Ginkel, Godard van Reede van (1642–1703), earl of Athlone soldier , was born 4 June 1642 at Amerongen castle in the Dutch province of Utrecht, only son of Godard Adriaan van Reede van Amerongen and his wife Margareth, daughter of George Turnor, an Englishman who died at the siege of Maastricht (1632). The van Reede family belonged to the Orange aristocracy during the first stadholderless era.
While his father was a diplomat, Ginkel started a military career. With William of Orange (qv) as stadholder from 1672, Ginkel was well placed to gain promotion in the Dutch army in the years that followed. He was wounded at the battle of Senef in 1674, and the following year was appointed commissary-general of cavalry. On 20 October 1683 he was promoted to lieutenant-general of the Dutch cavalry. In autumn 1688 he took part in William's expedition to England. After he had suppressed a mutinous Scottish regiment at Swaton Common in Lincolnshire (March 1689), he was given command of the army at Berwick. In 1690 he went to Ireland and took part in the battle of the Boyne, serving alongside King William. After the failure of the first siege of Limerick (9–30 August 1690), William appointed him as commander of his forces in Ireland (16 October). Based at Kilkenny, Ginkel prepared over the winter for the coming campaign, plans in which William took a personal interest. The immediate objective was to take Athlone on the Shannon, and from there to advance into Connacht. By June Ginkel had an army of 20,000 men. He captured Athlone on 30 June and then had a resounding victory over the Irish army at Aughrim in Co. Galway (12 July). Eight days later Galway capitulated (20 July) on terms. Limerick was now the last remaining Jacobite garrison of significance. While Ginkel ordered the city to be bombarded, he did not risk storming it. In a decisive move he crossed the Shannon on 16 September, thereby cutting Limerick off from its hinterland. After heavy casualties had been inflicted on Jacobite infantry at Thomond Bridge, Patrick Sarsfield (qv), the Jacobite commander, asked for a truce. Ginkel realised that the capitulation had come just in time, as he could not have maintained the siege much longer. In the negotiations that followed he offered the Irish lenient terms and these were included in the military and civil articles of the treaty of Limerick signed on 3 October 1691 – terms he later strongly defended, in particular the crucial words missing from the signed version of the treaty which covered those living under the Jacobite army's protection at the end of the war.
Ginkel's military career reached its zenith on 20 March 1692 with his appointment as general of the cavalry. He took part in the battles of Steenkerk (1692) and Landen (1693) and won great fame at the recapture of Namur (1695). In reward for bringing the war in Ireland to a conclusion, William created Ginkel baron of Aughrim and earl of Athlone on 25 January 1692. A month later he granted him the estates of William Dongan (qv), 1st earl of Limerick, and Christopher Fleming, Lord Slane; the latter's estates comprised 14,444 acres and Limerick's 10,982 acres. He was also granted 1,247 acres from the private estate of James II (qv). Ginkel had no time to manage the estates himself as the war on the Continent required his presence in the Spanish Netherlands, and so he entrusted their management to Bartholomew Van Homrigh (qv). Advised by Van Homrigh that foreigners could not possess land in England or Ireland, Ginkel was duly naturalised as a subject in April 1692. To make Ginkel's property more secure, Van Homrigh suggested a ratification of his grants by the Irish parliament, which the Irish house of lords duly confirmed on 7 December 1695; his was the only royal grant to be confirmed this way. Van Homrigh kept Ginkel well informed about his Irish property, sending him accounts of receipts and expenditures, which show that almost £5,000 was remitted in the period Ginkel held his Irish estates. When the English house of commons began its assault on the king's disposal of the forfeited Irish lands (which ultimately culminated in the act of resumption of 1700), Ginkel went to Ireland in June 1698 and decided to sell his property. Lord Limerick's former property was sold for £8,113, and a year later, when the English parliament's commission of inquiry arrived in Ireland, they found that Ginkel had received £9,571 for Lord Slane's former estate. Although the amount was low, the act of resumption permitted Ginkel only one-third of the money he had received. In the 1690s Ginkel built a house in the Netherlands at Middachten, in the dome of which are the names of the places in Ireland where he had won battles for William III (including Aughrim). At the start of the war of the Spanish succession (1702) Ginkel was appointed field-marshal of the Dutch army, but four months later he died of a heart attack on 11 February 1703.
He married (31 July 1666) Ursula Philippota van Raesfelt of Middachten castle, who belonged to the nobility of the province of Gelderland; they had six sons and eight daughters. The letters Van Homrigh sent to Ginkel are in the Huisarchief (family archive) Amerongen; since 1977 this Huisarchief has been in the care of the Rijksarchief Utrecht. The letters have been published in Analecta Hibernica, no. 33 (1986). There is a portrait in oils by Godfrey Kneller in NGI.