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  • Writer's pictureHans Faber

Stavoren. A balancer on a slack rope of religion, trade, land, water, Holland and Frisia



For many turbulent centuries, the town of Stavoren was a tightrope walker before it finally settled as a small harbour at the Lake IJsselmeer. Living in retirement from well-to-do owners of white yachts, sailing boats, and other pleasure vessels. Now it looks back on when Saint Odulf arrived in the ninth century to convert the Frisians, and where one of Frisia’s most illustrious monasteries drowned in the sea. How the town rose to be a renowned trading port and received the oldest city rights of the Netherlands. When it joined the Hanseatic League. But Stavoren also looks back at when it was a battleground of the many wars between Holland and Frisia. Stavoren decided it had played its part in history. It stepped off the wobbly rope. Today, its 1,000 citizens are at peace with the seasonal cycle of tourists, snapping a selfie at the statue of Lady of Stavoren.


Stavoren's history makes tangible what it means to be both trader and minister at the same time, or "koopman en dominee", as they love to say in the Netherlands without really thinking it through. A history we can reflect on even today, if we regard traders and ministers to symbolise our never-ending effort to find a continuous balance between, on the one hand, creating and distributing enough wealth, and on the other hand, to have an understanding of well-being in the broadest sense that is sustainable. An ever-shifting and changing balance. Exactly what you see when observing the wiggling feet of someone who walks on a shaky tightrope. Always a near-balance. Never achieving full status quo. But making it to the other side just the same. Civilisation is somewhere on that rope.


Enough with all this quasi socio-political pomposity. Let’s talk about an unpretentious, regional history. This story takes you from India to Oirschot, and from Evesham to Nijmegen.


1. King Friso from India arrives


In the year 313 BC, Friso arrived with a ship rowing from India and stepped ashore on the southern shores of the North Sea. He founded a kingdom for himself and, being the humble person he was, named it Frisia. King Friso also founded the city of Stavoren, named after the Indian god Stavo they brought with them. Of course, and with the same effort, a temple for Stavo was built as well. A temple whereat the Oracle was housed. Under the rule of Friso, and the kings who succeeded him, Stavoren became a wealthy and powerful city. The capital of the Frisian Coasts, as its nickname was.


King Friso founder of Frisia with in the background Stavoren and the Creil Woods in the foreground

After almost three centuries of prosperity and peace, suddenly a burst of fire came out of the earth. It happened near the Roode Klif (‘red cliff’) in the year AD 4, east of the city. On the fourth day of the earth spitting flames, a huge dragon rose above the column of fire. Then the fire died down. In the year 155, again a great fire. At the same spot as in the year 4. This time the column of fire remained visible for eight days. Just to be on the safe side, the king consulted the Oracle. She (or he) reassured the king not to be concerned. In addition, however, she prophesied that one day salt water shall be the cold dust. Confused, the king resumed with what kings do: governing things and collecting taxes. For a third time, in the year 230, a great column of fire came out of the soil. This time a bit closer to the city. Again, the king asked the Oracle for advice. She said the flames could be extinguished with three jars of water from the North Sea by a knight in full armour. All instructions were closely followed, and the earth stopped burning.


What about the Oracle’s prophecy? It came true. In olden times, Stavoren bordered on a vast, swampy forest called the Kreilerbos ‘kreil woods’. It covered much of what is today the Lake IJsselmeer. All the way to what is the modern region of Westfriesland in the province of Noord Holland. A forest slowly but steadily washing away from the Roman Period onward. As a reminder, a present village in the Wieringermeer polder carries the name Kreileroord meaning ‘Kreil colony’. You will pass it when hiking the Frisia Coast Trail. Anyway, when the people of Stavoren dug a well in the Kreilerbos, a great flood of seawater started pouring out of it. Hastily the Oracle was consulted. She told the people to sacrifice a three-year-old child and throw it in the well. No questions asked, they did what the Oracle told them to do. A disaster was averted. Or committed? we wonder.


Whether the measures of the Oracle did not suffice, or a human sacrifice had to be avenged by God, the sea would punish Stavoren severely, as we will see later in this blog post. The cold dust of the prophesy.



 

The Mighty Swamp, a world of the gods – When the Romans arrived at what is today the Netherlands, the Lake IJsselmeer was mostly still land; a swamp forest called Kreilerbos, meaning ‘kreil woods’ in the modern Dutch language. The part ‘kreil’ or ‘creil’ has a Latin origin, namely craticulum, meaning ‘brushwood’. In the modern Dutch language, this is called ‘broekbos’, which translates to carr in English. So, imagine a vast waterlogged area filled with willow trees, alder, and birch growing on peat soil, crossed by many streams and fens.


Within this wooded, swampy wilderness, there was a great lake, called Lake Flevo by the Romans. The Latin word flevo means ‘flow’. The Strait Vlie (also Fli) and island Vlieland got their name from it as well. But also the toponyms Flehite for the area around the city of Amersfoort, Fela Oua for a territory at the Vlie which became the Veluwe, and Fulnaho for a height near the Vlie which is today’s town of Vollenhove. A mnemonic for the reader: ‘Go with the Vlie’. In the Early Middle Ages, when the Lake Flevo and the River Vlie had widened considerably already, the lake was known as Almere. The part ‘mere’ means ‘lake’. The first part ‘al’ is less evident. It could stem from ‘ala’ meaning ‘wholly’ or ‘entirely’. In other words ‘enormous’. It also could stem from Old Saxon ‘alah’ or Old English ‘eal’ meaning ‘temple’ or ‘sanctuary’ (Van Renswoude website, Van Berkel & Samplonius 2018).


Already during the Roman Period the forest was being eroded because the River Vlie, which flowed into the North Sea between the current Wadden Sea islands Vlieland and Terschelling, widened through time. This way draining the area of its water ever more stronger. When peat soils are being drained it washes away. The Romans described an area where islands with trees were flowing towards the sea. Historians blame the Romans for this decomposition process. In the first century AD, General Nero Claudius Drusus canalized and widened, among other, the River Vlie to improve the accessibility by water to the North Sea. Part of the Roman ambition to subdue Germania north of the River Rhine.


With especially the storm flood in the year 1170 the last peat ridge at Stavoren was washed away, creating a wide passage for the water of Lake Flevo (by then named Lake Almere) to flow away into the Wadden Sea. It caused the water level of the lake to drop significantly. This drop in water level, in turn, meant that the peat lands were drained even more strongly. A process which meant even more peat lands to be washed away. Thus a lake that grew bigger and bigger (De Graaf 2004).


