A Catalogue of the great Masters of the Order of the Dutch knights, commonly called the Hospitalaries of Ierusalem: and what great exploites euery of the saide Masters hath atchieued either in conquering the land of Prussia, or in taming and subduing the Infidels, or els in keeping them vnder their obedience and subiection, taken out of Munster.
The order of the Dutch knights had their first original at Ierusalem in the yere of our Lorde 1190. within the Hospitall of the blessed Virgine: and the first Master of the saide order was called Henrie of Walpot, vnder whome many good things, and much wealth and riches were throughout all Germanie and Italie procured vnto the order: and the saide Hospitall was remoued from Ierusalem vnto Ptolemais, otherwise called Acon, and the foresaid Order grew and mightily increased, whereof I will hereafter discourse more at large in my Treatise of Syria. Henrie of Walpot deceased in the yeere of Christ 1200. The 2. Master was Otto of Kerpen, and he continued Master of the Order for the space of sixe yeeres. The 3. was Hermannus Bart a godly and deuout person, who deceased in the yeere 1210. being interred at Acon, as his predecessors were. The 4. was Hermannus de Saltza, who thirtie yeeres together gouerned the saide Order, and managed the first expedition of warre against the Infidels of Prussia, and ordained another Master also in Prussia to bee his Deputie in the same region. Ensiferi fratres. In the yeere 1239. the knights of the sword, who trauailed into Liuonia to conuert the inhabitants thereof vnto Christ, seeing they were not of sufficient force to performe that enterprise, and that their enemies increased on all sides, they vnited themselues vnto the famous Order of the Dutch knights in Prussia, that their worthie attempt might bee defended and promoted by the aide and assistance of the saide Dutch knights. The first war moued against the Prussian infidels, anno dom. 1239. At the very same time the ensigne of the crosse was exalted throughout all Germanie against the Prussians, and a great armie of souldiers was gathered together, the Burgraue of Meidenburg being generall of the armie, who combining themselues vnto the Dutch knights, ioyned battell with the Infidels, and slew about fiue hundred Gentiles, who beforetime had made horrible inuasions and in-roades into the dominions of Christians wasting all with fire and sword, but especially the land of Colm, and Lubonia, which were the Prouinces of Conradus Duke of Massouia. Nowe, the foresaide knights hauing made so huge a slaughter, built the castle of Reden, betweene Pomerania and the land of Colm, and so by degrees they gotte footing in the lande, and daylie erected more castles, as namely, Crutzburg, Wissenburg, Resil, Bartenstein, Brunsburg, and Heilsburg, and furnished them all with garrisons. The fift Master of the Order was Conradus Landgrauius, the brother of Lodouick, which was husband vnto Ladie Elizabeth. This, Conradus, by his fathers inheritance, gaue great riches and possessions vnto the Order, and caused Ladie Elizabeth to be interred at Marpurg, within the religious house of his saide Order. Vnder the gouernment of this Master, Acon in the lande of Palestina was subdued vnto the Saracens. Moreouer, in the yeere 1254. there was another great armie of Souldiers prepared against Prussia, by the Princes of Germanie. For Octacer, alias Odoacer king of Bohemia, Otto Marques of Brandeburg, the Duke of Austria, the Marques of Morauia, the Bishops of Colen and of Olmutz came marching on with great strength of their Nobles and common Souldiers, and inuading the lande of Prussia in the Winter season, they constrained the inhabitants thereof to receiue the Christian faith, and to become obedient vnto the knights. After which exploite, by the aduise and assistance of king Odoacer, there was a castle built vpon a certaine hill of Samogitia, which immediately after grewe to be a great citie, being at this day the seate of the Prince of Prussia: and it was called by Odoacer Kunigsburg, that is to say, Kings Mount, or Mount royall, being finished in the yeere 1255. Out of this fort, the knights did bridle and restraine the furie of the Infidels on all sides, and compelled them to obedience. The sixt Master was called Boppo ab Osterna, vnder whom the citie of Kunigsberg was built. The Prussians