The following items are a direct translation from the classical genealogical and heraldic reference “Herbarz Polski” by Kasper Niesiecki, S.J., Lipsk (Leipzig) edition, 1839-1846.
Arms: gules, a scarf displayed in a circle knotted, the ends pointing to the dexter and sinister base. For a crest, out of a ducal coronet between a pair of deer antlers, a maiden vested and crined, about her head a tied headband, the ends flotant, all natural.
In the third volume of this work, on page 202, 1 described the Nalecz arms, which the house of the Czarnowski’s once used in their seal, as did the Morawski’s in their day, too, as far as I know. I wrote there regarding the origins of the Nalecz arms.* More commonly, however, they are used in Poland in this form, with a white band, arranged in a circle and knotted, upon a red field. On the helmet a maiden is seen standing between a pair of deer antlers in such a fashion that she is holding an antler in each hand. Upon her head is a headband with an end visible on either side of her head. [Translator’s Note: the word nalecz means “sash” or “kerchief]. This is how these arms are described by Okolski, Vol. 2, p. 248, and Paprocki in 0 Herbach, p. 150.
*[Translator’s Note: this is what Niesiecki writes about these arms’ origin in the entry for “Czarnkowski or Nalecz. ” “Paprocki, in Gniazdo cnoty [Nest of Virtue], gives the origins of Nalecz arms as follows. Mieczyslaw, the first Christian among the Polish kings [i. e., Mieszko I], wanted his subjects to worship the same God he did, and induced them to accept the true faith and recognize God, in some cases by scaring them, in others by doing good works. When Gniewomir, duke of Czlopa, was reborn to heaven through Holy Baptism, Mieczyslaw was gladdened by this and took the baptismal kerchief from his head and gave it to him and granted him these arms. But this author corrected himself in his later book on arms, and said rightly that it was not Gniewomir but Dzierzykraj, prince of Czlopa, to whom Mieczyslaw showed this favor.” Later Niesiecki cites a source who proved “that the Czarnkowski’s do not come from those Naleczes who have a tied kerchief in their arms, but from Dzierzykraj, prince of Cz1opa, whom Boleslaw the Brave presented for baptism. Boleslaw gave him as a keepsake a Nalonia (the name then, as now, for the cloth with which Christ was covered after he had been stripped of His garments and crucified) tied in a circle, for his arms; and later the name Nalonia was corrupted to Nalecz.”]
To be sure, not all those listed here use Nalecz arms in the same form. The Pirawski family adds to the tied kerchief three stars, one over the kerchief, the other two on either side of it. The Sterpinski family has the kerchief turned upward, with a star in the middle of the circle and a cross between the kerchiefs ends. The Dybowski family in Lithuania displays three gradient rectangles, and three ostrich feathers on the helmet. Some show the kerchief tied in a knot, some show a single loose loop, while others show two knots. The Nowosielski family in Volhynia puts an arrow over the kerchief, point upward, and five ostrich feathers on the helmet.
Petrasancta’s book describing foreign arms has none similar to Nalecz, from which it seems that these arms had their beginnings in Poland. It is, however, certain that in Spain there was once an Ordo Equiturn Bandae [Order of the Knights of the Band] of which z Mariany Miraeus Chroni, says the following under the year 1332: “Alfonso, King of Castille, founded in Spain a new knightly order, called the Banda -in the vernacular tongue of the Spaniards bando is a fillet or head-band-red in color, four inches wide, which these knights wrap about their bodies, from the right shoulder to the left forearm, as an insignia of honor. Freeborn men who have spent a minimum of ten years in military service and have been in remote places are chosen for the order; only sons of nobles are eligible, older ones excluded. The king himself was Master of this Society. This order was held for a long time in high regard, but died out at home due to the kings’ indifference.”
