Sint Gertrudis church
On ‘De Merk’, you'll find ’Workum Cathedral’, Sint Gertrudis church. This is the largest late-Gothic cruciform church of Friesland, with the largest windows in all the province.
Take a look
View all 5 pictures
On ‘De Merk’, you'll find ’Workum Cathedral’, Sint Gertrudis church. This is the largest late-Gothic cruciform church of Friesland, with the largest windows in all the province. It also contains beautiful choir pews which visitors admire, along with a unique choir screen dating from 1569 and stained glass windows.
But perhaps the most unique feature is the 12 funeral biers, exhibited in each side aisle. A funeral bier is actually no more than a (wooden) frame with carrying arms, on which a coffin was placed in order to be able to carry the deceased person. The funeral procession would follow the bier from the house of the deceased to the church. Most funeral biers had decorative painting and texts along their edges.
Until 1818, nine of the twelve biers belonged to the guilds, the so-called artisan associations. They are therefore referred to as guild biers. The decorative painting and sometimes also the texts on their edges show which guild the bier represents. There are biers for bakers, millers, carpenters, captains, surgeons and gentlemen farmers. The oldest guild bier dates from 1666. Three of the biers had no connection to a guild, and were therefore painted black. Two of these were used for residents of the village of Hennaard. The third is a so-called blind bier for drowned persons, suicide victims and public women.