Walch, Johannes (b. 1551)

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Johannes Walch (b. 1551) of Schorndorf, Württemberg, an Anabaptist, in some way related to Heinrich and Hans Walch, who in 1542 were named in the "Turkish tax list," but are missing in the list of 1545. Heinrich was mayor of Schorndorf, but had committed some wrong and was expelled in 1545; likewise his brother Hans, a cooper, fled to Stetten, the refuge of the Anabaptists and Schwenckfelders under Hans Konrad Thumb in 1545. Possibly Heinrich and Hans were brothers, the former aiding the latter to escape. On 14 November 1571, the retired mayor of Schorndorf, Hans Ulrich Walch, was a cosignatory of the will of a tanner, Hans Heutlin, whose wife emigrated after his death as an Anabaptist. A close relationship has not been established.

Johann Walch studied at the University of Tübingen, received the Master's degree in 1573, and then a musical degree (Repetens musicus). In 1578 he became deacon in Nürtingen. On December 4, he made a note in the Nürtingen baptismal record that before he performed a baptism he asked the sponsors questions about the power, benefit, comfort, and necessity of baptism, its originator, and the duties of the sponsors. In 1579 seven such tests were listed in the baptismal record. His seriousness as a pastor is evident. But this did not add to his popularity. There were also disputes with the priest Elias Benignus, as recorded in the Stuttgart Synodalprotokoll of 11 March 1581. Walch as deacon insisted among other things that the impenitent be excluded, which the priest would have the official right to do, and discussed this question among his confidential friends. But the congregation wished to have him transferred.

In January 1582 the authorities suspected Johann Walch of Anabaptist ideas. On January 20 he made the last entry into the baptismal record. Walch asked for release from his position, saying that he could not officiate any longer in view of the abuse of absolution and communion. During his examination he was recognized as an Anabaptist, though he tried to talk himself out of it. Finally he admitted that he had no faith either in Anabaptism or in the presence of Christ in the emblems of communion. The discussions lasted from 21 January to 9 February 1582; he refused to be instructed thereby.

The duke directed that he be put into the monastery at Bebenhausen. He was held there four months. The abbot, who was Eberhard Bidembach, the son-in-law of Johannes Brenz, was assisted by Jakob Andreae, Heerbrand, Dietrich Schnepf, and other Tübingen theologians in trying to convert Walch. Walch finally signed a recantation on 12 July 1582. He now went to Stuttgart to the home of his father-in-law Ludwig Daser, the ducal director of music, who was to keep an eye on him. But in a short time he secretly went to Moravia with his wife Marie, his sons Severus and Secundus, and his sister Maria. From Pausram, which he reached by way of Vienna, he wrote to a citizen of Nürtingen, inviting him to follow them to Moravia. After his sister's death he returned. That was not later than 1587, for on 17 November 1587, her estate was divided among the heirs.

Walch next went to Rod on the Rieberg, across the Rhine, three miles from Speyer. He lived on the Remberg estate of the Count of Lowenstein, serving as a cattle supervisor and physician (Arzneikundiger), as Veltin Rod (Wendel), an Anabaptist living in Rod, wrote to the inspecting abbot of Maulbronn. He must have won some adherents not only in chemistry (alchemy), but also in Anabaptism. The physician Hieronymus Walch and his son by the same name later appearing in Württemberg were perhaps his descendants.

Walch wrote scientific and philosophical tracts, which he published in Strasbourg in 1609 and 1618. In 1609 his Decas fabularum humani generis appeared, which contains some information about Marpeck. The foreword he wrote in his museum in Meistratzheim in Lower Alsace as the guest of the lords of Landsberg. On 2 May 1608, he dedicated the pamphlet to his students, Günther von Landsberg and Johann Reichard Wurmser von Wendenheim. In 1619 his tract of philosophical and chemical content appeared, called Der kleine Bauer, sampt beygefugten commentariis, dedicated to Count Johann Reinhard von Hanna und Zweibrücken on 25 July 1618. In the home of the canon Johann Gessler he wrote to Jung S. Peter about the silver mine in Ste-Marie-aux-Mines (Alsace). When and where Walch died is not known. Walch was one of the Swiss Brethren, and was thereby opposed to the Hutterite doctrine of community of goods. Thomas Hägen, an Anabaptist refugee from Göppingen to Moravia, sent him a greeting on 25 July 1597, by way of David Laister. At that time Walch was in Strasbourg.


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. IV, 452-453.

Author(s) Gustav Bossert
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bossert, Gustav. "Walch, Johannes (b. 1551)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 18 May 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Walch,_Johannes_(b._1551)&oldid=144646.

APA style

Bossert, Gustav. (1959). Walch, Johannes (b. 1551). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 May 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Walch,_Johannes_(b._1551)&oldid=144646.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 872-873. All rights reserved.

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