Anthoenis Courtsen (d. 1553)

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Anthoenis Courtsen, from "Oerdorp in Friesland" (now Ureterp), was banned from the Dutch province of Friesland for blaspheming the Catholic sacrament. Afterward he attended Anabaptist meetings including some at Leiden at the house of the Anabaptist preacher (leeraar) Adriaen de Goudsmid, and was seized at Amsterdam at the beginning of May 1552. His trial lasted for months. From these court proceedings we incidentally hear many things concerning Mennonite songs. Anthoenis obtained from a tailor's journeyman in Workum the song, "O Godt, ich moet u claghen" (To Thee, O God, I deplore), and wrote it down in a book. This cannot be the poem concerning the martyrdom of Joost Verbeeck (Antwerp, 1561) which begins with the same words. Anthoenis also possessed a geestelick Liedtbouckxen (book of spiritual songs), which contained many hymns. Which songbook this was, is not gone into further. From these documents it appears that "spiritual songs" were very numerous among the Mennonites, and that many compiled a collection of such hymns for themselves. Anthoenis did not become a martyr. He recanted, but this did not save him from the executioner. On 16 January 1553, he was beheaded in Amsterdam.


Grosheide, Greta. Bijdrage tot de geschiedenis der Anabaptisten in Amsterdam. Hilversum: J. Schipper, Jr., 1938:159-165, 390.

Hoop Scheffer, Jacob Gijsbert de. Inventaris der Archiefstukken berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente to Amsterdam, 2 vols. Amsterdam: Uitgegeven en ten geschenke aangeboden door den Kerkeraad dier Gemeente, 1883-1884: v. I, No. 372.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1955

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Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Anthoenis Courtsen (d. 1553)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1955. Web. 2 Oct 2023.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1955). Anthoenis Courtsen (d. 1553). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 October 2023, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 129-130. All rights reserved.

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