Lake Flevo or Flevum (Almere) and the Drusus Canals

The River Vlie was, therefore, an anthropogenic intervention. Part of the so-called Drusus Canals (Verhagen 2022). A human interference with the natural environment confronting us two millennia later still with its consequences. Or to put it simply, Drusus pulled the plug from the bathtob. Believe it or not, but as we write this blog post, the Netherlands is literally reconstructing the River Vlie again. An expensive project of 60 million euros called the Vismigratierivier ‘fish migration river’. Drusus Canal 2.0 would have been more accurate.


Portions of the once vast Kreilerbos were still there in the Late Middle Ages. Especially bordering the region of Westfriesland and along what is now the coast of the Lake IJsselmeer of the provinces of Friesland and Overijssel (Vollenhove), when also most of this washed away after many great floods that occurred in this period. Residues are the nearly drowned islands Urk, Schokland-Emmeloord, and Marken, and the drowned islands of Nagele, Marknesse, and Fenehuysen near the mouth of the River IJssel. The latter three were only lost during the Late Middle Ages (Van Popta 2020).


Knowing that since time immemorial, already from the Bronze Age, watery landscapes were considered sacral and spiritual environments, a place where all kinds of (religious) rituals were being performed (Fontijn 2020), could the Kreilerbos and the Lake Almere not have been such a place? Got Stavoren its exceptional status in Frisian and Dutch sagas when it comes to gods, temples, oracles, saints, and kings for this reason?

 


The above legend concerning Friso and the Oracle is but one out of many legends that exist. Recurring components in the legends and sagas about Stavoren are its oldness, its royalty, its wealth, the prophecies, and being a centre of idolatry and Christendom. Other legends, telling that King Radbod had one of his castles at Stavoren and was buried here too, like his father King Aldgillis, are in line with this. Note that the stones marking the grave of King Aldgillis near the lighthouse are being flung back and forth. No one seems to bother (Walinga 2024).


Obviously this is not the case with its name-giving origin. We feel confident that the Indian idol Stavo had no part in it. The oldest mention of the name Stavoren dates from the eleventh century as Stavron and Staverun. A name derived from the Old Frisian word staver meaning 'pole'. Compare Old English staefer and Old Saxon stavor (Van Berkel & Samplonius 2018). Think also of stave, staff and staaf in respectively the modern English and Dutch languages. And, of course, stavkirke ‘stave church’ in Norway. Some speculate it was the poles protecting the harbour of Stavoren that gave the settlement its name.



2. Priest Odulf from Brabant arrives


When in the year 719 King Radbod of Frisia dies of sickness, the Franks seize the opportunity to finally gain control over Frisia. First, they conquered the profitable river area in the Central Netherlands. It was the Frankish king, Charles Martel, who was the greatest strategist of Europe in his time. After having defeated the Arabs in the historic Battle of Tours in the year 731, King Charles turned to northern Frisia. With the Battle of the Borne in the year 736, he defeats the Frisian army of King Poppo. Interestingly, the alleged son of King Radbod fought in the Frankish army of Charles Martel against the Arabs. He heroically died in battle and is being venerated as Saint Fris in southern France to this very day. Read our blog post Like Father, Unlike Son and believe.


The true success of the Franks in building an empire almost as big as that of the Romans lay in the fact that they made a deal with God. With that, we mean that the legitimation of the king no longer was based on being the chosen first warrior among equals, but based on godly approval. At the same time, the Franks enlarged the world of Christendom. Therefore, the Holy Roman Church and the Frankish ruling elite became a complicated symbiotic system. In order to make this strategy work, it was crucial that the people of the newly conquered territories, like that of the Saxons or the Frisians, were converted to Christianity as quickly as possible. If they did not believe in Christ, there was no need to be loyal to a ruler who was approved by Christ either. So, missionaries walked in the footsteps of soldiers.


With the Frisians in the defence and heavily losing ground against the Franks, it was important to step up the conversion work. Bishop Frederick of Utrecht, who himself was a Frisian from the village of Sexbierum in the modern province of Friesland and said to be a descendant of King Radbod, approached the Benedictine priest Odulf. Odulf was born out of Frankish nobility. His father was named Ludgis or Bodgis. Probably Odulf was from the village of Best in the province of Noord Brabant and received his religious training in the nearby village of Oirschot. Another possibility is that he came from the north of France. Odulf is known under many names: Odulphus, Odulphi, Odulfi, Odulp, Olof, Oelbert, Oel, Tolof, and Odwulf of Evesham. According to the Passio Frederici ‘passion of Frederick’ written by monk Otbert in the early twelfth century, Bishop Frederick reached out to Odulf after the bishop’s own efforts to convert the “rough people at the River Almere” had failed.


Saint Frederick of Utrecht (l) and Saint Odulf of Stavoren (r)


Odulf was a talented and persuasive preacher. Nevertheless, Frederick had to pull out all the stops to convince Odulf to take up the honourable task in Frisia. Already too old for the job, is what Odulf considered himself to be, according to the Vita sancti Odulphi ‘life of saint Odulf’, written around the year 1000. According to Frederick – and despite the “rough Frisians” in the north were hardly converted to anything remotely related to Christ up till then – the erring Frisians were nevertheless somehow adhering to Arianism and Sabellianism already. Both sects, which basically tampered with the dogma of the Holy Trinity, were considered heretic by the Church. Perhaps this was the winning argument, because Odulf accepted the mission eventually. Even with the potential perspective of becoming a martyr. Like Archbishop Boniface before, in the year 754, in the territory if Oostergo.

Eodem namque contigit tempore quo Fresones, viri videlicet feroces in tanti erroris dementiam devenirent quod supradictus episcopus neque per semetipsum neque per suos archidiaconos ad viam veritatis posset eos revocare.

Vitæ variorum sanctorum 775, twelfth century (library of Saint Omer)


Now at the same time it happened that the Frisians, being known to be fierce men, fell into such mad error that the above-mentioned bishop [Saint Frederick] could neither by themselves nor with his archdeacons recall them to the way of truth.


No solid information is available as to when precisely Odulf travelled to Frisia. Probably in the early ’30s of the ninth century (De Langen & Mol 2023). We can imagine that Frankish missionaries were not received with open arms yet. Besides the wars of the Franks with the Arabs, Saxons, and Frisians (and the Battle of the Borne about to take place), from the year 834 forward, Vikings started to raid Frisia and the River Rhine area intensively. In short, Odulf was not taking a trip to the Spanish Costas to preach among some friendly northern European pensionados, and who knows the reason why Odulf tried to pass the cup instead of drinking it.


