The current location of the Town Hall of Ameland in Ballum is the same location as the Cammingha castle of the Van Cammingha family. At the east side of the Town Hall the cemetary of Ballum can be found, which was the site of a small church from early 14th century until 1838, within which the gravestone of the Van Cammingha family is located.
The gravestone can still be admired and is still present in the little "baarhuis" on the cemetary of Ballum.
De gravestone is 3,80 meter by 2,25 meter, has a depth of 1,40 meter and weighs 3000 kilo.
The stone is one of the largest in Friesland and was crafted by Vincent Lucas from Franeker in 1552.
Text and decoration of the gravestone
On this stone from the Renaissance period one can identify an armoured knight, a circumscription with the text "Int jaer ons heren MVc – lij den x octobris sterf den edeelen en erentvheste welgghe – bore heerh Wytso va Cammingha – heer van Amelandt en is hier onder begraven", which means that the noble lord of Ameland Wytso van Cammingha was interred here. Also indicated are the other names of those buried in the basement below.
The gravestone consists of 2 parts; a 12 cm thick topstone and a 10 cm thick stone below. Under this stone is the basement of 3,38 m. by 1,38 m. and a depth of 1,40 m. There are 11 skulls in this basement.
According to the gravestone text, the basement was the final resting place for:
- Lord Wijtso van Cammingha died; 10 October 1552
- Lord Hayo van Cammingha died; 19 December 1556
- Pieter van Cammingha died; 29 October 1575
- Miss Franske van Minnema, died; 15 October 1574
- Lord Pieter van Cammingha, died; … March 1638
- Lady…(Sjouck) van Ockinga, died; 4 April 1638
- Wytze van Cammingha, died; 29 January 1641
The walls of the basement are made of Frysian claystone. The western wall contains a section (80 cm wide) of special bricks called "kloostermoppen" that were added separately. Presumably the deceased would be added to the basement through this section. The floor of this basement is covered with tiles called "estrikken" measuring 13,5 x 13,5 centimeter.
The "baarhuisje" is open for visitors. During opening hours of the Town Hall you may pick up the key at the front desk.
Also the cemetary can be visited. The old gravestones on the cemetary of Ballum give you a glimpse of the history of the village and the island.