Henric Rol (d. 1534)

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Henric (Henrick) Rol, an Anabaptist leader and martyr, born at Grave, Dutch province of North Brabant, who is found under different names: Henric (Hendrik) van Hilversum, Hendrik de Gooilander, Hendrik (van) Wassenberg, Henrich van den Grave, Henricus der Hollander, Henrich de Carmelyt, was burned at the stake at Maastricht, Dutch province of Limburg, in September 1534. He had been a Carmelite monk at Haarlem, but soon became interested in the Reformation. In 1530, while he was still the Catholic chaplain of Ghijsbrecht van Baeck at IJsselstein, he is thought to have visited Augsburg, Germany, about the time that the Lutheran Confession was presented to the Emperor Charles V, and to have been in Strasbourg, becoming acquainted with Bucer, Capito, Bernt  Rothmann, and Caspar Schwenckfeld; but any visits to Augsburg and Strasbourg are doubtful. In 1531 he lived in Wassenberg, where he met Dionysius Vinne, Klopreis, and the other "Wassenberger Prädicanten." In the summer of 1532 Rol came to Münster in Westphalia. He was not yet an Anabaptist, though he shared their views about baptism and communion. In 1533, as preacher of the St. Ilgen Church, he ardently opposed infant baptism. In October 1533 he signed the confession called Bekentnisse van beyden sacramenten Doepe unde Nachtmael with Rothmann and other Evangelical preachers. On 6 November 1533, he was banished from Münster; he then visited Holland and Friesland, but on 1 January 1534, he preached a sermon in Münster. He now joined the Anabaptists, being baptized on 5 January 1534 by Bartel Boeckbinder or Willem Cuyper, who had been sent to Münster by Jan Matthijsz. Rol baptized Gerhard Westerburg in January at the house of Knipperdolling. On 21 February 1534, Rol left Münster to win recruits to join the "New Jerusalem" at Münster. Rol first went to Wesel, where he baptized a number of persons; then he likely visited Holland. On 2 August 1534, he arrived at Maastricht, where he found a group of Sacramentists who had left the Catholic Church, rejecting the Catholic views of the church and the sacraments, especially the Mass. Among this group, usually meeting in the house of the cobbler Jan van Genck, Rol taught the Anabaptist principles and baptized the believers. While holding a meeting he was arrested here on the evening of 2 September 1534 and soon after executed.

The person of Rol has found a varied appreciation. Mellink considers Rol to have been a Münsterite leader, with the revolutionary views of Jan van Leyden; Sepp, Rembert, and Kühler thought him to be a peaceful Anabaptist. Kühler, who calls him the most noble representative of Anabaptism, suggests that Rol left Münster in February 1534 because he did not agree with the principles and policy of Jan Matthysz and Jan van Leyden.

Rol is the author of Die Slotel van dot Secreet des Nachtmaels (The Key of the Mystery of the Communion), written in 1531 or 1532 in East Frisian or Low German, a remarkable and profound treatise which totally rejects the Catholic and Lutheran views and describes the communion as a meal of rejoicing in which the redeemed of the Lord may partake. Rol also wrote Eyne ware Bedijnckijnge hoe dat hoochweirdich lichaam Christi, van unsen unweirdigen lichaam to underscheiden isz, doer Vrage ende Antwoorde (A True Consideration How the Blessed Body of Christ Is Different from Our Unworthy Body, In Questions and Answers). In both writings, but especially in the last named, Rol describes faith as the personal conviction of the believer; he does not want a church or an authority to lean upon, or to prove his faith. Baptism and communion are not necessary to obtain salvation and to enter upon the joys of heaven. Both writings were re-edited with introduction and commentaries by S. Cramer in Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica, Vol. V. An anonymous letter "Aen mijn liefste broeders und susters tot Süstern und omgelegen plaitzen, ouch tot Mastricht, und allen fromen christenen" is, according to Forsthoff and Rembert, to be ascribed to Rol, whereas Habets considers Slachtscaep as the author.


Bax, Willem. Het Protestantisme in het bisdom Luik en vooral te Maastricht, 1505-1557. 's-Gravenhage: M. Nijhoff, 1937: 93-100 and passim.

Cramer, Samuel and Fredrik Pijper. Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1903-1914: V, 1-123.

Forsthoff, H. Rheinische Kirchengeschichte 1929: I, 145, 147.

Habets, J. De Wederdoopers te Maastricht. 1877: 102 f., 220 f.

Kühler, Wilhelmus Johannes. Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche Doopsgezinden in de Zestiende Eeuw. Haarlem: H.D. Tjeenk Willink, 1932: 74 f., 80 f., 88 f.

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

Rembert, Karl. Die "Wiedertäufer" im Herzogtum Jülich. Berlin: R. Gaertners Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1899: see Index.

Sepp, Christiaan. Kerkhistorische studiën. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1885: 1-90.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1956

Cite This Article

MLA style

van der Zijpp, Nanne. "Henric Rol (d. 1534)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 25 Jan 2022. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Henric_Rol_(d._1534)&oldid=65110.

APA style

van der Zijpp, Nanne. (1956). Henric Rol (d. 1534). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 January 2022, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Henric_Rol_(d._1534)&oldid=65110.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 704-705. All rights reserved.

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