NameVedastus Adriaensz. Coornwinder
Birthbef 1565, ?, West Flanders, Belgium
FatherAdriaen Coornwinder (<1545-)
ChildrenDavid Vedastusz (-1623)
 Catharina (1588-)
Notes for Vedastus Adriaensz. Coornwinder

In 1583, Vedastus Coornwinder fled Flanders during the Eighty-Years' War (1568-1648) between the Low Countries and the Spanish Empire.  Harsh persecution of Protestants by the Spanish government of Phillip II contributed to a desire for independence in the provinces, which led to the War and eventually, the separation of the largely Protestant Dutch Republic from the Catholic-dominated Southern Netherlands, the present-day Belgium.  Vedastus was not the only one to flee the south.  The continuous repression by the Spanish caused many of its financial, intellectual, and cultural elite to flee north, ultimately contributing to the success of the Dutch Republic.

Where exactly in Flanders Vedastus came from, is still unknown.

When he left Belgium Vedastus first went to Leiden in 1583 but then in 1584 (1587?) came to Berkel where he was accepted as predikant (pastor) on the condition that he would help restore the local church.  It was a tenuous relationship at best.  Within a year of arriving in Berkel he asked to leave for England to help with the Flemish refugees, but the Delft community did not approve his departure.  In 1589 he again asked to leave to go to the village of 't Woud (on the other side of Delft), but again his request was refused.  His on-going requests between 1593 and 1599 to go to Yarmouth, England were similarly dismissed. He was given temporary leave for a while but in 1599 the Delft elders again refused his temporary leave due to the increased risks associated with the journey. After 16 years, Vedastus accepted that he would be the predikant of Berkel for the rest of his life.

For the last eight years of his life, he worked hard to establish the Reformed Church in Berkel. The Protestant Reformation was a movement that began with Martin Luther's activities in 1517. The movement began as an attempt to reform the Catholic Church. Many western Catholics were troubled by what they saw as false doctrines and malpractices within the Church, particularly involving the teaching and sale of indulgences.  The Reformation in the Netherlands was not initiated by political movement but rather by popular movements such as those by Vedastus, and he will be remembered as the first Reformed predikant in Berkel.

In addition to being remembered as the predikant of Berkel and Rodenrijs, he was also the father of the infamous David Coornwinder, who lost his head (literally) in 1623 due to a failed attempt to kill Prince Maurits.

And to prove that he truly was a trend setter, today Saint Vedastus is the patron saint of mobile phones!
Last Modified 16 Jun 2008Created 1 Sep 2008 using Reunion for Macintosh