Martyred by the Catholics: Richst Heynes of Ilst

pregnant inmate“I’ll kick your ass so hard your kids will feel it.”

It’s a pretty lame attempt at threat humor, but that old playground phrase immediately came to mind when I read the tale of Richst Heynes of Ilst in Friesland. According to the Martyrs Mirror, Heynes was picked up by the local authorities in 1547 while eight months pregnant, taken from her crying children and manhandled into prison in Leeuwaerden.

…After three weeks imprisonment, she gave birth to a son. The child, to the great astonishment of all who beheld it, very plainly showed on his arms the marks which his mother had received from the cruel fetters.

After Heynes gave birth, the authorities promptly proceeded with the usual torture rigamoroll, abusing her “so cruelly, that she could not lay her hands upon her head.” But, when Heynes wouldn’t rat out her fellow church members, “she was sentenced at said place, thrust into a bag, like an irrational brute, and cast into the water and drowned.”


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