Previously published in PGS-CA Bulletin (October 2013)

Ląd Translated from the Słownik Geograficzny (1880-1902)
by Helen Bienick

Ląd, sometimes mistakenly spelled as Lęd, lies on the river Warta in the county of Słupca, district of Ciążeń, parish in Ladek, about 10 kilometers from Słupca. In the late 1800s, there were 24 houses with 250 inhabitants, the folwark had five houses with 55 inhabitants, and three houses and two inhabitants near the convent area. The village has an ancient convent with rich antiques, the remains of the church and abbey of the order of Cistercian monks.

Mieczysław Stary, a Duke reigning in Wielkopolska (Greater Poland), brought in the German Cistercians, and they settled in the area of the church. Eventually, they became very rich, and would not admit Poles into their order. In 1551 there were 27 members, all Germans, who often left the convent and traveled to Germany. In 1539, King Zygmunt I mandated that Poles be permitted to join the convent, as a result of the Reformation sweeping through Europe.

The German monks then departed to Germany. The convent then had two abbots, one in command, and the second a bishop dignitary. The last abbot of the convent was named Woronicz. The Polish abbots undertook to restore the convent and in 1690, it was rebuilt by Zapolski to its present condition in the late 1800s. The work was later finished by Mikołaj Łukowski, who spent his own money and 50 years in beautifying the church and convent. He built the two steeples and covered the roof in tin plate, which is still in existence. His Coat of Arms was placed in the steeples.

After the Cistercians departed the area, the vacant premises were slated to be destroyed. The convent was rescued by the families Gutakowski and a nobleman, Benjamin Szymanski, who invited the Franciscan Capuchin Fathers to occupy it. He permitted the monks to engage in collecting donations and offerings to restore the buildings. From 1850 to 1852, the convent and church were totally repaired. The Capuchin fathers then left the area in 1864. Many expensive religious articles were removed and installed in other churches in Poland.

Mieczysław Stary gave the Cistercians the following villages: Kościół, Dolany, Mozscho, Kłobia, Chocen, Szetlewo, Rzgów, Grabienice, Sławsk, Wronów, Kwiatków, Chorzeń, Starałąka, Swiniarowo, Głowiew, Tur and Sobótka. These actions are mentioned in many documents and codexes, particularly in the Liber Beneficiorum, volume 1, pages 101, 282, 313 and 320. An article and history of the convent were featured in the “Dziennik Warszawski” newspaper in 1851 pages 54 through 133. In 1858 a historical account of the abbey and church in Ląd was featured in the “Dziennik Warszawski”. In later years the existence of the first abbey was described in a historical work by the known writer, Władysław Luszczkiewicz.

The estates of Ląd consisted of the following large farmsteads: Policzko, Jaroszyn, Zdary, Dziedzice and Ląd, covering approximately 2988 morgen [1] of land. The folwark in Ląd covered 748 morgen of farms and gardens, 344 morgen of meadows, 169 morgen of pastures, 145 morgen of forests, 122 morgen of unused areas and water, in total 1528 morgen The estate covered 17 brick buildings and one built of wood. There were two wind and water mills on the Warta river. The estates mentioned above were annexed to the properties of the owners of Ciążeń.

[1] One morgen = ~2.116 acres.