First name

Text source

Helen Wallace was a Scottish woman who was a resident of Stockholm in the first decades of the seventeenth century. References to her and her husbands, Hans (John) Baxter and Peder Johanson/Hanson, appear in the Stockholm council records. We have no precise dates as to when Helen Wallace or her first husband Baxter came to Stockholm, albeit Baxter was already deceased by 1618. Helen Wallace appears to have been a litigious personality as her appearances before the Stockholm city council reflect - or perhaps she was just a confident woman who simply sought to defend what was rightfully hers and to defend her personal integrity.

In the first of these, dated 17 June 1618, Peder Hanson (Johanson) complained that Hans Helledag (John Halliday [SSNE 7358]), the son of Gilbert Helledag (Gilbert Halliday[SSNE 7359]), had possession of certain personal items rightly belonging to them. Halliday responded that he did not know what Hanson meant. Hanson wanted Halliday to appoint a guarantor because he intended to leave for Dantzig and Stockholm town council asked Hanson to provide a Swedish translation of the Scottish documents he had presented. This presumably implies that Hanson had obtained documents from Scotland written in Scottish hand, most probably in Scots.  In connection to this matter one Sander Davidson (possible also a Scotsman) confirmed that Baxter had delivered one Hans Ärte in Åbo (then part of Sweden, now Finland) who had brought 100 daler in cash for Gilbert Halliday.

Several weeks later, on 13 July 1618, "the Scottish wife" of Peder Hanson again sought the return of some money and cloth from John Halliday, who had inherited them from his father Gilbert, and of which she stated she was the rightful owner. Hanson was reminded that he had been asked to present his documents in translated form. Hanson also reiterated the accusations against William Wood and was told he should make the accusation four times. Helen Wallace's husband was persistent as a few days later, on 18 July, he was back before the council repeating his dispute with John Halliday, the latter of which was asked to present his case in written format. Hanson also reiterated his quarrel with William Wood, who in turn claimed that Count Robert Stewart (variously Stwer and Sture in Swedish) had documentation for the 200 daler. Wood too was asked to provide a written statement.

Just two days later, 20 July 1618, "the Scottish wife's husband" Peder Johanson, again sought action against John Halliday for debts owed, including personal items and cloth, on behalf of his father Gilbert Halliday, to Hans Baxter. The debt was several hundred 'daler', albeit the accounts and notes Johanson produced before the council were unrelated to this debt, listing Albrecht (Albert) Haddo, Jochim (James or Jacob) Pfeiff, Hans Weir as his witnesses. Hans admitted that his father had received 20 daler on behalf of Baxter. Regardless of whatever dealings Baxter and Halliday senior may have entered into, Halliday junior had accounts showing payment had been made, apart from some old clothes. The council appointed Sigfrid Olufzon, Oljuf Erichson, Jacob Pfeif, Jacob Machler (James Maclean [SSNE 5433]), Dirich Fisk and Thomas Engelsman (probably [SSNE 6132]) to resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, Helena Wallace was also defending herself against a Scottish nobleman, named Wellam Wuddi (William Wood) who had borrowed some of her late husband's money for which he had the late Baxter's authorisation to collect in Scotland, amounting to 200 daler. Wood claimed that his lord, Count Robert Stewart had Baxter's receipt for the repayment of the sum, minus 50 daler, and Wood had reliable witnesses to this fact. Wood claimed that Johanson was a liar The council decided that the issue was so muddied and unclear that Johanson and Wallace should obtain better proof from Scotland for their claims. Helen Wallace then requested a formal written account of what had transpired at the council.

On 22 July 1618 Peder Hanson requested documentation under the Stockholm town seal for the accounts between "Baxter's wife" and John Halliday. The sentence pronounced was: the documentation was to be produced in Latin and handed to "Baxter's wife" to take to "England"(!!). An Alexander Kintore came forward to testify regarding the 50 daler and that Count Robert Stewart (noted as Sture here) owed Hans Baxter 1100, for which he delivered 25 shippounds worth of copper to Lubeck. Baxter obtained 1500 daler for this delivery and thus owed Count Stewart the excess. Alexander delivered the money to Baxter in Lubeck, and the amount included 50 daler which were subtracted for cloth. Further, 200 daler which he had collected from Colonel Coburn [SSNE 4219] in Narva on behalf of the Count. Johanson sought official confirmation from the town council for the 200 daler collected from Coburn and for the 50 daler which William Wood cleared himself of as per Kintore's testimony.

The matter did not end there. On 25 September 1619 Peder Johanson's representative, Fredrik Ludwickson, presented three complaints against John Halliday: that Halliday should pay his father's debt to Baxter; that Halliday should return all the gold and silver belonging to Baxter; that Halliday compensate Johanson and his wife. The response came that: Helena owed the late Gilbert; that he had pawned some item(s); that he is owed 583 daler. Fredrik Ludwickson asked Halliday to supply evidence and a document declaring Baxter owed 104 daler appeared. Ludwickson produced a letter from a William Ogrie claiming he was owed 483 daler along with a letter Ogrie had written to Halliday calling him a thief. The response was that the 583 daler Baxter owed Ogrie had been passed onto Gilbert Halliday to pay off, and barely 2 weeks afterwards he was dead. Ogrie then turned to Gustav Stenbock, who paid him some money, for which Ogrie showed Johanson proof when Johanson came to Scotland. Of the remaining 403 daler Halliday paid 97. Further, a Hans Ulfzon in Dantzig also admitted to the same debt.  Once again, impartial individuals were appointed to resolve the issue, including Petter Grönb, Valentin Nilson, Dirich Fisch, Lyder Lang, Tobias Westphalen, Hendrich Danitz. 

