top of page

Daniel De Ligne

Portrait of a gentlemen, probably Sir Daniel de Ligne (D. 1656). Attributed to Jan Anthonisz van Ravesteyn (Dutch, b. ca. 1570–1657)

In 1619 the manor of Harlaxton came into possession of Daniel de Ligne a native of the province of Henault in Flanders (modern Belgium) who had escaped the invasion of the low countries by the Spanish, who were intent on imposing Catholicism on the otherwise predominantly Protestant countries.

De Ligne was one of many thousand protestants who fled to England where they knew they would be protected. He was a well established and affluent cloth merchant from an aristocratic family.


He was the son of Anthony de Ligne of Henault and Magdelen de Cordess his wife who was 4th daughter of Arnold and sister and coheir of Nicholas de Cordess Sieur de Mowbray.  Anthony in turn was descended from Monsieur Jean de Ligne, Baron de Barbason Seigneur de Savenberg and Knight of the Golden Fleece of an ancient family in Flanders.

Wishing to maintain his family status in his adopted country, Daniel De Ligne set about making himself an English aristocrat on his arrival in the country. As well as purchasing the title and estates of Lord of Harlaxton Manor from the Bluet family for £8000, he had his coat of arms confirmed to by Mr Camden then Clarenceux King of Arms, consisting of a chief chequy or and B a bend G for crest on a wreath a mount V thereon a lion sejant gardant or resting his right paw on a caltrop B with which they quartered or two lions indorsed G probably for Cordess.


He was soon knighted by James I on 4th July 1620 and by 1631 he was serving as High Sheriff of Lincolnshire. It is highly likely that Sir Daniel was responsible for the building of the Jacobean Manor House in the centre of the village that was to remain the seat of the Lord of the Manor for almost 250 years, until Gregory Gregory had the new manor built.

Sir Daniel married Elizabeth daughter of Erasmus de la Fountayne who was also a native of Henault and religious refugee in England. 

Together they had a number of children. Before the birth of their first child, Daniel and his wife Elizabeth received a prophecy that the baby would die from an accident before its first month. They were so alarmed that when the little girl was born they carefully chose a nurse and gave her strict orders never to let the baby out of her sight. By the second week the nurse was so worn out with anxiety that she fell asleep holding the baby in her arms whilst sitting by the fire. She awoke to find that the baby had slipped out of her arms and into the fire.

There are stories that the crying of a baby haunted the old manor.

Daniel De Ligne was succeeded in 1656 by his eldest son, Erasmus de Ligne Esq, who also lived at Harlaxton Manor where he may well have met King Charles II at the time of his visitation of Lincolnshire in 1666. Sir Daniel is buried in an ornate tomb in Harlaxton Church.

The family had most likely suffered considerably during and after the English Civil War for his loyalty to King Charles I but this was to be rewarded at the Restoration when Erasmus was one of those that King Charles II honoured with the Order of the Royal Oak.

The De Ligne family were to remain Lords of the Manor of Harlaxton until 1738, when the last of the line died without a direct heir and successor.

bottom of page