A Flemish poet, Maerlant came from Bruxambacht, or, the “Freedom of Bruges” (het Brugse Vrije). His oeuvre, which shows strong didactic tendencies, clearly indicates that he was well educated, even though his exact place in society is unclear. He probably received minor orders and held several positions as a clerk (clerc). In the late 1350s, Maerlant moved northward to the island of Voorne (in the estuary of the River Maas in the southern part of the county of Holland), taking his name from the village Maerlant (near Brielle) on that island. He became sexton (coster, custos) of the local church of St. Peter (if Coster is not his family name), a profession that agreed perfectly with his activities as an author. During his stay in Maerlant he was possibly a tutor to young Floris V (d. 1296), count of Holland. Around 1270 he returned to Flanders, to Damme, near Bruges, earning his livelihood as a civil servant (in toll regulations) and continuing his writing. Tradition (unproved) has it that he was buried after his death ca. 1290 “under the bells” of the church of Our Lady in Damme.