How Brother Theodoric of Kleef was chosen to be the third Prior of the House on the Mount.
In the year of the Lord 1425, the House of Mount St. Agnes bereft of her Pastor (who had been chosen for and translated to the Superior House) was instant to provide for herself another suitable ruler in accordance with the canons. Wherefore the Brothers were gathered together, and on the Saturday after Pentecost the Mass of the Holy Spirit was celebrated after the monastic manner, and all the members of the Chapter came together to the Chapter House. When the opinion of each had been heard, Brother Theodoric of Kleef, our Sub-Prior, was chosen, and those venerable Fathers, the Prior of Windesem and the Prior of the House of the Blessed Virgin, near Northorn, took part in this election, and confirmed the same as an holy act by the authority committed to them.
Brother Theodoric was one of the elder Brothers of this same House, and had been among those that were first invested: he had a long training in the good life, and he wrote summer and winter Homilies together with certain other books.
After his election as Father and third Prior of our House, many evils befel in the diocese of Utrecht, which same did mightily afflict our House and all the devout in the land. This was by reason of a schism between Sueder of Culenborgh, who was confirmed as Bishop of the diocese, and the noble Rodolph of Diepholt, and the long continued strife between these two did disturb many Clerks and citizens of the land.
In the same year, on the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and after Compline, died our Brother Conrad, a Convert. He was the tailor, and was born in Scyrebeke in the Countship of Marck, and had lived at Deventer under Florentius, which devout Father sent him to Mount St. Agnes when he had learned the tailor's art. He lived devoutly and humbly with us for many years, making, cleaning, and mending the raiment of the Brothers, but toward the end of his life it was his chief delight to think that he had often cleansed their clothing, for he hoped by his labours in this regard to have cleansed also the stains of his own sins. He was a man right pure and modest, and one that loved poverty and simplicity, and he ardently longed to be released and to be with Christ Jesus and Mary, whom he often called upon by name at the last: moreover, it was given him to die a peaceful and an holy death on this day of Her Festival, and his body was laid in the burying ground within the cloister of the monastery, hard by the northern gate, toward the wall of the eastern building. In the same year Sueder of Culenborgh was confirmed Bishop of Utrecht by the authority of the Apostolic See, and he was accepted by the people of Utrecht, and of certain other towns, but by the States of Overyssel he was not received. Wherefore these States were placed under an Interdict, and a great controversy arose among Clerks and people, for some observed the Interdict, but the chief ones of the States with those that clove to them, clamoured against it.
Alas! Holy God! on the day before the Feast of St. Lambert we ceased from our singing by reason of the Interdict that was published against us! For this cause the nobles of the land and many of the vulgar had indignation against us and other Religious, and we suffered many insults, and at last we were driven to go forth from our country and our monasteries in order to observe the Interdict.
In the same year, on the holy day of Christ's Nativity, were invested two Clerks that had been Probationers a long while, and also one Convert named James Cluit of Kampen who had studied for some time at Deventer under John of Julich, the famous and devout Rector. The Clerks were Brother Gerard Smullinc of Kleef, who had attended the school at Zwolle under Master John Cele, the excellent Rector with whom he dwelt for some space as a fellow commoner: and Brother James Ae, a Convert from Utrecht, and kinsman to Brother William Vorniken who was once our Prior.
Of the death of Brother Egbert formerly Sub-Prior at the House on the Mount.
In the year of the Lord 1427, on the day after the Feast of St. AEgidius the Abbot, and after the third hour of the night, Brother Egbert of Linghen died at Diepenveen in the House of the Sisters of our Order. He was Rector and Confessor of that House, and was buried in the church there, outside the choir and between the two chancels, the Prior of Windesem being present at his burial.
This Brother was born in the town of Ummen and baptised in the church of St. Bridget: but when his parents removed to Zwolle, he being a youth of good disposition began to attend the school under Master John Cele, and earnestly to profit thereby. And when he heard the honourable reputation of the House on the Mount he came thither eagerly: now the elder John Ummen then ruled over it, and his wholesome exhortations touched Egbert to his good, so being now sufficiently advanced in learning he left his parents, and in humility and devotion joined himself to these Brothers—the poor little ones of Christ. Afterward he was promoted to the Priesthood in this same House, and since the grace of devotion grew in him, in a short time he, with two others, took the Religious habit. These three were the first to take it, and Egbert the first amongst them. Also he was for a time Sub-Prior of our House on the Mount, being a man of good heart, eloquent in word, diligent in writing, a comforter of them that sorrowed, quick to forgive injuries, and one that did rejoice with all his heart at the progress of others. He adorned many of the chant books in the choir with beautiful illuminations, and also divers books for our library, and sometimes those that were written for sale. He loved our House on Mount St. Agnes above all places that are on the earth, and he laboured right faithfully for the building thereof. Moreover, when his parents were dead, he, their only son, received all their goods as their lawful heir; and these were given for the common use of the Brothers who had heretofore lived in great lack. Wherefore year by year memorial is made of him and his parents in the monastery for these benefits, as is justly due.
How our Brothers and other Religious were driven from the land by reason of the Interdict.
In the year of the Lord 1429, the strife between them that followed Sueder and them that clave to Rodolph—who had been chosen to be Bishop—still continued, and heavy threats were made against the Regulars in that they obeyed the letter of the Apostolic See and the commandments of Sueder, Bishop of Utrecht. And since they would not consent to the appeal of Rodolph, nor maintain his cause, they were driven either to begin again to sing the services of the church or to depart from the country, they and all their company.
Then did the Priors take counsel with their congregations, and they chose rather to give place to the people that were enraged against them, and to be exiles for justice' sake than to consent to such commandments to the scandal of all the devout, for these had already gone away from a great part of the country, leaving their own houses and their native land.
Therefore, when this grievous choice was made known before the Fathers and Brothers of our House, there was but one opinion amongst all, namely, that they must prepare to sojourn in a strange land and so keep obedience to the Apostolic See, but that they should leave in the monastery certain of their household that were Lay Brothers, Converts and Donates, who might keep the House. Thus were the Brothers driven forth, and they departed publicly before sunset on the Feast of St. Barnabas the Apostle. Moreover the Brothers of Windesem with their household went forth toward Northorn, and they of Bethlehem in Zwolle went over the Yssel to the district of Geldria. But the Brothers of Mount St. Agnes abode at Hasselt for the first night, and on the next day they took ship for Frisia meaning to go to their Brothers at Lunenkerc, to help and comfort that House which they had begun to reform. And by the help of God, while many of our Brothers sojourned there, the House soon came to be well ordered. There were together in the hired ship in which they crossed over twenty-four of our household, both Clerks and Lay Brothers, and these abode three years in Lunenkerc for the name of Christ and the Church of God; and the exile from their own land, which they took patiently, bore notable fruit.
These are the names of our Brothers and the others of our household, both Clerks and Laics, who were driven from the land of Utrecht and from our monastery for their obedience in the matter of the Interdict which they observed for more than a year by command of the Apostolic See.
First our venerable Father the Prior, who was called Brother Theodoric of Kleef; the second was Brother Thomas of Kempen, the Sub-Prior; the third, Brother John Ummen, who was stricken in years and weak; the fourth, Brother Gerard Wesep; the fifth, Brother John Benevolt; the sixth, Brother Wernbold Staelwijc; the seventh, Brother John Bouman; the eighth, Brother Henry Cremer; the ninth, Brother Henry of Deventer; the tenth, Brother Dirk Veneman; the eleventh, Brother Helmic; the twelfth, Brother Christian; the thirteenth, Brother James Cluyt; the fourteenth, Brother Gerard Smullinc; the fifteenth, Brother Cesarius, a Novice; the sixteenth, Brother Goswin, son of Pistor, a Novice.
Likewise there were two Converts, namely, Brother Arnold Droem and Brother James Ae; three Clerks that had not yet received the Religious habit, namely, Hermann Craen, Gosswin ten Velde, and Arnold ten Brincke; two Donates named Gerard Hombolt and Laurence, and also John Koyte, a guest and familiar friend of our House. All of these were received for the first night as the guests of the Sisters at Hasselt, who showed great charity and humanity towards us, and they lamented and wept bitterly that we were driven out with violence. But since all the Brothers could not find room nor beds wherein to sleep, these Sisters had compassion upon us and brought us their own bedding wherewith they prepared a place for us to sleep in the stable on the hay and straw, and here we all slept commodiously enough. Many of the citizens in Hasselt also had compassion upon us and wept, but certain envious folk that thought ill of us mocked our Brothers and spake lightly of them, but of these divers did afterward repent. On the second day, when morning came, we hired a small ship and came by way of the sea to Frisia, the land we sought, having taken sustenance by the way; but we used both sails and oars and gat us across not without great hazard for the wind was contrary. Thus we went thither for the name of Christ and to keep obedience to the Holy Roman Church, the which we all desired to obey, and we committed ourselves to God Who showed forth His mercy toward us, and snatching us from the peril of the sea brought us safely to our Brothers in Lunenkerc.
