Select documents for the Reformation and the Revolt of the Low Countries, 1555-1609

The documents offered here have been selected by Dr. Alastair Duke in order to extend the range of sources available for the Revolt of the Netherlands.

I wish to acknowledge the great assistance Andrew Sawyer has given in respect of the prints.

The copyright in the translation of these documents rests with Alastair Duke with the exception of document nos. 2 and 8, which are here reproduced by kind permission of Professor Andrew Pettegrew of the University of St. Andrews and of document 42, which was translated by Dr Gillian Lewis of St. Anne's College, Oxford.  

Alastair Duke

The Department of History,
The University,
March 1992
Revised June 1993, June 1994, July 1998

The University Library of Leiden is very grateful to Dr. Alastair Duke for his kind permission to reproduce his translations on this website. In the near future we hope to offer all the documents in their original language and to extend the number of sources in English.

  1. The Minister of the infant Reformed Congregation at Antwerp seeks the advice of the Brethren at Emden, 17 December 1555.
  2. The Witness of Calvinist Martyrs: Carolus de Koninck, Gilles Verdict, Antonius Verdict, Adriaen [Coreman] de Schilder, Hendrik [Snoelaecke] van Boekholt, 1557-1559.
  3. Dedicatory Epistle to Reformed Confession of Faith addressed to Philip II, 1561. 
  4. The Calvinists openly Challenge the Authorities: an Account of the Sermon preached at Boeschepe in Flanders, 12 July 1562
  5. Calvinist Activity in the Flemish Westkwartier: the Testimony of Pieter Hueseuck, 1563.
  6. The Reformed Church Under the Cross: Extracts from the so-called Walloon Synods, 1563-1565.  
  7. Chronology of the Economic Crisis, 1565-1566.  
  8. The Reformed Community at Ghent petitions the Magistrates for Freedom of Worship, 1 May 1565.
  9. Calvinist Preaching in French Flanders, June 1566. 
  10. Hedge Services at Ghent, June and July 1566.
  11. Hedge-Preaching in Holland, July 1566.  
  12. The Image-breaking in Antwerp, Flanders, Tournai, Holland, Utrecht and Friesland, August and September 1566.  

13. News of the Image-breaking in French Flanders, 16 August 1566.  

14. Eye-Witness Account of Image-breaking at Antwerp, 21-23 August 1566.  

15. Contemporary Account of Image-breaking in 's-Hertogenbosch, 23 August 1566.  

16. A Calvinist from Utrecht denies having any part in the Image-breaking in that Town, 25-27 August 1566.

17. A Description of the Calvinist Church built at Ghent, 1567.  

18. The Troubles at Den Briel, 1566-1567.  

19. Certain Advice and Plain Declaration for His Majesty the King concerning the Control and Safety of his State and the Commonweal and Prosperity of the Country, translated from the Spanish. c. 1567-68.

20. Instructions issued on behalf of my Lord, the Prince of Orange, 24 November 1570.  

21. Select Articles from the so-called Assembly at Wesel, c. Summer 1571.  

22. Acts of the Synod of the Netherlands Churches both under the Cross and Scattered through Germany and East Friesland. Held at Emden, 4 October 1571.  

23. Disorders at Gouda, 9 April 1572.  

24. 'Accords' negotiated between the Prince of Orange and the Magistrates of Leiden, Dordrecht, Kampen and Schoonhoven, June - October 1572.  

25. First 'Free' Assembly of States of Holland, 19-20 July 1572.  

26. Ordinance for the Use of the Churches by both 'Religions' in The Hague, 27 August 1572.  

27. Selections from the Diary of Master Wouter Jacobsz., Prior of Stein, September 1572 - May 1578. 

28. The Planting of Reformed Churches in and around Dordrecht: Letters of 29 August and 5 December 1572.  

29. Extracts from the Consistory book of the Reformed Church at Dordrecht, 1572-1574.  

30. The Formation of a Reformed Congregation in the Village of Naaldwijk, 1572-1575.  

31. The Formation of a Reformed Congregation in the Village of Ridderkerk, 1574-1584.   

32. Select Acts from the Synod of Dordrecht, 15-28 June 1574.

33. Defeatism in Leiden during the Siege: Johan van der Does warns William of Orange, 7 September 1574.  

34. Ecclesiastical Ordinances Drafted by Order of the States of Holland, 1576.  

35. Select Acts from the Synod of Dordrecht, 3-18 June 1578.    

36. The Reformed Classis in Action: Flanders, 1578-1582.  

37. Select Acts from the Synod of Middelburg, 30 May - 21 June 1581.  

38. State of the Reformed Churches in the Countryside around Dordrecht, 24 April 1582.

39. The Reformed Religion Despised in Brussels: Daniel de Dieu to the London Dutch Stranger Church, 9 August 1582.

40. Ecclesiastical Ordinances Drafted by Order of the States of Holland, 1583.

41. Attestation for a Calvinist Family Departing from Antwerp on the Eve of the Surrender to Farnese, 13 August 1585.

42. Following the Surrender of Antwerp Philip van Marnix advocates the 'Method of Peace', 24 October 1585.

43. Select Acts from the Synod of The Hague, 20 June - 1 August 1586.

44. The 'Unreformed' State of the Countryside: the Experiences of a Calvinist Minister at Zoetermeer, 6 July 1586.

45. The Plight of the 'Abandoned Christians' in the Ommelanden of Groningen: a Minister Addresses his former Flock at Appingedam, 11 August 1586.

46. A Visitation of the Reformed Churches in the Classis of Dordrecht, May - June 1589.

47. The Dilemma of a Reformed Minister with a Rural Charge, 3 May 1602.

48. Religious Conditions in the Province of Utrecht, July 1606.