John Van Haesdonck

John Van Hæsdonck

John Van Hæsdonck is mentioned several time in the Calendar of State papers, both in the Domestic Series and the Venetian Archive.

Land Drainage

Charles I granted John Van Hæsdonck 6872 acres of marsh land in Norfolk, including some near the manors of Titchwell, Salthouse and Kelling, and 5344 acres in Suffolk, Flint and Chester, with power to inclose. Although he inclosed and drained at least some, he found it difficult to enjoy possession, as the occupiers challenged his title in the Court of Exchequer. Their challenge hinged on a technicality: whilst they accepted that the King owned all land between low and high tide, they asserted that this referred to neap, rather than spring, tides.

He was also the landlord of a number of tenants on Hatfield Chase, presumably involved with Sir Cornelius Vermuyden's drainage project there. In 1643, these tenants were harrassed by “Captain Antonio Vernatts, or Vernatti [Venatti was a Participant, ie a holder of land drained by Vermuyden], his agents and soldiers”, about which Van Haesdonck complained to the King.

State Papers, Domestic - 19 August 1635
State Papers, Domestic - 6 June 1638
State Papers, Domestic - 18 January 1638/9,
State Papers, Domestic - 22 February 1639/40
State Papers, Domestic - 6 June 1640
State Papers, Domestic - August 1643
State Papers, Domestic - October 1643

British Civil War

In 1642 he contracted to supply arms to the King, and was appointed captain of a troop of 80 cuirassiers and harquebusiers. In 1643 he was commissioned to raise a troop of 120 horse, and, together with Rupert Prince Palatine, brought 200 Dutch soldiers to England to join with English troops (presumably his 120 horse), with Van Hæsdonck as Lieutenant-Colonel. By 1645, he was Captain of four frigates, and heavily involved in arming the royalist side.

State Papers, Domestic - 21 December 1642
State Papers, Domestic - 1 November 1643
State Papers, Domestic - 18 November 1643
State Papers, Domestic - 24 November 1643
State Papers, Domestic - 25 November 1643
State Papers, Domestic - 9 May 1644
State Papers, Domestic - 29 March/8 April 1645
State Papers, Domestic - 6 April/16 April 1645
State Papers, Domestic - 25 April/5 May 1645
State Papers, Domestic - 8 May/18 May 1645
State Papers, Domestic - 9 May/19 May 1645
State Papers, Domestic - 11 May 1645
State Papers, Domestic - 16 May/26 May 1645
State Papers, Domestic - 22 May 1645
State Papers, Domestic - 30 May/9 June 1645
State Papers, Domestic - 27 June 1645
from This War Without an Enemy, Richard Ollard Refers to events of March 1646


In 1646, wishing “to detach himself from a falling cause”, he offered his ships to the service of Venice and her recently-elected Doge Francesco Molin, who was then soliciting all of Christendom for help defending Candia (Crete) from attack by the Turks. He put ten conditions on his service, which the State Papers, Venetian Archives does not list, and it is not stated whether his offer was accepted; but as Venice was going to desperate lengths (to the extent that it had recently been proposed that full membership of the patriciate should be sold to any citizen offering to support 1000 soldiers on campaign for a year), it appears not unlikely.

State Papers, Venetian Archives - 8 March 1646
State Papers, Venetian Archives - 22 May 1646

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