In the year 1430, on the 19th day of December, being the day before the Vigil of St. Thomas the Apostle, died our beloved Brother John, a priest who was born at Kampen. He was third among the first four who received investiture, and he died after midday and was buried on the right side of Brother Oetbert. He wrote in excellent wise the Chants in the books that are for use in the choir, for he was a good singer, and a man of modest character, and showed himself to be able and skilled in divers kinds of work at harvest time and in the building of the House. When we were driven forth he went with the Brothers to Frisia, though he was weak, for he chose rather to share their exile than to abide alone with a few Lay Brothers to keep the House. But afterward he was sent back before the rest, for his sickness compelled us to do this: so having fulfilled thirty-one years in the Religious Life, he fell asleep in the Lord.
In the year 1431, on the Feast of St. Stephen, Pope and Martyr, Brother Goswin Becker died in Lunenkerc. He was in the beginning of the third year after his profession, but was not yet in Holy Orders, and he was buried in the cloister of the monastery there. He was the son of one John Limborgh, otherwise Becker, and was born at Zwolle.
Of the return of our Brothers from Frisia to Mount St. Agnes.
In the year of our Lord 1422 (1432), license was granted to members of the Religious Orders, and to devout Priests and Canons, to return to their own places and monasteries which they had left in order to observe the Interdict of our Lord the Pope, but some few were excepted as being suspected of taking part in the sedition. Now the Bishop of Matiskon had been sent as Legate of the Apostolic See to make terms of peace, and to remove the Interdict that had been pronounced to maintain the cause of Sueder as against the noble Rodolph, who had been chosen to be Bishop. Many Prelates and Religious Brothers were gathered together to meet the aforesaid Legate in the town of Viana, and the Fathers of our Religious Order and Devotion, the Priors of Windesem and of Mount St. Agnes together with many others—devout Priests, who had been obedient to the Interdict—entered into Utrecht rejoicing, after holding friendly converse with the Legate. Then the Brothers returned each to his own House bearing with them sheaves of peace, the reward for their long exile which they had endured outside the diocese, and so by little and little they returned to their own monasteries eagerly and with devotion; for some of the Brothers of our House returned on the eve of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary, and some about the Feast of St. Michael, while a few were left in Frisia to minister to the needs and preserve the discipline of the House at Lunenkerc.
Through all things blessed be God who alone doeth great marvels!
Of the death of Brother John of Kempen, the first Prior of Mount St. Agnes.
In the same year, on the fourth day of November, at midnight, died Brother John of Kempen, the first Rector and Confessor of the Sisters at Arnheim, being in the sixty-seventh year of his age. He had been Rector or Prior in divers places and Houses that were newly founded, namely, at the Fount of the Blessed Virgin, near Arnheim, where he was the first Rector when that House was founded, and here he invested divers Brothers: afterward he was chosen to be Prior of Mount St. Agnes and ruled the House for nine years: then he was sent to Bommel, and he began the House there with a few Brothers. After this he was chosen to be Prior of the House of the Blessed Mary, near Haerlem, in Holland, over which he ruled for seven years. At another time he was deputed to be the first Rector of the Sisters at Bronope, near Kampen, and at last he ended his life happily in a good old age and in obedience in Bethany, which is by interpretation "the House of Obedience," and he was buried within the cloister after Vespers. I was with him and I closed his eyes, for I had been sent by the Visitors to bear him company, and I abode with him for a year and two months. After Easter, in this same year, the House of Bethany was incorporated into the General Chapter.
In the year of the Lord 1433, during Lent, three Clerks were invested, namely, Brother Hermann Craen of Kampen, Brother John Zuermont of Utrecht, and Brother Peter Herbort of Utrecht. In the same year died Sueder of Culenborgh, Bishop of Utrecht, and after his death Pope Eugenius confirmed Rodolph Diepholt, who had been chosen before, to be Bishop of the diocese.
In the year 1434, on the Feast of the Conception of the Glorious Virgin Mary, was invested Brother Bero, a Clerk, of Amsterdam.
In the same year, on July 28th, died Margaret Wilden, a matron of great age and mother of our Brother Oetbert. She was buried in the broad passage at her son's head, and on the northern side of the cloister.
In the year of the Lord 1436, on the Octave of the Feast of St. Stephen, Proto-Martyr, Brother John, the first Convert of our House, died in Beverwijc, near Haerlem. He was a faithful man and prudent in business, wherefore he was sent abroad with Brother Hugo of the same House, and bound by his obedience he accepted the mission.
In the same year, on the Feast of St. Juliana the Virgin, after Lauds, died John Benevolt, a Priest of our House, who was born in Groninghen, a man of great simplicity and innocence; he was buried on the eastern side of the cloister, on the right of Brother John Ummen.
In the same year, on the Feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross, in the first hour after midday, died Brother Alardus, a Priest of Pilsum and a Frisian by nation. He was well stricken in age, being above seventy-six years old, and had lived the Religious Life for thirty years. He was a man of great gentleness, and in the celebration of the Mass careful and devout. He was ever among the first to go into the choir and the Common Refectory of the Brotherhood until his last sickness. It had been his desire to die on this Feast because he had often celebrated it at the Altar of the Holy Cross, and according to his prayer so it was done unto him. He often said to me, "The best dish that is set before me in the Refectory is the Holy Reading, the which I gladly hear: wherefore I do not absent myself willingly lest I should miss the fruit of that Holy Reading during the meal. I delight also in the presence of the Brothers, in that I see the whole congregation there present taking their food under strict discipline." At length he was weighed down with years, and though he could not walk alone, he came leaning upon a staff to the entrance of the choir to hear the Brothers singing; then he took holy water, and bowed the knee toward the High Altar. On the days when he celebrated he often received a special consolation from God Himself.
In the year of the Lord 1438, on the day after the Feast of St. Gregory the Pope, died Brother Rodolph, a Priest from Oetmeshem, who had been Prior of the House of St. Martin the Bishop, in Lunenkerc, in Frisia, near Herlinghen. He had been sick a long while with dropsy, and on the day aforesaid he breathed forth his soul between the ninth and tenth hours in the morning, and he was buried on the right of Brother Alardus. In the same year, on the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Mary ever Virgin, six Clerks were invested, namely, Brother Henry Becker of Zwolle, Brother John Zandwijc of Rhenen, Brother Ewic, also of Rhenen, Brother Telmann Gravensande of Holland, Brother George of Antwerp, and Brother Arnold, son of Conrad, of Nussia. In the same year there was a great famine in divers parts of the land, and in a short space a mighty pestilence followed; also in that year, on the Vigil of the Nativity of Christ, and after High Mass, died John Eme, a Convert, who was cellarer to our House.
In the year of the Lord 1439, on the Feast of St. Peter ad Vincula, and early in the morning, before the fourth hour, died Wermbold Stolwic of Kampen, who was a Priest before he began the Religious Life. He was often sick of a fever, and being weakened thereby he fell asleep in the Lord, having made a good confession, and was buried after Vespers. He wrote the music in some of the Chant books in the choir.
In the same year, on the Feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, there was an earthquake in divers places, and in the summer following a great pestilence in divers parts, and many devout Brothers and Sisters departed from this present world.
In the year 1440 the great building on the western side of the monastery was set up, to receive guests and the Lay folk of our household, and the roof thereof was finished in stone on the day before the Feast of our Holy Father Augustine. At this work many of our Brothers laboured long and bravely, while others attended to the choir.
In the same year four brothers died in the pestilence, namely, Brother Arnold Droem, a Convert, Goswin Witte, a Clerk and Oblate, Dirk Mastebroick, a Donate, Hermann Sutor, a Novice. Likewise many of our neighbours in Haerst and Bercmede died of this plague, and by their own desire were buried in our monastery.
In the year of the Lord 1441, on the Feast of St. Petronilla the Virgin, died our beloved Brother Christian of Kampen, the Infirmarius, for he was smitten with the plague. He was very attentive to the sick and plague stricken, to whom he ministered faithfully to the death. On the same day, when noon was hardly past, died John Clotinc, a Lay Brother and Oblate. He was a man very devout, and a pattern for his long service in the brewery and the mill, and for his frequent prayers. These died on the same day and at the same hour after High Mass when Sext was done, and after Vespers, when the Vigils had been sung, they were buried in peace. After their death, by the mercy of God, the plague in the cloister was stayed.
In the same year and month, but before the aforesaid Brothers, and on the day before the Feast of St. Pancras, died the elder Wermbold, a Donate, who was born in Hasselt.
