Georg Sturm: Jan van Schaffelaar jumps from the church tower at Barneveld to save his men (1885)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)


The subject wall painting is a bit of Dutch history. Jan van Schaffelaar was a cavalry officer during the Hook and Cod Wars, a civil war in the County of Holland in the period 1350-1490. Jan van Schaffelaar belonged to the Cod-party. On 16 juli 1482 he attacked the town of Barneveld and took the church tower with his 19 men. Troops of the hook-party started to besiege the church tower with cannons and stated that they would only accept the surrender of the cod-troops if their leader, Jan van Schaffelaar, would be given over to them. The cod-troops were unwilling to do so, but Van Schaffelaar stated that he would have to die some day and that he did not want to cause his men any trouble. Having said this, he put his hands to his sides and jumped off the tower. Despite the great height of the tower (about 50 meters) survived the fall, but was finished off almost immediately by his enemies. In 1978 his body was found and was buried in the church. This wall painting was created around 1885.
 

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