Peter Witses (d. 1553)

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Peter Witses (Wytses, Wietjes, Wiettiezoon), also called Peter (de) Metselaer, an Anabaptist martyr, a mason by trade, was put to death on 13 April 1533, at Leeuwarden, Dutch province of Friesland. During his trial he frankly admitted that he had received baptism on his faith in 1551. In his cross-examination he gave appropriate Biblically grounded answers. To his friends he wrote that they should properly teach simple young souls in the difference in the communion and provide for their own families. "Pray and watch, the times are perilous; and do not forget us in your prayers, and visit us some­ times, it is very edifying." His short letter to his wife is touching: "Abide in God, and mingle not with the wicked; for if the righteous draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him, says the Lord. The time of my departure seems to be nigh, may it take place with God. When the hour of parting comes, fear not, but guard your lips. My dear wife, abide in the grace of God given you." He is commemorated in the hymn, "Kermen is ter werlt en geclach, Druck coemt van alle zijden" (There is much moaning and lamenting in the world; persecution comes from all sides), which is found in the Lietboecxken.


Dit Boec wort genoemt: Het Offer des Herren, om het inhout van sommighe opgheofferde kinderen Godts . . . N.p., 1562, 1567, 1570, 1578, 1580, Amsterdam, 1590, n.p., 1591, Amsterdam, 1595, Harlingen, 1599. The 1570 edition is cited as reproduced in BRN II., 51-486, including Een Lietboecxken, tracterende van den Offer des Heeren (pp. 499-617): 437-42.

Braght, Thieleman J. van. Het Bloedigh Tooneel of Martelaers Spiegel der Doops-gesinde 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, 159.

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: 548 ff. Available online at:

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. 4 v. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 118.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Neff, Christian. "Peter Witses (d. 1553)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 21 Jun 2018.

APA style

Neff, Christian. (1959). Peter Witses (d. 1553). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 June 2018, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 152. All rights reserved.

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