Siege of Deventer (1591)

The siege of Deventer was a siege of the city of Deventer from 1 to 10 June 1591 during the Eighty Years' War by Dutch and English troops under Maurice of Nassau in an attempt to retake it from its Spanish garrison, commanded by Herman van den Bergh on behalf of the Spanish.[2]

Siege of Deventer (1591)
Part of the Eighty Years' War
Het beleg van Deventer (1591) door Prins Maurits - The siege of Deventer in 1591 by Prince Maurice (Bartholomeus Willemsz. Dolendo).jpg
The siege of Deventer in 1591 - print by Bartholomeus Dolendo
Date1-10 June 1591
Deventer, Overijssel
(present-day the Netherlands)
Result Dutch-English victory[1]
 United Provinces
Spain Spanish Empire
Commanders and leaders
Dutch Republic Maurice of Nassau
Kingdom of England Francis Vere
Spain Herman van den Bergh
9,000 infantry
1,600 cavalry
28 guns
Casualties and losses
200[1] All surrendered


The city had first been captured by the States in 1579 but regained by the Spanish in the meantime after its betrayal by English turncoat governor William Stanley.

After the capture of Zutphen which surrendered on 30 May 1591 Maurice of Orange with his Anglo-Dutch army marched towards Deventer on the right bank of the river IJssel. Maurice's force numbered 9,000 infantry and 1,200 cavalry, half of the force came from the British Isles - fourteen English companies under Sir Francis Vere and the ten Scots companies under Colonel William Balfour.[3]


On 1 June the Anglo-Dutch force surrounded the town and began entrenching. Eight days later a breach was made and Maurice allowed the honour of the assault to be made by the English. As they attacked they came across a bridge of boats but found it was too short and were unable to advance any further and withdrew after some loss.[1]

Maurice was desirous of giving up the siege for fears of a Spanish relief army. Vere induced him to persist and the same evening the Spanish garrison sallied to destroy the bridge but they were repulsed by the English pikemen.[3]

On June 10 Van den Burgh having been wounded realised that no help was forthcoming, so he and the town capitulated - the garrison marched out on the following day.[2]


For the English the capture of both Zutphen and Deventer were important in recovering the losses caused by the mistaken confidence which the Earl of Leicester had placed in traitors William Stanley and Rowland York.[1]

Maurice decided to strike at Groningen held by Francisco Verdugo, but reports reached him that the Duke of Parma was preparing to move to reinforce that place with 20,000 men. Maurice realising he would be outnumbered withdrew to the north and marched to Delfzijl and took the place July 2.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Markham pp 174-75
  2. ^ a b Watson, Robert (1839). The History of the Reign of Philip the Second, King of Spain. Lyon Public Library: Tegg. pp. 473–74.
  3. ^ a b Knight, Charles Raleigh: Historical records of The Buffs, East Kent Regiment (3rd Foot) formerly designated the Holland Regiment and Prince George of Denmark's Regiment. Vol I. London, Gale & Polden, 1905, p. 39
  4. ^ Wernham, Richard Bruce (1980). List and Analysis of State Papers, Foreign Series: June 1591-April 1592, Volume 1; Volumes 3-4. H.M. Stationery Office. ISBN 9783601002314.
  • Markham, C. R (2007). The Fighting Veres: Lives Of Sir Francis Vere And Sir Horace Vere. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-1432549053.