The Freeska Landriucht (1074R): A Book from Oldersum Castle Library Retrieved

in Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik
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Tresoar 1074R, which is a copy of the only Frisian incunabulum that is usually referred to as Freeska Landriucht, contains several handwritten notes from the 16th century. The notes, which are in Latin as well as in the vernacular, are written on a misprinted bifolium preceding the book’s main text. The notes make abundantly clear that in the 16th century the incunabulum was part of the library of the East Frisian castle at Oldersum; what is more, it is the sole recorded survivor of this large book collection, since the library seems to have been completely scattered and destroyed in the decades following the death, in early 1589, of the last male descendant of the Oldersum chieftain dynasty: Hero ii von Oldersum. Caspar Möller, a legal officer in Oldersum, handed it out to Henricus Reiningius of Coevorden, a notary public, on 20 April 1589, which is the very day after a (surviving) inventory of the Oldersum book collection was made. Although the Freeska Landriucht is not mentioned specifically in the inventory, reference to it may still have been made by Johan van Westerwolt (who inventoried the library) with the words: Ein olt geschrieben Landrecht.

The Freeska Landriucht (1074R): A Book from Oldersum Castle Library Retrieved

in Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik



BremmerRolf H.Jr, Hir is eskriven. Lezen en schrijven in de Friese landen rond 1300, (Verloren/Fryske Akademy, Hilversum/Leeuwarden 2004a).

BremmerRolf H.Jr, 'Constantijn Huyghens’ Interest in Old Germanic Studies: A Lost Book from his Library Retrieved', in Jan F. van Dijkhuizen (ed), Living in Posterity: Essays in Honour of Bart Westerweel, (Verloren, Hilversum 2004b) 39-45.

BremmerRolf H.Jr, An Introduction to Old Frisian: History Grammar Reader Glossary, (Benjamins, Amsterdam 2009).

Deutsches Rechtswörterbuch.

EbelWilhelm, Das Ende des friesischen Rechts in Ostfriesland, (Ostfriesische Landschaft, Aurich 1961).

EngelsMartin, Catalogus van incunabelen te Leeuwarden, (Provinciale Bibliotheek van Friesland, Leeuwarden 1977).

JanssenRiemer, 'Het oudste Friese boek en diens onbekende drukker. Homepage of the Universiteitsbibliotheek Utrecht, Bijzondere Collecties' (2015)

KannegieterHerbert, Oldersumer Chronik, (self-published, Emden 1987).

KruitwagenBonaventura, 'De Freeska Landriucht-drukkerij [Friesland? omstreeks 1485–1490]' () 29 Het Boek: 213-239.

NiebaumHermann, 'Die Niedergang des Friesischen zwischen Lauwers und Weser', in Horst H. Munske (ed), Handbuch des Friesischen/Handbook of Frisian Studies, (Niemeyer, Tübingen 2001) 430-443.

PopkemaAnne T., 'Het Freeska Landriucht of (Oude Druk). Homepage of Tresoar' (2003)

PopkemaAnne T., 'Pastei en it ûndersyk nei it Freeska Landriucht' (2016) Y-Skrift (22/1/2016).

von ReekenErich, 'Die Bibliothek der Häuptlinge von Oldersum im 16. Jahrhundert' (1986) 66 Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst und vaterländische Altertümer zu Emden: 112-119.

SchoutenDennis, '“Hypothese op hypothese stapelen”. Theorieën over de Freeska Landriucht-drukkerij: een overzicht.' (2000/2001) 17 De Boekenwereld: 166-194.

Gretje Schreiber (ed), Ostfriesische Beamtenschaft. Die Amtsträger der landesherrlichen landesständischen und städtischen Verwaltungen der Grafschaft bzw. des Fürstentums Ostfriesland von 1464 bis 1744, (Upstalsboom-Gesellschaft, Aurich 2007) 5 Vols..

SchultzWalter, 'Studien zur Genese und Überlieferung des Ostfriesischen Landrechts' (1992) 72 Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst und vaterländische Altertümer zu Emden: 81-169.

SzirmaiJohn A., The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding, (Ashgate, Aldershot 1999).

van ThienenGerard, 'A Date for the Freeska Landriucht Press (1484–7) from Paper Evidence. With a Note on the Codex Roorda', in Martin Davies (ed), Incunabula: Studies in Fifteenth-Century Printed Books Presented to Lotte Hellinga, (British Library, London 1999) 141-167.

de VriesHerre, 'Misprintinge leit skiednis bleat' (2016) 2016(1) Letterhoeke: 20-21.


Popkema (2003) is a short introduction to a digital facsimile of one of the Leeuwarden copies of the Freeska Landriucht (A iii 31). Janssen (2015) likewise offers a facsimile as well an introduction focusing primarily on the Utrecht copy (J oct 1112).


Popkema (2016) offers a full transcription including gloss A which Engels was unable to read in 1977 (aside from the word ‘arfnisse’; see Engels (1977: 19)). uv lighting and extremely high definition photography (by Anke van der Schaaf) made it possible to transcribe much of gloss A and even fragments of gloss E which Engels seems to have overlooked completely. The five different hands that were identified are indicated by the letters A–E.


In Popkema (2016) Hero ab oldersum was erroneously equated with Hero i von Oldersum; Hero i was Hero ii’s grandfather who died in 1559.


The wall was not built until 1579one year after Boiocko’s death. As for the division of books: we do not know how (or even if) Hero i organized the division of his archive and library. At any rate there were two separate libraries in Castle Oldersum in the last quarter of the 16th century: Boiocko’s in the southern and Hero ii’s in the northern part see Kannegieter (1987: 31 and 36 respectively). Court logs (over the years 1527–1587) were kept outside of the castle in the ‘Richthaus’ which was on the castle grounds see Kannegieter (1987: 36 and 32 [no. 6 on the map]).


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