First name

Text source

Francis Sheldon was born in England and worked as a shipwright there. He arrived in Sweden in April 1659 along with Robert Turner [SSNE 4203] to serve as a master shipbuilder for an annual salary of 1500 riksdaler. He was based in Gothenburg where he was paid 1659-1665 building the ships Jupiter in 1661 (which was then deemed unserviceable) and the 158 foot Äpplet (which took 4 years to build) in 1663 and a frigate called Postiljonen as well as smaller vessels. Sheldon appeared on the Gothenburg shipping list in 1665, sending goods to London. From 1666 until 1672 he based himself in Stockholm, after the previous shipwright, Dutchman Jacob Voss died, and he built the 178 and a half foot ship Kronan. He also wrote to Jakob Momma Reenstierna in 1669 in connection with his business. Initially the admiralty were critical of Sheldon's work feeling it was too expensive and that the "Dutch" manner should be used rather than the "English" when building ships. He left Sweden in 1672 and travelled to England. In 1677 he came back to Sweden as a shipbuilder and was employed at the Riga shipyard from 1679-1683. Sheldon's sons, Charles [SSNE 6650] and Frans Johan [SSNE 6651] also served as shipbuilders for Sweden. Sheldon was ennobled in Sweden, but not introduced into the House of Nobility. He mad a complaint to James II in 1685 about not being paid for the period of his service and suffering imprisonment for allowing his son to leave the country.


Primary Sources:  Swedish Riksarkiv, Handlingar angående örlogsflottan och armeens flotta, M-1754, letters from Sheldon to King Karl XI; Swedish Riksarkiv, Förteckning över Momma-Reenstierna Samlingen, part C: brev till Bröderna Momma-Reenstierna ingångna skrivelser, section 2, brev till Jacob Momma-Reenstierna - E2521, 53, 1669; Danish Rigsarkivet, TKUA England AIII, Sjofartslager 1681-1686. Francis Sheldon to Your Majesty [from context James II & VII], Copenhagen, 19 December, 1685.

Secondary Sources: E. Wendt, Amiralitetskollegiets Historia part 1 1634-1695 (Stockholm, 1950), pp. 170, 213, 219, 230, 310; A. Zettersten, Svenska Flottans Historia Aren 1635-1680 (Norrtelje, 1903), p.625; B. Schlegel and C. A. Klingspor, Den med skoldebref forlanade men ej a Riddarhuset introducerad Svenska Adelns Ättar-taflor (Stockholm, 1875), p.268; C. Dalhede, Handelsfamiljer på Stormaktstidens Europamarknad (3 vols., Partille, 2001), III, cdrom.

Service record

Arrived 1659-04-19, as SHIPBUILDER
Departed 1665-12-31, as SHIPBUILDER
Capacity SHIPBUILDER, purpose NAVAL
Arrived 1666-01-01, as SHIPBUILDER
Departed 1672-12-31, as SHIPBUILDER
Capacity SHIPBUILDER, purpose NAVAL
Arrived 1677-09-03, as SHIPBUILDER
Departed 1678-12-31, as SHIPBUILDER
Capacity SHIPBUILDER, purpose NAVAL
Arrived 1679-01-01, as SHIPBUILDER
Departed 1680-12-31, as SHIPBUILDER
Capacity SHIPBUILDER, purpose NAVAL