abandon Christianitie. At the very same instant the knights beeing occupied about the warre of Curland, the Prussians conspiring together, and abandoning the Christian faith, in furious maner armed themselues against the Christian, defaced and burnt down Churches, slew Priests, and to the vtmost of their abilitie, banished all faithful people. The report of which misdemeanour being published throughout all Germanie, an huge armie was leuied and sent for the defence and succour of the knights, which marching into the land of Natan, made many slaughters, and through the inconstancie of fortune sometimes woonne, and sometimes lost the victorie. Also the Infidels besieged these three castles, namely, Barstenstein, Crutzberg and Kunigsberg, and brought extreame famine vpon the Christians contained within the saide fortes. Againe, in the yeere of our Lord 1262. the Earle of Iuliers, with other Princes and great chiualrie came downe, and giuing charge vpon the Prussians, put three thousand of them to the edge of the sworde. Afterward the Prussians banding themselues together, were determined to spoile the castle of Kunigsberg, but their confederacie being disclosed, they had the repulse. And when the knightes had preuailed against them, they laide in pledges, and yet for all that were not afraid to breake their fidelitie. For vpon a certaine time, after they had giuen diuers pledges, they slewe two noble knights of the Order, and so by that meanes incensed the principall of the saide order, insomuch that they caused two paire of gallons to be set vp besides the castle, and thirtie of the Prussians pledges to be hanged therupon. Which seueritie so vexed and prouoked the Prussians, that in reuenge of the said iniury, they renewed bloody and cruel warres, slew many Christians, yea, and put 40. knights with the master of the Order, and the Marshal, vnto the edge of the sword. There was at the same instant in Pomerania a Duke called Suandepolcus, professing the Christian faith, but being ioyned in league with the Prussians, he indeuoured for many yeeres, not onely to expell the knights, but all Christians whatsoeuer out of the lande of Prussia, in which warre the foresaide knights of the Order suffered many abuses. For they lost almost all their castles, and a great number of themselues also were slaine. This Suandepolcus put in practise many lewde attempts against religion. For albeit he was baptised, he did more mischiefe then the very Infidels themselues, vntill such time as the knights being assisted by the Princes of Germanie, brought the saide Duke and the Prussians also into such straights, that (maugre their heads) they were constrained to sue for peace. Afterward Swandepolcus lying at the point of death, admonished his sonnes that they should not doe any iniurie vnto the knights of the order, affirming that himselfe neuer prospered so long as he vrged warre against them. Howbeit his sonnes for a certaine time obserued not their fathers counsel, vntill at length one of them named Warteslaus, was created one the Order, and the other called Samborus bestowed by legacie his goods and possessions vpon the saide Order, receiuing maintenance and exhibition from the saide Order, during the terme of his life. It fortuned also vnder the gouernment of the foresayde Master Boppo, that one Syr Martine a Golin beeing accompanied with another knight, went into the countrey to see howe the Prussians were imployed. And meeting with three Prussians, they slew two, and the thirde they reserued to guide them the directest way. But this guide betrayed them into their enemies handes. Which when they perceiued, they slewe the Traytour. Then fiue Prussian horsemen came riding and tooke them, deliuering them bounde to the custodie of two. And the other three pursued the horses of the two, which broke loose in the time of the fraye. And they tarying somewhat long, the other two woulde haue beheaded the two Knightes in the meane season. A memorable stratageme. And as one of them was striking with his drawen sworde, at the neck of Sir Martine, hee said vnto them: Sirs, you doe vnwisely in that you take not off my garment before it bee defiled with blood. They therefore loosing the Cordes wherewith hee was bounde, to take off his garment, set his armes more at libertie. Which Syr Martine well perceiuing reached