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Property situation and legal constituency of Hertel and Trstenský’s scultetus families in Trstená (till they were donated the status of nobility)

The majority of previous authors agreed that Trstená was established in the year 1371. Schwankomir (Schwancomir, Schwankomir) and his relatives are said to be the establishers of Trstená. Schwankomir was a notary of Ladislav Piasta from Opole, the Hungarian palatine and then the landlord of Orava. In the year 1371 Schwankomir granted Jan Hertel (Hertel) the right for establishing Tvrdošín (Wardossin) as a new settlement. The document presents the names of Schwancomir, the notary, Ladislav, his brother-in-law, and Ladislav’s brothers Janko, Grimok, Junislav and Wismer. Being appointed to represent the King by Ľudovít of Anjou (de Anjou) and on the request of Jan Hertel and his sons Jakub and Martin, these men staked a part of a forest from their settlement Tvrdošín (Wardossin) , which they had been awarded by the King Ľudovít of Anjou (de Anjou), in order to establish a town. According to the above mentioned document, Jan Hertel and his successors were to become hereditary mayors (scultetus, advocatus) of this newly established town.

Economic prerequisites for the origin of a noble family in Trstená should be looked for in the times of the establishment of the emphyteutic law, which was the scultetuses’ right (with its origin in Germany). A scultetus was the hereditory owner of the land, legitimate to control it. At the same time he was the establisher of the settlement and its hereditory mayor (scultetus). Originally he was not a noble man. But even in the oldest times, beside the usual property of land, he could also possess (under the agreement with the landlord) some extra benefits such as establishment of a pub, slaughter houses, mills, black smith’s forgery and similar service shops, as well as tollhouses, etc. The extent of the awarded rights was not legally specified and therefore it depended on the conditions given in written agreement. Scultetus-and-his-family’s economic domination caused their leading position in Trstená.

The scultetuses in Trstená could not be tried by anybody else but the head of county council or the landlord of Orava castle. According to a document from 1371, the forest stretched between Zabiedov brook (Zadowa) and the Bukovina valley. As it is stated in the documents, the scultetuses in Trstená had the following rights: firstly, Paul’s meadows, which were situated there and were divided into two acres, would be inherited by Paul’s sons only, and so they were to have two acres and two yards in the town from that time on. Secondly, Jan Hertel, the scultetus was given the right to build mills anywhere near Oravica brook without him or his successors being harmed in any way. (This definition was related to noble men who had the right to build mills, but at the same time were economically endangered by scultetuses, and therefore there were regular fights between the scultesuses and the noblemen.) Thirdly, the scultetus and his successors were given the right for stone mining and its sale in the vicinity. Fourthly, the scultetus and his successors were given the right for hunting and fishing in the outfields of the town. Fifthly, the town was to be called Bingenstad. Those who would settle there and would be accepted were guaranteed the application of German law (in terms of handling possession, taxes and courts). Sixthly, if the town became larger and other scultetus’s settlements were established, Trstená would remain the center for legal activities, with the court above being in the competence of Hertel, the scultetus, and his successors. Seventhly, scultetus and the man under the oath were given the right of sword, i.e. the right of corporal punishment, such as: flogging, secret or public torture, blinding, shattering on the wheel, burning, hanging and decapitation. Eighthly, the scultetus was given the ius forensic (right of markets). Ninthly, the citizens were given the right to have a public bath and the right to use scales. Tenthly, bakeries and shoemakers could be owned only by the scultetuses. Eleventhly, no other craftsmen were allowed to do the business within one-mile distance from Trstená town in order not to harm scultetuses’ and citizen’s rights. Twelfthly, the scultetus and his successors were given 5 free acres of arable land. Thirteenthly, the scultetus and his successors were also given 3 acres of meadows; the local priest was given 2 acres. Fourteenthly, the scultetus and other new inhabitants to the town were released of tax paying for 20 years. Fifteenthly, after the 20 years’ term expired, the citizens and villagers were to pay 1 gold coin for each acre on the day of Saint Martin (November 11th), and at the same time presents had to be given three times a year, i.e. on Easter, on December 25th (Nativitatis Domini) and on June 24th (John the Baptist’s Day), in the amount of 16 denariuses per acre. Sixteenthly, from the previously mentioned amount of money every sixth floren belonged to the scultetus. Seventeenthly, none of the jurors (scabini) could prosecute the scultetus who was under Schwankomir’s jurisdiction, only the main scultetus (advocatus) together with his two or three counterparts. Eighteenthly, the scultetus and the town were given the exclusive right to run a pub, emphasized with a protective measure, saying that no other pub could be found within one mile around the town. After the implementation of Wallachian Law, the scultetuses’ rights were slightly restricted. As we can see, the privilege, written and given in the above stated way, should have helped the rapid and effective development of the town, as well as the growth of the local scultetuses’ property. Newcomers were settled in the square, provided that within twenty years they would be able to fulfill their duties towards Orava castle. Trstená town is an exceptional example in Slovakia and even in then Hungary, of getting municipal laws together with the scultetus – German right. Trstená had a better position than Tvrdošín, which being under Schwankomir’s jurisdiction, remained just a villain town regardless to the fact that royal tricesimators were situated there.

