Adriaen Cornelisz (d. 1552)

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Adriaen Cornelisz, an Anabaptist martyr, born at Schoonhoven, Holland, a glazier in Delft, wished to visit several brethren imprisoned in Leiden and tried to persuade the guard to release them, but was himself tricked and arrested. After brutal torture he was strangled on 24 November 1552, and his body burned. With him died two brethren, Henrick Dircksz and Dirc Jansz, and two sisters, Anneken and Mariken. The Martyrs Mirror prints a lengthy prayer, an admonition to his friends, and a "Confession before the authorities and the priests," all by Adriaen Cornelisz. His knowledge of the Bible and his skill in response embarrassed his learned opponents. When, for example, the priest asked whether there had been no children in the household of the Philippian jailer, he answered "No." "How do you know that?" "It is written: The jailor rejoiced with all his house because he believed. Children cannot rejoice over faith, for they have no faith." De Hoop-Scheffer surmises that he is one of the men responsible for the term "Mennisten-streeken," by which the Dutch once designated the effort to tell a truth and to omit a truth, or to tell only a half-truth and create the impression of having told the whole truth, or to indicate the answer to a question, and yet leave the impression on the questioner that the answer was complete (DB 1868, 35 ff.).

The Offer des Heeren contains a song about Adriaen which begins, "Danct Godt en wilt zijn lof verbreyden, wiens wercken zijn by ons openbaer; Adriaen Cornelisz quam tot Leyden om sin Vrienden te besoecken daer" (Wolkan, 66). The Liedtboecxken van den Offer des Heeren contains another song commemorating the four martyrs at Leiden in 1552 which begins, "Ick magh wel droeflyck singen, in desen tijt van noot" (also in Wolkan, Lieder, 61). Another song in the Liedtboecxken has Cornelisz for its author and begins, "Eylaes ick mach wel suchten dat nu buert so groot ellent." This song is also found in Wackernagel, No. 98.


Dit Boec wort genoemt: Het Offer des Heeren, om het inhout van sommighe opgheofferde kinderen Godts . . . N.p., 1570: 195-218, 526-531, 578-580. Available online at: Het Offer des Heeren.

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, 133-142.

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: 526-535. Available online at:

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1868): 35 ff.; (1899): 96; (1906): 70 ff. For full electronic text see;q1=Doopsgezinde%20Bijdragen;a=srchls;lmt=ft.

Wackernagel, Philipp. Lieder der niederlandischen Reformierten aus der Zeit der Verfolgung im 16. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt: Hender & Zimmer, 1867: 194 Reprinted Nieuwkoop: B. de Graaf, 1965. Available in full electronic text at

Author(s) Christian Neff
Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1955

Cite This Article

MLA style

Neff, Christian and Nanne van der Zijpp. "Adriaen Cornelisz (d. 1552)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1955. Web. 1 Oct 2023.

APA style

Neff, Christian and Nanne van der Zijpp. (1955). Adriaen Cornelisz (d. 1552). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 1 October 2023, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 14-15. All rights reserved.

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