his keeper such a boxe, that his sworde fell to the grounde. Which hee with all speede taking vp, slewe both the keepers and vnbounde his fellowe Knight. Moreouer, seeing the other three Prussians comming furiously vpon them with stoute couragious hearts they made towarde the saide Prussians, and slew them, and so escaped the danger of death. The seuenth great Master was Hanno de Sangershusen, who deceased in the yeere one thousand two hundreth seuentie fiue. The eight was Hartmannus ab Heldringen who deceased in the yeere 1282. The ninth was Burckardus a Schuuenden beeing afterwarde made knight of the order of Saint Iohns. The tenth was Conradus a Feuchtuuang: vnder this man the Citie of Acon in Palestina was sacked by the Soldan, and manie people were slayne. The Templars which were therein returned home out of Fraunce, where they had great reuenewes. The Knightes of Saint Iohn, who also had an Hospitall at Acon, changed their place, and went into the Isle of Cyprus, and from thence departing vnto Rhodes, they subdued that Islande vnto themselues. Nowe the Dutch Knights abounded with wealth and possessions throughout all Germanie, beeing Lordes of a good port of Prussia, Liuonia, and Curland, whose chiefe house was then at Marpurg, til such time as it was remooued vnto Marieburg, a Towne of Prussia. The eleuenth great Master was Godfrey Earle of Hohenloe. Vnder this man the knights sustained a great ouerthrow in Liuonia: but hauing strengthned their armie, they slewe neere vnto Rye foure thousande of their enemies. The twelfth Master was Sifridus a Feuchtuuang. Vnder this man, the principall house of the Order was translated from Marpurg to Marieburg, which in the beginning was established at Acon, and from thence was remooued vnto Venice, and from Venice vnto Marpurg. This Sifridus deceased in the yeere 1341. The thirteenth Master was called Charles Beffart of Triers. This man built a fort vpon the riuer of Mimmel, and it was named Christmimmel. The foureteenth was Warnerus ab Orsele, whome a certaine knight of the Order slewe with his sworde. The 15. was Ludolphus Duke of Brunswick, who built the Towne of Ylgenburg, and deceased 1352. The sixteenth was Theodoricus Earle of Aldenborg, and hee built the Towne of Bartenstein. The seuenteenth was Ludolphus sirnamed King. The eighteenth was Henrie a Tusimer. The nineteenth Winricus a Knoppenrodt In this mans time the knights took the king of the Lithuanians named Kinstut captiue, and kept him prisoner in Marieburg halfe a yeere, but by the helpe of a seruaunt, hauing broken out of the Castle, hee escaped away by night. But fearing that hee was layde waite for in all places, hee left his horse, and went on foote through vnknowen pathes. In the day time hee hidde himselfe in secrete places, and in the night hee continued his iourney vntil hee came vnto Massouia. But all the Knightes ioye was turned into sorrowe, after they had lost so great an enemie. The twentieth grand Master was Conradus Zolnerof Rotenstein. The one and twentieth Conradus Walenrod. This man sent an ambassage to Richard the Second. The two and twentieth Conradus a Iungingen, who deceased in the yeere one thousand foure hundreth and seuen. The three and twentieth Vlricus a Iungingen. This man dyed in battell in the yeere one thousand foure hundreth and tenne: which battell was fought against Vladislaus Father of Casimire. Both partes had leuied mightie and huge forces: vnto the Polonians the Lithuanians and the Tartars had ioyned themselues, ouer whome one Vitoldas was captaine: the Dutch Knights had taken vp Souldiers out of all Germanie. And when eache armie had encamped themselues one within twentie furlongs of another, (hoping for victorie and impatient of delay) the great Master of the Prussians sent an Herault to denounce warre vnto the King, and immediately (alarme beeing giuen) it is reported that there were in both armies, fourtie thousand horsemen in a readinesse. Vladislaus commaunded the Lithuanians and the Tartars to giue the first onsette, and placed the Polonians in the rerewarde of the battell: on the contrarie side, the Prussians regarded least of all to reserue any strong troupes behinde, which might rescue such as were wearie, and renewe the fight, if neede shoulde require, but set forwarde the flower and chiualrie of all his Souldiers in the verie