On 8 November 1619 it appears the matter was finally settled: Peder Hanson and his wife Helen Wallace confirmed that they had reached an amicable agreement with John Halliday about their mutual claims to certain possessions. 

A few years later, on 12 January 1622, a "Hans" and Helen Wallace appeared before the council where Helen stated that Hans Hej (John Hay?) had a wife whom he had abandoned and taken up with a whore again, to which Hay responded that Helen was herself a whore and he intended to prove so. The next day one Jokim Jerner (Jacob Gardner?) stood as guarantor for Hay in his defence against Wallace. 

on 18 March 1622, Helen Wallace, once again described as a "Scottish woman", appeared before the Stockholm council. Through her procurator, Fredrik Ludwickson (same individual as above), she complained that two fellow Scots, Hans Heij (John Hay) (noted as a fortifications specialist in royal service) and an officer named Thomas Gibson (noted as Gips here). They had accused her of being a "loose" woman who was simultaneously living with three different men. Helen Wallace demanded that they provide evidence for their claims or be punished according to the law. Gibson named the three men he alleged her to have been involved with: Jören Kijff (possibly George Keith?), a nobleman whom she allegedly lived with for a long time in Narva, and when he "no longer needed her" he gave her a travel pass; a Captain Krej (Gray?) who kept her as his concubine for a time in Stockholm; and Peter Grant who was actually married but nevertheless consorted with her. After living with Helen Wallace for some time he dismissed her and took service in Colonel Coburn's [SSNE 4219] regiment. Gibson went on to claim that if all those men with whom she had lived were to appear there would not be enough room for them at the town hall. In her defence Ludwickson replied that these accusations were far too vulgar demanding that the named men appear, whilst Gibson should find a guarantor until the matter was resolved. Gibson replied that he would not just put everything he owned up as collateral but also one hundred of her compatriots who knew of her affairs. 

In reply Helen Wallace accused John Hay of having an affair with a woman named Margareta Lenttz, but Hay claimed he was married to Lenttz and presented proof that they had married by one H. Päder at S. Clara church in Stockholm on 4 July 1619, and thus requested that Helen Wallace be punished for lying. Thomas Gibson requested that Captain Alexander Gadrer (Gardner?), Hanns Black (John Black?), Alexander Nikolsonn (Nicholson, a Scottish burgess of Stockholm), David Anderson, George Gibson, and Peter Grant all be summoned to appear before the court. Whether this was a serious case of extreme bad blood and personal hatred or whether aspects of these claims were true remain to be discovered. It could be that following the death of her first husband, Baxter, and presumable loss of her second (no mention of him in this case) Johanson, that Helen Wallace was left penniless and forced to rely on others to survive. Perhaps she truly believed in the relationships she developed with these men (which were hardly simultaneous as one lived in Narva, the other in Stockholm and we do not know where Grant resided) who callously discarded her when they became tired of her. If anything this case throws the men involved in a very poor light: consecutively "using" Helen Wallace until they no longer "needed" her. This is a very interesting example of the danger that historical records when recorded, annotated, and presented in the male gaze can easily pervert the truth of a matter when it comes to women's lives. 

The following month, on 12 April, "a Scottish woman" Helen Wallace was bailed for 100 daler having provided her signature in agreement to pay. She denied she had signed anything although two witnesses claimed it was indeed her signature and that she had verbally stated she would pay. A few months later, on 23 July there is a reference to some velvet cloth Helena Wallace had taken and the punishment she is required to comply with. Helen Wallace seems to have been well-connected as on 17 August Admiral Clerk [SSNE 4137] stood as her guarantor in the case against her brought by "Tomas a Scotsman". This is probably in reference to the dispute between one Tomas Messen (Thomas Mason?) in reference to a case to do with Albricht Missing, burgess of Edinburgh. On 18 October the following items were listed as being pawned by Helen Wallace: "kleinott", gold rings, a white stone, pearls, a white silver , Damask apron, one pair of Scottish pistols. It is noted that Helen and "her husband" affirmed this list.

 In early March 1623 the Scotsman Thomas Meisen (Mason?) requested the payment of 60 daler for his services as "interlocutoria" in the forenoted case to do with Helen Wallace.


Stockholmsstads Tänkeböcker: vol.x, p.94, 213, 222, 228, 231, 237-8; vol. xi: 126,148; vol. xiii, pp.18-19, 133, 135, 397, 398, 405, 412, 413, 415, 419. Female. Scots.

Service record

Arrived 1620-01-01
Departed 1623-01-01