Walled in




She was a young maid-servant; she was killed in the 16th century for this reason: she confessed she was reading the Bible


‘I found one!’ The Inquisitor held up the forbidden book as he called to his assistant. ‘Bring in the mayor and his family. Someone is studying the Bible in this house!’

In the 16th century, Philip II sent the Duke of Alba to Flanders to stamp out the Protestants who insisted on reading the Scriptures in their own language. Anyone found studying the Bible was hanged, drowned, torn in pieces, or burned alive at the stake.

The Inquisitors had found the Bible while inspecting the house of the Mayor of Brugge. One by one, family members were questioned, but everyone claimed they knew nothing about how the Bible got to their house.

Finally the officials asked the young maid-servant, Wrunken, who boldly declared: ‘I am reading it!’

The mayor, knowing the penalty for studying the Bible, tried to defend her, saying: ‘Oh, no, she only owns it. She doesn’t ever read from it’.

But Wrunken chose not to be defended by a lie. ‘This book is mine. I am reading from it, and it is more precious to me than anything!’

She was sentenced to die by suffocation. A place would be hollowed in the city wall, she would be tied in it, and the opening would be bricked over.

On the day of her execution, as she stood by the wall, an official tried to get her to change her mind, saying: ‘So young and beautiful – and yet to die’.

Wrunken replied: ‘My Saviour died for me. I will also die for Him’.

As the bricks were laid higher and higher, she was warned again: ‘You will suffocate and die in here!’

‘I will be with Jesus!’, she answered.

Finally, the wall was finished, except for the one brick that would cover her face. For the last time, the official tried to persuade her: ‘Repent – just say the word and you will go free”.

But Wrunken refused, saying instead: ‘O Lord, forgive my murderers’.

The brick was put in place. Many years later, her bones were removed from the wall and buried in the cemetery of Brugge.


From: Jesus Freaks, Eagle Publishing, Printed in United Kingdom 2000, pages 41-42