First name

Text source

James Maclean, or Jacob Mackler as he tended to be known in Sweden, was a Scotsman who became a major figure within royal, civic, and burghal circles in Stockholm and Gothenburg during the first half of the seventeenth century.

He first appears in official Swedish sources in 1609, the year he took the oath on 8 May to become a burgess of Stockholm on the 8 of May. He was noted as a silk merchant. In 1611 he entertained 3 Scottish merchants from Danzig - amongst them Peter Maklien, most likely a Maclean himself. As was normal for the time in official sources surnames were often rendered phonetically, or simply noted down in a form close to something that was familiar to the scribe. James' surname is usually given as a variant of "Makler", although he is noted as the uncle of John (known as Hans in Sweden) Maclean, 1st Baronet Duart [SSNE 1631]. The family connection between these two gentlemen is unclear.

In 1612, when James again entertained 2 Scots who had arrived from Germany and were to settle in Sweden, he was described as a "German" merchant, and indeed the Mackliers have long been viewed as a German family. This description probably refers rather to the fact that he was a member of the German church in Stockholm, as many foreigners were, rather than his actual nationality.

In 1613 a 'Jakop Machaleer' appears on a list of Stockholm burgesses where it was noted that he had a male and female servant living at his house, and he paid half a "hion", and 8 öre on the 'Älvsborgs lösen' repayment list for Stockholm. This is most likely the same man. in 1614 he is again listed, this time with an unnamed wife, and due to pay 2 daler. in june 1615 Jakob Makler was appointed as an upstanding member of society, one of two "godhe" men chosen to resolve a financial dispute between a Jacob Lybes, servent of Dirik Bax from Lubeck, who was owed 374 marks by one Richard Petterson.

A set of his accounts exist for the year 1620 in Uppsala University Library.

There are some indications that James was active at Nya Lödöse (a town which predated what became Gothenburg) during the 1621-1628 period, although it is usually believed that this was the aforementioned John.

Either James or John acted as a royal supplier to Queen Maria Eleanora in Stockholm from 1623-4, although it is more likely to have been James. Further, in 1624 James Spens [SSNE 1642] specifically named 'James MacLeer' as a responsible person to whom Spens' salary from the Swedish government could be paid (in the absence of Spens' first choice, a merchant named Sanderson, possibly also a Scotsman).

There is then quite a lengthy gap in Swedish records regarding James Maclean. It seems like he may have returned to Scotland and on 7 June 1631 one James Maclean was made a burgess and guild brother of the city of Dundee in Scotland. 

The following year the Swedish Riksrad records note Jacob Mackler as a burgess in Gothenburg in 1632, but probably this just means that Maclean, a burgess, was in Gothenburg. John Durie [SSNE 1243] stayed at Maclean's house in Stockholm between July 1636 and June 1638. James traded in silks, lead, iron, hops and wine. He was also a city councillor in Stockholm, and by 1640 had become one of Stockholm's most important burgesses. He led a petition regarding the reform of coinage that year. He also served on a government commission for rewards and pensions to be granted to Scottish officers who had served in the Swedish army. Indeed, when Field Marshal Alexander Leslie [SSNE 1] requested arms and ammunition as his pension, James not only acted as "middle-man" in 1638, but he further supplied items to him in 1645. Two years later both Patrick Ruthven [SSNE 3413] and James King [SSNE 2814] requested James' assistance in obtaining outstanding pensions.

James Maclean married three times, firstly to a woman whose name is not known, but who was buried in the German church on 31 October 1613. His second wife was Lunetta Raverding, with whom he had two children, although only one survived. The mother died giving birth to her daughter also named Lunetta [SSNE 5434] on 20 August 1616. Lunetta married fellow-Scot Richard Clerck [SSNE 4138] who later became a Swedish vice-admiral, on 13 January 1633. Lunetta died on 4 June 1634. James then adopted one of John's daughters, Isabella, who died shortly afterwards on 5 September 1639. Maria Gubbertz, was his third wife. Maria was buried in Nicolai church on 13 September 1657. Between 1634 and 1657, James buried seven people in Maria Kyrka including his wife (26/3/1639): Niece (6/9/1639): Servant (19/09/39): 2x girls (22 & 23/09/1639): Thomas Horn (31/08/1644) and a beggar's child (28/09/1650). James' relationship with John Maclean was further strengthened when Maria's sister married John in 1629, at a time when the two Macleans became business partners. James was still trading in 1653 as in Colonel David Ramsay's [SSNE 3307] will, dated at Stockholm on 29 March that year, he was noted as a Scottish creditor. James is also noted as trading in silks in 1655. Maclean died in 1663. It is not known if the Stockholm burgess, Johan Maclean [SSNE 7423] was a relative.


Sources: Swedish Riksarkiv, Anglica 5, 26 April 1624; Stockholm Stadsarkiv: Borgare i Stockholm, Register 1601-1650, p.48; Stockholms Stadsarkivet, Maria Församling, Register över Döda, 1654-1655, pp.211; J.N.M. Maclean, The Macleans of Sweden (Edinburgh, 1971); Svenska Riksradets Protokoll, (Stockholm, 1880),II, p.184; Stockholms stads tänkeböcker, 1608-1613(Stockholm, 1964), vii, pp. 41, 284, 319; Vagsböcker, vols 1611-1655, Stockholm Stadsarkiv; Ämbetsböcker, 1419-1659, vol. 66-69, and Mantalslängd 1645 and 1652, Stockholm Stadsarkiv; Register över döda m. fl. enligt Tyska församlingens räkenskaper, no.1 (1590-1680), and no.2 (1627-1680), Stockholm Stadsarkiv; St Nicolai kyrkas i Stockholm vigselbok, ed F.U. Wrangel, vols.1-2 (Stockholm, 1894 and 1897); Swedish Krigsarkiv, Reduktionskollegii, Akt.n. 332 and also same archive, Rikets skuldbok, 1621-1673; Uppsala University Library, Handskrifts index, Lum-Man, Makleer, Jacob, Räkning 1620, x.255:d; Svenskt Biografiskt Lexicon, vol.xxiv; Register till Sveriges Ridderskaps och Adels Riksdags-Protokoll (17 vols, Stockholm, 1910), vol. for 1660 (1), 235, 237; vol for 1660 (2), 218, 271; Svenska Riksradets Protokoll, vol. VIII, p.544; G. Westin, John Durie in Sweden 1636-1638, (Uppsala,1934-6), pp.10, 104, 105, 130, 140; Steve Murdoch, Network North: Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe, 1603-1746 (Brill, Leiden, 2006), pp.19, 29-30, 180, 222-223, 234, 238, 247, 298. For his status as a guild-brother burgess of Dundee we thank Dr David Dobson who got the information from the Dundee Burgess Roll.

Service record

Arrived 1609-05-08
Departed 1620-12-31
Capacity BURGESS, purpose MERCANTILE
Arrived 1621-01-01
Departed 1628-12-31
Arrived 1629-01-01
Departed 1663-12-31
Capacity BURGESS, purpose MERCANTILE
Departed 1663-12-31