FLEETWOOD, GEORGE [SSNE 2208]

Surname
FLEETWOOD, FLETEWOOD, FLEETWODT,FLITWUD, FLITUT, FLITUUTH
First name
GEORGE
Title/rank
BARON, GENERAL
Nationality
ENGLISH
Region
COPLE, BEDFORDSHIRE
Social status
NOBILITY
Education
OXFORD UNIVERSITY

Text source

George Fleetwood (1605-1667), Lieutenant-General, military councillor and Baron Jälunda in Sweden, was born on 10 July 1605 and baptised on 30 June that year in Cople, Bedfordshire, England. He was the second son of Sir Miles Fleetwood of Cranford and Aldwinkle, Northamptonshire (1576-1640), receiver of the court of wards and his wife Anne (1578-?), daughter of Sir Nicholas Luke and his wife Anne. According to Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna Fleetwood was a relation of Thomas Roe [SSNE 4421], being Roe's sister's son. One of his brothers was Charles, the parliamentary general of the English Civil War period. At the age of 16, George matriculated at the University of Oxford (9 November 1621). He gained a BA on 6 February 1624. He briefly served in the Danish army at Stralsund but appears to have left shortly afterwards. In 1629 George raised a troop of horse for Swedish service in Germany during the Thirty Years' War and became a major in Colonel James Spens' [SSNE 1624] regiment. After promotion to lieutenant-colonel, by March, he obtained Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna's support to return to Sweden to meet King Gustav II Adolf personally regarding military matters. He recruited a regiment of infantry (a mostly English regiment with some Scots) in 1630. Oxenstierna remarked that Fleetwood was a good man and that he would have had less trouble with Spens' old regiment if it had gone to Fleetwood rather than the Earl of Crawford [SSNE 2086], and in April 1631 he recommended Fleetwood to Gustav II Adolf with regard to recruitment. He was knighted by king Gustav II Adolf in Germany on 3 June 1632, and he was present at the battle of Lützen in November at which the king was killed. It is said that after the fall of Gustav II Adolf he held back retreating Swedish troops together with the King's court and army-chaplain, superintendent Dr. Jacob Fabritius. After the battle he wrote an oft-quoted letter describing the event of the King's death. In this letter he highlighted his admiration for Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna: "I am confident of the rex-chancellour's favour, and doubt not but soe longe as he lyves he will be my patron. I will doe my best to gett my regiment into the army where he comandeth the next springe". He then served as the commandant of a Swedish garrison in Prussia in 1633. The Swedish Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna, seeking a closer alliance and further recruits, sent Fleetwood to the Stuart court in 1636 and 1637. King Charles I asked Fleetwood to inform the Swedes that the time of year and "general infection" made recruitment in Britain impossible for the time being. En route to England in 1637 George, now a colonel, met queen Elizabeth of Bohemia. Around this time the Swedish treasury agreed to pay Fleetwood 2577 riksdaler in back wages. He obtained funds and permission to levy from king Charles I. In 1639 he sailed with Covenanters through the Danish Sound to take up service first as a commandant at Greifswald and then at Kolberg the following year. During his time at Kolberg he wrote daily to Count Forbes, the vice-governor in Pomerania. In 1640 he married Brita Gyllenstierna (1606-1653), lady in waiting to queen Kristina, who was the daughter of Karl Gyllenstierna and his wife Anna. They had four sons and two daughters. From 1641-3 Fleetwood was colonel of the Jönköping regiment, although another source named him colonel of the Kronoberg regiment from 1641-54. In 1646 he was rewarded with land donations from the queen. He was introduced into the Swedish House of Nobility in 1649. In 1653 he was promoted to major-general of the infantry, and he became a Baron on 1 June 1654. Along with Colonel Hugh Hamilton[SSNE 2582], he was chosen to guard Karl X Gustav at his wedding. From 1655 to 1660 he was the Swedish envoy extraordinary in London, accompanied by his eldest son, Gustav Miles (1642-1705), working for a confederation between Sweden and the English Republic. This was at the same time as Alexander Leslie [SSNE 1] and William Cranstoun [SSNE 2101] were organizing levies of Royalists for Swedish service. George obtained at least 3000 English and Scottish troops for Swedish service in Poland and against Denmark, and some of his men served alongside Cranstoun's troops. He appears in the Swedish muster rolls as the colonel of a recruited infantry regiment. He was also accused of fomenting English attacks on Danish ships in the Thames. He was promoted to lieutenant-general in 1656 and in 1658 his regiment was at Bremen. After his return to Sweden served on the council of war in 1665. He was noted as one of the three wealthiest men in the Swedish military staff. He died on 11 June 1667 at his Jälunda estate in Sweden. He was first buried in Riddarholm church in Stockholm on 13 March 1668 before being moved to the family plot at Allhelgona church in Nyköping. 