Stavoren might have been a straightforward choice to start ministering to the Frisians. A settlement accessed by the important waterways Vlie (also Fli) and Nagele. There, where the stream Nagele, flowing from the southeast, reached the Vlie, which continued to flow north into the North Sea, is where Stavoren started. Easily reachable over water from the town of Utrecht and from there connected with the River Rhine and the Continent. Also connected via the Vlie with the Wadden Sea and the wider North Sea and southern Scandinavia. Via land road, it was connected with the hinterland of Frisia all the way to Bentheim in Germany. Hence, not a backwater but people familiar with the world.


Odulf probably merely organized a clerical community that took care of the liturgy and prayed for the salvation of the dead (Mol website), and perhaps he also established a chapel. A chapel as we also know from the Vita sancti Liudgeri ‘life of Saint Ludger’ that stood on the terp village of Wyscwyrd, modern Usquert, in the province of Groningen at the end of the eighth century (check our post One of history’s enlightening hikes, that of Bernlef). Not a monastery, for the political situation in Frisia was not stable enough in the ninth century (Betten 2009).


How long he stayed in Frisia is unclear. According to some Odulf was back in Utrecht when bishop Frederick died, which was between 834 and 838 (Betten 2009). We do know for sure Odulf was back by the year 854 the latest, when he played an important role in selecting the new bishop of Utrecht. Back then, the bishopric itself chose their bishop and not the pope yet. Hunger, also known under his Latinized name Hungerus Frisus 'Hunger the Frisian' (but also known as San Hungero), became the new bishop of Utrecht. One of the issues during the election was Hunger’s handicap or abnormal physical appearance. Odulf, the man who knew his way around words and who was highly respected, convinced the other clerics to consider Hunger’s deeds and not at how he looks.


unger turned out to be a stubborn Frisian. When all the bishops of Lotharingen and West Francia gathered in Aachen -finally- approved the dissolution of the marriage of King Lothar II and Teutberga, because the queen bore the king no children. Everyone but one: bishop Hunger. The Pope, however, supported Hunger and removed all the bishops of Trier and Cologne. Look who won the Hunger Games! Check our post A Frisian bishop who proceeded The Hunger Games.


Frisia in the Early Middle Ages by J.A. Mol (Stavoren at cross)

When Odulf left Stavoren, a crowd gathered to receive a last sermon from him. Curiously enough, Odulf told the people they would return to heathendom again. He predicted that the Vikings would come to destroy Frisia and would carry off all the men and women. He predicted that when the stone before his house would roll on its own into the River Vlie, heathen pirates from the north would arrive. “Scitote quod sine humano labore devolvetur in flumen quod dicitur Fle” (‘know that it will roll into the river that is called Fle without human labour’). Only when the stone would roll back out off the water, again by itself, would Stavoren be freed from the Norsemen and would the people return to Christ. With this boost and shady prospect, rock star Odulf wished everyone all the best of luck, perhaps made a sign of the Cross, waved and sailed off.



Odulf was very timely with his prophecy that the Vikings would come to attack the town of Stavoren, because it was not before the year 991 that they did. Whether the rolling stone did its magic is not told.

Piratae etiam Staverun depredando vastaverunt aliaque in litore loca periderunt

Annales Hildesheimenses, tenth-twelfth centuries


The pirates also ravaged Staverun by pillaging and destroyed other places on the coast


Frisius sacerdos Odulphi died at an old age in the odour of sanctity (De Kruijf 2011). They say he was ninety, but the year is unknown, although 855 circulates. His feast day is June 12. There are different theories about where Odulf was buried. One suggests that he was buried in the Saint Salvatore Church in Utrecht. Unfortunately, this church was demolished in the year 1587. Another theory is that he was buried in the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Utrecht. Lastly, there is a theory that Odulf was buried in Evesham, England. We will explain further below how that came to be.


coat of arms of Stavoren

After his death, miracles started to happen at his grave, and subsequently Odulf was declared a saint. Saint Odulf is mostly depicted with a staff and either a begging nap or chalice. Of course, the name Stavoren, meaning 'poles' or 'staves', as we have seen above, fits snugly with Odulf’s staff. And with the coat of arms of Stavoren too. Museum Catharijneconvent 'Catharine Convent' in Utrecht has Odulf’s nap on display. Often also a wax tablet is depicted, attached to his staff on which he wrote the names of the ones he managed to convert to Christianity (Mulder-Bakker & Carosso-Kok, 1997). From the Vita sancti Odulfi ‘life of saint Odulf’ written by Prior Dominic of Evesham, we know that a cult existed around Saint Odulf in Stavoren near the year 1000. His cult continued well into the fifteenth century (Mol website). During the Middle Ages, the Saint Odulf veneration was widespread in the region what is now the Low Countries.



3. Strict monks from Oostbroek arrive


An old theory (Freiherr von Richthofen 1882) is that Odulf founded a monastery on the spot where a pagan temple stood. This was not the case. As said, Frisia was too unstable in the ninth century to build a monastery yet. No more than a group of devotees and perhaps a chapel at the most. Three centuries after Odulf, in a period when monasteries are finally getting a foothold in Frisia east of the River Vlie and start documenting historic events in Frisia, light is shed on the clerical situation at Stavoren again. At the turn of the first and second millennia the first monasteries in Frisia between the rivers Vlie and Weser are founded at Dokkum, Reepsholt, and Stavoren (Van der Tuuk 2013).


It is the year 1132 when the bishop of Utrecht, Andreas of Cuijk, on the request of the citizens of Stavoren, intervenes in the clerical community. By the beginning of the twelfth century, a lay church exists, dedicated to Our Lady Mary, together with a chapter of twelve canons. However, the canons of the chapter led a dishonourable life and neglected their responsibilities. Bishop Andreas decided that the monks of the recently established monastery at Oostbroek (meaning ‘eastern swamps’), just east of the city of Utrecht, would take over the whole lot at Stavoren and establish a proper and full-swing abbey. The newly established monastery by the pious monks of Oostbroek was a so-called double monastery, meaning both monks and nuns (i.e. convent or Frouwen Cloister) lived there. Of course in separate buildings. The monks and nuns lived according to the very strict and sober Rule of Saint Benedict.


