15. Gemert van Van Gemert
Gemert from Van Gemert?
Good. Eemke was the black sheep of the family. Not that Eemke was troubled by that. On the contrary, he cherished his position within the …
Gemert from Van Gemert?
Good. Eemke was the black sheep of the family. Not that Eemke was troubled by that. On the contrary, he cherished his position within the Van Gemert clan. The fact that Diederik, lord of Gemert, and Eemke, besides being second cousins, were also peers and childhood friends, gave this Emont Jan Roverszoon van Gemert the freedom to play his licentious role within the manor. And Eemke played that role with passion and abandon. The target of his often rash actions was everything to do with the lords of the Teutonic Order he hated. Fishing in the Egelmeer, the commander's fishing lake, molesting members of the Order's bench of aldermen, plundering a farmstead in Handel and a farmstead on Milschot - i.e. within the commander's territory - and finally threatening the commander himself; sooner or later things were bound to go wrong.
Uninhibited, no, unrestrained even by Diederik, Eemke went hopelessly over the top in April this year. He brought some like-minded friends to Gemert, led by the highly feared in the region Arnd Vilroch and his brothers Henrik and Deenke. Together with the brothers Rolof and Gooswijn van Kelre, Jan de Hendrik van Bitterswijck, Rutger Bamelaer, Peter van den Loek, Gielis van Berlaer and Henneke Roelofszoon, they were the brawlers who would stir up trouble. Every day this wanton little group rode over the trap bridge of the Hooghuis - yes, Diederik accommodated them - to provoke, threaten and cause trouble somewhere in Gemert, in the jurisdiction of the Teutonic Order. Commander Henrik van Havert was even, after Eemke first spit in his face and sold him a few good kicks, given a burn notice!
And so Diederik received, perhaps in his mind unsolicited, 250 shields from the commander of the land to buy off that estimate. Everyone makes mistakes, but here Diederik made the mistake of his life. He accepted the money! And that while Arnd Vilroch and Eemke and their men only increased the number of lootings and thefts of Order property ...
Diederik came to realise in recent months that things were getting out of hand. He chased Vilroch's gang away and sent Eemke, who came to seek redress, out of the castle with a snarl. After a few days of deliberation, he had a letter drafted:
‛Lord Diederik van Gemert makes the proposal to the land commander of the Biesen Duytschen Order to submit jointly to a binding ruling that Wenceslaus of Bohemia and Johanna, duke and duchess of Brabant, please make about the dispute, dispute and discord.' The commander of the land readily agreed to the proposal.
And so it came about that today, 5 December 1363, the duke and duchess pronounced judgment in the dispute between Henrik van Havert, commander in Gemert on the one hand, and Diederik van Gemert on the other, arising from the robbery and burning committed by Eemke, son of Jan Roverszoon against the commander and court of the German lords in Gemert:
Diederik van Gemert will make a pilgrimage to St James in Galicia within a year, together with Rolof and Gooswijn, sons of Jan van Kelre, instigators of the assault on the Commandery. The aforementioned Eemke will make a pilgrimage to Chipers. All their other associates will be banished from Brabant until they will have made reparations to duke and duchess. Diederik van Geert will pay to the German lords 800 old shields, from which amount 70 old shields will be deducted as compensation for two horses, which the commander took from him. For this crime done to them, Diederik will pay the duke and duchess 500 old shields before Christmas next year. As Diederik hears what the ducal couple has decided, he changes colour three times. He understands the irreversible consequence of his misjudgement. The obligatory pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella, well, that's not the worst of it. And that Eemke has to go to Cyprus, fine. But 800 shields to the Order and 500 shields to the duke, that's an impossibly large sum. Diederik can only pay that if he dedicates his possessions, his mills and his house on loan. But then, instead of being a free landlord, he is an ordinary feudal ...
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