Fleetwood's account of King Gustav II Adolf's death: "The King at the first charging to the graft, was shott through the arme and his horses neck; upon which they would fayne have perswaded him to have retyred, which he refused, rideing to the heade of the right winge of horse, incourageing them, saying nothing ailed him, and with that, comandeing them all to follow him, he leaped over the graft and charged the enimie; but there followed him but fower regiments, which weare encountred with soe many of the enimie that they wre forced to retyre. And there the Kinge fell, being shott through the heade and through the bodye. There fell iust by him one Truckes his chamber younker, whoe was brought off alyve, but since deade: he reported that when our horse retyred there came an officer of the enimies, whoe asked him whoe the Kinge was, which he refused to tell; he shott him through the bodye, and with that went to the Kinge demanding of himself what he was, to which he replyed he was teh Kinge of Swethen; upon which he thought to have carryed off the bodye, but seeing our horse comeing againe to charge, he stroak the Kinge through the body with a broade sworde twyce, and then runn away, for then Herticke Bernard himself charged with the horse, beat the enimie back and brought the corps off, which had receaved in all tenn woundes. The report of the Kinges death comeing amongst the soldyers (quite contrarie to expectations), yet made them fight the braver, as seemeing to resolve to revenge his death or dye". from Fleetwood's letter dated Stettin, 22 November 1632. 

 

Sources: 

Swedish Riksarkiv, P. Sondén, Militärachefer i svenska arméen och deras skrivelser; Swedish Riksarkiv, Adolf Johans Arkiv i Stegeborgssamlingen, 6 letters from George Fleetwood to Duke Adolf Johan, 1645-1660; Swedish Riksarkiv, Carl Gustaf's Arkiv i Stegeborgssamlingen, George Fleetwood, 4 letters 1649-1650; Swedish Riksarkiv, Svenska Sändebuds till Utländska Hof och deras Sändebud till Sverige (manuscript dated 1841), p.78; 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; Swedish Krigsarkiv, Katalog öfver Rullor 1638-40, 1641-43; Krigskollegium kancelliet, Adressatregistratur till Krigskollegiets registratur 1631-1654: letters 4/3 1641, 7/5 1645, 31/10 1646, 7/11 1646, 9/2 1649, 15/12 1649, 21/3 1650, 22/3 1650, 3/4 1650, 1/5 1650, 15/4 1651, 18/7 1651, 16/8 1651, 26/9 1651, 13/11 1651, 4/11 1652, 9/11 1652, 8/3 1653, 10/1 1653; Swedish Krigsarkiv, katalog over rullor, 1658 vol.9, pp.196-7; Riddarhusarkivet (Swedish Nobility Archives): Katalog öfver sköldebref; The National Archives, SP95/4, Swedish Riksarkiv, Drottning Hedvig Eleonoras Livgedningsakter Arkiv: Skrivelser till general guvernor Gustaf Soop och Carl Gyllenstierna från enskilda personer: B. Till Carl Gyllenstierna - George Fleetwood, K774, 46.

See also Riksarkivets ämnessamlingar. Personhistoria https://sok.riksarkivet.se/bildvisning/A0069540_00298#?c=&m=&s=&cv=297&xywh=2615%2C2001%2C3091%2C1782

Fleetwood co-signs a letter with Ludovick Hamilton [SSNE 2603] and James Spens (younger) [SSNE 3549] here: https://sok.riksarkivet.se/bildvisning/A0073861_00090#?c=&m=&s=&cv=89&xywh=2825%2C1645%2C3745%2C2160

N. A. Kullberg, Severin Bergh, Per Sondén eds., Svenska Riksrådets Protokoll, 18 volumes, Stockholm (1878-1959); S. Bergh and B. Taube, eds., Sveriges Ridderskaps och Adels Riksdags-Protokoll, 17 volumes, (Stockholm, 1871), vols 1647/49/50/51/54/60; S. Hedar, Kammarkollegiets Protokoll med bilagor, vol.1 (Stockholm, 1934), p.137; Calendars of State Papers, Domestic Series, Second Series, 1625-1649, 23 vols, (1858-1897); P. Wieselgren, ed. De La Gardiska Archivet, part 9 (Lund, 1837), p.58; Rikskansleren Axel Oxenstiernas skrifter och brefvexling, first series, V, p.179, 181; ibid VI, pp.59, 219, 220, 279, 435; Calendars of State Papers, Domestic Series, Third Series, 1649-1660, 13 vols, (1875-1886); Calendars of State Papers and Manuscripts relating to English affairs, existing in the archives and collections of Venice and in other libraries of Northern Italy, 38 vols., (1864-1947); 

G. Elgenstierna, Den Introducerade Svenska Adelns Ättartavlor med tillägg och rättelser, vol.2, Stockholm (1926), pp.716-7; M. Roberts ed., Swedish Diplomats at Cromwell's Court 1655-1656: the missions of Peter Julius Coyet and Christer Bonde (1988); E. Marquard, Kancelliets Brevbøger 1637-39 (Copenhagen, 1949); J. Kleberg, Krigskollegii Historia Biografiska Anteckningar 1630-1865 (Stockholm, 1930); R. Spalding ed., The Diary of Bulstrode Whitelocke 1605-1675 (1990); A. Stade, Carl X Gustaf och Danmark, källkritik och krigshistoria, Kristianstad (1965); G. M.Bell, A Handlist of British Diplomatic Representative 1509-1688 (1990); 'Letter of George Fleetwood describing the battle of Lutzen and the death of Gustavus Adolphus' in The Camden Miscellany, (1847) I, pp.4-12; H.O. Prytz, Historiska Upplysningar om svenska och norska armeernas regementer och kårer jemte flottorna, II, (Stockholm, 1868), p.435. 

