Joos de Tollenaere (ca. 1539-1589)

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Joos (Josse) de Tollenaere was an Anabaptist martyr executed at Ghent, Belgium on 13 April 1589, with Michiel Buyse and Joosyne Swyntz (Sijntgen Wens). The execution took place secretly in the Gravensteen castle at Ghent, where the victims were strangled; their corpses then were hanged outside the gate. Joos was a prominent member and deacon of the congregation at Ghent. He corresponded with the congregation of Haarlem, Holland, which had sent money for the poor members of the church at Gent He had received baptism on faith about 1563. When he was arrested on 13 January 1589, in a house on the Corenmerct at Gent, he was about 50 years of age. The Dutch martyr books (first, Offer des Heeren, edition of 1599) contain some letters Joos wrote in prison. As early as 1599 a collection of his letters had been published at Harlingen: Sommige Brieven ofte Belijdingen... Van Braght (Martyrs' Mirror edition of 1660) prints the same collection, three letters, two obviously to the congregation of Ghent and one to his daughter, Betgen, born in 1574. In this striking letter he writes that after his death her mother should give her as a keepsake a "testament," a "Dirick Philips Fondament-boeck," a "Liedboeck" (hymn book), and a booklet of Jacob de Keersgieter, which books obviously had belonged to Joos himself. He commends her to diligent reading of these books "because there are fine exhortations in them." Joos died faithfully as he had loyally served the congregation.


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, 764-777.

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: 968-1080. Available online at:

Cramer, Samuel and Fredrik Pijper. Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1903-1914: II, 622, 625.

Haeghen, Ferdinand van der., Thomas Arnold and R. Vanden Berghe. Bibliographie des Martyrologes Protestants Néerlandais. Receuils. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1890: I, 595-403.

Verheyden, A. L. E. Het Gentsche Martyrologium (1530-1595). Brugge: De Tempel, 1946: 68, No. 246.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Joos de Tollenaere (ca. 1539-1589)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 20 Mar 2019.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1957). Joos de Tollenaere (ca. 1539-1589). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 March 2019, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 120. All rights reserved.

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