Trijnken Keuts (d. 1559)

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Trijnken Keuts (Kuets), an Anabaptist martyr, burned at the stake on 11 March 1559, at Maastricht, Dutch province of Limburg. Her official name was Cathryn Kuesen, wife of Vaes (Servaes) van Kan. She was a God-fearing woman, one of the noblest of the Anabaptist martyrs. About 16 September 1558, she was summoned to appear before the burgomasters of Maastricht. She did not know that a charge of heresy had been lodged against her. Of her own free will - she would probably have been able to escape and to save her life - she entered the Landscroon (seat of the justice of the town). After her frank confession there was no more hope for freedom. At first she was held in the Landscroon, but on 7 October imprisoned in the official prison of Gevangenpoort. Several times she was tried and tortured. She confessed that she had come to the knowledge of truth, which she was eager to serve by a pious life. She had left "the idols of the pope" and thankfully received the baptism on her faith. She rejected the doctrines of the Catholic church: Christ is in heaven, "how could He come into the bread (host)?" The bailiff of the town, Van Eynatten, was unusually kind to her; probably she would have been less severely punished if the imperial chancellor had not insisted on her death.

Catholic priests and theologians tried to make her recant, but in vain. Even the pastor Chimarrheus of Sittard, renowned for his eloquence and especially invited to convert her, had no success. The priests threatened her with everlasting pains in hell. But Trijnken answered, "When you follow me before the judgment seat of God, you will find it to be otherwise!" For 155 days she had to stay in prison, the costs of each day being two pennies, to be paid to the warden for lodging and food. Pastor Chimarrheus received one and a half crowns and a good dinner; the prior of the Dominican cloister also received his remuneration.

On the evening before Palm Sunday Trijnken died. She was conducted to the execution place on the Vrijthof square by soldiers and monks and a large crowd. She was eager to give a testimony, but it was impossible; her mouth was stopped with a gag. Valiantly suffering she joyfully "put off her tabernacle," being burned to ashes.

In her trial she neither spoke of her family nor of the congregation. The sentence reveals that she was a widow. Bax relates that at the moment of her execution the town council deliberated on a boy of twelve years, "being the child of an Anabaptist," who was then imprisoned at the Landscroon. It was decided that the boy should receive ordinary baptism in a Catholic church and then be sent back to his relatives. Was this boy the son of Trijnken? Bax thinks so. The torture Trijnken had to endure was obviously employed to get information concerning the Maastricht Mennonite congregation, but Trijnken neither named the man who had baptized her nor indicated the members of the church. The Maastricht congregation must then have been very small. Half a year after Trijnken's death another member of this congregation, the preacher Jan Bosch van (den) Berghe, was put to death.


Bax, W. Het Protestantisme in het Bisdom Luik . . . II. The Hague, 1941: 47-50, 52 note I.

Bax, W. "Twee Doopersche Martelaren in Maastricht 1559." Doopsgezind Jaarboekje (1939): 53-62.

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: Part II, 244.

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: 617 ff. Available online at:

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 486.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

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Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Trijnken Keuts (d. 1559)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 24 Jun 2021.

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Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Trijnken Keuts (d. 1559). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 June 2021, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 748. All rights reserved.

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