EARL OF ROCHFORD, an English title borne by the family of Nassau de Zulestein from 1695 to 1830. William Henry Nassau de Zulestein (1645-1709) was born at Zuylestein, near Utrecht, his father being Frederick Nassau de Zulestein (1608-1672), a natural son of Henry Frederick, prince of Orange, and his mother an English lady, Mary Killegrew. One of the most trusted companions of his kinsman, William of Orange, Zulestein was sent to England in 1687 and again in 1688 to report on the condition of affairs, and later in 1688 he sailed with the prince on his famous expedition. After the Revolution he was naturalized and served the king in the field, being created Viscount Tunbridge and earl of Rochford in 1695. He was succeeded by his son William (1681-1710), who was killed at the battle of Almenara, and then by another son Frederick (1682-1738). Frederick's son, William Henry, the 4th earl ( 1717-1781 ), was a diplomatist and a statesman. Having gained experience as envoy at Turin from 1749 to 1753, he was ambassador at Madrid from 1763 to 1766 and at Paris from 1766 to 1768. From 1768 to 1775 he was one of the secretaries of state. This earl left no children when he died on the 28th of September 1781, and his nephew, William Henry, the 5th earl (1754-1830), dying in September 1830 the earldom became extinct. The estates of the earls of Rochford were in Suffolk and Essex, their principal residence being St Osyth Priory in the latter county.
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