There were three persons bearing this name who must be distinguished one from another — (1) Sir Roger Williams (1604? - 1683), founder of the colony of Rhode Island, U.S.A.; he used to be claimed as a Welshman, afterwards as a Cornishman, but now it can be fairly confidently stated that he was the son of a James Williams, ‘citizen and merchant taylor of London,’ and his wife Alice; (2) Roger Williams, a member of the family of Penrhos, Mon. (this family bore, later, the surname Addams-Williams — see under Williams, Sir Trevor); and (3) Sir Roger Williams (1540? - 1595), soldier and author; it is with him that this short note will be concerned.
Like his namesake, the second Roger Williams named above, Sir Roger Williams was a member of the family of Penrhos, being the son of Thomas Williams and his wife, Eleanor, daughter of Sir William Vaughan. Anthony Wood says that he spent some time at Oxford — at Brasenose College. He became a soldier; indeed, he was only 17 when he fought at S. Quentin. He spent almost the remainder of his life in Europe as a ‘soldier of fortune’; he was courageous and daring and became well-known as an expert in the art of military warfare. In April 1572 he was a member of a troop of 300 men who went to Flushing, under captain Thomas Morgan (c. 1542 - 1595), to assist the Dutch against the armies of Spain; he fought also alongside of Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Philip Sidney. From the Netherlands he went to Germany — for details refer to the D.N.B. He was knighted by the earl of Leicester — possibly in 1586. His first publication was A Brief Discourse of War, 1590; this work being followed by Newes from Sir Roger Williams, 1591. In 1618 there was published, posthumously, his Actions of the Low Countries; of this there was a reprint in Somers's Tracts, 1809, a Dutch translation, Memorien van Roger Williams, appearing in 1864. He died at his home in London 12 December 1595, and was buried 23 December in S. Paul's Cathedral.
Published date: 1959
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