In the year 1442, on the fourth day of March, which was the third Sunday in Lent, the venerable man, John of Korke, Bishop Suffragan to our Lord of Utrecht, consecrated the burial-ground upon the eastern side of the church, together with the cloister thereof, likewise the passage before the Brothers' Refectory, and that on the western side that goeth from before the cells of the Converts to the entrance of the church. Also on the northern side the ground to bury strangers in, with the whole circuit thereof, but the part in the midst of it had been consecrated aforetime with our church. Moreover, the Bishop granted indulgences for forty days to them that walked devoutly round the burial-ground. Besides these, he consecrated the precious and fair Image of the Blessed Virgin with the Child Jesus, that standeth above the altar which is dedicated in honour of Her and of St. Augustine (this is that altar which is set in the midst of the church before the choir), and he granted forty days' indulgence to them that should recite five Aves devoutly and on bended knees before the said image. Likewise, he consecrated another small image of the Blessed Virgin, that is placed before the gate of our monastery, and he granted forty days' indulgence to them that should recite three Aves there devoutly and on bended knees.
In the year of the Lord 1443, on the day of St. Prisca, Virgin and Martyr, and after midday, died our beloved Brother, John Bouman, a Priest, who was once our Procurator. He had been sick for a long while with a quartan fever, whereby his body was wasted, and he finished his life with a happy agony. He was born in Zwolle, and for many years endured labours and divers infirmities, and this saying of Christ was often in his mouth: "In your patience ye shall possess your souls." When I visited him at the end he said to me, "How gladly I would every day go with the Brothers into the choir if I were strong enough God knoweth!" He was full of faith and compassion, and he gladly read and heard of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ; he had, moreover, a special devotion to the Blessed Mary Magdalene, for he was born on Her Feast Day, wherefore he often said the Mass for Her Feast, or humbly asked another to say it for him. About a month before his death a certain Brother had this vision after Matins: it seemed to him that the Brothers were singing the Vigil in the choir, and that a corpse was there. And after the Vigil the door of the choir was opened, and certain Lay Brothers of our household came into the choir and stood round the corpse; amongst these were seen two Lay Brothers who were already dead that came to the burial, namely, Brother John Eme and Hermann, son of Wolter (now they had died four years before this time). These, with the rest of the household, went forth as if to follow the corpse going through the gate upon the south side of the choir, and they went in procession to that part of the precinct where our Brothers, who are Priests, are wont to be buried—and straightway the vision disappeared. Then that Brother held his peace and began to think within himself: "It may be that some one of our Brothers shall soon depart out of this world, and we shall sing the solemn Vigils of the dead for him." And so it came to pass, for when the month was ended, Brother John Bouman died, and the things seen in the vision were fulfilled in due order on his behalf, and he was buried near Brother Christian. He lived in the Order of Regulars for thirty-one years and twenty-six days, and he had friends in Zwolle that were good men and great: moreover, notable increase of goods came to our monastery from him and from his parents.
In the year of the Lord 1444, on the Feast of All Saints, was invested Henry Ruhorst, a Clerk, who was born at Kampen.
In the same year, on the Octave of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Regulars of Haerlem, by the will of all, took upon them the rule of the cloister.
After the Feast of St. Bartholomew, three of our Brothers who were Priests, were sent to found the new House of Roermund.
In the year of the Lord 1445, on the day before the Feast of St. Bernard the Abbot, our beloved Brother Caesarius Coninc died. He was a native of Utrecht, and Prior of Lunenkerc, but he had made his profession at Mount St. Agnes. He went on the concerns of his House to Antwerp, where he fell sick, and having been in a fever for nearly eight days he fell asleep in the Lord, and was buried there in the Convent of the Sisters of our Order. He held the office of Prior for eight years, and he departed from this world in the forty-sixth year of his age, and many goods came for the use of the monastery from his parents.
In the same year, during Advent and after, a flood of waters overwhelmed many lands and drowned the crops in Betua that pertains to Geldria and Hertzogenbusch.
In the year 1446, on the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, two Clerks were invested, namely, Brother James Spaen, from Geldria, and Brother Henry, son of Paul of Mechlin in Brabant; the former of these attended the school at Deventer, and had a brother who was a Religious at Northorn: the latter attended the school at Zwolle.
In the same year, on Palm Sunday in the month of April, there was a great tempest, snow, hail, and the breath of the storm, and thunder was heard therewith. In the night of that day the dyke between Wilsen and Kampen was broken down, and the cattle and beasts of burden at Mastebroic were drowned. In Zutphen the tower of the church was set afire by lightning, and the roof was cleft above, and certain persons were wounded, and some were slain by this sudden mischance—in other parts also divers houses were destroyed by fire. In Zwolle, after Mass, a mighty terror fell upon them that were in the church, and the shutters were shaken from the church windows by a lightning stroke. In the same year, on the day following the Feast of St. Odulphus, and at the seventh hour when Compline was done, died Brother Frederic, son of John, a Convert from Groninghen. He was an aged man of about eighty years, and one of the elders amongst them that first dwelt in this place. In many things he was profitable to the Brothers, for he shaved their heads and blooded them and dressed their wounds, and did other faithful service to the sick and the plague stricken; at length, wearied with age and having a good foundation of holy deeds, he fell asleep in the Lord. He came to Mount St. Agnes to serve the Lord in the sixth year after the death of Master Gerard Groote, with the first Brothers that dwelt here, and with those very poor Lay folk, the disciples of Gerard, of whom I have written above. He lived therefore in this place for sixty-six years, reckoning the years of his conversion from the beginning thereof to the year of his death inclusively, and Brother John Kempen, the first Prior of this House, invested him as a Convert on the Feast of St. Katharine the Virgin, in the year of the Lord 1401, he being the third of the Converts then invested.
In the same year, on the Octave of the Holy Trinity, and on the night of the Feast of the Saints Gervase and Protasius, died Brother Arnold, son of Conrad of Nussia, being twenty-six years of age. He had been in the priesthood for one year, and for nearly fifteen days had been sick of a tertian fever, but God had pity on him that in a brief space he fulfilled many years, and by the swiftness of his course escaped the hazardous defilements of the world; now he had finished eight years in the Religious Life.
In the year of the Lord 1447, on the day before the Feast of St. Agnes the Virgin, two Clerks were invested, namely, Everard ter Huet of Zwolle and James Spenghe of Utrecht.
In the same year the Clerks at Alberghen, near Oldenzale, received the habit of Holy Religion in the Order of Canons Regular of St. Augustine, and they were invested on the day of the Finding of the Holy Cross.
How Theodoric of Kleef, third Prior of the House on the Mount laid down his office, and was absolved therefrom.
In the year of the Lord 1447, that venerable Father, Theodoric of Kleef, third Prior of our House of Mount St. Agnes the Virgin, coming home from the General Chapter, called the Brothers together, and humbly sought to speak with them so that when the Visitors of the House came he might be absolved from his office of Prior. For twenty-three years he had ruled the House with fatherly care, and he was weary with many labours. He would have made this petition a year before, but that the urgency of divers concerns of the House had hindered him from so doing, and he pleaded the weakness of his age and that his senses were clouded. Hearing these things the elder Brothers spake with the members of the Chapter, and thinking to show mercy toward their beloved Father who had long served them to the best of his power, they gave a kindly hearing and assent to his petition. Wherefore the three eldest amongst them, on behalf of the other Brothers and at their request, came to the Visitors, for they were sitting in a private room to hear the opinion of each one of the Brothers, and on bended knees with their hands clasped they besought them instantly, and with all their hearts, to grant absolution to this Father for that he was infirm and aged; this they said was the time to show him pity, and this was what he desired as he had told to certain of them privately.
The Visitors therefore heard the opinions of all, and finding that the more part of them that were gathered together demanded this thing of set purpose, did piously admonish the Prior that he might yield to the petition of the Brothers and resign his office out of consideration for his own weakness of body. The good Father hearing this prostrated himself humbly before the Chapter, and returning thanks to the Brothers said that he was ready to resign into the hands of the Prior of the Superior House the burden of that office which he had long borne.
But since the duty of holding visitations at certain other houses had been laid upon them, the Priors of Windesem and Zwolle besought our Brothers that such visitations might be held by the known and former Prior as the Chapter had ordained, and when these were done, then at a convenient season the desire of the Brothers concerning the absolution of the Prior should be fulfilled.
So when the matter of the visitation was finished, the Priors of Amsterdam and of Hoern returned, and coming to our monastery did a second time examine the opinion of the Brothers in private, and they found that the more part were still of one heart, and constant to their opinion that the Prior should be absolved, though some few of the younger Brothers dissented from the rest.
Hearing this the Visitors, by the authority to them committed, absolved the Prior on the day after the Dispersion of the Apostles, thinking thereby to provide for the peace and usefulness of the House. Then in accordance with the statutes of the Chapter they bade the Brothers to keep fast for three days for the election of a new Prior; then they returned toward Holland to their houses, since their own needs compelled them so to do, but they besought the venerable Prior of Windesem to deign to be present in person at the election when the Brothers should choose their Prior. And this was done, the grace of God providing for us, so that the petition of the brothers, which they had made long since, came to a good issue in the election of a new Prior, for which election they did invoke the Holy Ghost and poured out prayers to God instantly both in public and in private.
How Brother Henry of Deventer was chosen to be the fourth Prior of the House of Mount St. Agnes.
