James Jakob Spens, Jnr., no. 2 – Sweden – 1627-1665

James Spens jnr (no. 2), was the son of James Spens, snr  and his second wife Margareta Forrat. He was born on 8 May 1627 (although his funeral arms note it as 1637). He and his brother Axel arrived at Uppsala University in 1639. The letters L.B. are printed after their names. After University, James became sought out a military career. In Spring 1650, Axel Oxenstierna contemplated sending a regiment to France from Sweden and indicated to James’s mother that he was being considered for a position within it. Whether they were sent is not yet certain, but he did become a lieutenant captain with the Artillery in 1652 (suggesting previous service). He gained promotion to captain with the Lifguard in 1655 and thereafter became a lieutenant colonel with Simon de Bolsay’s recruited infantry in 1657. Spens became colonel and chief of the Lifeguard in Riga in 1660. In 1664 the British envoy extraordinary Earl Carlisle interceded with King Karl XI on his behalf to obtain his father’s lands and compensation for expenses incurred during his years of service. Spens served on until his death on 4 January 1665 (although his funery monument again gets the date wrong and says 1663) having just received command of the Uppland regiment. He died unmarried and his funeral arms hang in Riddarholms church in Stockholm.

The text on his funeral monument (tomb no.62) reads: “hans kongl: maijts sampt sweries rikes troo man och wälbestelter öffwerste till foot öffwer uplandz infanteriet den edele och wällbornne herre herr jacob spentz frijherre till oreholmen herre till ahla etc ähr född i stockholm ao 1637 den 8 maij och i herranom affsomnat den 4 januarij 1663”.


Riksarkivets ämnessamlingar. Personhistoria https://sok.riksarkivet.se/bildvisning/A0073861_00183#?c=&m=&s=&cv=182&xywh=141%2C98%2C6994%2C4034

He co-signs a letter with his step-father, Colonel Hugo Hamilton here: https://sok.riksarkivet.se/bildvisning/A0073861_00089#?c=&m=&s=&cv=88&xywh=2483%2C1081%2C3745%2C2160


Other co-signatories to his correspondence include George Fleetwood [SSNE 2208] and Ludovig Hamilton [SSNE 2603]. See https://sok.riksarkivet.se/bildvisning/A0073861_00090#?c=&m=&s=&cv=89&xywh=2825%2C1645%2C3745%2C2160

Correspondence signed in 1664 (thus highlighting the error on his funeral monument) show his dealings with his half sister Brita Margaretha Hamilton [SSNE 6386https://sok.riksarkivet.se/bildvisning/A0073861_00227#?c=&m=&s=&cv=226&xywh=3684%2C1025%2C2340%2C1349

His financial obligations and dealings with Count Robert Douglas [SSNE 2378] are found here:




Swedish Riksarkivet, Oxenstiernska samlingen, E537. Axel Oxenstierna to Margaret Forratt, 5 April 1650; Stockholm Krigsarkiv, Muster Roll, 1652/2; 1655/5; 1656/2; 1657/5; 1658/1; 1660/9,20; Swedish Riksarkiv, P. Sondén, Militärachefer i svenska arméen och deras skrivelser;  Andersson et al, Uppsala Universitets Matrikel, (Uppsala, 1900-1911); T. Fischer, The Scots in Sweden (Edinburgh, 1907), pp.215-267; Svenska Adelns Ättartavlor, vol. 7, p.429; Register till Sveriges Ridderskaps och Adels Riksdags-Protokoll (17 vols, Stockholm, 1910), vols. for 1650, 1652, 1654, 1655, 1660.

Service record

Arrived 1652-01-01, as LT. CAPTAIN
Departed 1665-01-04, as COLONEL + CHIEF
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY