The Brederode Brothers Hendrick and Lancelot

Consider the important characters of the Dutch Revolt. It’s quick to think of figures like Prince William of Orange, Philip II, a cartoonish villain like Cardinal Granvelle, or even Queen Elizabeth and the Earl of Leicester.

But what of other, lesser known, who also paid dearly or played important roles? How deeply interconnected was this world?

Today, lets look at the Brederode family.

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Hendrick van Brederode (1531-1568) was the son of powerful nobleman Reinoud III van Brederode (1492-1556). A strident advocate of noble rights and fervent Protestant, his radicalism put him at the forefront of those discontented noblemen presenting a list of grievances known as the Compromise of Nobles to Philip II’s governor, Margaret of Parma, in 1566.

Her advisor Charles de Berlaymont’s insult, “do not fear, madam, they are nothing but beggars” helped light the fires of rebellion. Van Brederode and the others turned the insult into a rallying cry. The rebellion would be instigated by these Geuzen – these Beggars.

Hendrick was at the fore of the fighting, but not without cost. He would die at age thirty-six, in exile in Westphalia, seeking to raise an army.

His half-brother, Lancelot van Brederode (1532-1573), also jumped into the maelstrom of the rebellion. Becoming a vice admiral of the Waterguezen (the rebel privateers known as “sea beggars”) and army captain, Lancelot is best remembered for the 1572-1573 Siege of Haarlem. When the starving city finally surrendered, the garrison was executed – including Lancelot.

Their oldest sister, Helena (1527/28-1572) would marry the brother of Cardinal Granvelle, Thomas. While Thomas would be sent to the courts in Paris and Vienna, their son Jean Thomas Perrenot de Granvelle would fight for the Spanish and be killed during the events of the 1588 Armada.