During the reign of Sigismundus of Luxemburg (von Luxemburg) the town was devastated by his cousins, Jodocus and Procopius of Luxemburg (von Luxemburg). After the Timisoara Assembly (1397) a royal order was approved, according to which all, who were given any land to use, had to be recruited to military service. The old or the ill were excluded, but they had to send a substitute. Rich noblemen had to send one archer for twenty serfs. Even a half amount of church revenues had to be given to the war against the Turks.

In those times the town and the scultetuses were gradually losing their autonomy and Trstená town was already mentioned in the year 1424 as a domain of Orava castle. Orava castle domain played leading role in the trade with Poland and the mining towns. The trade concentrated on salt, cloth and lead. The Schwankomirs were able to keep their property in Čimhová only, although they lost even that for unknown reasons, or they died out on the spear side. In the year 1439, Čimhová became Platthys’ property. The Paltthys originated from Liptov region.

However Orava castle owners respected older rights, which were presented by Trstená scultetus Adalbert Fojt at Turiec convent of Premonstratesians in Kláštor pod Znievom in the year 1480. That proves that relatives of Schwankomir’s family, i.e. Jan Hertel, the first Trstená scultetus’ descendants, outlived even with their scultetus’ privileges. According to J. Langer, the Hertel family originated probably from a Silesian village, Einseidel. It is obvious that Trstenský family either originated from or was genealogically linked to the Hertel family, or even that it was the one and the same family, whose members changed their surname for a new one, which was derived from the name of the town Trstená, because they had been living there for ages and owned large land properties there. In the 15th century, because of losing favour in Orava castle wardens’ eyes and because of general poorness and also because of strong position and rights of scultetuses, the town could not develop to a great extent. The town was successful in being freed from toll and customs payments, however the market right still remained with Trstená scultetuses. Scultetus Trstenský family was able to have this right till the year 1609.

There are very few documents from the 16th – 17th centuries to prove the exact knowledge about Trstenský family’s religious faith. Majority of authors agree that the church and the parish in Trstená originated from around the year 1397. But we are interested in the times after the year 1520. As we stated, Trstenský family had probably its origin in scultetus Hertel, who was known to be a German. D. Čaplovič dates the arrival of Evangelic church to Orava about 1520-1550. This is deemed to be quite natural. German ethnic accepted Protestantism, which originated in German environment earlier and in a more natural way, than Slovak or Hungarian inhabitants did. According to written documents, Evangelic religious choir was established in Tvrdošín in the year 1551. When in the year 1556 the Thurzo family became owner of Orava, it was clear that being the representatives and believers of Luther’s teaching they would severely support deviation from Catholic church.

Genealogical line of the Trstenský family after receiving hereditary title and coat of arms

