First name

Text source

Thomas Shearer from Aberdeen was skipper of his own ship. From about 1636 he engaged in the wood trade in Norway bringing several cargoes of timber to Aberdeen from there. He also diversified and sold Salmon in Dieppe and brought wine from Bordeaux (30 tun on one trip in 1638). During 1639-1640 he appears to have travelled in convoy to Norway and Gothenburg with William Walker and John Strachan which has implications for his loyalty towards the House of Stuart. Gothenburg was one of the key ports involved in the smuggling of arms for the Covenanter movement, and Leith was the usual destination for them. On this voyage they were in partnership with one John Anderson in Leith, although that in itself proves nothing. By 1641 Shearer was involved in the plaiding trade to the Low Countries where he delivered eight lasts from Aberdeen. The same year he journeyed to Danzig with another eight lasts of goods. Shearer is also known to have been involved in the Danzig trade in 1644, but in that year he also got embroiled in Denmark-Norway's war with Sweden. The Danish king did try to recruit other Scots, particularly one wolf-pack of Scottish privateers who had been observed operating in and around the Sound in 1645. It was hoped that these would form the core of a naval squadron which was being assembled to attack Gothenburg. Command of that flottila fell to Colonel Alexander Seaton, former governor of Stralsund, who now served as an admiral for a squadron of eight ships with which he prosecuted the 'Norwegian' offensive against Gothenburg by sea. In two letters dated September 1645, Hannibal Sehested, Viceroy of Norway, noted that Thomas Shiers of Aberdeen, Scotland had arrived in May and was now looking for payment for his extended visit and great service. The second letter notes Marstrand, Baahus and Christiania as locations in which the Aberdonian engaged and places him at the correct mustering points at the right time for him to have taken part in Seaton's squadron. That his requests for payment were made to the General War Commission confirms this theory. For the use of his ship and crew, Shearer hoped for 600 rixdaler in compensation, but Sehested believed he had already been paid too much.

L. B. Taylor (ed) Aberdeen Shore Work Accounts 1596-1670 (Aberdeen, 1972), pp.214, 225, 232, 233, 241, 260, 261, 270, 286; Kancelliets Brevbøger, 1644-1645, p.320. Missive to Falke Lycke and Gabriel Ackeleye, 20 May 1645; Statholderskabets Extraprotokol (Christiania, 1896), pp.248 and 251; J. O. Wahl, Det Gamle Bergenhusiske Regiments Historie (Oslo, 1901), pp.8-10.

Service record

Departed 1645-09-30, as CAPTAIN