BRIELLE – A rebel group has slain in Brielle nineteen Roman Catholic clergy. The victims were tortured and maimed after death. The men were hanged in a barn, behind an abandoned monastery.

Most of them were captured in Gorinchem, After the surrender of the city to the Beggars. The command of rebel leader William of Orange to release the clergy, was ignored by Beggars leader Lumey.

The victims, which already have been nicknamed "martyrs of Gorinchem ', were in most cases engaged in one of the two monasteries that has Gorinchem. They were captured on 27 juni.

Two days before the Beggars had cast their anchors for Gorinchem. Command Feed Marinus Brandt claimed the city on behalf of rebel leader William of Orange. The next day, the gates opened for them.

However, given the non-tolerant image of the Beggars did most Roman Catholic clergy and numerous civilians holed up in the citadel on the edge of Gorinchem, the 'Blue Tower'. Others were on time fled the city.

Despite the promise of free passage everyone was imprisoned in the castle. Almost all citizens and its nuns were released against a ransom, but the actual clergy men were not so lucky.

Not treated well

After the clergy a few days later had still not released, Gorinchemse the people murmured. Beggar Leader Marinus Brant assured the locals that the prisoners were treated well. But that turned out not to be so, according to a local doctor, three days later could provide the captured. The prisoners were kicked and beaten.

The abuse of the clergy gave a grim atmosphere in the city.

The tension between- and opponents of the Beggars Rose, then pastor Lenaert Veghel was briefly released. He had to give spiritual assistance to three men who were sentenced to death.

Veghel also was asked to give a reformed sermon. But during that sermon he called never to fall off the Roman Catholic faith, some Protestants in the city saw as pure provocation.

Lenaert then left town, allegedly to visit his sick mother, but was overtaken by angry Gorcum Mers and returned. Then he went back to jail.

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To prevent a further escalation in the city, the prisoners on the orders of Lumey by ship transferred to Brielle, the temporary headquarters of the Beggars in Holland. In April this year began the conquest of southwest Holland Brielle.

At a stop in Dordrecht was the crowd marvel fee for prisoners. After arriving in Brielle clergy were humiliated and provoked.

Some days later a public hearing, where unsuccessful attempts were made to dissuade the clerics from their Roman Catholic faith.

Claes Pieck, until recently chief of the Franciscan monastery in Gorinchem, would have said according to witnesses:

"Am I supposed sake of this wretched life forsake my true Catholic faith to believe your false and heretical teachings? That is foolish! Death will still surprise even me, which can be now, or shortly, longevity is not for me. And even if I had to live long, I must die. "

(from: "The Martyrs of Gorcum. Examples of Allegiance, C.J. of Blijswijk)

One of the prosecutors, Protestant pastor Andries Cornelissen, tries to Lenaert Veghel, but that attempt is in vain. Then all clerics reject one by one to renounce the Catholic faith.

The steadfastness of the clergy creates uproar among those present, and the men were taken back to their cells.

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Hung up

To prevent further unrest in the city last night would have decided to bring the men to death as soon as possible. Tonight they are transferred to Rugge, just outside the gates of Brielle. Since the men were hanged in a barn peat, at an abandoned monastery.

A young apprentice cleric escaped the gallows and was released, because he only claimed to be sixteen years old. Others claim that he lied about his age.

A Franciscan from Liege admitted his agony, denied eye-to-eye with the noose his faith and joined the Beggars.

The other clergy remained steadfast in their faith, eyewitnesses say. One of them, Govaert Mervel, might even have said, "Lord, forgive them, for they know not what they do ", in imitation of Jesus Christ on the cross.

After the death of the religious bodies are maimed.

The death of the martyrs creates a shock in the area. Catholics in Holland were are very concerned about their safety. Some influential Gorcum Mers would attempt to award a funeral victims.

Who is the leader of the uprising?

The Beggar's leader Brant is just another attempt after the departure of the clergy from Brielle Gorinchem through to the leader of the uprising, Willem van Oranje, to release the group.

Op 7 Willem in July was that the men each had to be immediately released. Brant sent a copy of the letter to Beggars leader Lumey. That was so furious about the fact that he did not get the original, he decided to ignore the orders of Orange.

The Lumey action feeds the rumors that William of Orange Watergeuzen's control. There are also those who claim that Lumey is the real leader of the uprising in Holland. The fear among people in Holland (not only among Catholics) the Beggars is great, particularly intolerant attitude towards Catholics Lumey.

Lumey was last month named lieutenant in Holland, but by its action in Brielle seems a political confrontation with William of Orange inevitable.

Hoe ging het verder?

The martyrs eventually get the funeral as requested. In 1593 Peat shed is demolished and another 20 year the bodies be exhumed later. The remains spread throughout the Southern Netherlands as relics. The men are in 1675 blessed and 1867 declared as holy.

In the district of Brielle Rugge is a pilgrimage church. Every year around 9 July, a national sails in honor of the martyrs place.

The hanging of the clergy did not remain without consequences for Lumey. At the meeting of the States of Holland in Dordrecht Lumey goes deep in the dust, and he promises that he will henceforth comply with the orders of William of Orange.

But a few months later he was arrested for the murder of a prominent cleric from Delft.

In October, the States of Holland with a report stating that the Beggars are a greater danger to residents than the Spaniards. Lumey is a real problem case for William of Orange and arrested several times, once on suspicion of preparing an attack on Orange. In 1576 he is banished. Two years later he dies.

Yet hanged

The Franciscan who switched at the very last moment, to the Watergeuzen was suspended for a few months at a later date. He was sentenced to steal wine.


Wikipedia: Willem II van der Marck-Lumey

Mark Tettero: Desk

Mark Tettero: Marinus Brandt

Wikipedia: Martelaren van Gorinchem

Blijswijk, C.J. van, The Martyrs of Gorcum. Examples of loyalty, (Oegstgeest, 1993)

Text: Dave Datema

With the cooperation of Roel Slachmuylders, the Historical Museum Den Briel

published: 01-10-2017

story number: 13

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