Claes Meselaer (16th century)

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Claes Meselaer, a member of the Kleve (Germany) city council. When in 1551 the Anabaptist Willem de Kistemaker was to be sentenced he was unwilling to sit on the council and remained at home reporting himself ill. Thereupon the mayor and the six councilors came to his bed to take his vote. Meselaer declared that he would not condemn such a pious man; the mayor replied, "Thereby you will fall into disfavor with our gracious prince and lord, Duke William." "I would rather be in disfavor with the prince than with the Highest," was his reply. He gave up his position as councilor and later became a member of the brotherhood.


Braght, Thieleman J. van. Het Bloedigh Tooneel of Martelaers Spiegel der Doopsgesinde of Weereloose Christenen, Die om ‘t getuygenis van Jesus haren Salighmaker geleden hebben ende gedood zijn van Christi tijd of tot desen tijd toe. Den Tweeden Druk. Amsterdam: Hieronymus Sweerts, 1685: Part II, 131.

Braght, Thieleman J. van. The Bloody Theatre or Martyrs’ Mirror of the Defenseless Christians Who Baptized Only upon Confession of Faith and Who Suffered and Died for the Testimony of Jesus Their Saviour… to the Year A.D. 1660. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1951: 525.  Available online at:

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1899): 139.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 117.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Date Published 1953

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Neff, Christian. "Claes Meselaer (16th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 21 Jun 2018.

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Neff, Christian. (1953). Claes Meselaer (16th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 June 2018, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 615-616. All rights reserved.

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