Previously published in PGS-CA Bulletin (January 2014)
Translated from the Słownik Geograficzny (1880-1902)
by Helen Bienick
Pobiedziska, in error called Pobiedzisko, and in German Pudewitz, is a town and a city district in the county of Środa Wielkopolska (Greater Poland). It is also a railroad stop on the train route from Poznań-Torun-Bydgoszcz situated 27 kilometers from Poznań. It lies on flat land on Lake Piestrachów, not far from Lake Lednica and the streams Główna and Cybina, which flow into the Warta River from a higher elevation.
In the late 1800s the town had 2255 inhabitants, a Catholic parish church, a Protestant church and a synagogue. There was a third-class post office, a telegraph station, a police commissioner, a doctor and a pharmacy. Four fairs were held during the year. In the 17th century the town’s coat of arms depicted a golden boat on a field of red.
The inhabitants engaged in farming and agricultural pursuits. The profit from one “ha” of land netted nine marks. In the late 1700s there were 144 houses and 796 inhabitants, of whom 84 were Jews. In 1811, there were 194 houses and 1071 people. In 1837 the population numbered 1517. In 1843, there were 140 houses and 1450 inhabitants (720 Catholics, 399 Protestants and 331 Jews). In 1858 the number was 1735 people, and in 1871 there were 180 houses with 1907 people.
The parish church dedicated to St. Michael was known to be in existence before the year 1331. It was destroyed by fire and was replaced by one built of baked brick. The new church was consecrated in 1596 by Jan Gniazdowski, a Suffragan Bishop of Gniezno, who was once an abbot in Mogilno. He reconciled the problems on the local cemetery, which had been desecrated by religious factions and resulted in bloodshed. On the left side of the main altar is found a monument to Stanisław Grota, a canon from Gniezno, also the town curate (who died in 1634). On a side altar are depictions of the Blessed Lady and St. John, installed in 1479 by Archbishop Jakub Sieńienski and gifted by the Zbąszyński noble family. Another monument to St. Michael reportedly was a gift from the owners of the village of Prądna (Promno). Besides these, there was another monument depicting the Assumption of Blessed Mary. In the 16th century, the following villages belonged to the parish church in Pobiedziska: Gołuń, Górka Kociałkowa, Jezierce, Nadrożny młyn, Pobiedziska, Polska Wieś, Pomarzanowice, Prądno, Sanniki, Wagowo and Zberkowo. In addition the villages of Pomarzany and Pomarzanki gifted the pastor with their contributions.
In the late 1800s the church belonged to the deanery in Gniezno and the Church of the Holy Trinity. At this time the following villages were included in the Pobiedziska parish: Bociniec, Borówki, Czachórki, Główna, Głowienka, Gołuń, Gołuńskie Holendry, Góreckie Holendry, Górka Kociałkowa, Gruenhof, Kaczyna, Kapalica, Kocanowa, Kuracz, Nadrożny młyn, Olszak, Pobiedziska, Polska Wieś, Pomarzanki, Pomarzanowice, Prądno, Sannickie Holendry, Sanniki, Wagowo, Wiśniewo, Wójtostwo and Zberkowo, aka Zbierkowo. In 1873, the parish numbered 2373 souls.
A second church dedicated to the Holy Spirit and funded by Władysław Jagiełło, the owners of the village of Górka Kociałkowa, and the residents of Pobiedziska, was destroyed by fire, rebuilt of wood in 1596 and was consecrated by Jan Gniazdowski, the Bishop of Gniezno. Also destroyed by the fire was a chapel dedicated to our Blessed Lady Mary, which held a miraculous icon that also perished. The icon was the gift of Agnieszka Ebura in 1594, a resident of Pobiedziska. The chapel was rebuilt of wood in 1746. A chronicle from 1331 mentioned that a hospital was built near the Church of the Holy Spirit by King Jagiełło circa 1423. According to the historian Marian Sokołowski, the name Pobiedziska denotes a battle with a Pomeranian clan and its victory. On this spot, King Kazimierz Odnowiciel, (Casimir the Restorer, 1016-1058) also built a castle to honor the victory.
In old days, Pobiedziska was the property of various nobles, who for many years hosted the rulers of Wielkopolska. In 1233, Władysław Odonicz (1190-1237) gave possession of the village of Calpino to a local convent. On April 7, 1246, Przemysław I (1220-1257) allowed Boguchwała, the Bishop of Poznań, to install the German method of governing to the churchowned villages. In 1247, Przemysław I freed the convent in Obora from all taxes and levies. In November of 1251 he granted city rights to the village of Kostrzyn. In 1253 with his brother Bolesław, he gave the same privileges to the town of Śrem. In 1254 he exempted buyers traveling to Poznań for merchandise from paying a toll. In February 1258, he granted more privileges to Pobiedziska, among them he annexed the mill on the Główna Stream to the town.
In the year 1253, the villages in Wielkopolska went through a process of renaming and redividing the towns. Bolesław, the son of Władysław Odonicz, granted rights to the village and convent of Kołbacz in 1258. In 1266 he allowed the village administrator, Antoni, to sell cloth and dry goods in Pobiedziska. He also advised him to install the German system of governing in Jerzy, Jerzykowo and Siemienowo. In 1278 at a meeting of dignitaries, Duke Bolesław and Przemysł II allowed a new convent to be built in Wielen. In 1294 Przemysław II made more changes for the village of Oczkowic. In 1306, a large area of Wielkopolska was deeded to Henry, a Duke in Silesia. In 1312, his sons divided the land between themselves. Pobiedziska became the property of Bolesław and Konrad, but eventually was returned to the crown of Poland. In 1331, the Teutonic Knights attacked the town, destroying the church, the castle and most of the town. In 1355, the canon of Poznań and then the parish priest in Pobiedziska, imposed the German governing style in Wagowo, which was the property of the Pobiedziska church.
In 1410, King Władysław spent some time in Pobiedziska and in 1418 with his queen, Elizabeth, and an entourage of bishops and his royal staff, lingered here after a religious pilgrimage to Konstancja. In August of 1419, he reportedly walked barefoot from Mogilno to Pobiedziska, and the next day arrived in Poznań. In 1422 during a journey from Inowrocław to Wolborz, he was hosted in Pobiedziska. In 1425, the town issued a document pledging respect and allegiance to the king. About this time he appointed Dobrogosta from Kolno to protect the town. In 1433 he allowed Wojciech of Tuliszow(?) to purchase the town from Dobrogosta. In 1434 the king donated 50 “grzywna” (coins) for the town’s treasury and in 1442, he appointed Łukasz Górka from Poznań as the town’s patron. And in 1458, he contributed 500 more “grzywien” to the town.
In 1458 Pobiedziska sent 25 soldiers for military service against the Teutonic Knights in Malbork. In 1471 after Łukasz Górka purchased the town for 4636 “złoty” (Polish money, but in Hungarian value), he complained to the King that he should be reimbursed on the Feast of St. Jacob. In 1492-1497, the ownership of the town was returned to the royal house. In the year 1500, King Jan Olbracht sold the town to Raphael Leszczyński for 1800 “złoty”. In 1511, King Zygmunt seeing the debts incurred by the town, bequeathed the town to Łukasz Górka after a payment of 2020 Polish “złoty” and 200 “złoty” in Hungarian value. Górka, who was a castellan from Poznań, became the owner.
In 1513 the King restored the German governing method granted to the town long before. Because of this action, the town’s economy improved and gained income from merchants such as butchers, bakers, shoemakers, stalls set up in the market, from baths, and lumber from the nearby forests. The inhabitants were exempted from tolls and market fees for a radius of 7 milas. In return for these benefits, the inhabitants were obligated to mow the meadows three days each year and provide horses and carts. Markets were permitted to be held every Tuesday and fairs once a year. These rules and regulations were later confirmed by King Zygmunt in 1561, King Stefan Batory in 1576, and Zygmunt III in 1598. In 1580 the town was damaged by a big fire.
At the end of the 18th century, Pobiedziska had 34 shoemakers, 7 butchers, 7 beer makers, 6 distillers, 6 cloth makers, 5 tailors, 4 blacksmiths, 4 musicians, 3 wheelwrights, 1 basket weaver, and 9 other types of craftsmen. The town of Pobiedziska belonged to the county of Gniezno in the province of Kalisz. The following hamlets were considered a part of the town: Bociniec, Borówko (Borowskie Holendry) Główna, Jerzyn, Kocanowo, Nadrożny Młyn, Olszak, Pobiedziska, Polska Wieś, Rybitwy, Węglewo and Wójtostwo. In 1771 the populace paid a tax of 1875 złoty in total, and also 608 złoty and 18 silver coins, which was a hyberna (a tax used to maintain the upkeep of the military during the winter).
Circa 1773, the new owner of Pobiedziska, Felicyan Niegoleski, a judge from Poznań, acquired possession by a leasing agreement. In 1871, the district of Pobiedziska had 189 houses and 2002 inhabitants, of whom 1189 were Catholics, 578 were Protestants, and 235 were Jews. There were 954 men and 1048 women. The villages of Głowna Młyn (Mill) Kopalica, Gruenhof and Kaczyna were hamlets in Pobiedziska.
- Złoty = unit of Polish currency
- Grzywna = Polish coin, usually silver
- Ha of land = plural for hectare
- One hectare = 2.47 acres
- One mila of land = ~7.5 kilometers
This translation describes the lifestyle typical in a larger town or small city compared to the tiny villages. There were laws to follow, tolls, taxes and levies to pay, and privileges to earn. Pobiedziska was a very successful and busy town, and its ownership changed hands often. Editor