Clan Coutts Society

Clan Coutts Society

Military pre 1900


Scottish mercenaries in the service of Denmark and Sweden

The Battle of Waterloo

Spanish Succession : Battle of Blenheim







Allan Coutts received a captain's commission in 1600, became lieutenant-
colonel of Sir William Brog's regiment, and had died before May I2th, 1631,
when he was succeeded as captain by George Keir. Petitions by his widow,
Christina Bos well, in 1631 et seq. Coutts of Auchtertoul was an ancient family
in Cromar, in Aberdeenshire.


Scottish mercenaries, assumed to be men of Mackay's Regiment landing in the Baltic port of Stettin in 1630 or 1631. This print is regarded as the earliest surviving depiction of Highland dress. The original caption states, "They are a strong and hardy people who survive on little food. If they have no bread, they eat roots [turnips may be intended]. When necessary, they can cover more than 20 German miles in a day's forced march. [1 German mile = 4¾ English miles!] Besides muskets, they carry bows, quivers and long swords."

Following the battle of Nieuport in 1600.

The Holland lists for 1599 and 1600 are as
follows :

Col. Murray and R. Henderson. Col. Edmond.

Bruntin and^CoLjEdmond. Henrison.

Andro Murray. Murray.

Dallachy and^Kilpatrick. Kirkpatrick.

Nysbeth. Nysbeth and his son Hugo Nysbeth.

Brogh. Brog.

Mitchel. Michel, with James Phis and Sincler.

Strachan. Strachan.

Stuart. Stewart and Neisch.

Berclay. Berclay.

Daniel Mackigny.

Allane Coutes.

Henry Balfour.



The list of 1 600 indicates very plainly the effects of the disaster at Nieuport. The
names in italics are the officers who fell. The others recorded by the historians as
present were, besides Colonel Edmond and Sergeant-Major Brog, Henderson,
Caddel, and Ker. Robert Henderson, the first of three brothers who were to
distinguish themselves in the Dutch service, had succeeded to Colonel Murray's
company in June 1599. Caddel, and Hamilton, whose name does not appear,
and who may have been in garrison elsewhere (his name appearing under Utrecht
in 1604), commanded the two companies added in 1596, and John Ker received
his commission on April 24th, 1599, as captain of a new company then raised.
On September I5th, 1599, the States-General had resolved to maintain 'at the
general expense 13 companies of Scots, viz., the life company at 150 men,
and 12 other companies, each of 113 men.' On 3rd July 1600, they resolved
'that all the Scots remaining after the defeat they lately suffered shall be
divided over the 4 companies of which the captains are still living.' Edmond,
Henderson, Brog, and Caddel appear in later lists. Ker received a letter of
recommendation from King James on 27th December 1600, having been called
to Scotland on private affairs (p. 182). Archibald Johnston was appointed in
his place shortly before.

It would seem that while Murray's, Kirkpatrick's, Nisbet's, Strachan's, and
Barclay's companies were completely wiped out, Mitchel's and Stuart's were so
far extant that they could still be held to exist, and Sinclair and Neish to be
successors of their former captains. Colonel Edmond brought over 800 Scots
in October, and the States ordered three new companies to be formed. These
were evidently Mackenzie's, Balfour's, and Coutts's

........... Henry Balfour had, in 1611, been a captain for twelve years. He then
petitioned for a lieutenant-colonelcy, and again in 1613, and in 1614 for a
lieutenant-colonelcy or sergeant-majorship. He was dead before August 4th,
1615, when he was succeeded as captain by Robert Coutts. He is designed as
Sir Henry Balfour in the recommendation of the British Ambassador of 1611,
and had also the recommendation of the Princess Elizabeth, wife of the
Elector- Palatine. Maria de Leon, widow of Captain Henry Balfour, appears in
the pension list of 1618. Probably brother of first Lord Balfour of Burleigh (see
p. 44 note).

............Captain Norman Bruce succeeded Captain Archibald Johnston in May

1603 (see p. 95, note). Sir Robert Bruce of Clackmannan, knighted 1593, had a
second son, Colonel Norman Bruce, who married, and had daughters but no
male issue {Douglas's Baronage). His company was in Groningen in December

1604 (p. 197). He was dead before July 8th, 1615, when he was succeeded by
George Coutts.

.............George Coutts received his commission in succession to Norman Bruce on
8th July 1615 (letter from Groningen, igth June 1615). Was at Rees in
1622, became sergeant-major, Earl of Buccleuch's regiment, 3Oth December
1628. Lieutenant-colonel, I7th July 1629. Seems to have died in 1638, when
Philip Balfour was promoted to be lieutenant-colonel.

To the Council of State. (June 19, 1615.)

HIGH AND MIGHTY LORDS, Since my lords the states of Stadt
en Landen, after the death of Captain Norman Bruce, appointed
in his stead as captain the honourable and doughty George
Coutts, and as yet have presented him with no formal commis-
sion, or even administered to him the oath ; we beg therefore,
in the most friendly way, that your High Mightinesses will
order a regular commission to be drawn up, in favour of the
said Captain Coutts, and administer to him the oath in order
that this having been done, he may rejoin his company, as
soon as possible. Herewith, etc. Your High Mightinesses

At Groningen, the 19th June 1615.


 Allan Coutts, formerly ensign of Captain Scott, on 27th April 1638, in con-
formity with a recommendation of the States of Groningen and Ommelanden,
received a commission as captain of the company of the late Lieut. -Colonel
Coutts, his father. (This was Lieut. -Colonel George Coutts.) Became sergeant-
major in 1660, and lieut. -colonel of Louis Erskine's regiment in 1662. Appears
as lieut. -colonel in 1674, the regiment then being commanded by Jacques de
Fariaux, but not in 1675.



Scottish mercenaries in the service of Denmark and Sweden, 1626-1632

Thesis Fallon, James A. (1973) Scottish mercenaries in the service of Denmark and Sweden, 1626-1632. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

A number of references to various Coutts mercenaries are referenced in this thesis 

Swords for Hire: The Scottish Mercenary  a general article about Scottish mercenaries

The Battle of Waterloo

2nd Battalion 3rd Regiment of Foot Guards

Officers present at Waterloo
(Taken from Dalton’s Waterloo Roll Call)



The Cameronians: A Concise History a short reference to Coutts is attached

Spanish Succession : Battle of Blenheim - Duke of Marlborough

This is NOT a reference to Coutts. Baron Cutts name is often misspelt Coutts.

The Battle of Blenheim 1704: The Duke of Marlborough’s spectacular defeat of the hitherto invincible French army of Louis XIV.

' “Salamander” Coutts' column of British and German foot moved forward on the extreme left, preparing to attack Blenheim, while in the centre Marlborough's ...'

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