Uhrmacher, Hans (d. 1559/1563)

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Hans (Felix) Uhrmacher, of the Marpeck Anabaptist group in Moravia, was the son-in-law of Leupold Scharnschlager, having married his daughter Ursula in 1531. They apparently met in Strasbourg where Uhrmacher also became an Anabaptist. In Leupold Scharnschlager's letter to Michel Leubel at Speyer in 1532 he sends greetings from Hans Uhrmacher, who had been to see Leubel at Speyer several times, recently. In 1533 Scharnschlager's wife wrote a letter to her brother stating that the young couple was at present in Moravia. Apart from a few brief visits they appear to have lived in Moravia the rest of their lives and Uhrmacher may well be the "Hans von Strasbourg" referred to in the Hutterian Chronicle who sprang to the defense of Gabriel Ascherham when Jakob Hutter spoke against Gabriel.

A letter from Hans Uhrmacher to his father-in-law dated 29 October 1538 shows that he owed to Scharnschlager his conversion to Anabaptism. It indicates also that a very close spiritual relationship existed between them. The letter was written from Austerlitz (printed by Schiess) and implies the prospect of an imminent visit between the families. A local witness reported that Hans repaired the village clock at Ilanz; this must have happened between 1546 and 1559. In 1538 Hans states that he and his wife had just gone through a siege of illness and unemployment.

Uhrmacher apparently later lived in the town of Znaim. On 18 April 1559, at the third discussion (as established by Jarold Zeman) between the Pilgramites and the Moravian Brethren, the spokesman for the Anabaptists was a brother who had earlier lived in the mountainous country (Müller thinks it was Tyrol). He had come across a copy of the apology of the Moravian Brethren and tried to find out more about them by moving to Moravia. Because he was a skilled watchmaker the residents of Znaim retained him when King Ferdinand ordered the expulsion of all Anabaptists from the Moravian cities (probably 1547-1554). It is reported by the Moravian recorder that the Anabaptists of Znaim were "a little more peaceable and understanding" in their conversations with the Moravian Brethren than the Anabaptists at Eibenschitz had been.

One problem in identifying this Uhrmacher with Hans Felix is the place of residence. The letter written to Scharnschlager is dated from Austerlitz, while the Moravian Brethren report said that he was living at Znaim, having settled there when he arrived in Moravia. It is possible that this report is not reliable and that Uhrmacher changed his place of residence.

There is other evidence that the Marpeck Brotherhood was most anxious to conduct conversations with the Moravian Brethren, and it thus seems likely that the renowned Uhrmacher so eager to converse with them was indeed Scharnschlager's son-in-law. If this is the case, the Marpeck group did not restrict its conversation to fellow Anabaptists, but also sought an interchange of thought with the Moravian Brethren. As in their discussions with the Reformed party, the initiative came from the Anabaptists; they did not give up immediately even though the areas of disagreement were too great by this time to make conversation fruitful. Uhrmacher's death occurred before that of Scharnschlager (as a letter of the latter's wife indicates) and hence must be placed between 1559 and 1563.


Krebs, Manfred. Quellen zur Geschichte der Täufer, IV. Band: Baden and Pfalz. Quellen und Forschungen zur Reformationsgeschichte XXII. Band. Gütersloh: C. Bertelsmann, 1951: 420.

Miller, J. Th. "Die Berührungen dcr alten untl neuen Brüderünitat mit den Täufern." Zeitscht für Brüdergeschichte 4 (1910): 197-207.

Schiess, T. "Aus dem Leben eines Ilanzer Schulmeisters." Bündnerisches Monatsblatt (1916) 73-89.

Zieglschmid, A. J. F. Die älteste Chronik der Hutterischen Brüder: Ein Sprachdenkmal aus frühneuhochdeutscher Zeit. Ithaca: Cayuga Press, 1943: 116.

Author(s) William Klassen
Date Published 1959

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MLA style

Klassen, William. "Uhrmacher, Hans (d. 1559/1563)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 24 Jan 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Uhrmacher,_Hans_(d._1559/1563)&oldid=134779.

APA style

Klassen, William. (1959). Uhrmacher, Hans (d. 1559/1563). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 January 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Uhrmacher,_Hans_(d._1559/1563)&oldid=134779.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 1131. All rights reserved.

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