Where Did James Renwick Live in Groningen in 1683?

Groningen Falkingestraat

Where did the Covenanter, James Renwick, live when he briefly attended the University of Groningen? In the postscript of his first letter from Groningen of 6 February, 1683, Renwick mentions that ‘you may direct your letter for me to be found in Volterlinge Straet, in the montremaokker’s huys’.



Volterlinge Straet appears on a map of Groningen of 1649 as ‘54. Folkerdinge straat’. My Dutch translation skills are minimal, to say the least, but I suspect that the street name broadly translates as street of the strangers or foreigners. A map of the town as known to Renwick can be found here.

Today, the street in known as Folkingestraat and a busy shopping street. An aerial and street view of it can be seen here.

Renwick lived in the ‘montremaokker’s huys’, i.e., the watchmaker’s house. Watchmaking in the seventeenth century was a highly skilled trade and it practitioners were often from immigrant, exile or refugee communities like the French Huguenots. ‘Montre’ is French for watch. A reasonable comparison would be the sign writer employed by Glasgow in January, 1683, Mr. John Zymbathie, a Hungarian Calvinist refugee who had ‘left his countrey for his religion’.

A few years after Renwick lived there, Folkingestraat became the centre of Groningen’s Jewish community. Jews had previously been forbidden from settling in the town, but it possible that some of Renwick;s neighbours were Jewish. Today, the history of Groningen’s Jewish community is sensitively commemorated in the street.
Groningen Siege 1672

1672 Siege of Groningen

By 1683, Groningen had probably recovered from the destructive siege of it in 1672 during the Third Anglo Dutch War. A fascinating 3D fly through of seventeenth-century Groningen can be viewed here.

Image Aa Kerk

Renwick lived under the shadow of the Aa Kerk, the tower of which would later collapse in 1711, and he would have been familiar with the Martinitoren, which still stands.

Johannes a Marck

Johannes A Marck

It was a short walk for Renwick from his student digs to the University of Groningen, where he studied under the newly appoint professor Johannes A Marck.

In May, 1683, Renwick was ordained as a minister at the University’s Academiekerk, or Broerkirk.

For more on Renwick and Groningen, see here.

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Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to this post on Facebook or retweet it, but do not reblog in FULL without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

~ by drmarkjardine on May 28, 2015.

2 Responses to “Where Did James Renwick Live in Groningen in 1683?”

  1. Very interesting!
    Look at this: https://www.flickr.com/photos/148859204@N07/42807953762/

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