Benedictine monastery of Oostbroek (Oistbrouck), the convent (Frouwen Cloister) and the city of Utrecht

The Saint Odulf Abbey was set up about 800 meters west of Stavoren. With that, it was the first monastery in Friesland (Betten 2009). Today, that is exactly 800 meters from the shores in the Lake IJsselmeer. This immediately illustrates the problem. The coast of the southwest of Friesland lay much further west in the past. It was tidal marshland consisting of clay on peat soil where the abbey was built. With the land-eating process, initiated by the Roman General Drusus a millennium before, that was still going on. Moreover, the sea level was rising gradually too. Certainly during the High Middle Ages, the number of storm floods increased as well, which accelerated the degradation of the coastline.


The monks of Oostbroek were familiar with sweet water, river swamps. But were they able to cope with the swamps of the salty sea? With living on tidal marshland? Did the men of God from the hinterland consult the maritime locals about what a proper and safe spot could be to build a costly abbey? In defence of the monks and in contrast to the Cistercians, the Benedictine Order primarily focussed on wandering through the lands to proclaim the faith. Not on building monasteries.


What probably did not help either, was that surrounding peat areas were being exploited commercially for the production of salt. Tourists enjoying sailing on the Lake Morra near Stavoren today, have to thank medieval salt production for it. The name Morra stems from Old Frisian mora and modern Dutch moer meaning ‘salt mining’. Frisian sagas offer a different explanation, namely that the lake was created when two devils were playing a game of pelota high in the sky with two non-blessed church bells of the monastery of Saint Odulf. One of the bells fell to the earth on the spot of the Lake Morra. The saga is much longer, so do check it on the internet.


The abbey not only had possessions in the province of Friesland, but also in the region of Westfriesland in the province of Noord Holland, and possessed the islands Urk and Emmeloord (Schokland).



4. Storm surges from sea arrive


Besides your regular heavy storm causing enough damage to the coast already, quite a number of great floods plagued Frisia as well during the High Middle Ages. We list the most important ones (Van Engelen 1995, 1996):


  • The Saint Thomas’ Flood of 1163 that inundated much of the provinces of Holland and Friesland.

  • The All Saints’ Flood of 1170 that ravaged the Lake Almere area. The sea reached the city walls of Utrecht;

  • The Saint Nicholas’ Flood of 1196. A storm surge that definitively changed the Lake Almere and the River Vlie into the inland sea Zuiderzee ‘southern sea’;

  • The First Saint Marcellus’ Flood of 1219 that truly devastated much of Frisia between the Vlie and River Weser. Thousands of dead, at least;

  • The Saint Martin’s Flood of 1285, after the dykes broke the land was flooded twice. Followed by severe frost, which increased the number of casualties further;

  • The Saint Lucia’s Flood of 1287 that took, according to contemporary estimations, about 30,000 people along the coast between Stavoren and the River Lauwers;

  • The storm flood of 1318 that also damaged Stavoren. The same year bishop of Utrecht makes an appeal to assist the Saint Odulf Abbey because of, among other, the destructions inflicted by the sea;

  • In the year 1223, the bishop of Utrecht again makes an appeal for help. Two of the abbey’s towers have collapsed into the sea, and much of its crops had failed as well.


Check also our post Half a million deaths. A forgotten North Sea disaster… and Out of Averting the Inevitable a Community Was Born for an even more concrete picture of the 'cold dust'.


storm floods

Yes, we can complain about the weather these days, but we personally would not like to change places with our relatives in the High Middle Ages. It could be cold as well, albeit a bit later in time. Pieter Haring from Stavoren placed a bet on February 7, 1435, that he would drive twelve oxen across the frozen Lake Almere to the town of Enkhuizen in the region of Westfrieslan. Pieter won the bet.


Anyway, as a result of all the natural disasters, the abbey was slowly drowning since day one it was founded. Whereas the abbey stood still next to the water at the beginning of the twelfth century, a century later it already stood in the water. In the year 1214, the abbot wisely decided to relocate the abbey into the town of Stavoren.


The area at sea where once the Saint Odulf Abbey stood was known among skippers as it Tsjerkhôf (‘graveyard’) or de Stiennen (‘stones’) well into the nineteenth century. With extreme low tide the remains of the abbey were still visible in the year 1664 (Zandstra 2010). Because the shallows of the former abbey were located in front of the harbour and inconvenient for ships, this water was dredged in the nineteenth century. Archaeological research into the remains of the abbey between 1999 and 2006 turned up nothing. Basically, the research confirmed that the dredging companies had done their work well. Moreover, when the abbey was relocated, most of the stones were probably reused. Legend has it that for a long time, fishermen could hear from under the water the church bells ring of the old abbey. They believed that the ringing of the bells was the work of the Devil. Compare also the tragic history of the town of Rungholt in the region of Nordfriesland in our post How a town drowned overnight.


The story of the nuns of the Saint Odulf Abbey was different from that of the monks. Not long after the abbey was founded around 1132, a separate convent was set up at the small village of Hemelum, about 8 kilometers east of Stavoren. It must have happened between 1155 and 1157. Hemelum is located on a glacial sand ridge. The convent was dedicated to Saint Odulf and Our Lady Mary. For those who wonder, the name Hemelum has nothing to do with heaven, in the Dutch language hemel. It was the hiem (-um) ‘home’ of a person named Hemel(e) (Van Berkel & Samplonius 2018). Archaeological research revealed a huge barn or grange, called a grangia in Latin during the Middle Ages. The dimensions of the grange were 11 by 42 meters. That is not only big, but with a construction date of at least 1157, it is also the oldest grangia in the Netherlands. With that, the Benedictine monastic order stands, for the moment, at the base of introducing the monastic gulf grange or Gulfscheune in the Netherlands (De Langen & Mol 2023).


Four centuries later, grangiae would develop into the proud Frisian gulf farmhouses we are familiar with today along the entire southern North Sea coast from the province of Noord Holland to the peninsula Eiderstedt in Landkreis Nordfriesland. For more about the (international) history of the Frisian gulf farmhouse, check our blog post A Croaking Ode to the Haubarg by the Eiderstedter Nachtigall.


Some time after the year 1414, the nuns in the convent of Hemelum were sent away and the monks moved in. This probably happened just before or after the year 1418 when the monastery is definitively relocated from Stavoren to Hemelum (Van Engelen 1996). In the fifteenth century, the monks of the monastery had developed a bad reputation and were also involved in feuds. It was in the year 1495 that Abbot Agge gave an important relic of Saint Odulf, one of the saint’s arms inlaid in silver, in safekeeping to haadling ‘headman’ annex warlord Bocka Harinxma at the town of Sneek. Strangely, every trace of the relic is missing afterward. Maybe we should contact antique dealers in London to find this relics (see intermezzo below).