P. Bonani in Ordines Equestr. [Knightly Orders] says on page 11 about this same order, “It was once a custom in Spain that the Equites Tyrones, before they were elected into the Order, kept watch for a night in prayer before the altar, with their arms laid down, and the next day during Mass service were given a military sash or red band four inches wide as an honor. They were called in Spain Equites Bindae [Knights of the Band].” Of the latter the same author says on page 87, “The Equites nodi [Knights of the Girdle] in the Kingdom of Naples are different. For when Louis was the king of Lower Pannonia [a region of western Hungary and the northwestern Balkan Peninsula], he made war on Queen Joan, who was the heir to the kingdom. After various rebellions and vicissitudes of war, peace was made in 1351, and Louis of Taranto was summoned by order of Clement VI and was crowned King. He married Joan, in whose memory this order was founded, for they bind the forearm with a girdle.”
Ancestors of This House
Dlugosz includes Piotr, Archbishop of Gniezno in 1059, as a member of Nalecz clan, but Damalewicz, in Vitae Archiep. Gnesn. [Lives of the Archbishops of Gniezno], has him of Leszczyc arms, which is where I spoke of him. Piotr or Piotrowin, whom St. Stanislaw, Bishop of Krakow, brought from the grave and raised from the dead, was of these arms, according to Pruszcz in Forteca, p. 45. M. Baronius claims that he showed himself, going to heaven and thanking him for his prayers, to St. Stanislaw while the latter was living in great glory, and that people experienced various acts of grace by his grave at Piotrowin.
Szymon Nalecz was Kalisz castellan in 1264. Mikolaj was Krakow palatinate in 1260, and this or another Mikolaj was Krak6w castellan and landowner at Roscinin [Roscimin?], Biale Kosy, and Sokolniki in 1283, These are all discussed in Volume One.
Mikolaj was Leczyca castellan in 1381. In 1451 Piotr of Krempa, Kujawy pastor, funded an altar at the cathedral there named “Ascension of the Lord,” see Damalewicz in Praepos. Vladislav.
Jan, Bishop of Poznan, called Gerbisz by some and Traditor [Latin, [“traitor”] by others, was a Poznan canon when he was elected by the chapter for that see; in 1286 he was confirmed by Jakob 8winka, Archbishop of Gniezno, and consecrated at the Lad monastery. During his days the Santok pastorate was taken away from the jurisdiction of the Bishops of Poznan by Duke Otto the Tall and attached to the Soldin [Mysliborz?] chapter, and Jan turned a blind eye to it, even though it diminished his diocese. He died in 1298 and was buried in the Poznah cathedral, per Dlugosz in Episc. Posnan. [Bishops of Poznan].
Mikolaj, bishop of Poznan, was a Gniezno chanter and Poznah scholastyk [member of a chapter who managed a cathedral or collegial school] when in 1382 he was elevated to the miter by a free vote of the chapter; he was a pious, modest man, generous to the poor. He was confirmed in that see by Jan Suchywilk, Gniezno archbishop; but Ludwik, King of Poland and Hungary, was offended that the election was held without his consent, and at the request of Duke Wladyslaw of Opole elevated his nephew, Jan Holit or Kropidlo, to this see. To be sure Mikolaj, wishing to return to the King’s good graces, traveled to Buda in Hungary with his request, and when King Ludwik turned him down, he set out for Rome; but was detained at Tarvisium on Ludwik’s orders and not allowed to go further until Kropidlo had settled in as bishop. As for Pope Urban, in the first place he did not want to alienate the King while schism was tearing apart the church of God, and in the second place he was a good friend of Kropidlo; so in accordance with Kropidlo’s wishes he bowed to Ludwik’s will and gave him the Poznafi miter. See Dlugosz, Vitae Episcop. Posnan. [Lives of the Bishops of Poznan].
Also of this house: Jan, bishop of Plock, son of Count Abraham, taken to that see in 1310, died in 1318 and was buried in Plock, also Jan, Gniezno scholastic, whom Kromer’s book mentioned in 1283. Paprocki says that he was later Bishop of Chelm, but this does not hold up because at that time there were no Bishops of Chelm, nor did they begin soon after. Other ancestors of this house are spoken of under their family affiliations. Dobrogost of Kolno of Nalecz arms was Kamieniec castellan in 1548. Jan Socha Nalecz was royal scribe under King Jagiello. See Bielski. Bartlomiej of Wissemburg defeated the Teutonic Knights, see Bielski, p. 339, Cromer, book 20.
