Count Jakob Axel Spens – Sweden – 1656-1721

Count Jakob Axel Spens was the son of Axel Spens and Sofia Rytter. He was also the grandson of James Spens of Worminston and was born in 1656. If this was the same man, Jakob Axel matriculated in Uppsala University in December 1662 at the age of six(under the name Jac. Axel) and at Strassbourg in 1671. On his return from his foreign travels, he enlisted as a cornett with the Liferegiment cavalry in 1674 at the age of 18 or 19. He was promoted to lieutenant with the ‘drabant’ company in 1676 and lieutenant captain by 1678. The Drabant had suffered in the Skåne campaign and so Spens was sent to recruit in Livonia, but only got 34 men. Within only seven years of his military career, he became a lieutenant colonel (1681). In April 1686, Karl XI learned that the Drabant lt. colonel Spens was still in service and requested him to become a Royal Guard (8/4/1686). He took part in the campaigns in Flanders in 1690 and in 1691, Spens went to Pomerania to purchase 50 horses for the king. In December 1693 he was appointed colonel and chief of the Lifregiment cavalry and rode his horse on the right hand side of the king’s own. Spens also served the king as councilor and General. After Karl XII took the assumed the throne, Lt. General Spens followed him to Prague and served at Weichsel. Spens became lieutenant-general in 1701. By May 1703 he was at Drewents fighting Lithuanian troops outside ‘Thurn’. The following year he returned to Sweden with Lt. General Mörner as ‘Generalmönsterherrar’ though without any results. He remained in service nearly all of his life. In 1710 he was in the Krigsråd and became a Count in 1712, introduced in 1719 under nr. 54. In 1714 Spens became vice “överståthållare” in Stockholm where he died in January 1721. He married Beata Bonde (1659-1732) in November 1680 and had the following children: Axel till Ängelholms, Carl Gustaf, Ulrika, Anna Sofia, Ulrik, Hedvig Christina and Beata.

Swedish Riksarkiv, P. Sondén, Militärachefer i svenska arméen och deras skrivelser; A. Lewenhaupt, Karl XII:s Officerare Biografiska anteckningar (2 vols., Stockholm, 1920), II, p.645; Swedish Krigsarkiv, Muster Roll, 1674/3; 1676/4; 16778/11; 1679/3,8,11; 1681/1; 1682/2; 1683/1; 1684/2; 1685/1,2; 1694/1,3; 1695/6,7; 1696/3; F. Wernstedt, ‘Kungl. Svea Livgardes Historia’ IV, (Stockholm, 1954), pp. 57, 101, 239, 248, 277, 280, 406, 423, 571: Andersson et al, Uppsala Universitets Matrikel, (Uppsala, 1900-1911); T. Fischer, The Scots in Sweden (Edinburgh, 1907), pp.215-267; Svenska Adelns Ättartavlor, VII, pp.429-430.

Service record:

Arrived 1662-12-01
Departed 1663-12-31
Capacity STUDENT, purpose ACADEMIC

Arrived 1671-04-26
Departed 1675-01-31
Capacity STUDENT, purpose ACADEMIC

Arrived 1674-01-01, as ENSIGN
Departed 1710-08-30, as GENERAL, KRIGSRÅD