 

Hassling with Odulf’s body parts and 'possessions' – Prior Dominic of Evesham is the author of the Vita sancti Odulphi ‘life of Saint Odulf’ written in the second half of the eleventh century. In it he explains how relics of Saint Odulf ended up in Evesham Abbey in England. On the market of London, Abbot Ælfweard, who was besides abbot of Evesham also the bishop of London, accidentally ran into merchants selling relics of Saint Odulf. This must have been around the year 1034. Abbot Ælfweard bought them for 100 mark silver (Halbertsma 2000). The account does not tell how the merchants got hold of the relics. The authenticity of the relics is unclear. At that time the remains of Odulf (still) lay buried in Utrecht.


Legend say it was Norsemen who sold the relics on the market. They in turn had bought the relics from the monks of the Saint Odulf Abbey. After the relics were transferred to Evesham Abbey, many miracles started to happen. Drawing many believers and pilgrims to the abbey, and generating a lot of income. The purchase of hundred mark silver was soon recovered. Not long after, Walter de Cerisy from northern France, abbot of Evesham Abbey between 1077 and 1104, during the Norman Conquest, tried to move the shrine with the relics to Winchcombe Abbey. However, when Abbot Walter and his accomplices tried to do so, the shrine became so heavy they could not carry it any further. When they returned in the direction of Evesham Abbey, the shrine became light as a feather. Some say Walter was a Norseman.


The phenomenon of saints becoming too heavy to be moved occurs more often. Like with the Frisian saints Fris in the village of Bassoues in southern France, and Walfrid and his son Radfrid in the village of Bedum in the province of Groningen.


Another legend is about when Queen Edith of Wessex took some of Odulf’s relics for her private collection. She was struck blind. Again a sign Saint Odulf he did not fancy his body parts being removed from Evesham Abbey.


Possibly also relics ended up in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges, Flanders. This would concern the undergarment of Saint Odulf. As explained, the nap of Saint Odulf is on display in the Museum Catharijne Convent in Utrecht. It previously was kept in the Saint Salvatore Church until it was demolished. By the way, several naps existed of Saint Odulf, some simply of leather, others inlaid in silver. The Saint Salvatore also kept Saint Odulf's elb. This too can be found in the Museum Catharijne Convent. From Saint Odulf's skull also a shrine was made in the year 1300, but it has been lost (De Kruijf 2011).


Lastly, there is the story of the Welsh monk Wizo Flandrensis who travelled to Frisia in the Middle Ages to return the relics to the Saint Odulf Abbey. However, this is but a recent fraud (Lasance 2011, Nijdam 2012).


Note that we placed the word possessions in the title between brackets because according to the Rule of Saint Benedict a monk could not have any possessions. Everything he needed was given to a monk by the abbot.

 


Not only did the forces of nature fail to spare the Saint Odulf Abbey, but so did the force of men. Firstly, the Saint Odulf Abbey, like many other monasteries in the province of Friesland, was involved in local armed conflicts, power struggles, and feuds. More than once the Christian principle of pacifism had left them. Secondly, the Friso-Hollandic Wars that raged on and off between 1256 and 1422 were catastrophic for the Saint Odulf Abbey. Often, the town was a strategic target for control by both parties. In the summer of 1345, the leaders of the Westergo and the Oostergo gave permission to the abbey to collect alms in the region because the abbey was greatly impoverished due to storm floods and wars.



5. Count William from Holland arrives


Before continuing the rest of this breath taking blog post, note that the modern province of Friesland, Mid Frisia, historically consists of three gaue ‘territories’ also called pagi in the Latin language and comparable to the English shires, namely: Westergo, Oostergo and Sudergo. Stavoren and the Sudergo, which encompasses the southwest of the province, had become interchangeable entities in the High Middle Ages. The Sudergo, which literally translates to 'southern gau', was much larger in early-medieval times, and before, but had lost a lot of its territory to the sea, as explained earlier in this post. During the High Middle Age, the Sudergo as such was no longer political relevant. Stavoren very much so, as we now will see.


On September 26, 1345, the famous Battle of Warns took place between Holland and Frisia, and part of the Friso-Hollandic Wars. The county of Holland for long had tried to gain control over independent Frisia east of the River Vlie, as well as potentially Frisia all the way to the River Weser. In that year, in 1345, Count William IV and Count John of Beaumont crossed the Zuiderzee ‘southern sea’ with a fleet from the town of Enkhuizen in the region of Westfriesland. Count John landed with a fleet south of Stavoren, while Count William IV landed north of the town. Both forces were defeated, and moreover, both counts were killed. Not the least due to overconfident behaviour of Count William IV.


Battle of Warns in 1345 by J.H. Bruning (1856)

Looking back, the humiliating defeat of 1345 was decisive for the aspirations of the counts of Holland. Never would they be able to gain control over the rest of Frisia. Although they kept trying, and especially the killing of Count William IV had created a lot of bad blood. In the year 1396, Holland managed to occupy Stavoren but retreated after a month already. Two years later, Holland launched for the third time an attack over the sea but again without a lasting effect. Fighting also took place at Stavoren that year (Van Engelen 1996).


In the run-up to the Battle of Warns, there had been put a lot of pressure on monasteries in Friesland by Count William IV. He had confiscated properties and privileges of monasteries and threatened to sell it if they did not persuade the leaders of the Westergo and Oostergo to accept him as their legitimate lord. This strategy would drive the monasteries, which represented a significant factor of power in Friesland, into the arms of those Frisian local leaders. There were even negotiations in an advanced stage between the count of Holland and a Frisian delegation in the town of Medemblik in the first week of June in 1345 about the conditions under which the Frisians would recognize the count of Holland. In an effort to defuse the conflict. The parties had reached a preliminary agreement on the part of levying taxes, on building castles by the count, and on the so-called heervaerdt in the Old Frisian language, i.e. providing armed men for offensive military actions outside Frisian territory initiated by the count.


However, the talks between Holland and Friesland foundered on who got the right to dispense law and justice, and on the appointment of the regional administrators. Immediately after the Medemblik negotiations broke down, the Frisians seized the Saint Odulf Abbey and evacuated all the monks, and turned it into a stronghold. Trying to prevent the count from using Stavoren as a bridgehead to launch an attack on Friesland (Mol 1997, Betten 2009).