[Added note to Niesiecki’s text by the 19th-century editor, 1. N. Bobrowicz]: Dunczewski, Kuropatnicki, Malachowski, Wieladek, and others give the following families as also using these arms:
Translated by Leonard J. Suligowski; first appeared in the May 1997 issue of “Rodziny, The Journal of the Polish Genealogical Society of America”.
Arms: Gules, a stock or tree stump in pale erased, raguly, with three lopped branches on the dexter, and two on the sinister, all proper, debruised of a cross or sword in chief, also proper. Out of a crest coronet, between a vol of the first, the arms of the shield.
On a red field there should be a cut tree stump with three lopped branches on the right side and two on the left side. Out of the top of the stump can be seen a cross, or rather a truncated sword. Atop the helmet a similar stump appears between a pair of wings. This is how the shield is described by Bielski, on page 575; by Paprocki in Gniazdo cnoty [Nest of Virtues], p. 707, and also in his work O herbach [Of clan shields], p. 255; by Okolski, Vol. 2, p. 269, and in his Klejnoty [Crests], p. 68. Petrasancta does not mention this shield.
Our authors disagree on the origins of this shield. Some historians claim that this coat of arms came to Poland from Bohemia. In Paprocki’s work, Ogród [Garden], p. 183, he claims that in Bohemia, the lords of Lipe, the Krzynecki family from Konow, and the lords of Lichtenberg use two cut tree stumps in their shields, arranged diagonally, each of them with five cut-off branches. As to the origin of the arms, he tells that Jaromir, the Prince of Bohemia, was insidiously led into the depths of the forest to hunt game, only to be ambushed by members of the Werszowicz clan, who were plotting against his life. One of his masters of the hunt named Howoryusz saw through this plan and alerted the Prince’s courtiers, who had been dispersed at various points in the forest; with their help the Prince escaped from danger. The Prince bestowed upon his rescuer noble status, conferred on him this coat of arms, made him a senator, and secured for him a sizable fortune. It is from him that the families mentioned trace their line.
A similar coat of arms is used in Bohemia by the Berkowicz family of Drzewica, one with two black stumps arranged as a cross, with six knots. This shield was given them for their faithful service by Prince Ulrich, and they are numbered among the earliest lords rewarded with estates and fortunes. Before they were given the title of Baron and before Ulrich elevated them to this rank, their shield displayed a single tree stump, as we see in the present Nieczuja clan of Poland.
Nowadays, according to Paprocki, the difference between the shield of the lords of Lipe as opposed to the Berkowicz family is that the latter bears stumps in the helmet, between eagle wings, whereas the lords of Lipe have a carp placed upon the peacock plumes in their helmet. The same author in his work Stambuch Szlaski [Silesian Family Register] described yet another shield as divided in half by a drawn line; on the right side is a tree trunk with two truncated arches and three roots, and on the left a lion stands erect on its rear legs with its head turned to the left, and appears to be holding something in its outstretched paws. This shield is used by the Bes family of Kolno in Katowice district, Silesia, who rendered great services to their lords yet in pagan times. Adam Bes was named as the chief counselor to Prince Boleslaw (son of Wladyslaw) circa 1311. In 1422 Otto Bes, chancellor of Duke Konrad, styled himself “z Rogowa” [from Rogów]. In 1609, Jan Bes of Kolno in Katowice district was supreme judge of Opole and Racibórz, and his brother Kasper Bes was in Kraware. Paprocki states in “The Dedication to Balbinus,” and similarly in book 3, that he saw a tree trunk with green branches displayed on the tombstone of Jan, bishop of Prague, of the Drazica family (page 273).