In the year of the Lord 1448, on the 20th day of June (July), when the three days' fast was ended, the Brothers came together to sing the Mass of the Holy Spirit on the day before the Feast of St. Praxedes the Virgin; but the Mass of the Blessed Virgin had been said in private because it was the Sabbath. Then after the end of Mass, and when Sext was done, the Brothers went forth from the choir to the Chapter House to choose a new Prior; and the venerable Prior of Windesem, with the Prior of Zwolle, was there present with them, for he had been called and besought to hear the election. So, having held a short conference with the Brothers, and the manner of election being read, the Prior of Windesem exhorted the members of the Chapter to choose a fit person to be Prior following the commandments of God and Canon Law. There were here present twenty-one Brothers that were electors, and two who were far away had written letters wherein they expressed their will. So the Brothers that were electors went away a little space outside the doors of the Chapter House, and the two Priors aforesaid came and stood by the altar in the Chapter House, the door thereof being open, and with them were the three elder Brothers. There they stood to hear the votes of each man separately, for they could be seen by all, but none could hear what was said. Then the votes of each being heard and counted, our Sub-Prior, Brother Henry, son of William of Deventer, was chosen and nominated to be Prior, having the votes of the more part recorded for him on the paper, namely sixteen. Some there were beside that did not choose him, but of these three Brothers did not vote at this time, and two chose the Procurator, James Cluyt. Then one of the elder Brothers, on behalf of himself and of the more part, besought the Prior of the Superior House to confirm the election, who straightway appointed the next day to be the last for any to oppose. And when none made opposition to the manner of the election, nor said aught against the Brother who was chosen, the Prior elect was called to consent to his election which had been made according to the canons, so that it might be duly confirmed. And he straightway prostrated himself in the midst of the Brothers protesting that he was not sufficient, and he humbly besought to be relieved of this burden, but when he could not gain his purpose, and dared not obstinately to resist, he gave consent in an humble voice, being overcome by the insistence of the Brothers and compelled by his obedience to his superior: and he submitted himself to the ordinance of God for the sake of observing brotherly love and the needful discipline of the cloister. So when he had been confirmed by the Prior of Windesem he was led in to the choir in the presence of all the Brothers, and placed in his stall, and prayers were offered up. After which done all the members of the Chapter straightway went into the House, and following the accustomed manner all the professed Brothers took the vow of obedience to their Father, the new Prior, and after them the Converts, and lastly the Donates did the like. When this was done they spent the day with joy and giving of thanks, and at last their Fathers, the Priors of the other houses who had taken part in all that was done, said farewell to them, and the Brothers left the garden and returned to their cells. When the bell rang for Vespers they came together to the choir, and sang the Vespers of St. Mary Magdalene with cheerful voices. After three days the Brothers were called together to the Chapter House, and the Prior proposed that in accordance with the statutes they should choose another Sub-Prior, so on the Feast of St. James the Apostle, before the hour for Vespers, Brother Thomas of Kempen was nominated and elected after a brief scrutiny. He was one of the elders, being sixty-seven years of age, and in past times had been appointed to this office, and albeit he knew himself to be insufficient and would have made excuse, yet he did submit him humbly to the assembled Brothers, for his obedience bade him so to do; neither did he refuse to undergo toil on their behalf for the love of Christ Jesus, but earnestly besought the prayers of his comrades and Brothers, for he trusted rather in the grace of God than in himself.
In the same year, during the summer season, the crops were grievously ravaged in divers places by the mice, which ate the corn while it was still growing up and when it was in the blade. Our Lay Brothers, therefore, dug ditches and put in the ground jars filled with water, and such was the craft with which they did this that a vast number of the mice were drowned in these jars, and they slew in divers places many thousands. These creatures had caused great loss to us and our neighbours by ravaging the wheat, the barley, the oats, and the peas, and also the green crops in the fields that were for the fodder of the cattle.
About the beginning of the month of September there was a notable tempest, and a great flood of waters broke in upon us (for the sea had burst his banks), and this did overflow our pasture land and destroyed the grass and the fodder. By this same tempest many ships that had adventured themselves upon the sea were overwhelmed with all their crews.
But herein again the good and merciful God did provide for us, for our fishers took great store of fish by reason of this flood, and these did suffice the Brothers and their guests for food during many days.
In the year of the Lord 1449, on the Feast of St. Bernard the Abbot, we received the precious relics of certain Saints and Martyrs who were companions of Gereon, Duke and Martyr, and of others that were companions of the Eleven Thousand Holy Virgins of Cologne. These did the venerable Abbot of St. Panthalion send to us from the many relics that are in that monastery.
Likewise Egbert Tyveren, a Donate of our House, brought back to us from Cologne, as true relics, certain small fragments that were given to us by the Carthusians, and by the Regular Brothers of our own order in the House of Corpus Domini. The Prior and the Brothers of our House being gathered together in the choir before High Mass brought these relics into the church, carrying the Standard of the Cross and lighted tapers in their hands, and afterward the Prior placed them on the different altars, having enclosed them in reliquaries in seemly wise in honour of the Saints.
In the same year, on December the 16th, our Brother Godefried of Kempen died in Brabant in the House of the Sisters of the Regular Order that is called the Cloister of the Blessed Virgin, near Zevenborren. This convent was afterward destroyed utterly by fire in the year 14—, and the Sisters were removed to Brussels with great honour by the Duchess of Burgundy.
In the year of the Lord 1450 many faithful servants of Christ went to Rome to gain Indulgences, which our Lord, Pope Nicholas V, by advice of the Cardinals, and moved himself by piety and mercy, had granted by a Bull in the previous year. Then did many Christian folk that sojourned on this holy pilgrimage return whole, but many died by the way, and many in the city of Rome.
In the same year, in Holland, Utrecht, Amersfoort, Zwolle, Kampen, Deventer, Zutphen and many other towns and hamlets, a bubonic plague raged, and many devout persons and religious, as also many worldlings, departed from this present life. In the same year the winter time was very mild, with but little snow and thin ice, but the wind was cold. In Lent, and at the beginning of March, our fishers took great abundance of the fish called smelts, wherewith, during the Fast, our Brothers were fed, and also many poor beggars at our gates.
In the same year the men of Zwolle builded a great and lofty bridge of strong wooden timbers across the River Vecht, not far from our monastery, to serve the necessities of their own folk and the convenience of men that would come thither; the cost thereof was six hundred Rhenish florins.
In the same year, on the Feast of St. John before the Latin Gate, Brother Gerard of Deventer, whose surname was Bredenort, was invested.
In the same year, on the twenty-ninth day of August, died James Oem, Rector of the Sisters at Bronope, near Kampen, who for nine years had exercised a kindly rule over that House. After his death the Prior of Windesem appointed Brother Dirk of Kleef to be Rector and Confessor of this House. He had been formerly Prior of Mount St. Agnes, and was the eldest of the Brothers of that monastery.
In the year 1451, on the Octave of Easter, which was the day before the Feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross, died Dirk Poderen, a servant of our House, a poor man and an aged, being about eighty years old: he had lived with us for twenty years.
In the same year, on the Vigil of the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, and at the ninth hour, when Compline had been said, died Brother Gerard, son of Wolter, a Convert who was sixty-eight years of age lacking two months, and had lived the Religious Life for nearly forty years. The Prior and the Brothers were present with him at his death: he was faithful and earnest in good deeds and words, and he was buried on the western side of the passage with the other Converts.
In the same year a new mill was builded, and finished with much labour and cost, for the greater convenience of our House.
In the same year the House of the Regulars in Cologne which is called "Corpus Christi," and standeth in the parish of St. Christopher the Martyr, was received into our Chapter. At this time, namely, after the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin, our Brother, Henry Cremer, was sent to act as Sub-Prior of this House, and Brother Gerard of Kleef went with him to be the Rector.
In the same year there was a grievous pestilence in Cologne, and as is reported by many, twenty-five thousand persons are reckoned to have died thereof.
In the year of the Lord 1451, our most Reverend Lord Nicholas de Chusa, Cardinal with the title of St. Peter in Chains, who was Legate for the land of Germany, came to the diocese of Utrecht, after that he had visited the upper parts of Saxony and the cities and townships of Westphalia. He came likewise to Windesem, where he was received with honour by the Brothers, and held a conference with them, and by the authority of the Apostolic See he granted Indulgences on the occasion of the Jubilee to all that were subject to our General Chapter. When he was asked whether one might go to Rome to gain Indulgences without special license, he replied: "Our Lord the Pope himself hath said, 'Better is obedience than Indulgences.'"
In the year of the Lord 1452, a great and grievous loss befel the city of Amsterdam, a famed and populous city in Holland, for a fire broke forth on the Feast Day of Urban, Pope and Martyr, and the wrath of God went forth in particular against the congregations of religious persons, both men and women; so great was the fire that the more part of the city should seem to have been destroyed, and scarce a third part thereof was saved. Fourteen monasteries are known to have burned almost to the ground, and verily great misery was caused thereby in the sight of all men, such as had not been heard of from very ancient times until that day. Many virgins that had taken the veil, putting aside their maiden modesty, wandered about the city lamenting and begging for hospitality, whereby the hearts of many were moved to tears. Everything was buried, from the great Church of St. Nicholas to the ancient Convent of the Nuns of our Order inclusively, and in the other direction from the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary to our monastery exclusively, for God in His mercy spared that House that it was unhurt.
