Holy Martyrs of Gorcum


Feast of the HH. Martyrs of Gorcum: July 9

Den Briel is a national pilgrimage site and the most famous pilgrimage site in the diocese of Rotterdam.

This year (2022) it will be exactly 450 years ago that the Martyrs of Gorcum died in Brielle.

The nineteen holy Martyrs of Gorcum were hanged on 9 July 1572 by Watergeuzen in an old peat shed near Den Briel. They were persecuted for their Roman Catholic beliefs.

Rebellion against Spain

At the beginning of the Dutch revolt against Spain, in early July 1572, nineteen Catholic clergymen were imprisoned in Gorinchem (Gorcum), out of hatred for the Catholic Church.

Den Briel

The nineteen were transported to Den Briel (now Brielle) by the Watergeuzen. There the Protestant fighters tried to get the four secular priests and fifteen monastics – mainly Franciscans – to renounce their Catholic beliefs. Because they refused to give up their obedience to the Pope and the belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the clergy were tortured and mocked for a long time. Finally, on 9 July, they were hung from a beam in a peat shed of the Sint-Elisabeth monastery in Rugge, a hamlet near Den Briel.


Immediately after their deaths, Catholics praised the fortitude and virtue of the victims. The brutality with which they were murdered immediately brought fame to these martyrs. Pope Pius IX canonized them in 1867. Parts of their physical remains are preserved and venerated in Brielle and Gorinchem.

These are the names of the holy martyrs:

  • Pastor Lenaert van Veghel

  • Chaplain Claes Poppel

  • Priest Govaerd van Duynen

  • Pastor Andries Wouters

  • Father gardian Claes Pieck o.f.m

  • Father Jeroen van Weert o.f.m

  • Father Dirk van der Eem o.f.m

  • Father Nicasius van Heeze o.f.m.

  • Father Willehad the Dane o.f.m.

  • Father Govaerd van Melver o.f.m.

  • Father Anthony van Weert o.f.m.

  • Father Anthony van Hoornaar o.f.m.

  • Father Frans Roy o.f.m.

  • Brother Pieter van Assche o.f.m.

  • Brother Cornelis van Wijck o.f.m.

  • Father Jan van Oisterwijk a.o.

  • Father Jan van Keulen op.p.

  • Pastor Adriaan van Hilvarenbeek o.praem.

  • Chaplain Jaak Lacops o.praem.