Walles, Uco (1583-1653)

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Uco (Uko, Ucke) Walles, born 1583 at Noordbroek, died February 1653 at Sylmönken in East Friesland, a farmer and wood dealer at Noordbroek, Dutch province of Groningen, was a Mennonite elder. He was an adherent of the very strict elder Jan Luies, and with a great number of followers, he left the main Flemish branch in 1634; he henceforth banned all the moderate Flemish, and soon was the leader of the Ukowallists, who had congregations in many towns of Groningen and Friesland and in East Friesland. Walles not only rejected all other Mennonite branches, but also attacked the Reformed; in 1635 he had a dispute with the Reformed pastor à Hengel at Godlinze. This debate and his intolerance drew the attention of the magistrates to him, particularly after the sensational meeting in the spring of 1637 in which Jurjen Thomas was banned. On 8 April 1637, Walles was permanently banished from the province of Groningen; thereupon he moved to East Friesland, Germany. In vain he asked that the sentence of banishment be revoked: he was only allowed to return long enough to arrange his affairs. But in 1642 he ventured to settle again on a farm at Noordbroek; when this became known he was arrested and conducted across the German border. He then lived in Neustadt-Gödens and other towns of East Friesland, where he had a large following, e.g., at Norden.

Walles was "a forceful personality, a man of irreproachable conduct and strong conviction, with an excellent knowledge of the Bible, and a good speaker" (Wumkes). His allegorical interpretations of the death of Christ deeply impressed his contemporaries. He annoyed his Reformed opponents especially by his belief that Judas was not forever lost, but through the blood of Christ entered upon the joys of heaven.

Walles was attacked in books by the following Reformed theologians: L. Pimperlingh, L. Alphusius, Johannes Lubbertus, J. Barchman, and Adolf Sibelius. He published a number of writings, mostly polemical defenses of his views against his opponents Noodwendighe Verantwoordinghe . . . (n.p., 1637), Een Weemoedige Klaghende Supplicatie aan alle menschen . . . (n.p., 1645), Twee Brieven aan Laurens Pimperlingh (n.p., 1645), and Een corte leerachtige verklaringe uyt de H. Schrifture vervatet, hoe men de tijdt verstaen sal, doe Christus . . . op aerden was (n.p., 1645). In the Dutch State Archives at Groningen are found five treatises by Walles in manuscript.

His followers, the Ukowallists, in the province of Groningen had to endure many hardships, for a few decades not even being permitted to hold meetings. But the measures of the magistrates ceased ca. 1665; about the same time or shortly after the Ukowallists everywhere merged with the Groningen Old Flemish Mennonites.


Cate, Steven Blaupot ten. Geschiedenis der Doopsgezinden in Friesland. Leeuwarden: W. Eekhoff, 1839: 139, 160 ff.

Cate, Steven Blaupot ten. Geschiedenis der Doopsgezinden in Groningen, Overijssel en Oost-Friesland, 2 vols. Leeuwarden: W. Eekhoff en J. B. Wolters, 1842: v. I, 66-80, 121, 283 ff.; v. II, 222 ff.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1870): 114; (1876): 39 note 2; (1879): 8, 86-88.

Hoop Scheffer, Jacob Gijsbert de. Inventaris der Archiefstukken berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente to Amsterdam, 2 vols. Amsterdam: Uitgegeven en ten geschenke aangeboden door den Kerkeraad dier Gemeente, 1883-1884: v. I, No. 610.

Molhuysen, P. C. and P. J. Blok. Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek. v. 1-10. Leiden, 1911-1937: v. III, 1383-87.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

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MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Walles, Uco (1583-1653)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 29 Sep 2023. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Walles,_Uco_(1583-1653)&oldid=134752.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Walles, Uco (1583-1653). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 September 2023, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Walles,_Uco_(1583-1653)&oldid=134752.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 879. All rights reserved.

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