Peter Simons (16th century)

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Peter Simons (Peeter Symonsz) of Tirns, Dutch province of Friesland, was a follower of Melchior Hoffman and an Anabaptist preacher, against whom the Frisian government issued a decree in 1534. In the spring of 1534 he joined the revolution­ary Anabaptists and went to Münster in Westphalia, Germany, where he was married to Aeffgen Lystyncx and occupied a high rank, becoming major-domo of "queen" Divara, the wife of Jan van Leyden. In early 1535 he returned to the Netherlands. Vos thought he returned as a companion of Jan van Geelen to distribute the booklet Van der Wraecke and to rouse the Dutch Anabaptists. In March 1535 (according to Vos) he was in the Anabaptist group who stormed the Oldeklooster (Old Cloister) near Bolsward in Friesland, and was killed in the battle when the stadholder of Friesland reconquered it. Mellink is of the opinion that Peter Simons made a journey from Münster to the Netherlands in 1534 and again left Münster in March 1535, but that it is not certain that Peter was killed in the Oldeklooster battle, since all trace of him was lost when he left Münster.

Vos thought this Peter Simons was a brother of Menno Simons, but Kühler is of the opinion that the information of Gellius Faber that "a brother of Menno Simons was killed in the Oldeklooster battle" without further information is unacceptable. Besides this, it is not sure, as Mellink states, and to my opinion even unlikely, that the fanatical Peter Si­mons was the brother of Menno Simons, for this Peter Simons is said to have been a native of Tirns, whereas a brother of Menno would have been a native of Witmarsum.


Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1917): 116, Nos. 62.

Kühler, Wilhelmus Johannes. Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche Doopsgezinden in de Zestiende Eeuw. Haarlem: H.D. Tjeenk Willink, 1932: v. I, 149, 159.

Kühler W. J. in De Zondagsbode of 26 February 1928.

Mellink, Albert F. De Wederdopers in de noordelijke Nederlanden 1531-1544. Groningen: J.B. Wolters, 1954, here and there, throughout, see Index.

Vos, K. Menno Simons.  Leiden, 1914: 2 note 1, and here and there, throughout.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

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Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Peter Simons (16th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 12 Jul 2020.

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Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Peter Simons (16th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 12 July 2020, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 151. All rights reserved.

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