Anno CCC XLV doe wert Staveren verstoert van da Vresen op sinte Odolph avont

The year 345 is when Stavoren was attacked by the Frisians on Saint Odulf’s evening [viz. June 11, 1345]


The seizure of the Saint Odulf Abbey did not change the plans of Count William IV, and he launched his attack on Stavoren anyway. Probably he chose Stavoren relying on the town’s historic support. For long, the port had been oriented toward Holland, mainly because of its economic trade interests. As we will see, the town had been granted several privileges by the count in the eleventh century already. Furthermore, we recall that in the ninth century also Odulf picked Stavoren as his base in converting the heathen and "rough" Frisians. In addition, the Saint Odulf Abbey, like many other abbeys and monasteries in Frisia, traditionally benefited from good relations with the count of Holland.


In addition, the town of Stavoren fulfilled a traditional role in inaugurating counts of Frisia. Already in the year 1101, Count Henry of Nordheim, nicknamed Henry the Fat, together with his wife Gertrude of Brunswick, was inaugurated as count of Frisia (Henstra 2012). And from 1292 onward, Stavoren repeatedly acknowledged Hollandic counts as lord of (parts of) Frisia. Indeed, the legendary Capital of the Frisian Coasts of which we spoke of earlier. In the year 1310, the Sudergo (viz. Stavoren) and the Westergo concluded a treaty with Count William III. They too inaugurated him at Stavoren that same year. When the Frisians noticed that the count violated the terms of the treaty, like raising taxes and appointing administrators, hostilities resumed. Afterward, the Westergo even tried to revive the Upstalsboom treaty of the Seven Sealands they had neglected for so long. It was in vain.


The yearly remembrance of the Battle of Warns on the Roode Klif at the village of Warns has old roots. Following the victory, the Frisians established a yearly ceremony in honour of Our Lady Mary on September 26. Not at the Roode Klif though, but at Stavoren where most of the fighting actually took place. The Saint Odulf Abbey fulfilled a central role in the commemoration. A statue of Mary was carried during a procession. After the victory of 1345, Lady Mary had become a symbol of the strife for independence in Friesland (Mulder-Bakker & Van Beek 2021). Apparently, bones of slain Hollanders were permanently on display in the graveyard of Stavoren and were also part of commemorating the battle, because in the year 1527 King Charles V had them buried in order to control overly patriotism. In spite of the king’s efforts, priests still dedicated mass to the battle in 1345 until the Reformation abolished Catholic sermon and liturgy in the late sixteenth century.


During the Second World War, the yearly commemoration of the battle was reinstated on the initiative of the pro-German Fryske Rie fen Saxo-Frisia ‘Frisian council of Saxo-Frisia’, and focused on Frisian identity. Later, to cleanse away the bad taste of the recommencement during the war, the Fryske Beweging ‘Frisian movement’ focused the commemoration on the liberation and freedom. Go to the Roode Klif on September 26, when the battle is commemorated by a handful of people, and the number of flags from the different Frisian lands seems to exceed the number of attendees.



6. Trade ships from afar arrive


Stavoren is considered the oldest town with city rights in the Netherlands. The town received its city rights in the year 1061 (Vroom 2021). Others say it was in the year 1068 (Beemsterboer 2010), which is probably more correct (see further below). Understandably, the town itself considers 1061 as the year it formally became a city. Regardless the seven years’ difference, the old age gives away it must have been a relevant economic factor in the wider region’s history.


Hoort vrienden, hoort, een lied,

Dat duid’lijk zal verklaren,

Wat eenmaal is geschied

Voor meer dan duizend jaren,

Toen ‘t oud en grijs Stavoren

Nog bloeide op Friesland’s grond,

En van zijn macht deed hooren,

De gansche wereld rond.


ballad ca. 1840


Hear friends, hear, a song, | That will clearly explain, | What once has happened | For more than thousand years, | When the old and grey Stavoren | Still flourished on Friesland’s ground, | En made its power heard, | The whole world ’round


In the ninth century Stavoren was an upcoming settlement in trade (Van Engelen 1996, Van der Tuuk 2013). It is also the time when Bishop Frederick and Odulf operated at the place and its surroundings to minister to the Frisians. From the eleventh until the thirteenth centuries, Stavoren was a serious international trading port (Mol website). That Stavoren was serious business was affirmed with its entry into the Hanseatic League in the year 1285.


Stavoren has the typical elongated shape of trading settlements in the (former) marshlands of Frisia. Other oblong-shaped terps are the trading places Berlikum, Emden, Holwerd, Langwarden, and Medemblik. The latter is also called the twin of Stavoren, and vice versa.


replica of a cog ship in use during the period of the Hanseatic League

From a charter of Holy Roman Emperor Henry V, dated the year 1123, we learn that the town of Stavoren had received certain privileges earlier from Egbert I, margrave of Meissen. Egbert I ruled as count over Frisia in the years 1087 and 1068, the year he already died. Furthermore, we learn from the charter of 1123 that these privileges given by Margrave Egbert I, were reconfirmed by Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV (Henstra 2012). Therefore, the year 1068 is considered best the year Stavoren received its city rights.


But what did those privileges entail concretely?


A first privilege was that merchants of Stavoren who had a dispute among each other, or with merchants of other towns, could not be subject to a duel for evidence and judgement. Secondly, merchants also had the right to divide a so-called weregeld (‘blood money or fine’) among each other. Thirdly, the merchants of Stavoren were not obliged to attend the so-called bodthing, which was a thing assembly where all freemen were summoned to appear and assist the count both in rulings in legal disputes and military matters. Lastly, the privileges gave the merchants, in certain specific cases, the right to enter a house and to burn it down in case of punishment. This privilege means that the merchants were mandated to act when certain crimes were committed.


In summary, the privileges placed the merchants of Stavoren, and therefore the town itself, outside the landrecht 'customary law of the region' (literally translates as 'land law'). In essence these privileges facilitated the traders. And a seamless trade was in the interest of the feudal lords and kings because their courts depended on these merchants. Les hommes de l'empereur (Lebecq 1983). Not much has changed in history. Replace merchant by multinational, and you get the picture. Of course, these privileges also ensured Stavoren had to show loyalty to the counts and king. At the same time it was vulnerable over land and thus depended on regional leaders in Frisia. Hence, a balancing act.


Merchants of the trading town of Tiel in the Central Netherlands also claimed to have similar privileges. This according to the account of chronicler Alpert of Metz, who lived around the year 1000. Besides the fact that these merchants were rough men and not used to any form of discipline, they also could not be judged by the regional landrecht. Moreover, they were exempted from tonlieu ‘a feudal tax’. Even perjury committed by merchants could not be punished. These privileges were given to their forefathers in a charter (Lebecq 1983).