In the same year, on the Feast of the Commemoration of St. Paul the Apostle, and after Vespers, our beloved Brother Henry Cremer died at Windesem; on the day following, being the Octave of St. John the Baptist, his body was brought to our House, wherein, through the mercy of God, he had lived for nearly thirty-three years in the Religious habit; this was done that at his life's end he might not lie in a strange land afar from our House, but might be buried according as he desired amongst our Brothers. He was faithful in his labour, in the writing of books, and in his attendance in the choir; and being zealous for discipline he kept a watch over his mouth and loved his cell. Formerly he had been Prior in Rickenberrich in Saxony for nearly eleven years, and afterward for a few years abode in Diepenveen with two others his companions, but he was instant in his petition to return to the Brotherhood, and obtained his desire; after this he was sent to Cologne, but returning thence he died at Windesem and was buried in our House.
In the year of the Lord 1453, a strange pestilence fell upon the men of certain towns and the villages adjacent thereto. This plague befel after the Feast of St. John the Baptist, and was notable by reason of the benumbing of the throat and the pain it caused in the breast and side. At this time many of our Brothers and the Lay folk of our Household who were labouring hard in the fields—for it was harvest—were smitten so grievously by the benumbing of their throats that they could scarce speak or eat. There was a north wind that was very cold at night, but by day turbulent and dry, and many were chilled thereby and fell sick. As a remedy against this, some clothed themselves in stouter garments and abstained from cold food and drink, and these grew well by reason of their abstinence and care to keep themselves from too great cold, for God had pity on them; but some that neglected these matters died after three days, or even two, being weakened by the numbness.
When this disease first broke forth, our Brother Gerard ter Mollen, a Convert, fell sick and received the Unction after Compline on the day of the Translation of St. Martin the Bishop: in the night following, before the hour for Matins, his sickness grew heavy on him and he died. He was a faithful labourer, ever ready to toil for the common weal, and he was in the sixtieth year of his age, having fulfilled thirty years and three months in the Religious Life: he was buried in the western path at the head of Gerard, son of Wolter.
In the same year, in the month of July, and on the Feast of the Translation of Benedict the Abbot, died Dirk, son of Arnold, a young man who was a Laic and Fellow Commoner, that came from Bericmede: he had received the Sacrament of the Holy Unction, and died after High Mass had begun.
In the same month, on the day following the Feast of St. Margaret the Virgin, when Compline was done, and the Ave Maria had been said, died Henry Diest, a Donate of our House: he was nearly forty-eight years of age and had fulfilled thirty years in this House.
In the same month, on the day following the Feast of Alexius the Confessor, Dirk Struve, a Laic and Fellow Commoner, died after Compline, having received the Holy Rite of Extreme Unction. He had lived long in the House, and on the day following when the first Mass had been said he was laid in the burying ground of the Lay Brothers.
After him, and on the night before the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, before Matins, died Everard Ens of Campen, a good and faithful Laic and Fellow Commoner, who had lived with us for fifteen years.
In the same year, in the month of August, on the night before the Feast of St. Dominic the Confessor, and before Matins, died our most beloved Brother Theodoric of Kleef. He was the third Prior of our House, and an old man and full of days, for he was seventy-six years old, and had fulfilled fifty-five years in the Religious Life. When the first Brothers were invested here, he was the fourth to receive the Habit, and from the very beginning of the monastery, before any of the Brothers had received investiture, he with the Clerks and Lay folk in this place had begun to serve the Lord in much poverty and toil. Moreover, it had always been his desire that by the favour of the Lord he might end his life in this same House with the Brothers, and be buried amongst them, and so it came about, for he was laid in the eastern passage by the side of our Brother, Henry Cremer, whom he had drawn to the Religious Life, and whom he had loved with all his heart. Thus it came about that as they had loved one another in life, so in death and in the grave they were not divided.
In the same year and month, on the day following the Feast of Sixtus, Pope and Martyr, and when noon was past, died Dirk, son of Wychmann of Arnheim, who had lived here for two years.
In the same year, in the month of August, on the Feast of St. Lawrence the Martyr, and in the morning after Prime, died Matthias, son of William of Overcamp, a Donate of our House, who had been overseer of husbandry for a great while. He often suffered pain from the stone, and at length falling sick with a disease in the throat, and being bowed with age, he fell on sleep in holy peace in the seventy-second year of his age, having endured many labours; for when the monastery was founded he came hither with his father, William, a tailor, of great age, and being then but ten years old, he began that good course which was brought to this happy issue. He was laid in the burying-ground of the Lay folk before the entrance to the broad cloister. At this time of pestilence in our House it befel that a certain Brother, while sitting in his cell, heard a sound at the door thereof as of one knocking twice, but when he arose to open the door he could not see or find any man there. And marvelling at the matter he thought that perhaps some one might be like to die, and on the next day the bell was tolled for the death of Dirk Struve, a Laic of our household. So also before the death of Brother Theodoric of Kleef, once the Prior of our House, the like thing happened two days before he fell sick.
In the year 1454, on the morning of the fourteenth day of March and after Prime, died Brother Gerard Hombolt, a Convert, in the fifty-fifth year of his age. He had fulfilled thirty years in the Religious Life, and for a great while was cellarer of the House, in which office he was faithful and zealous for the common good, so far as our poverty in temporal wealth and the number of persons to be served did allow. He was buried in the western passage before the door of the church with the other Converts.
In the same year, on the sixteenth day of May, the venerable Father John Lap died in the House of Elisabethdal, near Roremund, of which he was Prior, but he had made his profession as a Brother of our House of Mount St. Agnes. He was in the fifty-fifth year of his age, and being a lover of discipline and of the Religious Life had fulfilled thirty years and nearly two months therein.
In the same year, on the day before the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and about the second hour after noon, died Dionysius Valkenborch, a Donate of our House, being seventy-three years of age. He had lived an humble and holy life with us for a great while, near to fifty-five years; at first his tasks were to feed the swine and milk the cows, but when he grew old he was made the gatekeeper, with another to help him, and ending his temporal life in a good old age he left a fair ensample to all.
In the same year, in the month of August, on the day following the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, there was a heavy rain both in the uplands and the lowlands, and much corn and seed perished thereby, and we suffered great loss in our farm by the overflowing of many waters. In the same year, on the Feast of Gallus the Confessor, and at about the ninth hour, when Compline was ended, died Brother John Zandwijc of Renen, a Priest of our House, being thirty-eight years old. He had suffered long from the stone, and was patient and gentle, and he had fulfilled sixteen years and near seven months in the Religious Life. On the day before the Feast of St. Luke, when Mass was ended, he was buried by the side of Theodoric of Kleef in the eastern passage of the cloister; here he rests in peace, freed from the many toils and perils of this life, for his desire was to be released and to be with Christ.
In the year 1455, on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, two Clerks were invested, namely, Brother Henry, son of Bruno, and Theodoric, son of Arnold Wanninck; both came from Deventer, and had honourable parents and friends, and in the year following they made their profession together upon the same day.
In the same year, on the Octave of the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, when Matins was ended, died our venerable Father, William Voerniken, the fourth Prior of Windesem. He was buried in the choir by the side of the venerable Prior John Huesden, for these two greatly loved one another, wherefore after death they shared one tomb in the church. He was eighty-two years of age, and had been the second Prior of the House on Mount St. Agnes.
In the same year, on the 22nd of April, when Prime was done, died John Mastebroick, a Laic and servant of our House, who was faithful in labour and devout in prayer. He was about seventy years old, and had lived with us for nearly forty-five years, and he departed to the Lord in holy peace, desiring an eternal reward for his many labours. He was laid with the servants in the burial-ground of the Lay folk and Donates of our House.
In the same year, on the 9th of October, the day before the Feast of Marcus, Pope and Confessor, when Compline was done, died Gerard, son of Hermann, a Laic and servant of our House; he was a stonemason and a faithful worker so far as his powers did allow, but he was often sick with the complaint of the stone, from the tortures whereof he died, though he bore the same with much patience; and he left all the goods he had as a bequest to the monastery.
In the year of the Lord 1455, on the 17th day of November, within the Octave of the Feast of St. Martin the Bishop, four altars in our church were consecrated by Iodocus, who was Bishop Suffragan, Doctor in Sacred Theology, and belonged to the order of Preachers. He had received a general commission from the General Chapter of Utrecht, and he consecrated the several altars after this wise. First the altar which is on the north of the church, and in the upper part thereof, in honour of St. Michael the Archangel and all the holy Angels: secondly, the altar which standeth upon the same side, but in the lower part of the church, in honour of the holy Confessors, Gregory, Ambrose, Jerome, Bernard, Francis, and Lebuin. Thirdly, the altar which is in the midst of the church, in honour of the holy Confessors, Martin the Bishop, Willibrord the Bishop, Nicholas the Bishop, and Antony the Confessor. Fourthly, the altar which standeth on the south side, toward the end of the church, in honour of the Saints Anne, Elizabeth, Monica, mother of our holy Father Augustine, and all holy widows.
