THE IMMURED UPRIGHT MAN FOUND IN ST. JAMES' CHURCH IN 1774: VERSIONS AND ADDITIONS TO BROTZE'S COMMENTARIES (Rigas Sv. Jekaba baznica 1774. gada atrastais stavus iemuretais cilveks: versijas un papildinajumi Johana Kristofa Broces komentariem)
Languages of publication
In mid-1774 reconstruction works were carried out in the interior of Riga's St. James' Church. Because of public health concerns, part of the Church interior related to memorial culture was deliberately destroyed - memorial plaques, epitaphs to Riga citizens buried there since the late 13th century as well as family tombs. Without exception, all nobility with family tombs in Riga churches had to wall them up immediately. Ancient memorial signs were doomed to perish. However, Johann Christoph Brotze (1742-1823), teacher at the Imperial Lyceum close to the church, had started to copy the ancient tombstones, epitaphs and inscriptions found in churches. In September 1774 the above ground part of the von Meck family tomb was pulled down along with a small pillar located in the tomb corner by the church window. A man's upright body in a silk garment without a coffin was found immured in it. His clothes had been quite well preserved. A description of the discovery was included in Brotze's manuscript Sammlung vershiedner livländischen Monumente. Based on the information provided by Brotze, the immured man was also described by local history researcher August Wilhelm Hupel (1737-1819) and Johann Andreas Oesen (1762-1804). The most important and intriguing materials on the immured man are to be found in the Estonian Museum of Literature in the dispatches sent by Brotze to local history researcher Eduard Philip Koerber (1770-1850). Brotze had made a mistake (as did Hupel after him) in dating the immured man's garments from the 1580s instead of the 2nd third or middle of the 17th century. This seemingly minor mistake led to a chain of much more important errors. Some hypotheses of the man's identity are also explored in the article.
Publication order reference
CEJSH db identifier