Williams, Roger

, a brave officer in the reign of queen Elizabeth, was the son of Thomas Williams, of Penrose in Monmouthshire, and educated at Oxford, probably in Brasenose college. After leaving the university, he became a volunteer in the army, and served under the duke of Alva. In 1581, he was in the English army commanded by general Norris in Friesland, where Camden says the enemy’s troops were defeated by sir Roger Williams at Northern, who probably therefore was knighted for his | gailant exploits before this time, although Wood says that honour was not conferred upon him until 1586. In this lastmentioned year he appears again in the army commanded by the earl of Leicester in Flanders. When the prince of Parma laid siege to Venlo in Guelderland, Williams, with one Skenk, a Frieslander, undertook to pierce through the enemy’s camp at midnight, and enter the town. They penetrated without much difficulty, as far as the prince of Parma’s tent, but were then repulsed. The attempt, however, gained them great reputation in the army.* In 1591, Williams was sent to assist in the defence of Dieppe, and remained there beyond August 24, 1593. What other exploits he performed, we know not, but it is probable that he continued in the service of his country during the war in the Low Countries, of which war he wrote a valuable history. He died in London in 1595, and was buried in St. Paul’s, attended to his grave by the earl of Essex, and other officers of distinction. “He might,” says Camden, “have been compared with the most famous captains of our age, could he have tempered the heat of his warlike spirit with more wariness and prudent discretion.” Wood calls him a colonel, but it does not clearly appear what rank he attained in the army. From his writings, which are highly extolled by Camden, he appears to have been a man of strong natural parts, and sound judgment. His principal writing is entitled “The Actions of the Low Countries,” Lond. 1618, 4to, which has lately been reprinted in Mr. Scott’s new edition of the Somers’s Tracts. He wrote also “A brief discourse of War, with his opinion concerning some part of military discipline,” ibid. 1590, 4to, in which he defends the military art of his country against that of former days. He mentions in his “Actions of the Low Countries,” a “Discourse of the Discipline of the Spaniards;” and in Rymer’s Fcedera is his “Advice from France, Nov. 20, 1590.” Some of his Mss. and Letters are in the Cotton Library in the British Museum. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I. new edit. Catnden’s Queen Elizabeth. Restituta, vol. I.