During the genealogical research we followed the direct line of Mikuláš Trstenský up to the oldest horizon of the family. JUDr. Mikuláš Trstenský (7th January 1958) and his sister JUDr. Katarína (15th August 1959) are the children of Mikuláš (23rd May 1928) and Katarína Srnková (25th November 1934, † 21st August 2000). His siblings are: Emil (1924, † 14th July 1987) who was a priest; Margita, married Prekopová; Pavlína (12th June 1928 in Trstená); Hana (4th December 1934), married Krumplová and Ing. Jozef (19th February 1937) married to Oľga. Mikuláš is the son of Martin (12th November 1896, † 22nd May 1973) and Johana Stasová (15th November 1901, † 2.1. ….?). Martin had nine siblings: Mária (19th September 1890, † 8th October 1969), married Pániková; Štefan (10th August 1892) who died in the USA; Katarína (22nd September 1894, † 21st December 1996), married Brčová; Jozef (8th January 1899, died in the USA); František (2nd December 1901, † 23rd November 1956), married with a woman – named Pšitková, of whom we do not know anything; Rozália († 1904 soon after being born); Antona (14th January 1906, † 1977) and Viktor (28th March 1908). Viktor Trstenský is closely connected with the struggle against communism in Slovakia. In modern history of origin he achieved the highest and most honourable position in the area of spiritual and secular life. He joined the Spiš Chapter seminary in 1926. He was ordained a priest by Ján Vojtaššák, the bishop, in 1931 (29th June). In 1935 he became a priest in Reľov. Later on, in 1938, he was given a new parish in Dolný Kubín. During the World War II he was appointed school inspector by bishop Ján Vojtaššák. Pius XII, the Pope, appreciated the deep faith of Viktor Trstenský, acknowledged by his numerous efforts and deeds, by giving him the title of Monsignor. Subsequently, the Pope appointed him the member of Pope´s Councilii et Vigilantia. During the era of communist dictatorship Viktor Trstenský was imprisoned several times for his pro-religious and open anti-communist viewpoints. He was in jail in Pankrác (Prague) and Ilava, in work camps and jails in Jáchymov, Prievidza, Nováky and other twenty-four places. He wrote many books describing the situation in jails or his struggle for freedom of faith and conscience (e.g. Sila viery, sila pravdy – “The power of faith, the power of truth”, Ako svedectvo – “As a witness”, Menej ponôs, viac modlitieb a boja za slobodu – “Less complaints, more prayers and fight for freedom”, Fragmenty – “Fragments”, žalšie bolestivé výlevy duše – “Further painful effusion of soul”, Nemohol som mlčať – “I could not be deaf”, etc.). The President of SR Rudolf Schuster appreciated his struggle for the freedom of thinking and awarded him with the state highest honour – Pribina Cross – 1st class in 2000 on the occasion of anniversary of the constitution of the Slovak Republic. On January 4, 1994 Viktor was appointed Honorary Prelatus and Member of Highest Throne Assistance to Pope John Paul II, with a subsequent right to membership of “Ordini di Cappa i Spada”. Title of Apostolic prelate is automatically connected with the role of Secretary – ” Cubicularius intimus adlectus supra numerum” and Chamberlain – “cubricus honorarius” of the Pope John Paul II. Among the Slovak aristocracy, Viktor Trstenský is the only nobleman who can use the royal purple and so he became the top nobleman in Slovakia. Viktor and his siblings are the children of Jozef (25th March 1860, † 27th May 1944) and Mária Abafiová (15th May 1869, † 9th May 1955). In 1886 Jozef, at the age of 26, got married and settled down in Trstená at No. 116. Mária came from one of the most famous and oldest families in Orava region – from the Abafi family. Jozef was the son of Štefan (10th November 1830) and Terézia Dedinská, whom he got married to at the age of 26 in Trstená in 1856. Terézia Dedinská also came from the old family in Orava region, whose history dates back to the 13th century (see coat of arms in Appendix 56). Štefan had a brother Matej (Mattheas, 17th January 1833 in Trstená). Matej and Štefan were sons of Matej (3rd March 1805 in Trstená) and Mária Trubeliová (Trubely). Matej was a member of the Town Council in 1836. Between 1841 and 1844 he was the Statutory in Trstená. During his childhood a part of Trstená went down with fire, undeliberately caused by Ján Trstenský. Contrary to normal punishment of citizens in this case, who would be punished physically in this case, he, as a nobleman, only had to pay the fine in the amount of 6 gold coins. Matej´s father Juraj (Georgius, 10th September 1773 in Trstená) got married to Žofia Baranaiová (Sophia Baranay) on February 3, 1793. Juraj had four siblings: Andrej (Andreas, .. th September 1757); Matúš (Mattheus, 27th August 1760); Ján (Joannes, 27th May 1761) and Jozef (Josephus, 16th February 1766). Ján could also be found in 1797, when he was elected the Head of Town Council in Trstená. Later on he was mentioned as the collector of taxes. Andrej, Matej, Ján, Jozef and Juraj came from the matrimony of Juraj (Georgius, 7th February 1723 in Trstená) and Žofia (Sophia) Gaspieridesová. Originally, the Gaspierides family was of middle class. We could also meet Juraj in 1760, when there was an agreement between him – the husband of Žofia Gaspieridesová, who was the daughter of the late Ondrej Gasparides, and his next of kin – Juraj Ondrekovič (Ondrejkovics). Juraj had other four brothers: Ján (Johannes, 15th December 1734); Andrej (Andreas, 2nd May 1738); Jakub (Jacobus, 9th April 1740) and Matúš (Mattheus, 9th September 1746). Their names could be found even in 1764 at the time when a dispute among the sons of the late Ján, Ján and Juraj and their cousin Matúš (the latter is only mentioned in the agreement on use of fields) with Juraj Furdek and Ján Jablonský (Jablonszky) was resolved. Brothers Juraj, Ján and Andrej along with another Ján and together with other scultetuses concluded an agreement with the town on the use of fields and mills in Trstená on August 8, 1764. A year before, Juraj was mentioned in the archive documents as a man of oath in Trstená (Appendix 15). There is a very interesting document – the deed of scultesuses from Trstená, who were represented by Juraj Trstenský in 1761. That document says that all members of the Trstenský family were giving up their scultetuses´ rights in favour of the town Trstená and in return they would get the right to become full citizens of Trstená. In addition to it, the family members agreed to give up collecting market charges (taxes). Andrej (Andreas) and Katarína (Catharina) Stankovičová (Stankovics) were the parents of the above mentioned three brothers Ján, Juraj and Andrej. In the confirmation made by the priest Andrej Bán some registry records remained from 1774. Andrej´s brothers are known, too. Martin and Ján were their names. Martin and Ján were the sons of Juraj – described as one of the additional addressees of the armales. In 1709 Juraj Trstenský was mentioned as the donator during the inspection of the Evangelic vicarage in Trstená. According to the inspection records the vicarage was mentioned as Evangelic one. However, we do not know when the vicarage, initially Catholic, was transformed into Evangelic. We only know that after the pressure of all five parishes in Orava region, including the one in Trstená, diverted from the Catholic faith in 1556. According to A. Kavuliak and J. Langer, Juraj, the elder, was disposed of, by the decision of Juraj Erdody, a half of his scultetus because of disobedience and presumably even due to betrayal in the name of Imrich Tököli. This fact, however, seems to be unlikely as we know that in 1665 Juraj rejected the offer to take part in administration of the town as the town’s mayor. This is also confirmed by Imrich Tököli’s deed of June 26, 1665, which set the conditions and ways of how the mayor should be elected in Trstená. Therefore, it seems more likely that Juraj, the elder, took part in Gašpar Pika´s rebellion in 1672, as well as in the rebellion (praeterlaptis tumulibus) of Imrich Tököli. Gašpar Pika was, under the strong assistance of Catholic Scultetuses from Upper Orava region, defeated by the army commanded by Emperor’s General Spork (Sporck) at the end of November 1672. General Spork ruthlessly punished the leaders of the rebellion. Gašpar Pika, the Chief Guard at Orava Castle, was impaled on a pole, the bodies of 24 mayors from neighbouring towns and villages, who supported Pika, were broken on wheels or hanged down by their ribs and afterwards, some of them were also impaled on the poles. Another 70 prisoners, mostly Kuruc captured after the battle of žurkov, were sent to the galleys. All of them carried out fortification works in Košice, but later were impaled on the poles as well. We are not sure how Juraj, the elder, managed to avoid the execution. We presume that Juraj was not the town’s mayor at the time, because he had given up the post earlier before. His support to the rebels might have only been oral, or he migh have managed to hide in his estates. It is, however, certain that half of scutetuses’ property together with the rights was transformed into Ján Sztankovics and Matej Radlinský’s rent.Juraj, the senior, put the mill into pledge. Later the mill had been paid for; it became Juraj- the -junior’s property. According to the decision of the director of Orava estate in the year 1688, the abandoned part of the property was gained by Juraj the junior. Juraj the junior did not cooperate with the rebels. He even came to the Emperor’s court to sign up for the battle. His brother Matúš, who was also awarded the right for the scultetus´ post in the town, was also mentioned in the document. According to this document they were obliged to administer their common scultetus´ property (scultetia dominorum compossessorum). Juraj Erdödy remembers, that Juraj the junior came to the Emperor’s military service (in castris Suae Majestatis) in person, for what he must have been awarded. The main addressee of armales was Andrej, the clerk at Orava castle and his sons Andrej, Ján and Martin, the by-addressees were his brothers Martin, who did not have any successors, and Juraj, whose line represent Mikuláš and Katarína Trstenský. The armales was issued by Ferdinand III on the 25th January 1638 in Bratislava and proclaimed on the 26th April 1638 at the general congregation of Orava region in Veličná. The investigation protocol of Orava region presents the facts that Ondrej´s successors, his grandsons and Alexander´s grand grand sons are to be found later in Pest and Ráb regions. We also present excerpts of records, from an already non-existant Evangelic register in Trstená, which were written by the local priest on the occasion of the investigation on the family. To be able to determine the family´s oldest horizon, we have to keep in mind what the request for publishing the armales says. We can read there that all those who applied, namely Andrej and his sons Ján and Martin, as well as Dorota, Katarína, Matej´s daughter and Andrej, Martin and Juraj (brothers) were not of noble origin: “…e statu ignobilis…”. Matej´s daughter, Katarína and Andrej´s daughter, Dorota, who are known from the application, were not included in the armales. We can follow the members of the family continually in archive documents as municipal men of oath, treasurers, members of municipal council or collectors of taxes. According to older authors, Trstenský family is genealogically connected to the Hertel family. The Hertels are recorded in Trstená`s archive documents as hereditary scultetuses since the 14th century. Schwankomir received comfirmation of the donation from the Hungarian King Žigmund of Luxemburg on the 16th May 1424.

