Hans of Trient, the unlucky stone mason

The story of what happened in Lucerne in May 1559.  It is about ...
- Hans von Trient the stone mason
- Lux Ritter, the major and mercenary leader
- The Ritterscher Palace in Lucerne

Before reading that please be informed that this is the story as it reads in the Wickiana by Johan Jakob Wick. Jakob Wick was a reformed Priest at the Grossmunster in Zurich. At that time Catholic Lucerne and Reformed Zurich were enemies and fought each other.
Nevertheless the Wickiana is a good and one of the only sources about Hans von Trient.

Ritterscher Palace and seat of the
government of the Canton Lucerne.

Schultheiss (mayor) Lux Ritter planned to build a huge palace. If god had not shorten his live and the house had not just been built up to a fathoms above the ground, there would be nothing comparable in the Confederation nor in the German nation.

Wherever Lux Ritter knew or heard of excellent craftsmen, he called them to work for him. So he also did not want to miss Hans von Trient, an outstanding stone mason.

Hans von Trient came to Lucerne to talk to Lux Ritter and to discuss the conditions. When everything seemed well Hans von Trient mentioned to Lux Ritter that he has another Religion and it could be dangerous for his live to come to catholic Lucerne. He said that he is forced to reject the offer.
Lux Ritter replied: Don’t worry. Be silent and don’t talk about your religion to others and no bad or disadvantage will happen to you.

So Hans agreed and they made a contract reading that he will get a salary consisting of:
- 4 crowns per week
- Eating and drinking at the table of Lux Ritter (!)
- Accommodation
- everything one needs for a daily life

Both were happy and Hans gladly started working.

Than it happened that Lux Ritter was called to arms by the French King. Lux told Hans to go ahead with the work, while he is away.

Lux needed someone to look after the house, since he had chased his wife off the house. So Lux asked Hans to look after the household during his absence. Lux Ritter offered to increase the salary by 2 crowns per week, for the time he is away.
Hans gladly agreed and continued his work. Lux went on to the Picardy war in France.

Lux came back 14 weeks later and the salary payment was due. At the same time the Musegg walls procession took place and a pastor from Hertenstein was in town. After the procession Lux Ritter invited the Pastor to have a meal. So Lux, the Priest and Hans had supper together.

When Lux had eaten and drunk well he started to provoke Hans.
He asked Hans to tell about his Religion. He also asked the priest to find out what kind of Religion Hans could have.
Hans said, that he is not here to dispute and that he has been promised to be left in freedom.
Lux Ritter got angry and after a good drink he said to the priest, that Hans has a heretical faith and that he does not confess and so on.
Afterwards Lux Ritter felt sorry, but he could not go back. He had to retain what he had said.

Then Hans von Trient got angry and asked for vacation and payment of the salary, which was due. Lux Ritter refused to pay the additional amount of 28 crowns arisen while he was away. Lux Ritter told Hans von Trient to be happy with what was agreed at the beginning. Hans von Trient did not want to hear anything like this and so they went to court.
(At that time the court and the council was the same)

When Hans had his claim on the council Lux Ritter stood up and accused him of being a heretic. Other council members nicely asked Lux Ritter to pay what is due and to let the craftsman go his way. But this was not meant to happen.

So the story went on. The council was forced to arrest Hans von Trient and to start investigations. Hans von Trient was put into prison in the Water Tower on the Chapel Bridge.

According to the Wickiana we (Lucerne) spread lies about Hans von Trient.
At the end Hans von Trient was found guilty and sentenced to death on Monday before White Sunday (in the year of 1559).

Hans praised the Lord and asked to bring new and pretty clothes to the Water Tower. And then he listened to the verdict nicely dressed in new clothes.

On the way to the execution place, passing by the house of Lux Ritter; Hans stood still, looked at the building and said:

Wickiana, Johann Jakob Wick

If I had not asked for what is mine
this would not have happened to me
Mayor Ritter is guilty of my death 
you will not finish this house
and in 3 days you will do likewise I do now

On the execution place the priests talked insistently to Hans von Trient but he did not listen to them.
Undaunted he looked around, kneed down, looked towards heaven and said:

Jesus of Nazareth
Have mercy on me
to your will I suffer this death

Then he stretched his head and it felt off.

Three days later Lux Ritter died. A strong fever overcame him.
He had eaten and drunk with no control.
and in his fullness and drunkenness he (and his boys) jumped into the cold water at the time of the early Mass.

Having come home he took a warm bath. After a while in the bathtub a strong fever overcame him and it looked like that he will die right away.
He became rigid and passed away seven hours later.

After his death Lux Ritter got fined by the council of Lucerne in the amont of 4 thousand crowns for having cut more wood than he was allowed to.

Wickiana (F12, 21-22a), Johann Jakob Wick.
Translated from old swiss german to english by Ralf Fioretti 26 August 2015.