Tjaert Renicx (d. 1539)

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Tjaert Renicx, an Anabaptist martyr beheaded with four others at Leeuwarden in Friesland, Netherlands, on 8 February 1539. This martyr is found under different names: Tjaert, Thyaert, Tjard, Tjaar(d)t, Tj. van Kimswerd, Tj. van Witmarsum, Tj. van Sneek (Tiardus Snekensis), Tj. Renicx (Reynersz, Reynerts, Reincx, Reinders). About him there is much mystery. Menno Simons writes about him, "About 1539 a very pious and God-fearing farmer was arrested in the region where I had lived (at Kimswerd near Witmarsum), called Tjard Reynertszoon, because in my misery he had hidden me (in his house), receiving me with pity and love, and was thrown on a wheel ... a few days later, though he had a good reputation even among his enemies as a blameless and pious man." But Karel Vos, and following him A. F. Mellink, on the contrary state that Tjaert was an outstanding leader of the revolutionary Anabaptists, being identical with Tjaert van Sneek, whom Jan van Batenburg accused of persuading him to join the revolutionary movement. Vos and Mellink say that he was the man who set fire to a cloister in Friesland, who had been among the besiegers of the Oldeklooster in March 1535, thereupon fleeing to Groningen, and who in 1536 was present at the Bocholt dispute, where he vigorously defended the Münsterite doctrines of polygamy and the temporal kingdom of God. It will be clear that we have to accept either the account of Menno and to consider Tjaert as a peaceful Anabaptist, or to give credence to the conception of Mellink, who states that Menno Simons perverted historical facts, or to that of Vos, suggesting that after his revolutionary views and practices Tjaert was possibly converted to a better life by Menno.

Tjaert Renicx of Kimswerd, Menno's friend, is not identical with the revolutionary leader Tjaert van Sneek (Tiardus Snekensis). In the sentence of Tjaert Renicx, published in extenso by Vos, he is charged with rebaptism and a derogatory opinion of the Mass; no mention is made of revolutionary activity, and this is very strange if he (leaving other revolutionary practices out of consideration) was the man who had only a few years previously set fire to a cloister in Friesland. There was possibly also a revolutionary Anabaptist by the name of Tjaert van Sneek.


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Mellink, Albert F. De Wederdopers in de noordelijke Nederlanden 1531-1544. Groningen: J.B. Wolters, 1954: 394 and passim.

Opera Omnia Theologica, of alle de Godtgeleerde wercken van Menno Simons. Amsterdam: By Joannes van Veen, boeck- en pargament-verkooper, 1681: 234.

Vos, K. Menno Simons. Leiden, 1914: 41 ff., 66, 230 ff.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

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Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Tjaert Renicx (d. 1539)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 8 Aug 2022.

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Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Tjaert Renicx (d. 1539). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 8 August 2022, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 72. All rights reserved.

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