Military Wiki

Sir Roger Williams (1539/1540 - 12 December 1595) was a Protestant Welsh soldier of fortune.

Born in Penrhos, Monmouthshire, Williams was said by Anthony Wood to have attended Brasenose College, Oxford. He spent most of his life soldiering, mainly on the continent. He was in the Netherlands fighting on behalf of William the Silent, Prince of Orange, when the latter was assassinated, and helped capture the assassin, Balthasar Gérard. Williams was recognised as an expert on military matters by his contemporaries, and wrote A brief discourse of war (1590).

In 1585 he was sent to the Low Countries with an army under the Earl of Leicester's command, to confront the Spanish forces under the Duke of Parma. Though the campaign was not a success, Leicester wrote: "Roger Williams is worth his weight in gold, for he is noe more valiant than he is wise" and he was duly knighted after the Battle of Zutphen in 1586 by Leicester. Williams accompanied Sir Francis Drake to Portugal, and later fought on behalf of the French Huguenots.

In 1587, Williams and his regiment were in Sluys (Sluis) when the Duke of Parma laid siege to the town. After a heroic defence, marked by acts of heroism and genius on both sides, the English and Dutch defenders were forced to surrender on 4 August.

Parma gave generous terms; the garrison marched out with all their banners and baggage and all the honours of war. Parma sought Williams out and offered him a command where he would not have to fight either his fellow-countrymen or his co-religionists. Williams replied politely that if he ever fought in the service of any other than his queen, Elizabeth, it would be in the service "of that hero of the Protestant cause, King Henry of Navarre." He went on to serve Henry during the late 1580s and 1590s. He also fought for the Protestant Elector of Cologne, Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg, and fought with the Dutch soldier of fortune, Martin Schenck von Nydeggen in Westphalia.



This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).