Cecilia Spens (1615-1643), Noblewoman and landed gentlewoman
Cecilia Spens was a daughter of Sir James Spens of Wormiston and Agnes Durie. Cecilia was born in St Andrews and moved in the circles of the Scottish-Swedish military and diplomatic elite in Sweden. She married one of these men, Major General David Drummond. Upon his death she was left in dire straits due to his debts, despite a substantial dowry left to her by her father and her possession of six farms which she maintained in her own right. Her husband had received property at Slefringe from King Gustav II Adolf, in recognition of his service to the Crown. Cecilia was allowed to stay there through a special royal concession, dated 7 September 1639. Although Drummond died in 1638 Cecilia did not manage to get his body repatriated to Sweden until 1643, and even this was only achieved at great personal expense. Drummond’s creditors were hounding her, both from Stettin and from Stockholm and she was desperately short of money. To try to resolve her situation, Cecilia engaged in direct correspondence with the Chancellor of Sweden, Axel Oxenstierna. Her correspondence with him began in 1639 and continued for the duration of her life. These letters largely concerned obtaining funds or rights to land which Cecilia felt had been withheld from her. Cecilia wrote a will, witnessed by her stepmother Margareta Foratt shortly before her death in October 1645. She left her what remained of her wealth to her servants, but in fact did not even have the money left for her own funeral. Apparently Hugh Hamilton, her step-mother’s new husband, at the request of her cousins – William and Peter Monnipenny, had to intervene to cover the 300 riksdaler it cost to bury her.
Swedish Riksarkiv, Axel Oxenstiernas Brefvexling, E589; Svenska Adelns Ättartavlor, vol 7, p.429; F. Rudelius, ‘Kalmar Regementes Chefer, 1623-1907’ in Personhistorisk Tidskrift, vol. 9, 1907, appendix, pp.5-8; F. Rudelius, Kalmar Regementes Personhistoria, 1623-1927, 2 vols, (Norrkoping, 1952), vol.1, pp.29-30.
Correspondence from her is found at: Riksarkivets ämnessamlingar. Personhistoria
This article was co-authored by Kathrin Zickermann and Steve Murdoch