First name

Text source

James Maclean, or Jacob Mackler/Macklier as he tended to be known in Sweden, was a Scotsman who became a major figure within royal, civic, and burghal circles in Stockholm and Gothenburg during the first half of the seventeenth century.

He first appears in official Swedish sources in 1609, the year he took the oath on 8 May to become a burgess of Stockholm on the 8 of May. He was noted as a silk merchant. In 1611 he entertained 3 Scottish merchants from Danzig - amongst them Peter Maklien, most likely a Maclean himself. As was normal for the time in official sources surnames were often rendered phonetically, or simply noted down in a form close to something that was familiar to the scribe. James' surname is usually given as a variant of "Makler", although he is noted as the uncle of John (known as Hans in Sweden) Maclean, 1st Baronet Duart [SSNE 1631]. The family connection between these two gentlemen is unclear.

In 1612, when James again entertained 2 Scots who had arrived from Germany and were to settle in Sweden, he was described as a "German" merchant, and indeed the Mackliers have long been viewed as a German family. This description probably refers rather to the fact that he was a member of the German church in Stockholm, as many foreigners were, rather than his actual nationality.

In 1613 James Maclean (Jakop Machaleer) appears on a list of Stockholm burgesses where it was noted that he had a male and female servant living at his house, and he paid half a "hion", and 8 öre on the 'Älvsborgs lösen' repayment list for Stockholm. In 1614 he is again listed, this time with an unnamed wife, and due to pay 2 daler. In June 1615 James Maclean was noted as an upstanding member of society, one of two "godhe" men chosen to resolve a financial dispute between a Jacob Lybes, servent of Dirik Bax from Lubeck, who was owed 374 marks by one Richard Petterson.

In 1616 James Maclean''s name (Jakop Makleer) appears on both registers for the Älvsborg ransom payments in the fourth term, firstly at 1 riksdaler for himself and 1 for his female servant; and secondly at 8 riksdaler.

In November 1617 James Maclean's name (Jakop Makleer) along with his unnamed wife are shown as owing 2 riksdaler for themselves and 2 for their servants (a man and a women) on the Älvsborg ransom; in the December register he is solely listed, owing 8 riksdaler. The same year James Maclean's name appears amongst those listed as permitted to operate inns, freight wine and test wine imported into Sweden.

A set of his accounts exist for the year 1620 in Uppsala University Library.

There are some indications that James was active at Nya Lödöse (a town which predated what became Gothenburg) during the 1621-1628 period, although it is usually believed that this was the aforementioned John.

Either James or John acted as a royal supplier to Queen Maria Eleanora in Stockholm from 1623-4, although it is more likely to have been James. Further, in 1624 James Spens [SSNE 1642] specifically named 'James MacLeer' as a responsible person to whom Spens' salary from the Swedish government could be paid (in the absence of Spens' first choice, a merchant named Sanderson, possibly also a Scotsman).

In February 1626 a burgess of Stockholm named Hans Harfver (John Harvey, perhaps?) had been killed at Disting market by Thomas Clerck and the victim had many creditors seeking their missing funds. It was requested that the victim's accounts and booth in the town be locked until the man had been buried and that the creditors would simply have to bide their time. James Maclean and fellow Scottish burgess David Andersson [SSNE 8484] were appointed to deal with the sealing of the books and booth. In March 'Hans Harwer's' unnamed widow approached the Stockholm magistrates seeking two "good men" who could make an inventory of her late husband's goods, for which James Maclean and George Gardner (presumably the younger? [SSNE ]) were appointed, as well as Mattias Donat and Abraham Wenike.

On 1 July 1626 James Maclean and Albert Rhind, along with 'Anders i Clöstret', were appointed to serve as guardians of Blasius Dundie's [SSNE 768] three children who were still minors. Another version of the same record lists further Hans Hendrichson, Grönberg, Valentin, Olof Erichson, Jacob Borkman, and Egg. Matson as fellow appointees for the care of Blasius' young children.

In November 1626 James Maclean announced for the third time the acquisition of a booth in the eastern part of Gamla Stan, noted as on Peder Larssons alley. The Stockholm magistrates court recorded that in April 1627 Cnut Hendricksson, acting on behalf of Anna, widow of Mårten Mårtensson, sold a timber-framed booth and the plot it was on, as well as surrounding grounds, to James Maclean. This was located on 'old Peder skinnares alley' in the eastern part of Gamla Stan (off Österlånggatan), just below Peder Skinnares house, for 400 daler. The alley then became known as Makulerens gränd (Maclean’s alley). Nowadays it is known as Drakensgränd. Another source states that Stockholm council sold a plot to James Maclean in May 1632, next to that of 'räntemästaren' Peder Andersson's plot.

In December 1628 James Maclean 's name appears, along with Robert Rhind [SSNE 6686], James Feif [SSNE 4779] and George Gardner [SSNE 7352] and James Forbes [SSNE 779] on a list of the town's burgesses selected to appear before the King, Gustav II Adolf, at a meeting he had ordained for 12 January 1629.

On 21 February 1629 King Gustav II Adolf's royal letter regarding the directors of Skeppskompaniet(also known as Söderkompaniet) was read out before the Stockholm magistrates, and James Maclean's name was listed among them. On the draft version of the records for that day James Feiff [SSNE 4779], George Gardner [SSNE 7352] and 'B.' James Gardner [SSNE 4922] are also listed amongst those selected by the king to provide and furnish 4 ships for the company.

There is then quite a lengthy gap in Swedish records regarding James Maclean. It seems like he may have returned to Scotland and on 7 June 1631 one James Maclean was made a burgess and guild brother of the city of Dundee in Scotland. 

