First name

Text source

John Meldrum/Meldrom (c.1584-1645) According to the ODNB he was described as a captain in Ireland in 1611 for which service he was granted lands in County Fermanagh. There is mention of hm entering Dutch service in 1613, although this is largely unsubstantiated. A "kap. Meldron" finds mention in the Resolutiën der Staten-Generaal on 2 January 1618, but whether or not this is the same man awaits further investigation. Regardless, on returning to Britain in 1622, Meldrum was knighted by James VI &I. Meldrum later served on the Ile de Re expedition in 1627 for whch he was paid £600. Soon after he appeared as sergeant major in Danish-Norwegian service in Lord Spynie's [SSNE 177] regiment. He received his reckoning by 6 October 1628, and then, along with many other Scottish officers, entered Swedish military service. He began as a lieutenant colonel in 1629 and soon became colonel of a recruited infantry regiment which he led thereafter. Meldrum's regiment was amongst those considered integral to the Swedish military campaign in Germany in 1630. In January 1630 Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna ensured that Meldrum's regiment received one month's salary, and in May the regiment embarked for Elbing from Pillau. It was shortly after that, in July, that Gustav II Adolf ordered Meldrum's regiment to be merged with that of Alexander Hamilton [SSNE 380]. It was possibly John Meldrum that Robert Anstruther was referring to as being 'Mr Meldrum' who arrived in Hamburg en route to England in May 1630. He was similarly noted by Alexander Leslie in a letter to Marquis James Hamilton in May 1631. The previous month Oxenstierna noted that Meldrum was involved in the negotiations between Danzig and the English staple at Elbing and this caused problems for the lieutenant colonel of Hamilton's regiment, William Baillie [SSNE 1909] who was overlooked when captain John Hamilton [SSNE 2595] was appointed colonel of the new merged unit. Monro notes Meldrum as still serving as colonel of a regiment in Spruce in 1632 after which we lose sight of him on the continent. 

Meldrum went onto command a regiment in the service of the English Parliament. He was paid as commander-in-chief of Parliamentarian forces at the siege of Portsmouth in September 1642 (a position usually accreditied to William Waller). He thereafter fought at Edgehill the following month and Marston Moor in 1644 before being killed in 1645 at Scarborough.  There is more detail on his English Civil War campigns in Carlton's entry for him in the ODNB. This includes the delightful account which states:

"He nearly died when he fell down a 200 foot cliff, but was saved by his cloak, which acted as a parachute. 'Yet hee is taken up for dead', [Sir Hugh] Cholmley admiringly recorded: [Meldrum] lyes 3 dayes speachless, his head opened and the bruised blood taken out [i.e. he was trepanned], though a Man above three score yeare old, recovered thus soe perfectlie that within six weekes hee is on foote againe, and begins to batter the Castle."



R. Monro, His Expedition with a worthy Scots Regiment called Mac-Keyes (2 vols., London, 1637), II, The List of the Scottish Officers in Chiefe; Sir William Fraser,, ed., The Melvilles Earls of Melville and the Leslies Earls of Leven (3 vols., Edinburgh, 1890), II, 101-102. Leslie to Hamilton, 12 May 1631; Swedish Riksarkiv, P. Sondén, Militärachefer i svenska arméen och deras skrivelser; Krigsarkiver, MR 1630/23 ff.271-274. Muster-roll for Lt Colonel John Meldrum.

Resolutiën der Staten-Generaal, 1617-1618, ed. J.G. Smit, A.T. van Deursen, and J. Roelevink, (7 Vols., The Hague, 1971-1994): Res. 1906, 2 Jan. 1618, p. 305.

TNA, SP75/11, f.95. Robert Anstruther to Dorchester, 8/18 May 1630; Rikskansleren Axel Oxenstiernas skrifter och brefvexling, first series, V, pp.36, 176, 308, 454; ibid, VI, p.274; T. Riis, Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot (Odense, 1988), II, p.140; TNA, SP28/143. Account of Francis Vernon, f.18r (re Siege of Portsmouth), 2 September 1642.

Steve Murdoch and Alexia Grosjean, Alexander Leslie and the Scottish Generals of the Thirty Years' War, 1618-1648 (London, 2014), 121-122, 125, 133; Charles Carlton , 'Sir John Meldrum' in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


We thank Dr Gavin Robinson for the update and references for the Siege of Portsmouth and to Stuart Orme of the Cromwell Museum for alerting us to the Sir Hugh Cholmley reference in the ODNB.


Updates on Dutch service provided by Mr Jack Abernethy.


English Civil War, British Civil Wars, Wars of the Three Kingdoms

Service record

Arrived 1613-01-01, as ?
Departed 1622-12-31, as ?
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1628-01-01, as SERGEANT MAJOR
Departed 1628-10-06, as SERGEANT MAJOR
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1629-01-01, as LIEUTENANT COLONEL
Departed 1632-12-31, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1630-05-08
Departed 1632-05-12
Capacity RECRUITER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1642-01-01
Departed 1645-00-00, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY