Translated from the Słownik Geograficzny (1880-1902)
by Helen Bienick
Płazów, in Russian called Płaziw, and once known as Błazów, was a small town located in the county of Cieszanów. Its geographical position was 50o17’30” latitude north, and 40o52’ longitude east. It is 7.5 kilometers from the town of Narol, where the post office and telegraph stations were located. It is described in a literary work “Articles of Błazów” volume 1 page 246. Płazów lies in the basin of the Wisła (Vistula River). To the northeast runs a stream called Tanew, which flows from the southeast to the northwest. Two streams, called the Lubówka and Piszcak, flow into the Tanew from east to west. The houses are situated on the southwest area of these streams, and are built on an elevation of 265 meters above sea level. On the northeast of the town, rises a mountain called Przepaśniska, which rises 324 meters in height.
In 1880, there were 170 houses with 689 inhabitants, of whom 194 were Roman Catholics, 455 were Greek Catholics, and 40 were Jews. The coat of arms for Płazów was a figure of St. Michael the Archangel on a field of white. King Zygmunt III Wasa (1566-1632) first heard from Jan Płaza of Mstyczów, who was a royal official in Kraków, that this area would be a suitable site for the founding of a town, since the royally-owned towns of Gorajec and Żuków were nearby, as well as the rivers called Lubella and Rozaniec. The privilege to build a town was granted on April 22, 1614, and it was specified that the town be called “Płazów”. (See the work, “Stara Polska” (Old Poland) volume 2, pages 1222 and 1223). The founding of Płazów was confirmed by four kings, namely, Władysław IV in 1634, Jan Kazimierz in 1665, Jan Sobieski in 1682, and King August in 1736. An illustrated writing in 1768, “RKP Ossolinski” page 95, shows the following excerpt which reads, “In this town stands a wooden parish church, whose pastor is the Reverend Kazimierz Sikorski”. In a decree issued in 1727, King August II set up a system of tithes for the villages of Krupiec, Brusno, Gorajec and Żuków, which outlined the donations of rye and other grains to be offered to the church pastor on Christmas day.
In the decree of privileges and the right to found the town (with the name of Płazów), Ryszard Leves was appointed the “wojt” (sheriff) of the town. The local pastor was guaranteed an income, and the church was granted a parcel of land. The inhabitants were allowed to build homes on land granted to them, and other areas were set aside for them to engage in farming and pasturing cattle. The Jews were allowed to establish businesses, and arrangements were made to build protective walls around the town, for its protection. The inhabitants were given permission to import Hungarian, Italian and French wines. They could also brew beer, keep bees for the production of honey, and operate a distillery. The town was to be governed according to the Magdeburg system which originated and was prevalent in Germany. The sheriff and a council were elected by the people. The town’s official seal bore the image of St. Michael, and was ordered to be impressed on all documents.
Market days were held twice weekly, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Trade fairs were held on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, and on the Feast Day of St. John. Buying and selling of cattle and other commodities were allowed. Traders came from as far as Kraków, Elbłag, Poznan and other outlying areas. The free trade was based on the systems used in Toruń, Lublin, and Sandomierz. This practice was sanctioned by the above-mentioned five kings.
A varied tax schedule came into existence on August 25, 1765, drawn up by the commissioner Kłębowski. Property owners paid 52 złoty and 22½ groszy. The magistrate tithed 100 złoty to the parish church, and 100 to the owner of the manor house. Wheelwrights paid 15 złoty, among other levies. It was illegal to cut down trees in the forest, and sow fields that were vacant, without permission. The net tax income for Płazów came from one brewery, two water mills, a handmill, and a tax on the meadows in Żuków and Czabaniec. Tolls were paid by coach drivers, glass makers, wagons transporting goods, the distillery, sale of salt, etc. Liquor could be sold only in casks for weddings, baptisms, funerals and festive events. Repairs of properties and the erection of new buildings was regulated. In 1764, the town of Płazów had an income of 1550 złoty and 27½ groszy (coins), while the expenses were only 148 złoty and 6 groszy.
Note: 100 groszy equals 1 złoty.