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The Dom Church in Utrecht is one of the major churches in the Netherlands, and recently its detailed building history has been documented [1]. Original built as a wooden St. Martin’s Church, the construction of a Gothic Cathedral began in 1256 and lasted till 1520.

One of the tombs still being present in the church was made for Marcus van Weze (van Wees) [2, 3]. He was born ca. 1485 in Ravenswaaij, Guelders and was a wealthy nobleman who lived in Utrecht, were he was one of canons of the Dom Church. He died in 1548 and was buried in the church, which was a privilege for canons and wealthy people. During his life, Marcus van Weze made several changes regarding the location of his resting-place. Van Weze initially wanted to be buried in the church of Ravenswaaij (Gelderland), his place of birth. He had a large late Gothic slab placed in the choir of the Ravenswaaij church, which was discovered in situ during restorations in 1980. In 1538, however, Van Weze arranged to be buried in the northern ambulatory of the Utrecht St. Maartenskerk/Domkerk (St. Martin’s Church/Dom Church), near the sacrament house. Two years later, he reserved a grave in the north transept of the same church, near the altar which contained relics of St. Martin. Van Weze had a special veneration for this saint. Then, in 1545, he had his gravesite slightly moved in order for the slab to be situated in front of a pillar.


His tomb has withstood the millennia very well, thanks to have been covered for many years with a wooden floor when the slab was located in the Van Montfoort Chapel of the church.


The tomb is a very large stone slab with a large coat of arms that almost completely fills the surface, a banderole (“Tempera te tempori. Anno 1548”) and two snails below, quatrefoils containing heraldic shields in the corners and a Latin inscription along the edge. This inscription mentions the secular clergy functions of Van Weze, i.e. canon  of the Dom Church, provost in Elst (Guelders) and provost in Culemborg. The stone was made by Lucas Claesz.


The two snails are placed symmetric above the banderole, facing each other, one dextral, the other sinistral; the snails are seen in ‘squashed 2D mode’. The shells are regularly coiled, slightly over three whorls, the last whorl widening and the aperture large. The animals have four tentacles (each snail in different position), and a curved foot rim.



While the notes on the heraldry suggest relations with other noble families, nothing could be found unfortunately about the meaning of the snails in this context.

[1] Kam, R. de, Kipp, F. & Claessen, D., 2014. De Utrechtse Domtoren. Trots van de stad: 1–544. Matrijs, Utrecht. Contains detailed history of the church and especially the building of the tower, including 3D models; see also http://to.ly/DFba for a concise summary.
[2] Post, P., Groot, A. de, Jonker-Klijn, J.G. & Roks, R., 1997. Graven en begraven in de Dom van Utrecht: 1–128. Henk Reinders, Bunnik.
[3] http://to.ly/DF3u.