SETON, J. (either JAMES or JOHN or JORIS) [SSNE 8115]

First name
J. (either JAMES or JOHN or JORIS)
Social status

Text source

Captain J. Seton was an officer in the first regiment of the Scots-Dutch Brigade. His name is the subject of some confusion: sometimes he is listed as James, sometimes John, and sometimes even George (probably an anglicization of "Joris").

Seton was commissioned on 17 May 1606 and was garrisoned in Utrecht, and was paid by that province. In 1608 he commanded 91 men with a salary of £1290. During the Twelve Years' Truce, Seton's command fell to 70 men, £1059, which was normal for the time of the Truce. However, in 1617, his command rose sharply to 120 men, £1655, along with the other company in Utrecht, commanded by Thomas Marjoribanks [SSNE 8018].

In 1618, Captain Andrew Donaldson [SSNE 8007] was recommended by Colonel Sir William Brog [SSNE 7842] for promotion to Sergeant-Major of the regiment. Captain Seton took great umbrage to this, and petitioned the States-General against the commission. He cited his own 16 years of service in the Brigade, and wrote that Donaldson had received no commission nor command to bring over his company and thus did it of his own volition. Seton further said that Donaldson was not really a soldier, having "[scraped] a livelihood by mechanical traffic, as the sale of hosiery and suchlike wares, at Flushing and elsewhere," (Ferguson, p. 237). Furthermore, Seton wrote that Donaldson had only been face to face with the enemy once, and that was at the recent siege of Jüliers. Seton finished by writing he did not mean to "ostentatiously" offer himself for the appointment, but that they might choose someone more able. The States-General seems to have taken the petition seriously: Captain William Drummond [SSNE 8010] was promoted sergeant-major and Donaldson remained a captain.

By 12 July 1622, Seton had moved from his garrison into the field army under the Prince of Orange, and he appears to have been replaced by one N. Caddel [SSNE 8114] in Utrecht (NL-HaNa, 1.01.02, 1.01.19). He was sent to Bergen-op-Zoom to reinforce the garrison there, as it had fallen under siege by the Spanish, after the end of the Truce. Seton would have arrived at some point between 20-21 July, along with Colonel Sir Robert Henderson [SSNE 4975], Lieutenant Colonel Allan Coutts [SSNE 8003], and other Scottish captains that were part of the relief force. On 22 July, mere days after his arrival in the garrison, Seton and his company took part in a massive nighttime sally, intended to "wake the Enemies out of their sleepe," (Anon., p. 3). The Scots and the English took the vanguard of the sally, and Lieutenant Colonel Coutts and Captain Walter Bruce were both wounded in the fight. Sometime in the ensuing fight, Seton was killed. Command of his company fell to Andrew Caddel [SSNE 8008] on 13 June 1623.



Seton's brother, a lieutenant in his company, served under Count John Ernest of Nassau in the Uskok War and was killed at the siege of Gradisca in June 1617. See Captain Seton [SSNE 8227].



Anon., A iournall or daily register of all those warlike atchieuments which happened in the siege of Berghen-up-Zoome in the Low-countries… All faithfully translated out of the original Low-Dutch copie (London, 1622), pp. 3, 4.

J. Ferguson, Papers Illustrating the History of the Scots Brigade in theservice of the United Netherlands, 1572-1697 (Edinburgh, 1899), pp. 72, 73, 75, 227, 229, 231, 286-287, 322, 333. 

Dr. Ir. J. MacLean, De Huwelijksintekeningen Van Schotse Militairen in Nederland: 1574-1665 (Zutphen, 1976), pp. 31, 183-184, 294-296, 298-299, 323, 343. 

Nationaal Archief, Den Haag (NL-HaNa). Inventaris van het archief van de Staten-Generaal: 1.01.02, No. 8048. Staten van Oorlog, 1621, f. 89.

NL-HaNa, Raad van State, 1581-1795, 1.01.19, 2061, II. 1622.


This entry created by Mr. Jack Abernethy.




Service record

Arrived 1606-05-17, as CAPTAIN
Departed 1622-07-22, as DECEASED
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY