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July 2014 -
This month’s feature is one of the magnificent early-
The church still houses forty-
The corners of the slab feature the usual quatrefoils with the evangelist symbols that we find on many blue hardstone tombstones imported from Flanders in this period. The incised Dutch inscription in Gothic textualis along the edge of the slab reads:
Hier leit begr(aven) / Adriaen Cornelis claijssen sone die Sterf / an(n)o xvc xxiiii / den xxiiiten dach septe(m)ber. God heb de ziele.
(Trans.: Here lies buried Adriaen Cornelis Clayssenzoon, who died in the year 1524 on the 23rd day of September. God have the soul.)
Adriaen was a cloth manufacturer but he did not live in Kapelle. He was instead a prominent resident of the nearby village of Biezelinge and also one of the leaders of a local campaign during the period 1504-
Adriaen Cornelis Clayssenzoon, 1524, Kapelle
Photo: Chris Booms on behalf of the
Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed (RCE).
The incised figure on the slab shows a man in armour, his face beardless and his curly hair covered with a stylish Renaissance bonnet. He holds a raised sword in his gloved right hand and an anvil in his left. A lion crouches behind him on the floor, its tail curling up on the left. This figure does not represent Adriaen himself, but his name saint, St Adrian (or Hadrian) of Nicomedia. According to the popular account Adrian was a member of Emperor Galerius Maximian’s Herculian Guard, who spontaneously converted to Christianity when impressed by the faith shown by a band of Christians under torture. Thereupon he was himself thrown into prison where his young Christian wife Natalia visited him disguised as a boy. He was eventually martyred at Nicomedia on 4 March 306; the anvil refers to his legs being crushed on an anvil. In reality there may have been two martyrs of that name at Nicomedia under two different emperors. In the Catholic church the feast of St Adrian is celebrated on 8 September. As a military saint he was particularly revered in Flanders, Germany and northern France; he was also venerated as a protector against the plague and epilepsy, and is now a patron saint of butchers, guards, soldiers and – less creditably – arms dealers.
It is not unusual to find name saints on pre-
Adriaen Adriaense Duerniet (d. 1538), sheriff of
Kapelle and Biezelinge on behalf of local lord
Jan van Kruiningen
(Zeeuws Archief, Middelburg
The incised slab at Kapelle and other extant Dutch pre-
F.A. Greenhill, Incised effigial slabs. A study of engraved stone memorials in Latin Christendom, c. 1100 to c. 1700, 2 vols (London, Thames & Hudson, 1976), 2 vols.
G.J. Lepoeter, De geheimen van de kerk van Kapelle onthuld: van Onze-
S. Oosterwijk, ‘Death or Resurrection? The iconography of two sixteenth-
H. Tummers, ‘Medieval effigial monuments in the Netherlands’, Church Monuments, 7 (1992), 19-
Copyright: Dr Sophie Oosterwijk FSA