on him, Robert Stewart's efforts to raise his troops fizzled out, although mention of them did continue intermittently throughout 1624. Robert Stewart contracted with the Polish king to levy between 8-10,000 men in 1624 and Spens heard of this, which led Gustav Adolf to complain to the Scottish Privy Council. By July of 1624, Spens was able to assure Gustav II Adolf that there was no reason for the Swedish king to worry about Stewart's levy. James VI had built in such conditions that any troops he raised would be forbidden from landing in any of Sweden's territories or be allowed to fight his forces elsewhere. James VI himself wrote to Spens to say that that he doubted that the Stewart levy would ever materialise due to all the restrictions and logistical problems placed in his way. Stewart had proved not to be the man Sigismund III had hoped - unable to raise either money or men. Remarkably after this, Stewart rejoined the Swedish army. He was present at the taking of Wurzburg in 1629 and served in Alexander Hamilton's regiment. He later became a colonel of Lumsden's Pikemen in Swedish service. Stewart was sent on a recruiting mission to Britain and Ireland in 1635 and in 1637 he enlisted Irish troops for Sweden.In 1638 he was governor of Culmore Castle. In 1643-4 he was governor of Londonderry. Stuart defeated Pheilm O'Neill at Glenmaquin in 1642 and surprised Owen Roe O'Neill in 1643. He took the Covenant and captured Sligo Castle in 1645. He refused to obey English governor of Derry and was sent to London. He joined Irish Royalists in Ireland in 1649 and thereafter retired to Scotland. He was reappointed governor of Derry and Culmore after the Restoration. Confer [SSNE 3634]


Sources: Riksarkivets ämnessamlingar. Personhistoria

Swedish Riksarkiv, P. Sondén, Militärachefer i svenska arméen och deras skrivelser; Swedish Krigsarkiv, Muster Roll, 1611/4 and MR 1629/11,16,18-20; 1630/22-25,28-30,31-33; 1631/12-15; Rikskansleren Axel Oxenstiernas Skrifter och Brefväxling (15 vols., Stockholm, 1888-1977), first series, II, pp.51, 590, 769-70, 780; Ibid, XV, pp.402-403, 25 April 1636; Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica IV, f.22. Gustav II Adolf to James Spens, 23 September 1623; Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica III, JSKM, f.43 Spens to Gustav II Adolf, 24/14 January; Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica III, JSKM, f.46a. Spens to Gustav II Adolf, 16 February 1624; Anglica V. Spens to Oxenstierna, 10 March 1624; Anglica 531. Copy of a letter sent by King James to Sigusmund, 10 October 1623, sent to Sweden by Spens; Swedish Riksarkiv, Rigsregistraturet vol. 147, 1624, Tysk och Latin, f.67f. Gustav II Adolf to James Spens, 15 March 1624; Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 514, Korrespondenten Jean Fairbairne. Two documents of contract between Fairbairne and Hostier dated 10 October 1623 and Fairbairne to Gustav II Adolf, 2 November 1623; 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.347-349. Svensson to Oxenstierna/Gustav II Adolf, 10 October 1623; Ibid, p.361. Svensson to Oxenstierna/Gustav II Adolf, 6 November 1623; Ibid, pp.375-376. Svensson to Gustav II Adolf, 14 December 1623; Ibid, p.419. Svensson to Oxenstierna/Gustav II Adolf, 22 March 1624; Ibid, p.436, fn.2; Ibid, pp.491 and 511. Svensson to Gustav II Adolf, 24 August 1624 and Svensson to Oxenstierna, 11 November 1624 and pp.441, 450, 508, 510; Acts of the Privy Council of England, 1621-1623, p.342, 26 October 1622; Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, XIII, pp.364-5, Gustav II Adolf to James VI and the Privy Council 23 September 1623; Public Records Office (PRO) London, SP95/2, f.84. Spens to James VI, 1623; PRO SP95/2, ff.86-88. James VI to James Spens, 6 July 1624; A. Grosjean, 'Scotland: Sweden's Closest Ally?' in S. Murdoch (ed.), Scotland and the Thirty Years' War, 1618-1648 (Leiden, 2001), p.154; J. Mackay, 'Mackay's Regiment' in Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, VIII, 1879, p. 188; R. Monro, His Expedition with a worthy Scots Regiment called Mac-Keyes (London, 1637), I, p. 34; DNB; T. Fischer, The Scots in Sweden (Edinburgh, 1907), p.224; A.F. Steuart, Papers relating to the Scots in Poland, 1576-1793, (Edinburgh, 1915), p.xix; R. Frost, "Scottish soldiers, Poland-Lithuania and the Thirty Years' War" in S. Murdoch ed. Scotland and the Thirty Years' War, 1618-1648 (Brill, 2001),p.207; Steve Murdoch, Network North: Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe, 1603-1746 (Brill, Leiden, 2006), pp.260-267, 277-278.


See also NAS RD1/508 fol. 249 Ruthven, Lt Col Patrick Ruthven in Sweden, obligation to Lt Col Robert Stewart for 112 Rix dollars reg 8th November 1637. Also registered the same day (?) Capt Pat Lumsden obligation to Colonel Robert Stewart.

"I Patrik Ruthven Liutenant Colonel under the Croune of Sweadin grantis me to haif borrowit and ressavit fra Lieutenant Col[one]ll Robert Stewart serving under the Croune of Sweadine the number of ane hundreth and twelve rex dolleris gude and sufficient money be the delyverie of Jon Finlasone Capitane Lieutenant qrof I grant…&etc."
Ruthven pledges to repay this to Stewart by the 11th day of November nextcoming, qlk failing to pay to Stewart 10% interest p.a. Dated at Buxtehude, [blank ] of Januar 1636. Befoir thir witness[es], sic subscribitur Ruthven, Harie Ruthven witnes, Geo Dunbar witnes. We thank Dr Aonghas Maccoinnich for this reference.

Service record

Arrived 1609-01-01, as LIEUTENANT
Departed 1609-12-31, as LIEUTENANT
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1611-01-01, as LIEUTENANT
Departed 1617-12-31, as LIEUTENANT
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1622-10-26, as COLONEL
Departed 1623-12-31, as COLONEL
Arrived 1629-01-01, as CAPTAIN
Departed 1638-12-31, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY