Hainaut (Dutch, Henegouwen; German, Hennegau), now a province of Belgium. Although records of Anabaptists here are sparse, many Anabaptists must have lived here in the first decades of the Reformation. In 1535 about 1,000 inhabitants of Hainaut were prepared to take part in the attack on Amsterdam; nothing more is known about them. The only recorded execution of a Hainaut citizen was that of Cortoys, who was beheaded in Utrecht on 11 June 1539.
It is very probable that most of the Anabaptists here as elsewhere joined the Calvinists, for when persecution began anew about 1550, it was mostly Calvinists who were executed in Doornik (Tournai) and Mons (Bergen). But between 1551 and 1557 Leenaert Bouwens baptized here; hence there must have been some Anabaptists. In Doornik he baptized 31 persons. Through his visit the number of Anabaptists grew again. They also became better known thereby, for persecution soon struck them. In addition to the many Calvinists who suffered a martyr's death, it is also reported that six Anabaptists were burned at the stake in Hainaut in 1558: Lambert van Doornik, Adriaen van Hee, Joos Meeuwesz, Egbert Goossen, and Willem de Hoedemaker. The first was a native of Doornik; the others were Flemish. They had attended an Anabaptist meeting in the woods of Obignies, and when they were seized they yielded without resistance. They were executed in Obignies. In Mons, the capital of the province, Jan Fasseau of Giory was beheaded in 1555 or 1556 for the sake of his Anabaptist faith. One of the last Anabaptist martyrs in Hainaut was Maeyken Boosers, who was burned at the stake at Doornik, 18 September 1564.
After this there is no further mention of Anabaptists; but the Protestants here were so severely persecuted that according to the memoirs of van Vaernewyck the city of Doornik was practically deserted in July 1568. The books of martyrs present only a partial list of the victims; 30 are named there, whereas recent research has revealed that by 1570 at least 227 persons had been killed in Doornik for their faith.
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Cite This Article
Loosjes, Jacob. "Hainaut (Belgium)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 23 May 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hainaut_(Belgium)&oldid=81591.
Loosjes, Jacob. (1956). Hainaut (Belgium). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 May 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hainaut_(Belgium)&oldid=81591.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 630. All rights reserved.
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