Harcourt, Simon (1603?-1642) (DNB00)

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HARCOURT, Sir SIMON (1603?–1642), soldier of fortune and governor of the city of Dublin, was the eldest son of Robert Harcourt [q. v.] and Frances, daughter of Geoffrey Vere, third son of John, earl of Orford. Succeeding to a somewhat embarrassed estate, he endeavoured to mend his fortunes by a military career abroad. At the age of sixteen he served under his uncle, Sir Horace Vere, baron of Tilbury, against the Spaniards in the Low Countries, and was knighted at Whitehall on 26 June 1627. The greater part of his life was spent in Holland in the service of the Prince of Orange, by whom he was highly esteemed. He was also in great favour with Elizabeth of Bohemia, who warmly commended him to Archbishop Laud, when business of a domestic nature (connected probably with the recovery of Stanton Harcourt) obliged him to repair to England in 1636 (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1635-6, pp. 266, 338). Though holding a commission as sergeant-major from the Prince of Orange, he took an active part in the operations against Scotland in 1639-40, as commander of a regiment of foot (ib. 1639 pp. 56, 127, 233, 1641-3 p. 181). A diary kept by him during this campaign still exists (Harcourt Papers, i. 129), but the entries are brief and uninteresting. On the outbreak of the Irish rebellion in 1641, he was appointed, with the rank of colonel and with a commission as governor of the city of Dublin, to conduct a detachment of foot into that kingdom for the relief of the protestants there. He arrived in Dublin on 31 Dec., but finding that in the meanwhile Sir Charles Coote had been appointed governor by the lords justices, some time elapsed before he was invested with the government of the city. During the winter he exerted himself energetically in repelling the rebels, but being mortally wounded during an attack on the castle of Kilgobbin, co. Dublin, he was removed to Merrion, where he died on the day following, 27 March 1642. He married Anne, daughter of William, lord Paget, who afterwards married Sir William Waller. In consideration of his services in Ireland his widow received a parliamentary grant on 3 Aug. 1648 of the lands of Corbally in co. Dublin, formerly in possession of Luke Netherville, an attainted rebel. In the south corridor at Nuneham there is a good picture of Harcourt, beneath which hangs a framed and illuminated manuscript, two lines of which run:

Holland first prov'd his valour; Scotland stood
His trembling foe, and Ireland drank his blood.

[Collins's Peerage; Harcourt Papers, ed. E. W. Harcourt, i. 111 sqq.; Calendar of Domestic State Papers; Carte's Life of the Duke of Ormonde; Borlase's Hist. of the Irish Rebellion.]

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