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Henry, Count of Nassau, Lord of Overkirk (Dutch: Hendrik van Nassau-Ouwerkerk, French: Henry de Nassau d'Auverquerque) (1640–18 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 Haguemarker 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. He married Frances van Aerssen van Sommelsdijk, daughter of Cornelius, Lord of Sommeladyck & Platt, at The Haguemarker on 2 October 1667. 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 Streetmarker.

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

Overkirk died on 18 October 1708 at Roeselaremarker in modern-day Belgiummarker and is buried at Ouderkerk aan den IJsselmarker in the Netherlandsmarker. His widow continued to live at Overkirk House until her own death in 1720.

Family

The future Lord Overkirk married Frances van Aerssen van Sommelsdijk (d. 1720), daughter of Cornelius, Lord of Sommeladyck & Platt, at The Haguemarker on 2 October 1667. They had eight children, including five sons, of whom two married and left issue.

Their children included:
  • 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.
  • Lodewijk van Nassa (1669-1687)
  • Lucia van Nassau (1671-1673)
  • 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.
  • Cornelis van Nassau, Heer van Woudenberg (1675-1712, drowned after a battle)
  • 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
    • 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.
  • Frans van Nassau (1682-1710 died in battle in Catalonia, Spain)
  • Lucia Anna van Nassau (1684-1744) married 11 February 1705 Nanfan Coote, 2nd Earl of Bellamont, 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 Ramilliesmarker, 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 Roeselaremarker.

References

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


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