The following year the Swedish Riksrad records note Jacob Mackler as a burgess in Gothenburg in 1632, but probably this just means that Maclean, a burgess, was in Gothenburg.

James Maclean was certainly back in Stockholm by 1636 as John Durie [SSNE 1243] stayed at Maclean's house in the period between July 1636 and June 1638. James traded in silks, lead, iron, hops and wine. He was also a city councillor in Stockholm, and by 1640 had become one of Stockholm's most important burgesses. He led a petition regarding the reform of coinage that year. He also served on a government commission for rewards and pensions to be granted to Scottish officers who had served in the Swedish army. Indeed, when Field Marshal Alexander Leslie [SSNE 1] requested arms and ammunition as his pension, James not only acted as "middle-man" in 1638, but he further supplied items to him in 1645. Two years later both Patrick Ruthven [SSNE 3413] and James King [SSNE 2814] requested James' assistance in obtaining outstanding pensions.

James Maclean married three times, firstly to a woman whose name is not known, but who was buried in the German church on 31 October 1613. His second wife was Lunetta Raverding, with whom he had two children, although only one survived. The mother died giving birth to her daughter, also named Lunetta [SSNE 5434] on 20 August 1616. Lunetta married fellow-Scot Richard Clerck [SSNE 4138] who later became a Swedish vice-admiral, on 13 January 1633. Lunetta died on 4 June 1634.

James Maclean then adopted one of John Maclean's daughters, Isabella, who died shortly afterwards on 5 September 1639.

James Maclean's third wife was Maria Gubbertz. Maria was buried in Nicolai church on 13 September 1657. Between 1634 and 1657, James buried seven people in Maria Kyrka including his wife (26/3/1639): Niece (6/9/1639): Servant (19/09/39): 2x girls (22 & 23/09/1639): Thomas Horn (31/08/1644) and a beggar's child (28/09/1650). James' relationship with John Maclean was further strengthened when Maria's sister married John in 1629, at a time when the two Macleans became business partners.

In 1646 James Maclean's name appears on a list of individuals required to fix holes in the wall in Gamla Stan and his address is given as Hoparegränden (no number). He is "neighbours" with Robert Rind [SSNE 6686] at this point.

James Maclean was still trading in 1653 as in Colonel David Ramsay's [SSNE 3307] will, dated at Stockholm on 29 March that year, he was noted as a Scottish creditor.

In 1655 James Maclean is also noted as trading in silks.

James Maclean died in 1663. Whether the link between Johan Maclean [SSNE 7423] and James Maclean was direct or indirect remains to be clarified.


Sources: Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 5, 26 April 1624; Stockholm Stadsarkiv: Borgare i Stockholm, Register 1601-1650, p.48; Stockholms Stadsarkivet, Maria Församling, Register över Döda, 1654-1655, pp.211; J.N.M. Maclean, The Macleans of Sweden (Edinburgh, 1971); Svenska Riksradets Protokoll, (Stockholm, 1880),II, p.184; Stockholmsstads tänkeböcker, 1608-1613(Stockholm, 1964), vii, pp. 41, 284, 319; Stockholmsstads tänkeböcker, 1616-1617, (Stockholm, 1968), p.468,478,500,510; Stockholmsstads tänkeböcker 1626, (Stockholm, ), p.19, 78, 112, 160, 221, 272; Stockholmsstads tänkeböcker, 1627, (Stockholm, 1994), p.35 and p.257-8; Stockholmsstads tänke böcker 1628, (Stockholm, 2000), p.308; Stockholmsstads tänke böcker 1629(Stockholm, 2000), p.19 and 136;  Stockholmsstads tänkeböcker 1633, (Stockholm, 2006 ), p.37; Vågsböcker, vols 1611-1655, Stockholm Stadsarkiv; Ämbetsböcker, 1419-1659, vol. 66-69, and Mantalslängd 1645 and 1652, Stockholm Stadsarkiv; Register över döda m. fl. enligt Tyska församlingens räkenskaper, no.1 (1590-1680), and no.2 (1627-1680), Stockholm Stadsarkiv; Swedish Krigsarkiv, Reduktionskollegii, Akt.n. 332 and also same archive, Rikets skuldbok, 1621-1673; Uppsala University Library, Handskrifts index, Lum-Man, Makleer, Jacob, Räkning 1620, x.255:d; Svenskt Biografiskt Lexicon, vol.xxiv; Register till Sveriges Ridderskaps och Adels Riksdags-Protokoll (17 vols, Stockholm, 1910), vol. for 1660 (1), 235, 237; vol for 1660 (2), 218, 271; Svenska Riksrådets Protokoll, vol. VIII, p.544; St Nicolai kyrkas i Stockholm vigselbok, ed F.U. Wrangel, vols.1-2 (Stockholm, 1894 and 1897); F.U. Wrangel, Stockholmiana I-IV, (Stockholm 1912), p.375, p.389;G. Westin, John Durie in Sweden 1636-1638, (Uppsala,1934-6), pp.10, 104, 105, 130, 140; Steve Murdoch, Network North: Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe, 1603-1746 (Brill, Leiden, 2006), pp.19, 29-30, 180, 222-223, 234, 238, 247, 298; F.U, Wrangel Stockholmiana I-IV, (Stockholm, 1912), p.228, n. 83 and n. 92 on p.389. 

For his status as a guild-brother burgess of Dundee we thank Dr David Dobson who got the information from the Dundee Burgess Roll.


Service record

Departed 1663-12-31
Departed 1620-12-31
Capacity BURGESS, purpose MERCANTILE
Departed 1628-12-31
Departed 1663-12-31
Capacity BURGESS, purpose MERCANTILE