De terp van Hogebeintum in boorkernen

Johan Nicolay, Gilles de Langen

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeChapterScientific


Medieval peat reclamations in the Southwestern part of Friesland

Southeast of the town of Workum in the province of Friesland, human remains and a fragment of a sandstone sarcophagus were found at or near the site, according to a local myth, of a lost medieval convent. This convent was said to have been dedicated to St. Ursula, the virgin saint after whom a neighbouring canal and a small lake were named. In this study it is argued that St. Ursula was indeed a local patron saint, be it not of a convent but of a parish church, which was founded in the 11th century. The founding of this church is linked to the start of extensive agrarian peat reclamations. It served the colonists of the whole region south of the small river Larts until the late 12th century, when the peasants at the front of the reclamations, who had moved far away from the base at Saint Ursula’s, built a church of their own called Osledewald or Ursulawoude, also known as Oudega. St. Ursula’s church itself did not survive for long, probably because of the poverty of its remaining parishioners. Increasing drainage problems caused by peat reclamation in the wider area resulted in deteriorating environmental conditions. The parish of St. Ursula’s was merged with that of St. Gertrud of Workum after 1200. This search for St. Ursula’s sheds new light on the landscape and occupation history of a fairly large part of southwestern Friesland.
Original languageDutch
Title of host publicationDe hoogste terp van Friesland
Subtitle of host publicationNieuw en oud onderzoek in Hogebeintum
EditorsAnnet Nieuwhof, Egge Knol, Johan Nicolay
Place of PublicationGroningen
PublisherVereniging voor Terpenonderzoek
ISBN (Print)9789082969115
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2019

Publication series

NameJaarverslagen van de Vereniging voor Terpenonderzoek
ISSN (Print)0920-2587


  • landscape history
  • Friesland
  • high middle ages
  • peat reclamation
  • parish system
  • medieval archaeology

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