Ewsum, Christoffer van (1523-1583)

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Christoffer van Ewsum, born 1523, died 9 April 1583, was a nobleman of a wealthy and influential family of Groningen, Netherlands, who had extensive landholdings there. Through his marriage to Margaretha, a daughter of Ulrich van Dornum, of Oldersum, East Friesland (which could not have taken place in 1536 as stated in Mennonitisches Lexikon I, 617, but is known to have occurred by 1551), he not only acquired additional properties but also a unique spiritual heritage. Ulrich van Dornum was a stanch promoter of the Reformation with special connections with men like Karlstadt. Even Melchior Hoffman and Menno Simons are thought to have found refuge on his estates. A younger daughter married a follower of Menno Simons.

Christoffer van Ewsum lived in the Asingaburg near Baflo and also had possessions in Middelstum, where the family castle was located. Here Menno Simons must occasionally have found shelter. On 15 May 1551 the chancellor of Gelderland reported to the imperial representative at Groningen that Menno Simons was staying with Christoffer van Ewsum. Van Ewsum himself was expelled from Groningen by Alba. When the ban was repeated on 10 January 1570, he was referred to as a "Mennonist." A Reformed relative of Margaretha and her sister left some inheritance for them, provided they would "purge" themselves of "heresy."

This does, however, not justify the assumption that Christoffer van Ewsum and his wife were full-fledged followers of Menno Simons or Anabaptists. Van Ewsum was also a supporter of the Reformed Church at Emden, a friend of Johann a Lasco, and a "benefactor and protector of pious refugees" (Reformed). He had a large library, which was used by the well-known historian, Hermann Hamelmann. In a statement of August 1569 he said that he had lived in East Friesland during the last 17 years, having possessions at Emden and Jennelt. To what an extent the Mennonites had a protector in him here is not known.


Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1906): 35; (1916): 107; (1917): 125.

Groningsche Volksalmanak (1919): 112; (1921): 25.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: I, 617.

Ritter, F. "Eine ostfriesische Lutherreliquie. Der Jennelter Junker Christof van Ewsum." Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst und Vaterländische Altertümer zu Emden 20 (1920):  126-144.

Author(s) Cornelius Krahn
Date Published 1956

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MLA style

Krahn, Cornelius. "Ewsum, Christoffer van (1523-1583)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 13 May 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ewsum,_Christoffer_van_(1523-1583)&oldid=146416.

APA style

Krahn, Cornelius. (1956). Ewsum, Christoffer van (1523-1583). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 13 May 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ewsum,_Christoffer_van_(1523-1583)&oldid=146416.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 277. All rights reserved.

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