Uko Fockena

Last updated
Uko Fockena
possibly Oldersum
Died(1432-06-13)13 June 1432
near Suurhusen
Buried Emden
Spouse(s) Heba von Dornum
Father Focko Ukena
Mother Theda of Rheide

Uko Fockena (also known as: "Uko of Oldersum"; c.1408, Oldersum (uncertain) 13 June 1432 near Suurhusen) was an East Frisian chieftain of Moormerland and Emsigerland.

Suurhusen Ortsteil of Hinte in Lower Saxony, Germany

Suurhusen is a village north of Emden in the German region of East Frisia. It has about 1200 inhabitants and is administered by the municipality of Hinte. The steeple of the Suurhusen church, inclined at an angle of 5.19 degrees, is the most leaning tower of the world, beating the world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa by 1.22 degrees.

East Frisia coastal region in the northwest of Germany

East Frisia or Eastern Friesland is a coastal region in the northwest of the German federal state of Lower Saxony. It is the middle section of Frisia between West Frisia in the Netherlands and North Frisia in Schleswig-Holstein.

Moormerland Place in Lower Saxony, Germany

Moormerland is a municipality in the Leer District, in Lower Saxony, northwestern Germany.



Uko was one of the sons of the East Frisian chieftain Focko Ukena (born: around 1370; died: 29 August 1436) and his wife Theda of Rheide (born c.1365; died: before 1411).

Focko Ukena 14th and 15th-century East Frisian chieftain

Focko Ukena was an East Frisian chieftain (hovetling) who played an important part in the struggle between the Vetkopers and Schieringers in the provinces of Groningen and Friesland. Aside from this he was one of the leading figures in the resistance against the forts of stately authority in East-Frisia of the tom Brok family.

In 1424 Uko acquired together with Udo Poppinga the farm tor Brake (also spelled to Brahe / Brae) in the Emsland region from the Squire Ecerd von der Bele. [1] His brother-in-law Ocko II tom Brok (Ocko to Broke), chief of the Brokmerland asked the abbot of Werden, in a letter dated 17 September 1424, to enfeoff Uko with this farm and confirmed that Uko was by birth a free man, honest and genuine, with four free-born grandparents. [2]

Emsland District in Lower Saxony, Germany

Landkreis Emsland is a district in Lower Saxony, Germany named after the river Ems. It is bounded by the districts of Leer, Cloppenburg and Osnabrück, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the district of Bentheim in Lower Saxony, and the Netherlands.

Ocko II tom Brok East Frisian chieftain

Ocko II tom Brok (1407–1435) was Chieftain of the Brokmerland and the Auricherland in East Frisia.

Brokmerland historical region

The Brokmerland is a landscape and an historic territory, located in western East Frisia, which covers the area in and around the present-day communities of Brookmerland and Südbrookmerland. The Brokmerland borders in the east on the Harlingerland and in the north on the Norderland. The historic Brokmerland is usually written with only one "o". Occasionally one also finds the spelling "Broekmerland", while today's communities have chosen to spell the name with a double "o".

Between 1425 and 1427 Uko married Hebe (or Heba) of Dornum, a daughter of Lütet Attena of Dornum and Nesse and Ocka tom Brok, a daughter of Ocko I tom Brok. Documentary evidence exists that the heiress of this marriage was Theda Ukena (born: before 1432; died 17 September 1494), who married in 1455 Ulrich I Cirksena who was stadtholder of East Frisia and became the first Count of East Frisia in 1464.

Lütet Attena was a 14th-century East Frisian chieftain of Dornum and Nesse in the Norderland area.

Dornum Place in Lower Saxony, Germany

Dornum is a village and a municipality in the East Frisian district of Aurich, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated near the North Sea coast, approx. 15 km east of Norden, and 20 km north of Aurich.

Ocko I tom Brok followed his father Keno I tom Brok as chieftain of the Brokmerland and the Auricherland in East Frisia, a former territory on Germany's North Sea coast.

In 1424 Uko and his father opposed the tom Brok family of East Frisian chieftains, who had transferred the village and castle of Oldersum to them in 1413. Ocko II tom Brok demanded from Focko the return of the castle and won a court case to that effect in the city of Groningen dated 6 June 1426. [3] Focko rejected this decision and defeated Ocko in the Battle of Detern on 27 September 1426 and in the Battle of the Wild Fields on 28 October 1427. Thus, Focko Ukena became a pioneer of the principle of Frisian freedom.

tom Brok family name

The tom Brok family were a powerful East Frisian line of chieftains, originally from the Norderland on the North Sea coast of Germany. From the second half of the 14th century, the tom Broks tried to gain control of East Frisia over the other chieftain families. The line of tom Brok died out in 1435.

The Battle of Detern on 27 September 1426 marked the prelude to the East Frisian rebellion against the rule of the tom Brok family over East Frisia.

Frisian freedom

Friese freedom or freedom of the Frisians was the absence of feudalism and serfdom in Frisia, the area that was originally inhabited by the Frisians. Historical Frisia included the modern provinces of Friesland and Groningen, and the area of West Friesland, in the Netherlands, and East Friesland in Germany. During the period of Frisian freedom the area did not have a sovereign lord who owned and administered the land. The freedom of the Frisians developed in the context of ongoing disputes over the rights of local nobility.

From the spoils of war Uko Fockena kept the Lordship of Oldersum, includeding the parishes of Gandersum, Rorichum, Tergast and Simonswolde. In 1428, Uko Fockena styled himself Häuptling zu Oldersum (chieftain at Oldersum). [4] The Oldersumer Chronik reports that he strengthened the castle at Oldersum using 80000stones obtained by demolishing Focken Castle in Borssum. [4]

In 1430, Uko was besieged in his Oldersum castle by a group of Frisian chieftains who had joined forces under the leadership of the Cirksena family and who opposed Ukena's Lordship. On 2 November 1430, Uko gave up his claim, in a treaty with the besiegers. He was able, however, to retain the right to live in the castle, based on a legal claim his wife held as granddaughter of Ocko I tom Brok. [5] Uko lived in the castle until his death in 1432.

His father had fled to Münster after his castle at Leer had fallen. Father Focko had not given up the power struggle and he invited his son Uko to Groothusen to meet his ally Imel Allena. On the way to there, Uko was attacked and slain in a reed land between Marienwehr und Suurhusen. He was buried in the church of the Franciscan monastery in Emden. His daughter Theda Ukena ordered an effigy tomb stone to be put on his grave. [6] [7] The church and the monastery were destroyed by a fire on 21 July 1938.

References and sources


  1. Reinhard Bojer: Emsländische Heimatkunde im Nationalsozialismus, self-published, Lingen/Ems, 2005, p. 182.
  2. St.A. Osnabrück, Rep.26a Emsland-Meppen Certificate Nr. 5, with the seal of the issuer pressed on: s(igillum) Ockonis in Brok capit.(alis)
  3. Ernst Friedländer: Ostfriesisches Urkundenbuch, vol. 1, Emden, 1878, Nr. 324
  4. 1 2 Herbert Kannegieter: Oldersumer Chronik, vol. 1.A, self-published, Emden, 1987. p. 19
  5. Ostfriesisches Urkundenbuch, certificate Nr. 389 of 5 November 1430
  6. Hajo van Lengen: Die spätgotischen Bildnisgrabmäler der Heba Attena und des Uko Ukena und ihre politische Bedeutung, in: Emder Jahrbuch, vol. 80, 2000, p. 68-69
  7. Stephanie Hahn and Michael Sprenger (eds): Herrschaft - Architektur- Raum, Berlin, 2008, p. 71.

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