hedge sermon

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Sermon of St. John the Baptist (1566, detail), Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary. Some scholars contend that the painting depicts a clandestine sermon held by the Protestant reformers of that time.


Calque of Dutch hagenpreek, from hage (hedge) + preek (sermon).


  • (General American) IPA(key): /ˈhɛdʒ ˌsɝmən/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: hedge ser‧mon


hedge sermon (plural hedge sermons)

  1. (Christianity, historical) An open-air religious service held by Calvinists in the Low Countries during the Reformation, typically in rural areas beyond the reach of civic authorities.
    • 1999, Geert Mak; Philipp Blom, transl., Amsterdam: A Brief Life of the City, London: Harvill Press, ISBN 978-1-86046-598-7; republished London: Vintage Books, 2001, ISBN 978-1-86046-789-9, page 82:
      Fearing an escalation of the unrest, the city administrators made some important concessions to the Protestants: the Catholic churches were closed after the removal of all religious images; the Calvinists were permitted to hold their hedge sermons, albeit only outside the city [].
    • 2008, Peter J. Arnade, Beggars, Iconoclasts, and Civic Patriots: The Political Culture of the Dutch Revolt, Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, →ISBN, page 71:
      The first so-called hedge sermon was held in the cemetery of Boeschepe in the always turbulent Flemish Westkwartier on Sunday morning, July 12, timed to coincide with mass.
    • 2008, James D[onald] Tracey, The Founding of the Dutch Republic: War, Finance, and Politics in Holland, 1572–1588, Oxford: Oxford University Press, →ISBN:
      Even after the iconoclasm that began on 10 August, many in the Netherlands hoped to see freedom of worship for all, without public violence, hedge-sermons, or the burning of heretics.

Related terms[edit]