Likewise he consecrated the Holy Cross that is over the door of the choir, and certain images of Saints, namely, of St. Augustine the Bishop and St. Agnes the Virgin: also two small figures, the first of St. Mary Magdalene, the second of St. Agnes in the Coffer; also the image that is over the altar of the Holy Cross that showeth the blessed Virgin Mary holding the Crucified Lord, Who lieth on her breast: also the images of St. James the Apostle, St. Katherine the Virgin, and St. Barbara, Virgin and Martyr.
In the year of the Lord 1456, on the Feast of St. Antony the Confessor, Brother Gerard, son of Dirk, who came from a place near Zwolle, was invested as a Convert. He was a man well stricken in age, and had lived with us in honest wise for thirty years, being a good husbandman; before his investiture he had been an humble Donate, for we had many of that degree amongst us.
In the same year, on the day following the Feast of St. James the Apostle, died John Smyt, a Laic and servant of our House. He was drowned in a deep pool that had been filled by the rain, and with him perished four very good horses that were drawing a cart to fetch fodder. At that time the weather was very rainy, so that many crops were destroyed thereby. The Brothers therefore brought back this servant of God to the House, and after Compline laid him in the burial-ground of the Laics. Moreover, they celebrated Mass for him, and offered up prayers that he might receive the reward of his labours. By God's providence, he and the other Laics of our House had received Communion, as was the custom, on St. James's day: and he himself had lived with us for one year, being skilful and diligent in the smith's craft.
In all things blessed be God, Who scourgeth us, and also healeth our stripes, for though we lost above an hundred florins by the drowning of the horses, yet did the good Lord save us and our country from the army of the Duke of Burgundy, who was laying siege to Deventer; for after the Feast of St. Matthew peace and concord were restored between the Duke and the cities and people of this land.
In the same year of the Lord 1456, on the Feast day of St. Lucia, Virgin and Martyr, and in the morning when High Mass for her festival was already begun, died that fervent lover of discipline, Brother William Coman. He was born in Amsterdam, in Holland, and for a great while had lived an humble life amongst our Brothers, and he was seventy-eight years and four months old. On the Feast of St. Brixius, Bishop and Confessor, he had fulfilled, by the help of God, fifty-five years in the Religious Life, for this was the anniversary of his investiture, and on this day he celebrated Mass for the last time, for he was sick from that day forward until the Feast day of St. Lucia, whereon he ended his life with a happy agony; and he was buried in the eastern passage by the side of our Brother John Zantwijc.
This William Coman left many a good ensample of patience, poverty, and abstinence, for the imitation of them that come after; and in the days of the venerable Prior, William Vorniken (who was the second to hold that office in our House) he was Procurator, and afterwards Sub-Prior. Then for three years he was Prior of the House at Amersfoort, after which he was Rector of the Sisters at Bronope near Kampen for fourteen years; but at last, as age had come upon him, and his hearing failed by little and little, he returned to our House and Brotherhood, where he died in holy peace, and he was buried amongst the Brothers after the accustomed manner.
In the same year died Gerard Smullinc, the first Rector and Prior of the House at Ruremund, who, after that he was absolved from his office, went to gain Indulgences at the Shrine of St. James at Compostella, in which place he was buried.
The anniversary of his death and that of his parents is kept on the day following the Feast of St. Elizabeth, because we know not surely the day thereof.
In the year of the Lord 1457, on the day of St. Benedict the Abbot, and at eleven o'clock at night, Theodoric Herxen, a venerable Father of pious memory, and a priest of seemly life, died at Zwolle, being seventy-six years old. He was the second Rector of the House of Clerks in Zwolle, and ruled it for forty-seven years; also he was Confessor to many devout Brothers and Sisters, and his whole life, from the time that he was of full age, was spent in discipline of character and in virtue.
How Father Henry, the fourth Prior, resigned his office, and how Father George was chosen to be the fifth Prior.
In the year 1458, on the day following the Feast of St. Matthias the Apostle, Brother Henry, son of William, the fourth Prior of the House, resigned his office. Now he had lain sick for a great while and was weak from fever; wherefore, prostrate upon his bed in the presence of all the Brothers, he besought them with many tears and exhorted them to agree to choose another Prior in his room, according to the lawful statutes of the Order.
Hearing this all the Brothers were grieved, and for three days they fasted after the accustomed manner, praying for guidance in the coming election, which was held on the Thursday after the third Sunday in Lent, for which day the Introit is "Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord." So when the Mass of the Holy Spirit had been said and the hours were done, the election was held in the choir in the presence of all the Brothers; and that venerable Father the Prior of Windesem was also present with them to hear the opinion of each one; likewise Brother John Naeldwijc and Brother James of Cologne, Prior of the House of the Blessed Virgin at Belheem in Zwolle.
When the opinion of each had been heard, George, who was a Brother of our House, but at this time Prior of Briel, was chosen by the greater number of votes. Some indeed chose Bero, Prior of Beverwijc, but all consented humbly and peaceably to the judgment of the greater number; so by common consent Brother George was elected, being a Father most beloved, and himself a lover of the rule.
In the same year four Brothers were invested, three of them on the day following the Feast of St. George the Martyr, and the names of these were Henry Hierde of Herderwijc in Geldria, Hermann Borken of Westphalia in the diocese of Munster, and Theodoric of Zwolle. The fourth, namely, John Orsoy of Kleef, was invested soon after, on the Feast of the birthday of our Father St. Augustine.
In the same year there was a notable pestilence in Deventer, Zwolle, and Kampen, the which had raged in Utrecht and the neighbouring places in the previous year. Verily this scourge of God was pious and pitiful towards Christian folk, as hindering them from dwelling long in this world so as to love it rather than the kingdom of Heaven. At this time many devout Sisters in Deventer and Zwolle departed to Christ.
On the day following the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed and Glorious Virgin Mary died our beloved Brother Henry Ruhorst, the Sub-Prior of our House, being forty years old, and he was buried in the eastern cloister by the side of our Brother William Coman.
In the same year and month, on the Feast of St. Jerome and after midday, died Hermann, son of John, a Laic who was Sub-Infirmarius, being twenty- six years old. He was a poor man, who was born in a place near Wessel in the district of Kleef; and being received by us, he showed himself ready to do whatever was laid upon him.
In the same year, in the month of October, and at noon on the Feast day of St. Dionysius the Bishop, Brother Gerard Wessep died in Zwolle. He had been sent to the Monastery of Belheem, and of his obedience and brotherly love he went thither after the death of many of the Brothers of the House; for of these ten had died, as well as certain Laics that were of the household. After the hour of Vespers he was borne to a carriage and brought therein to our House, as he had desired, and he was buried with the Brothers in the eastern cloister, by the side of the Sub-Prior. At the time of his death he had fulfilled almost fifty-six years in the Order, being in the seventy-seventh year of his age. He wrote many books in the Latin and Teutonic tongues for the choir, the library, and for sale; and he was forward to perform many labours for the common good. Above all he was very faithful and ready in tending the sick and dying till the moment of their departure; for he feared not then to tend and stand by diseased and plague stricken folk, serving them for the sake of God and brotherly love. So the Lord willed to reward him also, with the Brothers that were dead in Belheem; wherefore, when he had spent fifteen days in Zwolle, he fell sick of the plague, and God took him from the toil and trouble of this present life and gave him eternal peace and rest, which things—as oft he told me with clasped hands—he had long desired.
In the same year, on the day following the Feast of St. Martin the Bishop, at the hour of Vespers, died our beloved Brother James Cluit, a devout Priest and first Rector of Udem, being sixty-three years old, and he was buried before the High Altar. His memory shall continue to be praised and blessed, for he was beloved of God, an ensample to us all, and his own stern judge.
In the year of the Lord 1459, on the Feast of the Epiphany and at about the fifth hour in the morning before Prime, died Everard of Wetteren, the cook, a devout Donate, who was eighty years of age and over. He had dwelt formerly in Deventer with Lambert Gale, a tailor, and in the days of Florentius, who sent him to Windesem, he was first tailor of the House; but the Brothers at Windesem sent him on to Mount St. Agnes before the members of that community were invested with the Religious habit, and there he helped to sew and make the garments in which those first four Brothers were habited, whose investiture in the year 1398 is described above. After some while spent in this office he was sent to serve in the kitchen as assistant, and he afterwards became chief cook, in which post he served all the Brothers faithfully for above thirty years. At length, wearied with years, he was relieved from his labours and slept in peace, being an old man and full of many days.
In the same year, within the Octave of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and on the Feast day of the holy martyrs Protus and Hyacinthus, at noon died Gerard Hombolt of Utrecht, a Donate of our House, who was fifty- nine years old. He was very zealous, faithful, and devout in the service of God, particularly in the things which pertain to the glory and honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary; moreover, he procured a most fair image of her, and a corona of polished brass holding many candles, and certain other ornaments that are set above the altar of the Blessed Virgin. These things he did out of his great devotion, and with a pious intention of adorning our church in honour of the Blessed Virgin and St. Agnes.
