Gerrit van Byler (16th century)

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Gerrit van Byler (Bijler), a Dutch Anabaptist imprisoned in London. The Martyrs' Mirror contains an excerpt from a letter written by Gerrit van Byler in September 1575 in the Newgate prison in London, which his son Jan handed to van Braght. In it van Byler related that as the congregation was assembled at Easter in a suburb of London it was surprised and 20 members imprisoned. He recounted his trial under "His Majesty's bishop." "Day after day they announced our execution, by hanging and burning; but the Lord strengthened us, to His name be praise." Having heard that Hendrik and Jan were "led to the slaughter," he quoted a few songs, and closed with the words (in Latin), "My hope is in God." Concerning the fate of these Anabaptists, two of them, Hendrik Terwoort and Jan Pietersz, were burned at the stake in Smithfield on 22 July 1576; one of them died in prison, fourteen women were expelled from the city, a young man was whipped, and two, including van Byler, were discharged "after enduring much misery."

These Anabaptists had fled to England from Flanders because of "severe tribulation and small opportunity for making a living."


Braght, Thieleman J. van. Het Bloedigh Tooneel of Martelaers Spiegel der Doopsgesinde 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: II, 694-698.

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: 1008-1012, 1022-1024. Available online at:

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 314.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1956

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Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Gerrit van Byler (16th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 26 Jun 2022.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1956). Gerrit van Byler (16th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 June 2022, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 502-503. All rights reserved.

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