These privileges of Stavoren and Tiel around the year 1000 bring us to a piece of misty history. In the former medieval western gate of the city of Nijmegen, called the Hezelpoort, before it was demolished in the year 1876, a gable stone was placed containing a coat of arms with below the Latin text:

huc usque ius Stauriae

up to here (applies) the law of Stavoren


Despite the demolition of the Hezelpoort gate, the gable stone was preserved and, together with gable stones of other demolished city gates, cemented into an exterieur wall of the courtyard of the old city hall. Below pictures of the Hezelpoort, both the exterior and the interior of the gate.



huc usque ius Stauriae
inscription gable stone Hezelpoort gate: huc usque ius Stauriae.Stone pictures by Henk Kersten

The story goes that the inscription is a replica made in the year 1533 of an older stone, which could mean the original text, if such existed, differed. To our knowledge, there is no contemporary report or drawing available.


The text is hard to read. Ravages of time have damaged it a lot. So we must also rely on mentions of the past what the text said. Luckily, references to the inscription appear from the beginning of the seventeenth century. Those early historians have left us with somewhat different - more elaborate - wordings, namely: Hic Pes Romani Imperij, huc usque jus Stauriae ('here ends the Roman Empire, up to here applies the law of Stavoren') and Hic finis Regni Stauriae ('here ends the Kingdom of Stavoren'). We consider the latter (Le Petit 1615) a classic example of Romanticism gone overboard. Likewise, the extended version about the Roman Empire (Guicciardini 1612). No reason to think Stauriae was competing with the town of Noviomagus 'Nijmegen' already in Roman times. Too much honour. Moreover, it does not fit on the stone.


Considering the medieval privileges of mercatores 'merchants of the town of Tiel and notably of the respectable and prestigious town of Stavoren, the merchants of Nijmegen might have been granted similar rights. Just as Stavoren, merchants also settled in the town of Nijmegen during the ninth century. Moreover, at Nijmegen was a Kaiserpfalz 'imperial palace' of the Frankish king, which required a lot of supplies. The Kaiserpfalz of the king certainly required its own hommes de l'empereur as well. The inscription marked the extent to which the merchant's rights applied, namely within the city walls, and from where the regional landrecht applied, namely outside the gate (Gorissen 1955).


The part still readable on the stone seem to confirm the text huc usque ius Stauriae. The first six letters HVCVSQ are visible in the picture above. All things taken together, the remaining stone and the historic context that the the right of Stavoren was a synonym for merchant privileges, we assume this is indeed the original text.


Hezelpoort Nijmegen in seventeenth century, demolished in 1876

More privileges were given. The Frisian ports Stavoren and Hindeloopen received in the year 1368 from King Albert of Sweden the right to sail toll-free in the waters of Sweden and Denmark. In addition, they were allowed to set up their own community and had the right to conduct their trade without any interference (Van der Ven 1970). As said earlier, in 1285, Stavoren had entered the Hanseatic League. Stavoren was sailing on the highest waves of power.



7. Superior wheat from Gdansk arrives


Stavoren burns and is being captured by the Vetkopers ‘fat keepers’ one of the factions in the civil war in the province of Friesland. The year 1420 was disastrous for Stavoren. 1420 marks the beginning of the end of the power of Stavoren (Van Engelen 1996).


We end this blog post with one of the most well-known sagas of the Netherlands, Het Vrouwtje van Stavoren ‘Lady of Stavoren’ because its story is all about the downfall of the once famous and mighty town. A saga that is documented at the end of the sixteenth century.


 

Het vrouwtje van Stavoren – De frouwe fan Starum - Lady Stavoren


A proud rich merchant widow once instructed a skipper to sail out and to bring her the most valuable goods of the world. The skipper searched for until he found in the port of Gdansk the finest wheat he had ever seen. He loaded his ship with it and sailed back to Stavoren.


Lady of Stavoren

When the widow saw what he brought she became enraged and ordered the skipper to throw all the wheat overboard outside the harbour. The poor of Stavoren begged her not to, but she did not listen. An old man who witnessed the whole thing said to the furious widow that she will be punished for her behaviour and she too will become a beggar. She responded by throwing one of her finger rings into the sea and said:

Just as this ring never returns from the sea, neither will I be reduced to beggary!

But the prophecy of the old man came true. After some time, the maid of the widow was preparing fish when she discovered the ring inside the intestines of a fish. The maid brought it to the widow. Not long after, the widow received news that all her ships were lost at sea and the widow lost all her fortune. On the sandbanks where the skipper threw the wheat from Gdansk overboard, wheat grew. Blocking the port of Stavoren. With that, also Stavoren fell into disrepair.


 


Today, if you visit the town, the little statue of Lady of Stavoren stands in the harbour. The proud widow stares at the sea. Exactly in the direction where centuries ago, 800 meters further on, the Saint Odulf Abbey was. Is she aware of its history?


 


Note 1 – A map with an overview of places related to Saint Odulf:



Note 2 - Concerning bringing to our attention the gable stone in the city gate of Nijmegen with the Latin inscription about Stavoren, we want to thank Jan de Vries and Hans van Meteren.


Note 3 - Stavoren, the official Dutch name of the town, is also called Staveren. The official name in the Mid Frisian language is Starum.



Suggested hiking

Check the website Odulphuspad ‘Odulf path’ for fifteen hikes and four camini and the app Routabel in the province of Friesland. Besides directions it also gives you historic background of the places you walk along. The St. Odulphuspad exists since 2018.


Not really a hike, but you also have the possibility to join yearly, on June, 12, the Heilige Odulphusbedevaart ‘Saint Odulf pilgrimage’ performed by the Russian Orthodox Monastery of Saint Nicholas of Myra at the village of Hemelum in the southwest of province Friesland.


The pilgrimage visits Hemelum, Bakhuizen and Stavoren. The procession goes partially over water because it starts at the Lake IJsselmeer facing the harbour of Stavoren, above the spot where once the Saint Odulf Abbey stood (Betten 2009). It is monk father Jewsewy who tries to revive the veneration of Saint Odulf since 2007. Inside the church of the monastery also has a small chapel dedicated to Saint Odulf and can only be accessed by pilgrims. Next to church is the Odulphushuis ‘Odulf house’ where the monks stay and where pilgrims can stay as well. Also non pilgrims can stay but check the conditions on their website.