Those writers who say that the Nieczuja arms came to Poland from Bohemia are of the opinion that this happened during the reign of Wladyslaw Hermann, from whom the ancestor of this house received sizable estates; either he himself founded the village of Nieczujki, or he was given the village by prince Wladyslaw and he and the arms were named for it. Paprocki adds in his Gniazdo cnoty [Nest of Virtues] that he sired 10 sons, of whom one, Derszlaw by name, became assistant cupbearer in the court of King Boleslaw Krzywousty (Wrymouth). During one of the battles against Bohemia, Derszlaw bravely attacked the leader of the enemy troops with such force that he knocked him from his horse. The Bohemians, disheartened by this, were easily defeated by our troops. For his deed, King Boleslaw added a sword to the tree trunk displayed in the shield of his ancestors. However, this same author gives a different story in his later book O herbach [Of Clan Shields], and of this same Derszlaw says, based on letters of some sort, that he was actually of the Jastrzebiec clan.
Dlugosz claims that the Nieczuja clan arms were won in Poland, and Bielski and others say the same, describing the occasion of their conferral as follows: During the reign of King Boleslaw Krzywousty, when the Bohemians did not dare risk open combat with Polish troops, they waited in ambush for the right time to attack at a favorable moment, when they could win more easily. Our forces, unaware of this, made camp, and were in all the more danger because they were overcome with sleep, when one man of this family, probably through God’s intervention, awoke shouting “The enemy! The enemy!” Awakened and startled by this, the whole army awoke and rushed to take up arms. The Bohemians, losing heart at this, were defeated by our troops. In reward for saving the day, King Boleslaw conferred on this knight a coat of arms shaped as mentioned previously.
But since these same authors agreed that Wszebor, a palatine of Kraków and senator during the reign of King Boleslaw Krzywousty, was of the Nieczuja clan (Bielski, page 211, and Paprocki), it seems to me this clan shield must have been established before the time of King Boleslaw.
Paprocki lists Derszlaw Nieczuja as assistant cupbearer at the court of King Boleslaw Krzywousty, as first of the ancestors of the families bearing these arms. He also lists Wszebor Nieczuja, palatine of Kraków and commander during the last battle of Halicz, during the reign of that same King. Starowolski, in his work In Bellat., and others state innocently that Wszebor saved his life during that battle by running away, thus putting the King’s safety at risk. I discussed this in Volume One in the chapter on castellans of Kraków, where I proved that at that time there were two senators who went by the name of Wszebor. One was a palatine of Kraków of the Lawschowa or Strzemie clan; the other was the palatine of Sandomierz, of the Nieczuja clan; he was succeeded in office by Mikolaj Bogorya. This was written by Nakielski in his Miechowja, p. 69, based on old monuments. He adds (p. 84) that the latter’s wife bequeathed the village of Golczowo to the monastery of Miechów. Nakielski also mentioned that during the reign of the Polish Prince Wladyslaw he achieved important victories against Russia, as the commander of the Polish Army. Trojan Nieczuja’s name was recorded in 1200, Count Stanis_aw Nieczuja and Zdzis_aw Nieczuja were recorded in 1261. Dlugosz praised this family as Genus Providum [A prudent clan].
On page 283 of Bielski’s work he tells that Nieczujas bravely fought under the command of Witold against Edyga, the commander of Tamerlane’s army. According to Treter’s Episc. Varmien. [Lives and times of the bishops of Warmia] (I also spoke of this under the entry on the Legendorfs), the Legendorfs’ coat of arms may also derive from the Nieczuja clan arms. The manuscript of O Familiach Pruskich [On Prussian Families], however, ascribes a different coat of arms to them.
I saw these arms, among others, in the church of St. Francis in Kraków, on the tombstone of an unknown lady portrayed wearing ancient garments. There was one picturing a truncated oak tree with three of its branches cut off on both sides of the trunk, and on both sides there was a slim branch remaining with a leaf and an acorn attached to it. The top of the tree was inclined slightly to the left side of the shield. Other family names such as Cebulka, Letowski, Wierzbicki, and Wlodek have a tree stump without a cross, and for a crest, five ostrich plumes. See also Ostrzew.
Families Using These Arms
Later authors include these families among those belonging to this clan: Branwicki, S~laski, Wilczowski, and Zuzelnicki.
Translated by Leonard J. Suligowski; first appeared in the Summer 2003 issue of “Rodziny, The Journal of the Polish Genealogical Society of America”.