First he was Hospitarius and afterward Refectorarius to the Brothers, and all things that were committed to his charge he kept honestly and in cleanly fashion, seeing to the provision of all needful vessels, napkins, and towels. On a time when many guests had come to the House he bade the cook provide all things necessary for them; but the cook, being troubled at this unaccustomed number, was heavy at heart, for he feared lest he might not be able to satisfy all as he fain would do, but Gerard Hombolt, putting his trust in the Lord, said, "Make the sign of the Holy Cross over the pots and the cooked food and God shall give His blessing and a sufficiency." So the cook did as Gerard had said, and blessed the provision again and again in faith, and behold the good Lord, seeing their faith, gave them an increase so that all had enough; and when the meal was done there was abundance left over, insomuch that the fragments that remained sufficed for a full meal at supper.
In his youth, and before he entered the monastery, Gerard, out of his great devotion, visited the Holy Land—Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the other places hallowed by our Saviour; and he was disposed, if it should be allowed him, to visit them once again before his death. But the good Lord changed his love for the earthly Jerusalem to love for the Jerusalem which is in Heaven, into which he entered (as I hope) through the intercession of the Blessed and Glorious Virgin; for on all the Vigils before Her feasts it was his wont to fast, eating nought save bread nor drinking aught save beer; and it was within the Octave of the Feast of Her Nativity that he departed in holy peace out of this present world to the realms of Heaven, having made a good confession, being contrite, and having received the Unction. Much wealth also came to our House through his means, and he died in the fifty-ninth year of his age, having lived with us for thirty-five years.
In the year of the Lord 1460, after the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, there was a mighty frost. The bitter cold began on the Feast day of St. Scholastica the Virgin (which was the first Sunday in Lent), and endured until the middle of the fast, so that men and horses heavily laden could walk everywhere upon the frozen waters in safety, and carry their goods across the same. Likewise in many places there was lack of fodder and straw wherewith to feed the beasts, for the ground was dry and frost bound, wherefore men could not get them fresh grass to feed the cattle. For this cause some poor men brake up the roofs of their houses and gave of the thatch to the beasts: and this lack of grass endured until the first of May.
In the same year, in the month of April, and on the second Sunday after Easter, which was the day before the Feast of Vitalis the Martyr, Brother Gerard Cortbeen was invested: he was a Priest, and a native of Herderwijc, a good man, honest, faithful, and thirty-two years of age.
In the same year our church was adorned in seemly wise, the roof thereof and all the flat spaces of the inner walls being painted in fair colours to the glory of God and in honour of St. Agnes the Patron Saint of the church. Amid the bright colours were written these three names Jesus, Mary, Agnes, which of holy purpose were painted in large and black letters, and they stand forth clearly to be read by the eyes of all that enter the church.
In the same year, on the Feast of the Dispersion of the Apostles, between the hours of Tierce and High Mass, died Deric, son of William, a carpenter and servant of our household who was a Fellow Commoner. He was born in Zwolle and was now thirty years of age, having lived a good, humble, and peaceable life in this House for nearly eleven years.
In the year of the Lord 1461, on the morning of the Feast of St. Emerentiana the Virgin, and before the hour of Prime, died Herder Stael, a very honest man, and a fellow citizen with us at Zwolle, being seventy- four years old. He was a special and faithful friend to our House for many years. As was his wife also particularly in the troubled times of Bishop Rudolph, when our Brothers were constrained to leave the monastery and to go to the House belonging to our Order in Lunenkerc. At that time this good man bought our crops as they stood in the fields near the monastery, and out of an honest purpose bade his servants to reap and harvest the same. Afterward he sent the fruits of the ground, and the provender that had been gathered, to our Brothers in Lunenkerc by little and little, for they had been sent thither as it were to a place of exile. This same Herder Stael lived with us for nearly a year before his death, being moved so to do by a deep desire, and having a holy and firm purpose to serve God. He died as aforesaid in holy peace and in an honoured old age, and his body was laid in the broad cloister; his friends from Zwolle being present at his burial.
Of the ancient Reliquary of St. Agnes, and how it was gotten.
In the same year 1461, George, the venerable Father of our House, asked and obtained from the Canons of the great church at Utrecht the ancient Reliquary of the most holy Agnes, Virgin and Martyr, and the beloved Patron of our House, but her relics were not therein contained. It was in her honour that our church was consecrated in the year of the Lord 1412, and on the Friday in Easter week, as is set forth more fully above in the chapter entitled "Of the Consecration of our Church."
Two of our Brothers that were ordained to be Priests, namely, Brother Henry, son of Bruno, and Brother Theodoric Wanninck, brought back this holy Reliquary with them, journeying from Utrecht by way of Holland, and across the sea, not without danger and fear, for the sea was turbulent. Yet through the help of God, and the merits of St. Agnes the Virgin, they were protected from these perils and reached an haven of safety. A few days afterward, on the eve of the Feast of St. Scholastica the Virgin, they brought the Reliquary to Mount St. Agnes, and our Brothers, with all the Laics of our household, hearing this, did rejoice exceedingly.
The Reliquary was borne into the church with all devotion and reverence and placed in the sanctuary of the choir near the High Altar and beneath the arch in the northern wall. The bones of the Saint had rested for nearly three hundred and fifty years in this Reliquary, which was an humble one, being of wood and covered with plates of brass and gilded work. But at last a new and most fair coffer of silver adorned with gold was made for her by the Canons of the great Church of St. Martin at Utrecht.
Likewise one should note that it was in the year of the Lord 1413, in the time of Frederick of Blanckenhem, the Reverend Bishop of Utrecht, that the relics of this most Blessed Saint Agnes the Virgin were removed with all reverence from the ancient wooden Reliquary into this new one of silver fairly gilt. This was done on the second of December, being the day following the Feast of AEgidius the Abbot, by that Reverend man Hermann Lochorst, Dean of the great Church of St. Martin the Bishop. He it was, chiefly, who had procured that the holy relics of the Saint should be removed in this manner; and a great while afterward George, our venerable Father and Prior, earnestly begged for the ancient Reliquary, which our House had long desired, and by the insistence of his friends he obtained the same from the Chapter and Canons of the church. These things were done in the year 1461, as is written above.
In the year of the Lord 1462, on the night of the Feast of St. Juliana, Virgin and Martyr, died our beloved Brother John, son of Hessel of Zuermont, who came from Utrecht. He was a timid man, and ready for any lowly task; moreover, his will was always good to serve the monastery to the best of his power. Yet through the weakness of his nature and pains in his head, he often stayed outside the choir, but by his work without he redeemed the time which he could not spend in devotion within the church.
A few days before his death he said to certain of the Brothers that he should die shortly, and indeed the end came somewhat suddenly to him, for on the day before the Feast of Juliana the Virgin he was well and cheerful, but in the night following some weakness, whereof we knew not, came upon him, and he was found dead before the bed in his cell; being clad in his under garment he lay prostrate upon the floor with his feet stretched out and his arms close to his side, looking as though he were commending himself to God and to the Holy Angels: for no man was with him at the last to give him comfort, since none knew of his agony, but after supper-time, because they saw that he was not present, certain Brothers sought him in the cell where he slept, and they found that he was gone away from this world, and had fled to Christ as we do piously hope and believe. He came of very good and honest parents in Utrecht, and had many friends and kinsmen that were living the Religious Life. And so at length, after many labours and much pain of heart and body, he was taken away from the miseries of this present life, in the fifty-fourth year of his age, having spent twenty-nine years in the Religious Life. After the office of the Mass had been said duly, and the Psalms and Vigils had been recited, he was buried in the eastern side of the cloister, on the right of Brother Gerard Wesep.
In the same year, after the Epiphany, there was a most bitter frost, which lasted throughout Lent and longer, and the great drought was hurtful to the pasture lands whereon the beasts were fed.
Of the death of Brother Henry, son of William, the fourth Prior of our House.
In the same year, and upon the 10th day of March, being the second day before the Feast of St. Gregory the Pope, died our most beloved Brother of pious memory, Henry, son of William, who was a native of Deventer. He departed at the fifth hour after midday, when the Vigils of the dead had been sung; and our beloved Father George and all the Brothers were present with him, praying during his happy death struggle, and many Laics of our household were there also.