Suggested music

The Temptations, War (1970)

ABBA, Money, Money, Money (1976)

Kate Bush, Cloudbusting (1985)

R.E.M., Losing My Religion (1991)


Further reading

Antependium Nijmegen, Hanzestad Nijmegen (website)

Arkstee, H.K., Nijmegen, de oude hoofdstad der Batavieren (1788)

Beemsterboer, T., Wanneer heeft een stad eigenlijk stadsrechten? (2010)

Berkel, van G. & Samplonius, K., Nederlandse plaatsnamen verklaard. Reeks Nederlandse plaatsnamen deel 12 (2018)

Betten, E., Kloosters in Friesland. Een inleiding (2009)

Droog, B.F.M., Tota Frisia? Slag bij Warns? Nee – slag bij Stavoren! Deel 1 (2023)

Engelen, van A.F.V. (ed.), Jan Buisman. Duizend jaar weer, wind en water in de Lage Landen. Deel 1. Historisch onderzoek 764-1300 (1995)

Engelen, van A.F.V. (ed.), Jan Buisman. Duizend jaar weer, wind en water in de Lage Landen. Deel 2. Historisch onderzoek 1300-1450 (1996)

Faber, K.P.H. & Faber, L.A., De eerste koningen van Nederland (2007)

Farmer, D., The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (2011)

Fontijn, D., Economics of destruction. How the systematic destruction of valuables created value in Bronze Age Europe, c. 2300-500 BC (2020)

Freiherr von Richthofen, K., Untersuchungen über Friesische Rechtsgeschichte (1882)

Gogh, van C.M., De Navorscher. Een middel tot gedachtenwisseling en letterkundig verkeer, tusschen allen die iets weten, iets te vragen hebben of iets kunnen oplossen (1863)

Gorissen, F., Huc usque ius stavriae : over de betekenis van de gedenksteen afkomstig van de Hezelpoort (1955)

Graaf, de R., Oorlog om Holland, 1100-1375 (2004)

Guicciardini, L., Befchryvinghe van alle de Neder-landen; anderffins ghenoemt Neder-Dvytslandt (1612)

Halbertsma, H., Het rijk van Friese koningen, opkomst en neergang (2000)

Heiligen.net, Odulfus van Utrecht, Nederland; priester; † ca 855 (website)

Henstra, D.J., Friese graafschappen tussen Zwin en Wezer. Een overzicht van de grafelijkheid in middeleeuws Frisia (ca. 700-1200) (2012)

Het katholieke geloof, H. Odulfus (website)

Hiensch, H., Het verzonken Oud-Staavren van Piet Paaltjens (2022)

Historiek, De sage van ‘Het Vrouwtje van Stavoren’. De sage van de hoogmoedige koopmansweduwe (2023)

Horlings, A., De Slag bij Warns (1345) – Symbool van de Friese vrijheidsstrijd (2023)

Huygens Instituut, Stavoren, het Vrouwtje van, legendarische koopmansvrouw (2014)

Japin, A., Het vrouwtje van Stavoren (2018)

Klinckaert, J., Een laat-middeleeuws Odulphusbeeld in Utrecht (1994)

Kramer, J.H., Von den Landtagen der Friesen in den mittlern Zeiten by Upstalsboom (1777)

Kruijf, de A.C., Miraculeus bewaard: middeleeuwse Utrechtse relieken op reis: de schat van de oud-katholieke Gertrudiskathedraal (2011)

Langen, de G. & Mol, J.A., Vroege benedictijner kloosterboerderijen in Zuidwest-Friesland (2023)

Lasance, A.W.M. (transl.), Wizo Flandrensis. Itinerarium Fresiae, of Een rondreis door de Lage Landen (2011)

Lebecq, S., Marchands et navigateurs Frisons du haut moyen âge. Vol. 1 and 2 (1983)

Looijenga, A., Popkema, A. & Slofstra, B., Een meelijwekkend volk. Vreemden over Friezen van de oudheid tot de kerstening (2017)

Mol, J.A., Bedevaart en Bedevaartsplaatsen in Nederland. Stavoren (Starum), H. Odolphus (Odulf) (website)

Mol, J.A., Graaf Willem IV, de Hollands-Friese oorlog van 1344/1345 en de Friese kloosters (1997)

Mulder-Bakker, A.B. & Bremmer jr, R.H. (eds.), Geleefd geloof. Het geloofsleven van boeren en burgers in Friesland en de Ommelanden van Groningen 1200 | 1580; Mulder-Bakker, A.B. & Beek, van L., Maria, Onze Lieve Vrouw. Hemelkoningin en Redder in Alle Nood (2021)

Mulder-Bakker, A.B. & Carasso-Kok, M., Gouden Legenden. Heiligenlevens en heiligenverering in de Nederlanden (1997)

Museum De Bilt Online, Oostbroek, Staveren en Odulphus: 1132 (website)

Nijdam, J.A., ‘De gemaskerde Wizo: vervalsing, mystificatie of pastiche?’. Bespreking van: Wizo van Vlaanderen, Itinerarium Fresiae (2012)

Overduin, H., Goed volk. Een verdronken klooster (2019)

Le Petit, J.F., Nederlandsche Republycke (1615)

Pol, van de W., Het Atlantis van Stavoren (2014)

Popta, van Y., When the Shore becomes the Sea. New maritime archaeological insights on the dynamic development of the northeastern Zuyder Zee region (AD 1100-1400), the Netherlands (2020)

Renswoude, van O., Wichtnamen. Namen van wezens en zaken uit de Germaanse oudheid (website)

Rietveld, J., Sanctus Odulphus (2014)

Steenstra, J.A., De Sileham (1) De oorkonde van 29 mei 1132 (2011)

Steenstra, H.W., Algemeene geschiedenis van Friesland. Een volksleesboek (1845)

Stichting Noviomagus.nl, Hezelpoort (website)

Tuuk, van der L., De Friezen. De vroegste geschiedenis van het Nederlandse kustgebied (2013)

Ven, van der D.J., Friese volksgebruiken weerspiegeld in Europese folklore (1970)

Verhagen, J.G.M., Op zoek naar de kanalen van Drusus. De Utrechtse Vecht in de Romeinse tijd (2022)

Vroom, S., Wat zijn stadsrechten en waar komen ze vandaan? (2021)

Walinga, C., Gesol met het graf van koning Aldgillis in Stavoren (2024)

Wiersma, J.P., Friesche sagen (1934)

Zandstra, A., Onderzoek naar restanten van het klooster van St. Odulphus bij Stavoren. Eindrapportage (2010)

Zuidhof, D.E., Geschiedenis van het oude dorp Rottum en andere bijzonderheden (1857)

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