forefront of the battell. The charge beeing giuen certaine vnarmed Tartars and Lithuanians were slaine handsmooth: howbeit the multitude pressed on, neither durst the fearefull Polonians turne their backes, and so a cruell battell was fought vpon the heapes of dead carkases. The combate continued a long time, terrible slaughters were committed, and the Lithuanians and Tartars were slaine like sheepe. But when newe and fresh enemies continually issued foorth, the Dutch knights being wearied, began to fight more faintly. Which Vladislaus no sooner perceiued, but in all haste hee sends forwarde his mightie and well armed bande of Polonians, who suddenly breaking in renewed the skirmish. The Dutch were not able to withstand the furie of the fresh troupes (great oddes there is betweene the wearied Souldier and him that comes in a fresh) insomuch that the knights with their people were constrained to flee. The master of the Order seeing his souldiers giue way vnto the enemie, gathered a companie together, and withstoode him in the face, howbeit himselfe was slaine for his labour, the flight of his people proued greater and more dishonourable, neither did the Dutch cease to flee, so long as the Polonian continued the chase. There fell on the Knights partie manie thousands of men, and the Polonians gotte not the victorie without great spoile and damage. This battell was foughten in regard of the bounds of regions in the yeere 1410. All Prussia following the happie successe of the Polonian king (except Marieburg onely) yeelded themselues vnto him being Conquerour. Howbeit the Emperour Sigismund taking vp the quarell, peace was ordained between the knights and Polonia, and a league concluded, certaine summes of money also were paide vnto the Polonian, Prussia was restored vnto the knights, neither was the saide order disturbed in the possession of their lands vntill the time of Friderick. The 24. Master was Henrie Earle of Plaen. This man being deposed by the Chapter, was 7. yeres holden prisoner at Dantzik. The 25. Master was Michael Kuchenmeister, that is, master of the Cookes of Sternberg. The 26. was Paulus a Russdorff. The 27. Conradus ab Ellerichshausen. This man, after diuers and sundry conflicts betweene the Dutch knights, and the king of Polonia, concluded a perpetuall league with the saide king. Howbeit the citizens of Dantzig secretely going about to obteyne their freedome, that the foresaide Order might haue no dominion ouer them, made sute vnto the Polonian king to be their Protector. This Conradus died in the yeere 1450. The 28. was Lewis ab Ellerichshausen. Vnder this man there arose a dangerous sedition in Prussia betweene the chiefe cities and the knights of the Order. The citizens demanded libertie, complaining that they were oppressed with diuers molestations. Whereupon they primly made sute vnto Casimir then king of Polonia. The Master of the Order seeing what would come to passe began to expostulate with the king, that he kept not the peace which had bene concluded betweene them to last for euer. Also Frederick the Emperour commaunded the Prussians to returne vnto the obedience of the knights, who by the dint of their swordes had released that prouince out of the hands of Infidels, and had bought it with the shedding of much blood. Notwithstanding the popular sort persisting stil in their stubborne determination, proceeded at length to open warre. The cities adhearing vnto the king vsurped diuers Castles belonging to the Master, tooke certain Commanders and knights, yea, and some they slewe also. Fiftie and fiue townes conspired together in that rebellion: but thinking their estate and strength not sure enough against their own gouernors without forrein aide, they chose king Casimir to be their lord. Heereupon the Polonian king marched into Prussia with a great armie, taking possession of such cities as yeelded themselues vnto him, and proceeding forward against Marieburg, besieged the castle and the towne. The great master ouercommeth the king of Polonia. In the meane season the Master hauing hired an armie of Germane souldiers, suddenly surprised the king at vnawares in his tents, and slewe about 300. Polonians, tooke prisoners 136. noblemen, spoiled their tents, tooke away their horses, victuals, and armour, insomuch that the king himselfe hardly escaped vpon one horse. These