Henry de Nassau, Lord Overkirk

Henry de Nassau, Lord Overkirk
Personal details
Born (1640-12-16)16 December 1640
The Hague, Netherlands
Died 18 October 1708(1708-10-18) (aged 67)
Roselaere, Belgium
Military service
Battles/wars 1674:Battle of Seneffe
1678: Battle of St. Denis
1690: Battle of the Boyne
1693: Battle of Neerwinden
1705:Battle of Elixheim
1706:Battle of Ramillies
1708:Battle of Oudenaarde
1708: Siege of Lille

Henry, Count of Nassau, Lord of Overkirk (Dutch: Hendrik van Nassau-Ouwerkerk, French: Henry de Nassau d'Auverquerque) (164018 October 1708) was a Dutch military general and second cousin of King William III of England and his Master of the Horse. Lord of Ouwerkerk and Woudenberg in the Netherlands, he was called by the English "Lord Overkirk" or "Count Overkirk".


Born in The Hague to Louis of Nassau-Beverweerd (illegitimate son of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange) and his wife Isabella van Hoorn, Overkirk was baptised there on 16 December 1640. Granted the title Count of Nassau (graaf van Nassau) by the Emperor Leopold I in 1679, he joined William III's invasion of England in 1688, and was appointed the king's Master of the Horse the following year. He resided in London, notably at Overkirk House, which later became part of 10 Downing Street.

Overkirk was one of the Duke of Marlborough's most trusted generals, and led the left wing of Marlborough's army at both Ramillies and Oudenarde. He was made Field Marshal of the Dutch States Army in 1704.

Overkirk died on 18 October 1708 at Roeselare in modern-day Belgium and is buried the Nassau-LaLecq Crypt at Ouderkerk aan den IJssel, Netherlands. His widow continued to live at Overkirk House until her own death in 1720.


The future Lord Overkirk married Frances van Aerssen van Sommelsdijck (died 1720), daughter of Cornelius, Lord of Sommelsdijk, at The Hague on 2 October 1667. They had eight children, including five sons, of whom two married and had children.

Arms of the Counts of Nassau-den Lek and Ouwerkerk.

Their children included:

  1. Countess Isabella van Nassau (bapt. 20 April 1668, d.in childbirth on 30 January 1692 at London) married 10 March 1691, Charles Granville, Lord Lansdown, later 2nd Earl of Bath (bapt. 31 August 1661, d. 4 September 1701 by suicide), widower of Lady Martha Osborne, daughter of the 1st Duke of Leeds, and son and heir of John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath. Her widower committed suicide on 4 September 1701, shortly after inheriting the peerage on 2 August 1701. He was buried with his father on 22 September 1701 at Kilkhampton. Her son, William Henry Granville] (30 January 1692 - 1711), became 3rd Earl of Granville, but died young aged 19 of smallpox.[1]
  2. Lodewijk van Nassau (1669–1687)
  3. Lucia van Nassau (1671–1673)
  4. Henry Nassau d'Auverquerque, 1st Earl of Grantham (1673–1754) whose two sons both died in his lifetime, making his nephew Hendrik his heir as of 1730.
  5. Cornelis van Nassau, Heer van Woudenberg (1675–1712), drowned at the Battle of Denain
  6. Count Willem Maurits van Nassau, Heer van Ouwerkerk (1679–1753) who married his cousin Charlotte van Nassau (c. 1677-1708), and had issue one son and two daughters
    1. Count Hendrik van Nassau, styled Viscount Boston (1710-10 October 1735) who became heir to his uncle, the 2nd Earl of Grantham, and as such was known as Viscount of Boston.[2]
  7. Frans van Nassau (1682–1710), died in the Battle of Almenar
  8. Lucia Anna van Nassau (1684–1744) married 11 February 1705 Nanfan Coote, 2nd Earl of Bellomont, and had issue 1 daughter, Lady Frances Coote. She, in turn, married Sir Robert Clifton, 5th Baronet, of Clifton Hall, MP (1690–1767), and had one daughter Frances Clifton (d 8 November 1786) who married George Carpenter, 3rd Baron Carpenter, later 1st Earl of Tyrconnel (1723–1762) and had many children.

Service record

1674: present at the battle of Seneffe .

1678: present at the battle of St. Denis, where he saved the life of William III.

1690: present at the battle of the Boyne

1693: present at the battle of Neerwinden.

1705: commanding the Dutch army while breaking the Lines of Brabant at the Battle of Elixheim.

1706: commanding the left wing at the battle of Ramillies, and playing a major part in the victory.

1708: commanding the left wing at the battle of Oudenaarde.

1708: Fell ill during the siege of Lille and died 4 days later of disease in camp at nearby Roeselare.


  1. Leo van der Pas. Charles Granville, 2nd Earl of Bath (1661-1701), from Brigitte Gastel-Lloyd's Worldroots website. Also see Leo van der Pas William Henry Granville, 3rd Earl of Bath] Retrieved 7 October 2009.
  2. Leo van der Pas Hendrik van Nassau, Viscount Boston. Retrieved 7 October 2009. However, Hendrik was not patrilineally descended from the 1st Earl of Grantham, but rather, from his younger brother. The remainder to the title is not clear.

Reinildis van Ditzhuyzen, Oranje-Nassau: Een biografisch woordenboek, Haarlem 2004, 122-124 (with a portrait by G. Kneller, Oranje Nassau Museum)

Political offices
Preceded by
Lord Dartmouth
Master of the Horse to
William III

Succeeded by
In commission
Dutch nobility
Preceded by
Title created
Lord of Ouwerkerk
Succeeded by
Maurice Louis II of Nassau-Lalecq
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