MANSFELD, the name of an old and illustrious German family which took its name from Mansfeld in Saxony, where it was seated from the nth to the 18th century. One of its earliest members was Hoyer von Mansfeld (d. 1115), a partisan of the emperor Henry V. during his struggles with the Saxons; he fought for Henry at Warnstadt and was killed in his service at Welfesholz. Still more famous was Albert, count of Mansfeld (1480-1560), an intimate friend of Luther and one of the earliest and staunchest supporters of the Reformation. He helped to crush the rising of the peasants under Thomas Munzer in Thuringia in 1525; he was a member of the league of Schmalkalden, and took part in all the movements of the Protestants against Charles V. With Albert was associated his brother Gebhard, and another member of the family was Johann Gebhard, elector of Cologne from 1558 to 1562. A scion of another branch of the Mansfelds was Peter Ernst, Fiirst von Mansfeld (1517-1604), governor of Luxemburg, who unlike his kinsmen was loyal to Charles V. He went with the emperor to Tunis and fought for him in France. He was equally loyal to his son, Philip II. of Spain, whom he served at St Quentin and in the Netherlands. He distinguished himself in the field an'd found time to lead a body of troops to aid the king of France against the Huguenots. In this capacity he was present in 1569 at the battle of Moncontour, where another member of his family, Count Wolrad of Mansfeld (d. 1578) was among the Huguenot leaders. The Mansfeld family became extinct in 1780 on the death of Josef Wenzel Nepomuk, prince of Fondi, the lands being divided between Saxony and Prussia.
See L. F. Niemann, Geschichte der Grafen von Mansfeld ( Aschersleben, 1834).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)