things came to passe in the yeere 1455. The Master hauing thus obtained the victorie, sent his armie into the countrey, and recouered the castles and cities which he had lost, to the number of 80. putting many of his enemies also vnto the sword. Moreouer, he recouered Kunigsberg being one of the foure principall cities, which are by name Thorne, Elburg, Kunigsberg, and Gdanum, that is to say, Dantzig. The king by treason ouerthroweth the Master. And when the warre was longer protracted then the Master could well beare, and a whole yeres wages was vnpaid vnto his captains, those captaines which were in the garrison of Marieburg conspired against the Master, and for a great summe of money betrayed the castle of Marieburg vnto the king. Which practise beeing knowen, the Master fled to Kunigsberg, and newe warre was begunne, and great spoile and desolation was wrought on both sides: vntill at length, after composition made, the king retayned Pomerella, and all the castles and townes therein, together with Marieburg and Elburg: and the master inioyed Samaitia, Kunigsberg, &c. This composition was concluded in the yere 1466. The 29. Master was Henrie Reuss, first being deputie, and afterwarde Master of Prussia. The 30. was Henrie a Richtenberg, who deceased in the yeere 1477. The 31. called Martine Truchses died in the yeere 1489. The 32. Iohn a Tieflen died in the yeere 1500. The 33. being Duke of Saxonie, and marques of Misn, deceased in the yeere 1510. This man began to call in question, whether the foresaid composition concluded betweene the king of Polonia, and the Order, were to bee obserued or no? especially sithence1 it conteined certaine articles against equitie and reason. Whereupon he appealed vnto the Bishop of Rome, vnto the Emperor, vnto the princes and electors of Germany, and preuailed with them so farre forth, that there was a day of hearing appointed at Posna in Polonia. And the Legates of both parts meeting heard complaints and excuses, and dispatched no other businesse. In the meane time Prince Frederick deceased in the tenth yeere of his gouernment. The 34. Master was Albertus marques of Brandenburg, 2 whom the King of Polonia did so grieuously molest with war, and oppressed all Prussia with such extreme rigour, that the Prince of the countrey was constrained to make a league of foure yeeres with him, and to yeeld vnto such conditions, as turned to the vtter ouerthrowe of the whole Order. And amongst other conditions are these which follow. Sithence that the originall of all discorde betweene Polonia and the order doeth from hence arise, for that hitherto in Prussia, no lawfull heyre and successor hath borne rule and authority, but diuers and sundry haue had the gouernment thereof, by whose meanes the nations haue bene prouoked one against another, much Christian blood hath bin shed, the lands and inhabitants grieuously spoiled, and many widowes and Orphans made: the Popes, Emperors, and Princes being often solicited for the establishing of that perpetual league, which Casimir hath heretofore concluded &c. Sithence also that the truce which hath bene agreed vpon of both parties is in short time to be expired; and that it is to bee feared, that bloody warres will then be renewed, and that all things will proue worse and worse, vnlesse some lawfull composition be made, and some good and wholesome deuise be put in practise, as well for the benefit of the King and of his posteritie, as for the commoditie of the whole common weale of Prussia, especially considering that Albertus the Marques refuseth not to submitte himselfe to the Councell of the King, &c.
1 Since, from siththan, SAX.
But, fair Fidessa, sithens fortune’s guile,
Or enimies power hath now captiv’d thee.
SPENS. Faerie Queene, I., IV., 57.
2 Albrecht of Anspach and Baireuth, a scion of the Hohenzollerns. He was a man of will and capacity, who reinvigorated the order of the Teuton knights by renouncing Roman Catholicism and embracing Lutheranism, while he consolidated its influence by erecting Prussia into a Duchy, whose crown he placed on his own brow in 1525. After a prosperous reign he died in 1550, and his son, having lost his reason, the elector John Sigismund of Hohenzollern obtained the ducal crown in right of his wife Anna, daughter of Duke Albert.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55