According to the armales, the coat of arms represents a gold griffin turned right with his tongue stuck out, spread wings and dropped tail, who carries in his right lifted claw three arrows with their tops turned upwards. The griffin is in the blue field on the green meadow. On the helmet there is a crown with a black wing pulled down with a gold star in its center. The cloth, which surrounds the shield, is blue and gold and silver and red. The variant of this coat of arms is also known from the man of oath, Matej Trstensky´s seal, dated in the year 1752. Looking at the seal we can see that the wing is in the opposite position. It seems that the engraver was not successful in engraving the figure with arrows. The griffin itself has an inappropriate shape because his hind legs cannot be seen. In contradiction to general practice in heraldry, the engraver situated the tail upwards. The engraver ignored the helmet described in blazon of the armales. He engraved the helmet better showing the knowledge of modern heraldic techniques – frontal look of the tournament helmet. The name and surname of the seal owner are shortened in the legend like this: MATHEA TRSTEN – Matheas Trstenszky. The latest variant of the seal is exhibited in Orava Gallery in Dolný Kubín. The artistic form of the coat of arms expresses the times from which the collection is dated (1900-1906), but the content corresponds to the armales. The griffin’s tail position shows that the painter was probably partially inspired by Matej Trstenský’s seals. We do not know why the receivers of armales chose the griffin as a heraldic symbol. The griffin is the symbol of strength and protection, sometimes also the symbol of the protector of limbo or heaven’s door. The typical position of its tail between the hind legs is said to express modesty or even carefulness. Not knowing the seals of Schwankomir and Hertel’s successors, we cannot say whether the coat of arms has not been derived from them. But there is a possibility that coat of arms originated together with Esterházy family’s coat of arms. After the last of Turzo family had died, the member of Esterházy family became the director of the dominion. He used this coat of arms: gold griffin stands in gold helmet on blue field carrying a sword in his right leg and three red roses on green stems in his left leg.

