First name
Social status

Text source

Richard Clerk was born in Happingworth, Scotland in 1604 and was either the son of Captain William Clerk [SSNE 4349] or the son of John/Hans Clerk the elder [SSNE 4159], who was also a Swedish holm admiral. Although as Hans was the brother of Richard Clerk the elder [SSNE 4137] this would have made Richard Clerk the younger his nephew. In 1628 Clerk became a ship's captain in the Swedish admiralty. That year he was sent to Norrland, Finland, and Aland to bring "lodjor" to Stockholm. Clerck was soon appointed to Danzig. However, in August 1629 Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna ordered him to take over command of the ships at Pillau on the death of vice-admiral Hans Horn. In 1630 he was 'holm captain' and the yard captain at Skeppsholm shipyard. He was promoted to holm major in 1638 (although one source notes it as 1641). In 1640 he was sent to Amsterdam with 5 vessels on a mercantile mission (just when the Covenanters were seeking military supplies from the Swedes). By 1644 he was major in the 3rd squadron of Claes Flemming's fleet, and served as adjutant to the commander on the Dalarö-based fleet. He was the chief on Svardet and partook in the seabattle on 1 July. The military college instructed him and Benjamin Bonnell to deliver 10 lasts of coal to the artillery smithy in 1647. Clerk thereafter served in Erik Ryning's fleet in 1645. He was ennobled in 1648, 7th of December, and introduced into the Swedish House of Nobility in 1649 under nr.442. Clerck acted as muster-master general in 1652 for Västergötland. The following year his ship Stockholm (co-owned with Benjamin Bonnel) was taken by English Privateers leading to  protracted court hearings in England. In 1654 Clerk was promoted to lieutenant admiral, and by 1655 he was 'holm admiral' although his duties at Skeppsholmen (Stockholm shipyard) re. shipbuilding and ship furnishing remained unchanged. Two years later he became vice-admiral in Claes Bielkenstierna's fleet, and the same year, 1657, he commanded the fleet in Wismar. During 1658-1660 Clerck retained sole responsibility for Skeppsholmen. In 1633 he married Lunetta Maclean [SSNE 5434], daughter of the Scottish merchant James Macklier [SSNE 5433] of Stockholm, although she died in June the following year. He was married two further times, on both occassions to Swedes one of whom was called Brita Lindrom. Clerk had a sister, Elizabeth [SSNE 2836], who married twice to Scottish officers. Clerck died on 6 April 1668 in Stockholm and was apparently succeeded by his "brother" (?) lieutenant admiral Hans Clerck.

Sources: A. Zettersten, Svenska Flottans historia Aren 1635-1680, (Norrtelje, 1903), p.598; Biografiska Anteckningar om Officerare vid Orlogsflottan 1600-1699, p.111; A letter can be found in 'Krigskollegium Kancelliet; Adressatregistratur till Krigskollegiets Registratur 1631-1654', on "öppen sedel till honom och Benjamin Bonell att undsätta pa någon tid artillerismedjan 10 laster stenkol 28/8/1647"; For the ship Stockholm see TNA HCA 13/65 ff.62-65 The Claim of Benjamin Bonnell and Richard Clerck (plus depositions), 20 August 1651; Svenska Adelns Ättartavlor, vol. 2, p.23, p.142; A. Zettersten, Svenska Flottans Historia Åren 1522-1634 (Stockholm, 1890), p.258; Uppsala University Library, Palmskiöldiska Samlingen 422, Lunetta Macklier - Here Clerck is noted as Rotgert Klerck. E. Wendt, Amiralitetskollegiets historia part 1 1634-1695, (Stockholm, 1950), p.91, 94, 97, 103, 140, 153, 156, 194, 213; Rikskansleren Axel Oxenstiernas skrifter och brefvexling, first series IV, pp. 586-8.

Service record

Arrived 1628-01-01, as CAPTAIN
Departed 1668-12-31, as HOLM ADMIRAL
Capacity ADMIRAL, purpose NAVAL