Military Wiki
Capture of Valkenburg (1574)
Part of the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604)
Valkenburg, Kasteelruïne, overzicht02.jpg
Photography of the ruins of Valkenburg Castle in 2013.
DateEarly February 1574
LocationValkenburg, Limburg, Low Countries
(present-day the Netherlands)
Result Spanish victory[1][2]
 Kingdom of England
Dutch Republic Dutch Rebels
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of England Edward Chester Spain Francisco de Valdés

The Capture of Valkenburg of 1574, also known as the Capture of Valkenburg Castle, took place in early February 1574, at Valkenburg fortress (Valkenburg Castle), Limburg, Flanders (present-day the Netherlands), during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604), in the context of the Siege of Leiden.[2][3] The fortress of Valkenburg (northwest of Leiden), garrisoned by five English companies commanded by Colonel Edward Chester, was of strategic importance to facilitate (or complicate) the Spanish efforts at Leiden.[2][4] In early February, when the Spanish troops (sent by Maestre de Campo Don Francisco de Valdés) advanced over Valkenburg Castle, the English troops surrendered the fortress to the Spaniards and fled towards Leiden.[3] Then, the Spanish forces entered and took possession of the fortress (Spanish: tomando la fortaleza a placer).[3] For the cowardice demonstrated at Valkenburg, the English troops were rejected by the Dutch rebel army at Leiden, and finally Chester's troops surrendered to the Spanish army.[2][4][5]

Soon after, the English forces at Alphen (now called Alphen aan den Rijn, southwest Leiden), were defeated as well, and at Gouda, another English force was surprised and defeated by a contigent of Spanish troops, with the loss of 300 men and three colours for the English.[6]

In April 1574, Francisco de Valdés halted the siege of Leiden, to face the invading rebel army led by Louis of Nassau and Henry of Nassau-Dillenburg (brothers of Prince William of Orange), but the Spanish forces commanded by General Don Sancho d'Avila reached them first, leading to the Battle of Mookerheyde.[7] The Dutch suffered a disastrous defeat, losing at least 3,000 men, with both Louis and Henry killed.[7][8] Finally, the rebel army dispersed due to lack of pay.[7][9]

See also

Portrait of Don Francisco de Valdés. Engraving by Emanuel van Meteren.


  1. English Warfare, 1511-1642. Mark Charles Fissel p.141
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The Founding of the Dutch Republic: War, Finance, and Politics in Holland 1572–1588. James Tracy
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Fissel p.141
  4. 4.0 4.1 Oscar Gelderblom p.47
  5. From England, Colonel Edward Chester brought five companies to nearby Valkenburg Castle. Orange wanted to get these men into Leiden, but they fled as Spanish units approached the castle, and were subsequently denied admission to Leiden because of their cowardice. James Tracy p.II
  6. Mark Charles Fissel p.41
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The History of The Netherlands (Complete). John Lothrop Motley
  8. Radhey Shyam Chaurasia p.256
  9. Dictionary of Battles and Sieges: F-O. Tony Jaques p.684


  • Mark Charles Fissel. English Warfare, 1511-1642. First published 2001. London, Great Britain. ISBN 0-415-21481-5
  • Oscar Gelderblom. The Political Economy of the Dutch Republic. Published by Ashgate Publishing Limited. England 2009. ISBN 978-0-7546-6159-7
  • Tracy, James. The Founding of the Dutch Republic: War, Finance, and Politics in Holland 1572–1588. Oxford University Press. First published 2008.
  • A.N. Wilson. The Elizabethans. Published by Arrow Books 2012. Great Britain. ISBN 978-0-099-54714-3
  • Radhey Shyam Chaurasia. History of Europe. Atlantic Publishers and Distributors 2002. New Delhi. ISBN 81-269-0151-9
  • Motley, John Lothrop. The History of The Netherlands (Complete). Published by the Library of Alexandria.
  • Jeremy Black. War in the World: A Comparative History, 1450-1600. First published 2011 by Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN 978-0-230-29858-3

External links

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