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Baron Jacob Spens (1656-1721)

SOURCES, NOTES AN CREDITS: Former Lord Lyon, David Sellar, wrote about the Spens family some years ago in “The Double Tressure”, see 2005, no. 28, pp10-20 Sir James is not the subject, focus or even specifically mentioned but, his Scottish arms are. While you won’t find him in Ordinary 1, but two of his relatives are there with arms verra close to those of Sir James, but unfortunately, he never matriculated his arms. Ordinary 2 has, we believe, two collateral descendants with arms close to Sir James’. In Robert Gayre of Gayre and Nigg’s, “Roll of Scottish Arms”, dealing with Vol. 1 of the Public Register you will find five entries of Spens arms verra similar to Sir James. In any of the Swedish, “Sveriges Ridderskap och Adels Kalender” you will find his direct descendants and which Sir James is mentioned by name as Jacob Spens. In “History of the Scottish Expedition to Norway in 1612” by Thomas Michell, Sir James Spens is mentioned in connection with his activities raising troops for Sweden as well as some of his ambassadorial actions. The arms of count Spens are blazoned in “Den Svenska Adelns Vapenbok” by Frithiof Dahlby and Jan Raneke, Published by Albert Bonniers Förlag, Stockholm, 1967

Arms: quarterly with an inescutcheon: 1st Or a galley Gules, 2nd Azure two batons in saltire Argent with ends OR. 3rd Argent two mountains Vert with flaming tops proper. 4th Or a lion rampant Gules. Inescutheon or Hjärtsköld (Heartshield ): Or a lion rampant tail fourché Gules debruised by a bend Sable charged with a buckle between two muscles Argent, on a canton Azure three coronets Or.

Baron Jacob Spens (1656-1721) was the grandson of Sir James Spens 1571-1632, 11th of Wormiston, who was created a Swedish baron in 1622 by King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. The baronial title was introduced by Sir James’ sons in 1635 and 1638 in the Swedish House of Nobles. Grandson Jacob became a successful Swedish general and President of the Royal Council and was created a Count in 1712 by King Charles XII, Sweden’s Warrior King, and was introduced in 1719. The family of Count Spens is extant in Sweden to this day. They have Scottish cousins as well one of whom owns Wormiston in Scotland.

The artwork is a rendering of John Hamilton Gaylor.

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