Further members of the family in other lines, who are given in the Archives:
•1790 Ján Trstenský was elected a man of oat
•1797 16th Nov. Ján Trstenský junior elected as member of municipal council in the position of a free man
•1797 Ján Trstenký junior was elected as member of municipal council 1798 Ján Trstenský was elected a tax collector
•1819 10th Nov. Ján a Matúš Trstenský were elected as men of oath
•1828 Ján, Matej and Juraj Trstenský signed a property agreement about their shares
•1829 14th Nov. Andrej Trstenský was introduced as deputy notary, Ján as a men of oath
•1829 Anna Stanková (Sztanka), Ján´s wife, is mentioned in the disputes on dowry and herirage
•1830 Andrej Trstenský was re-elected as deputy notary
•1834 10th Nov. Andrej Trstenský was elected a man of oath and Matúš Trstenský was elected as member of municipal council
•1836 9th Nov. Andrej Trstenský was elected a man of oath 1838 8th Nov. Andrej Trstenský was elected a man of oath
•1838 Jozef and Andrej were mentioned as men of oath 1839 Andrej Trstenský is mentioned as treasurer
•1841 9th Nov. Andrej was appointed the municipal treasurer and Ignác was elected as member of the municipal council, Jozef and Matúš were elected as men of oath
•1843 6th Nov. Jozef Trstenský was elected as man of oath in the town Trstená
•1844 8th Nov. Ondrej and Matúš Trstenský were elected as members of the municipal council in Trstená
•1870 Pavel Trstenský promissed 300 gold coins for the Okrášľovací spolok (Adorning association), but the money were not delivered on time