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Sir George Douglas









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Sir George Douglas, formerly Lt Colonel in Ramsays' Regiment, was King Charles I's Ambassador Extraordinary in the southern Vasa kingdom from 1634 -1636. He took part in peace negotiations between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Sweden that began in Sztumska Wies (Stuhmsdorf) in 1635.


He was the son of Sir George Douglas of Mordington, gentleman of the bed-chamber to king James VI, the son of George Douglas of Parkhead, 'a man of good parts, great bravery and courage', and was captain of the castles of Edinburgh and Douglas in the reigns of King James V. and Queen Mary. His great-grandfather was Sir George Douglas of Pittendreich, second son of George master of Angus. (Source:The Peerage of Scotland by Robert Douglas)


(Note: I am having difficulty tying this in with my genealogy data, which has him as the illegitimate great-grandson of James, 4th earl of Morton Add to this the suggestion that he was actually William Gordon..!)





A George Douglas [aka William Gordon] served in James Ramsay's regiment in Sweden in 1628 and later as a Lieutenant-Colonel. In March 1629 Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna intervened on Douglas's behalf by recommending that Douglas's agent, Richard Jenks could receive payment for Douglas' invoice in Livonia.


 A lieutenant-colonel Douglas (presumably the same guy) was engaged by Oxenstierna to obtain recruits for Ramsay's regiment in autumn 1630 - Douglas had promised to return with 500 men in spring 1631 at his own expense. The Chancellor had given him 2000 riksdaler and promised further reimbursement on the arrival of the recruits, whom were still expected at the end of March.


They arrived in time for the siege of Creuznach where Douglas lodged his men within 150 paces of the walls. He lost 47 men one night to heavy fire from the enemy earning him considerable respect for not withdrawing. During the storming of the sally port the next day Douglas led his men on causing the garrison to flee to the castle.


When Ramsay was wounded, Douglas took over the Governorship of Creuznach while his commander recovered.


Shortly thereafter he left the Swedish army, apparently due to a disagreement with Gustav II Adolf. One source notes that in 1632 a Colonel George Douglas was to levy an "English" (probably British) regiment of horse for Swedish service to be used on behalf of Russia in their campaign against Poland.


 Then Douglas undertook a variety of diplomatic tasks serving the Stuart Kingdoms and Elizabeth of Bohemia. From 1634 to 1637 Douglas acted as Charles I's Ambassador to Poland and came highly recommended by Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia. He visited his former colonel who was now governor James Ramsay at Hanau in 1634.


In January 1635 the Swedish envoy to Poland, Per Brahe, noted Douglas' arrival at Danzig, and that he bore two letters from Oxenstierna for him [Brahe]. Douglas also acted as an envoy to Sweden at Humsdorff/Stuhmsdorff in 1635 for the Stuart kingdoms. His secretary was John Fowler.


As Douglas travelled home from his mission in March 1636 he stopped in at Demmin, then governed by Colonel Robert Cunningham. Lieutenant-Colonel or Colonel (it is unclear when he was promoted) Robert Douglas, then stationed at New Brandenburg, was called over to join them.


The next morning George Douglas was ill and died soon after. His body was escorted by Robert Douglas and two of his companies to Hamburg where he was buried.


*Documentary evidence from 1619 suggests that George Douglas was also known by the name of William Gordon. The Fortescue Papers contain two letters from Sir Robert Naughton to the Marquis of Buckingham. One from 2 December 1619 reads "I have this evening spoken with George Douglas (Your Lordship knows his true name) who presented me the enclosed from Mr Trumbull". The second letter dated 6 December from the same to the same reads "I beseech your Lordeship let me receive directions how his Majestie will have William Gordon proceeded with of whose arrival and attendance haqve I advertised your Lordship by the name of George Douglas".


 Information from the Fortescue Papers supplied by David Worthington.

R. Monro, His Expedition with a worthy Scots Regiment called Mac-Keyes (2 vols., London, 1637), II, The List of the Scottish Officers in Chiefe; The Swedish Intelligencer: The Second Part (London, 1632), pp.71-72; Swedish Krigsarkiv, Muster Roll, 1628/8-15; 1629/5-10, 12,14,16,18,19; 1630/25; 1631/12,15; Swedish Riksarkiv, Svenske Sandebuds till Utlandske Hof och Deras Sandebud till Sverige, (1841), p.83.; Rikskansleren Axel Oxenstiernas Skrifter och Brefvexling, first series, IV, p.416; ibid, first series, VI, pp.42, 58, 59, 175, 192; ibid., second series, IV, p.487; PRO, SP 88/8-9 ; G.M. Bell, A Handlist of British Diplomatic Representatives 1509-1688 (London, 1990); A. Douglas, Robert Douglas en krigaregestalt fran var storhetstid, (Stockholm, 1957), 34, and 55-58; T. Fischer, The Scots in Germany (Edinburgh, 1902), 97; S.R. Gardiner (ed), Fortescue Papers (Camden soc., London, 1871), I, pp.105 and 108; D. Norrman, Gustav Adolfs politik mot ryssland och polen under tyska kriget (1630-1632), (Uppsala, 1943), p.126; Steve Murdoch, Network North: Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe, 1603-1746 (Brill, Leiden, 2006), p.294. 


See also:

  • Autopsy of Sir George Douglas

  • Note:
  • A manuscript exists detailing: 'Moneyes issued & assigned at the receipt of his Mate Exchqr to Sr George Douglas Knt. & others for his ordinary and extraordinary charges as Agent in Germany & Ambr Extraordinary in Poland &c'

    Any contributions will be gratefully accepted



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