Pelgrim van der Leede
The Castle Pelgrim had built in Leerdam, by Abraham Rademaker (1676 - 1735)
Also Known As Pelegrinus van der Leede
Province Zuid-Holland
City Leerdam

Pelgrim van der Leede or Pelegrinus van der Leede[1] was a relentless landlord in the region of Leerdam in Zuid Holland, just south of Utrecht. Like his father, it is said the man lost his soul in a vassal contract with the devil himself on August 16th, 1304.[2] This contract allowed him to sin to his heart's content, with the exception that he should never cross water on a black horse. Pelgrim used his influence to pillage and was especially infamous for raping women and robbing churches. Sir Pelgrim van der Leede's discontent with the castle's location in the countryside led to the construction of the Leerdam Castle in 1270. This castle was eventually destroyed by Spanish troops. The original countryside castle was rumored to be haunted by sir Pilgrim's father Folperd van der Leede.[3] Some say sir Pelgrim had it destroyed for this very reason. This cannot be true however, as a source from 1306 still speaks of its existence.[4]

How Sir Pelgrim Lost His SoulEdit

Sir Pelgrim realized all too well what the terms of his contract entailed, so he forbade his men from owning any black horses and even fired his moors. On a fateful night, he and his men pulled north across the Lek river to plunder in the stift of Utrecht. After plundering a church and setting it on fire, a brave bell-ringer sounded the alarm and notified surrounding villages. The alarm was picked up and passed onto other villages, until the message arrived miles away to the bishop of Utrecht. He equipped himself with mail and a banner of Sint Maarten and wasting no time, he gathered an army to stride out for the red-lit horizon where many fight-savvy farmers tagged along the way. Sir Pelgrim and his men were just getting ready to pull their loot-filled boat off the shore towards Beuzichem when the bishop and his legion arrived. They watched on from afar as Pelgrim made his escape, but then it happened. Some say it came from the depths of the river, others say it caught up with the horde until it strode right in front of them: A black horse with red glowing eyes made a fantastic leap into their boat, causing it to slope and catch water. The men aboard were heavily clad with armor and weapons and watched on as their boat could not be saved from sinking. Everyone drowned, including sir Pelgrim who latched onto the horse for just a second but could not hold on and finally found his watery grave along with the rest of his men.[5]

The Haunting of Sir PelgrimEdit

Rumors of sir Pelgrim's haunting suggest that the old castle was not torn down within his lifetime and was instead inherited by the Arckel family. Priests have attempted to cleanse the castle with prayers and holy water but it appears sir Pelgrim continued to come back even after the castle was torn down. Floating among the rush plants, he briefly appeared as a wandering light before disappearing.[6]


Rumors of the sunken loot have spawned stories of people trying to find it. One tale speaks of a man who dug all day to finally stumbled upon a treasure box but at that very moment got bit by a huge rat and found himself surrounded by rodents. He managed to escape to his accommodation in Gorinchem where he died later of gas gangrene.

List Of Dutch Monsters (edit)
Ghosts Haunted Locations Aamsveen · Folperd van der Leede · Huis De Griffioen · Goddeloas Tolhûs · Goddeloaze Singel · Pelgrim van der Leede · Skilige Pypke · Solse Gat · Urnenveld · Witte Wievenkuil

Border Ghosts

Dove Waander · Laakmannetje · Venrayse Schepenen · Vurige Landmeter
Unsorted Assepoesters · Barende Vrouwe · Barneman · Beeldwit · Budde · Bornes · Elf-rib · Folperd van der Leede · Ijzeren Veulen · Jager van het Meer · Klopgeest · Ossaert · Spinwijf · Spookuur · Trije Wiif · Vliegende Hollander · Wederganger · Witte Wieven · Zwarte Juffer
Child Terrors Bietebauw · Bloedkoets · Bloedpater · Boeman · Boezehappert · Bornes · Bullebak · Duivel · Elf-rib · Griet Met De Lange Armen · Haarhand · Heintje Faar · Heintje Pik · Ijzeren Veulen · Kladdegat · Loekenbeer · Lorrenboer · Man Met De Haak · Nikker · Pikkepoot · Roggemoeder · Sint Nicolaas · Spinwijf · Takkenman · Tongesnaier · Waterwolf · Zwarte Piet
Hellhounds Belleman · Börries · Den Dier · Elf-rib · Flodder · Kardoes · Kladdegat · Kludde · Korenwolf · Loeder · Nikker · Ossaert · Schuimert · Stoep · Stommelstaart · Waterwolf · Weerwolven
Witches Alruin · Bloedende Wind · Danskring · Heggemoeder · Nachtmerries · Olde Marolde · Tante Cor · Trije Wiif · Vaar-Köbke · Varende Vrouwen · Wanne Thekla · Weerwolven · Witte Wieven · Witte Wievenkuil
Tormentors Belleman · Blauwe Gerrit · Den Dier · Flodder · Gloeiige · Hémänneken · Kludde · Korenwolf · Lange Wapper · Loeder · Opwippen · Ossaert · Schuimert · Stoep · Weerwolven
Dragons And Serpents Basilisk · Draak van Gelre · Draak van Rodeklif · Hazelworm
Other Lange Man


  2. Jacobus Kok: Vaderlandsch Woordenboek - Deel VI (2de Druk)
  3. J. van Lennep: Nederlandsche Legenden In Rijm Gebracht - Het Huis Ter Leede / Adegild (2de Druk)
  5. Jacques R.W. Sinninghe: Nederlands Sagenboek
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