 

Thanks to Dr Bernd Warlich for the reference Felix BERNER, Gustav Adolf. Der Löwe aus Mitternacht (Augsburg 1996), p.474.

 

Service record

ENGLAND, OXFORD UNIVERSITY
Arrived 1621-11-09
Departed 1624-02-06
Capacity STUDENT, purpose EDUCATION, ACADEMIC
DENMARK-NORWAY, STRALSUND (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern)
Arrived 1628-01-01
Departed 1628-07-31
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, JAMES SPENS (STRALSUND Mecklenburg-Vorpommern)
Arrived 1629-07-01, as MAJOR
Departed 1632-12-31, as LIEUTENANT- COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, STOCKHOLM, GUSTAV ADOLF'S COURT
Arrived 1630-03-01
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, POMERANIA (Pommern)
Arrived 1630-06-01
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, GEORGE FLEETWOOD'S INFANTRY, FRANKFURT AN DER ODER, BRANDENBURG
Arrived 1631-04-01, as COLONEL
Departed 1639-12-31, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, GEORGE FLEETWOOD'S REGIMENT, WERBEN, BRANDENBURG
Arrived 1631-08-01
Capacity OFFCER, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, GEORGE FLEETWOOD'S REGIMENT, BREITENFELD, LEIPZIG, SAXONY
Arrived 1631-09-01
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, GEORGE FLEETWOOD'S REGIMENT, GARTZ, BRANDENBURG
Arrived 1631-11-01
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, GEORGE FLEETWOOD'S REGIMENT, LECH, BAVARIA
Arrived 1632-04-01
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, GEORGE FLEETWOOD'S REGIMENT, ALTE VESTE, NURNBERG, BAVARIA
Arrived 1632-07-01
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, GEORGE FLEETWOOD'S REGIMENT, LUTZEN, LEIPZIG, SAXONY
Arrived 1632-11-01
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, PRUSSIA (Preussen)
Arrived 1633-01-01, as COMMANDANT
Departed 1633-12-31, as COMMANDANT
Capacity COMMANDANT, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, GEORGE FLEETWOOD'S REGIMENT, LANDSBERG, BAVARIA
Arrived 1633-04-01
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, STUART KINGDOMS, LONDON, ENGLAND
Arrived 1636-01-01
Departed 1637-02-28, as COLONEL
Capacity ENVOY, purpose DIPLOMACY
STUART KINGDOMS, SWEDEN, STOCKHOLM
Arrived 1637-03-01
Departed 1637-04-20
Capacity AMBASSADOR, purpose DIPLOMACY
SWEDEN, STUART KINGDOMS, THE HAGUE, BOHEMIAN COURT
Arrived 1637-05-01
Capacity ENVOY, purpose DIPLOMACY
SWEDEN, ENGLAND, LONDON
Arrived 1637-06-01
Capacity AMBASSADOR, RECRUITER, purpose MILITARY, DIPLOMACY
SWEDEN, GREIFSWALD, POMERANIA (Pommern)
Arrived 1638-01-01, as COMMANDANT
Departed 1640-12-31, as COMMANDANT
Capacity COMMANDANT, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, GEORGE FLEETWOOD'S REGIMENT, STRALSUND (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern), POMERANIA (Pommern)
Arrived 1638-01-01
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, GEORGE FLEETWOOD'S REGIMENT, STETTIN (Szczecin), POMERANIA (Pommern)
Arrived 1638-02-01
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, COLBERG, KOLBERG
Arrived 1641-01-01, as COMMANDANT
Departed 1650-12-31, as COMMANDANT
Capacity COMMANDANT, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, ENGLAND, LONDON
Arrived 1655-01-01
Departed 1657-12-31
Capacity ENVOY, purpose DIPLOMACY
SWEDEN, KRIGSRAD, STOCKHOLM
Arrived 1656-01-01, as LT. GENERAL
Departed 1656-12-31, as LT. GENERAL
Capacity COUNCILLOR, purpose MILITARY
ENGLAND, HELSINGBORG [SWEDEN]
Arrived 1659-01-01
Departed 1659-12-31
Capacity ENVOY, purpose DIPLOMACY
SWEDEN, ENGLAND, LONDON
Arrived 1660-01-01
Departed 1660-12-31
Capacity ENVOY, purpose DIPLOMACY
SWEDEN, JÄLUNDA [SWEDEN]
Arrived 1661-01-01
Departed 1667-06-11
Capacity KRIGSRAD, purpose MILITARY