Samorząd wiejski w osadach olęderskich w Dolinie Dolnej Wisły w przepisach wilkierzy z XVII i XVIII wieku. Organizacja, kompetencje, zasady funkcjonowania

Michał Targowski



In the Early Modern lowlands of Lower Vistula Valley became an area where rural settlements of a new type were organized by mainly Mennonite migrants from the Netherlands, who were called ‘Olędry’. According to their long-term lease agreements signed with landlords, Olędry were granted special rights and freedom, including a right to set willkürs. These legal arrangements were lists of rules regulating relations between the neighbours as well as organization and operation of the local self-government. In the article eighteen willkürs, used in 17th and 18th centuries in villages situated in different areas of the Vistula Valley and in different kinds of land property (royal, noble and urban), were examined in search for detailed descriptions of the Olędry village courts – Schultzamts, which were bodies elected by the neighbours to keep an order within the vicinity. They consisted of a mayor (Schultz) and two (rarely one) councilors (Rathsleute), all with one or half year long term. They were given a payment collected in the village once a term for their activities and also received part of fines paid by the neighbours. Apart from executing judicial responsibilities, however without a right to judge in criminal cases, mayor and councilors supervised condition of borders, dams, dikes and fire prevention, as well as land purchases, migration of new peasants or workers to the village and setting care of orphans. Willkürs seldom mentioned other obligations of the Schultzamt and neighbours for the landlord than only collecting lease payments or taxes, which, among with other rights of Olędry, is contrary to rules provided by regulations laid by nobility and royal or church land administrators on other categories of peasants in Early Modern Poland.

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