He had been the fourth Prior of our House, and having sought instantly to be absolved from his office because of his oft infirmities, he lived thereafter for four years amongst the Brothers, being humble, gentle, exemplary, devout, and reverent to all. To none was he burdensome, but to all men kindly, comfortable, pitiful, helpful, cheerful, modest, peaceable, and silent. Amid elders and prelates he was lowly and courteous, towards the young and weakly he was sweet and amiable. Because of his good and modest manners, his uprightness, fidelity, and the honest bearing which he showed (as a Religious ought to do) whether walking or standing, speaking or keeping silence, he long held the office of Procurator for the House; for he was chosen for that post in the first place, and afterward was made Sub-Prior. But at last, by God's ordinance, he was promoted to be the fourth Prior of our community, in which office he was confirmed in all peace and charity. For ten years he continued to be Prior, ruling those that were under him by the goodness and modesty of his character rather than by rough speech; he was instant in his zeal for reading, for prayer, and holy meditations whensoever such exercises were possible. Well might one write and say of him many of those things that the blessed Bernard doth write concerning Humbert, the servant of God, who was the devout Sub-Prior in St. Bernard's House. Him did Henry strive to imitate, for he too was devout, beloved of God and man, and a servant of Christ. He died in the sixty-first year of his age, having entered upon the forty-second year of his Religious Life, and he was buried on the right side of Brother John Zuermont.
In the same year, on the day before the Feast of St. Ambrose the Bishop—this day being the Saturday before Passion Sunday—and at the fifth hour of the morning before Prime, died Dirk ten Water, an honourable citizen and magistrate of Zwolle, who had been received as a Fellow Commoner, for he greatly favoured the devout.
He abode in our House as a guest for six weeks, being sickly the while, but it was his intention to serve God and to remain with us: also he was a notable benefactor to the House in his lifetime and at his death; and he died in peace in the sixty-eighth year of his age, being fortified by the sacraments of the church. He was buried in the tomb of his mother, Swane ten Water, beneath a sarcophagus of stone that standeth in our church before the Altar of Holy Cross.
In the same year, on the last day of August, and within the Octave of the Feast of St. Augustine, before Matins, died the humble and devout Laic, John Bobert, being forty years old. He came from the diocese of Treves, and formerly was our shepherd, but afterward he became porter to the monastery, and he was very faithful and pitiful to the poor. Having fulfilled twelve years in this House, he fell asleep in peace, and was laid in the burial-ground of the Lay folk.
In the same year, during Advent, on the Octave of the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, and before Prime, died an aged man named Gerard Poelman. He was a Donate of our House, and was born in Zwolle, but he lived with us for sixty-two years, having come to us in the days when we were still very poor, and lacked goods, buildings, books, and holy vestments. His parents often succoured us and did us much kindness, for they were somewhat wealthy, and they gave or lent us money to buy provision, because they loved their sons who dwelt with us, namely, Henry, and this Gerard that was the younger brother. These two had one sister, whose name was Adelaide, a devout virgin, who for many years ruled over the House of the Beguines at Nyerstadt, where at length she died amid the nuns, and she was buried by the Brothers of the Regular Order in Bethlehem.
At first this Gerard was the tailor of our monastery, as was also his brother Henry, but afterwards he faithfully discharged the duty of fisherman, but when weakness compelled him to abandon this task, he became the gardener, and was skilful in growing vegetables and herbs of divers kinds. At last, wearied with years and overborne with toil, he fell asleep in a good old age, for he was eighty-one years old, and in return for his labours received a crown of life at the hands of the King of Glory. He was laid in the burial-ground of the Laics and servants of the House, on the western side of our church, and the venerable, devout, and holy Father George performed the rites.
In the year 1463, on the day before the Feast of Quirinus the Martyr, that is on March 29th, and at about the eighth hour when Compline was done, died John, son of James, a faithful Laic of our House and a good husbandman; he was an Oblate and Resignate, and was born in Dalssen; moreover, he proved himself to be useful and skilled in his work among our husbandmen. He was well beloved, and lived in this monastery for twenty-eight years, but having fulfilled forty-six years of life, he departed in holy peace, and was buried near Gerard Poelman, in the burial- ground of the Laics, on the Wednesday before Palm Sunday.
In the same year, on the 15th of May, being the fifth Sunday after Easter, and the third day after the Feast of Servatius, three young Clerks were invested, namely, Peter, son of Simon, of Liege, William, son of Peregrinus, of Kampen, and Arnold Wanninck of Deventer, own brother to Theodoric Wanninck of our community. Brother Peter, the first of these, was twenty-three years old; the second, namely, William, was twenty-one; and Arnold Wanninck, the younger, was twenty. At their investiture our Father George performed the ceremony and celebrated High Mass of the Resurrection.
In the year 1464, on the 15th of May, being the Tuesday after the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord, Hubert, son of Nicholas, of Amersfoort, who was thirty-five years old, was invested as a Convert of our House. For some years he had been town crier, and he was well beloved, being a trusty friend to the devout Brothers and Sisters in their business. When his wife was dead and his sons had received their portions, he chose to leave the world and humbly to serve God in the monastery; so after a probation of nearly three years he was invested solemnly as a Convert.
In the same year, and on the day following the Feast of St. James the Apostle, died Andrew, son of Hermann, of Sichele, a faithful and devout Laic of our House and an Oblate to God. He had no possessions of his own, nor did he leave behind him any private store, no not one mite. He came to our monastery on the Feast day of St. Agnes, in the year of the Lord 1419, being then twenty-one years old; and having fulfilled with us in the service of God nearly forty-four years, being then sixty-five years of age, he departed from this world. His death came about through a sudden mischance, for having fallen from a horse, he was hurt grievously, and commending himself to God, he fell asleep in holy faith and peace. And he was laid in the burial-ground of the Laics.
In the same year, on the Feast day of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, there fell a great tempest of wind, and many trees were broken and torn from the earth; likewise large ships were sunk in the sea, and in many parts, as also at Rome, the pestilence raged so that a great multitude of men that had thought to live long died thereof.
In the year of the Lord 1465, on the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a young Clerk named Reyner Koetken was invested. He was nineteen years of age, and sprung from an honourable stock, having good parents and friends at Zwolle: moreover, he had three sisters who were living the Religious Life as Beguines in the House of Wyron that lieth near the city without the northern gate.
In the same year, in the month of March, and during the Lenten season, God succoured our House by granting us to catch a great number of fishes in the river Vecht, which is near the monastery, and these sufficed for all that dwelt with us, and likewise for the poor, and for strangers; also many traders came from the regions of Westphalia and Saxony to buy these fish which are called smelts.
In the same year a new monastery was founded in Zwolle for the Order of Preachers.
In the same year, in the month of July, and on the day before the Feast of St. Praxedes the Virgin, died our beloved Brother Henry Lymborgh, a Priest, who was born in Zwolle. He was fifty years old, and he was buried in the eastern cloister, by the side of Henry, son of William, our fourth Prior. Often he fell sick with the stone, and at the end, having fulfilled twenty-seven years in the Religious Life, he had a slight stroke of palsy in the face, and he fell asleep in peace amongst the Brothers. In the same year, in the month of October, and on the day following the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel (that is, the night of the Feast of St. Leodegarius, Bishop and Martyr), died John Tyman, a native of Holland. He was a faithful Laic and an Oblate, and when he finished his course was seventy years of age.
For forty-five years he lived with us humbly, and in obedience working with the husbandmen, albeit for a long time he had been lame; and after a long trial by sickness he rendered up his soul with patience, and was laid in the western burying-ground with the other Laics.
In the same year, and on the day before the Feast of the holy Martyrs, Crispin and Crispian, one Bernard Irte died at Zwolle, being a citizen of that city, and son of Lambert of Irten, a magistrate of the State. He was a friend to our House, and during his lifetime often visited our church, in which out of his devotion to St. Agnes the Virgin he desired to be buried, and he was laid with the Converts in the western cloister before the door of the church.
In the year 1466, on the night of the Feast day of St. Maurus the Abbot, and before Matins, died Wolter Eskens, the father of Gerlac, our cellarer; he was an ancient man, being ninety years old, and he had been formerly our husbandman on a certain farm pertaining to the monastery at Windesem, but he was born in the town of Raelten. In his old age he left his friends and acquaintance, following his son Gerlac, who was a faithful Oblate, and he lived in our House for nearly eleven years before his death.
Long had he been bowed with age, yet he hastened to the church every morning to hear Mass, leaning upon a staff. He was very good and patient in bearing his bodily weakness, and he fell asleep in the Lord, giving thanks. So after Mass had been said for him, he was buried with the Laics and servants of our House, in the burying-place of the Donates.
In the same year, on the Octave of the Feast of St. Agnes the Virgin, died Christian, a Priest, who was eighty years old. He was Curate of Ter Heyne, and a special friend to our House, and out of his devotion he chose to be buried with our Brothers, so he was laid in the eastern cloister in the same grave with Hermann Gruter the Priest.
In the year of the Lord 1467, on the third day of the month of March, and before Compline, died Hysbrand, our tailor, a Resignate and Oblate, who was born in Amsterdam, a town of Holland. For thirty years he had lived with us, and he was laid in the burying-place of the Laics, being seventy- two years of age when he died.
In the same year, on the Feast day of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, died Tidemann Mulart, a native of Hasselt. He was a Resignate and an Oblate, who had long discharged many hard tasks as a servant of our House, for he abode with us for near of forty-four years, and at length he departed in peace, being seventy-two years old, and he was laid in the burying-place of the Laics.