Wiele, German Wielle, an ecclesiastical village in Chojnice powiat, on lake Wielewskie; to its north are elevations rising 640 feet above sea level, called "Chelmice," which the author of the Epos on Pan Czorlinski said "can be seen for seven miles in the whole area" (Torun, p. 40). The village has a postal station and a three-class Catholic school; it covers 2,495 hectares (1,061 of farmland, 136 of meadows, 11 of woods); in 1885 there were 910 Catholics, 4 Protestants, and 40 Jews living there, for a total of 954 residents, of whom 5 houses and 47 residents were at Biala Góra, I house and 5 residents at Wielewski Mlyn ["Wiele Mill"], and 5 houses and 63 residents at Piatkowo. The Catholic church, St. Nicholas's, under government patronage, is made of wood and has a shingle roof. It has had the Brotherhood of St. Anne since 1803, of St. Anthony since 1803, of Sobriety since 1852, and of the Solace of The Blessed Mother since 1852. One of its bells dates from 1686. Belonging to the parish (of Tuchola deanery) are: Wiele, Karszyn, Popia Góra, Górki, Przytarnia, Kliczkowy, Zamosc, Czyste, Barlogi, Wdzydze Tucholskie, Miedzno, Odry, Wojtal, Dabrowa, Lipa, Rudziny, Cisewie, Osowo, Bak, Borsk, Broda, Huta Brodzka, Piechowice, Kruszyna, Zabrody, Wdydze Kiszewskie, Kozlowiec, Ostrów, Jastrzebie, Czarne, Kloc, Huta Przerebelska, Plesy, Rów and Pustki; as of 1867 it numbered 5,268 souls, and 7,890 as of 1892.
Formerly the parish had two more chapels, one in Wiele, the other in Odry. By the parish church stood a spacious hospital for the needy, with the chapel of St. Anne. The chapel and hospital's endowment consisted of the nearby village of Przytarnia. During the Reformation all that was lost. The report of Bishop Rozdrazewski's inspection in 1583 tells that when the hospital and the chapel burned down, the Tuchola starosta at the time, Koscielecki, took the village of Przytarnia away from the needy and incorporated it into the estates of his starostwo. The bishop decreed that the pastor was to take this village from thestarosta's by legal methods, but it was to be used to endow, not the needy, but a new seminary. This all proved in vain, however, and Przytarnia remained in the possession of the Tuchola starosta's (see Utrac. kosc. p. Fankidejskiego, p. 316).
In 1382 the Tuchola Commander of the Teutonic Knights, Henryk Bollendorf, granted German law to the inhabitants of the village called "Wiele" (Velym)-which previously was incorporated under Polish law-along with 55½ wlóka's within set boundaries. "The pastor will have 5 wlóka's, and to the office of soltys, which we have sold to Nikosz, will belong 6 wlóka's. Besides this the inhabitants of the village will have 35 wlóka's subject to rent under the terms of Chelmno law. The rest of thewlóka's we give them, to aid them in paying rent and serving us the better. The soltys will have every third penny from court fines, and we the other two pennies; further we grant him the right to free pasturage in our forests and all wood lying free for firewood, and to catch fish for his table from the small area set aside in the lake alongside the village... As for the villagers, they are to render us every year on the Feast of Candlemas a rent per wlóka of 14 skojec's of standard Prussian coinage, one bushel (Chelmno measure) of oats, and one bushel of "chicken oats" [? kurowy owies], also they are to be sent out for two days on our hunts. It is also our will that for every 1½ wlóka's they are to gather a mórg of hay and convey it to Kosobuda or wherever we order ... Issued in Tuchola" (see Kodeks Belnensis, manuscript in Pelplin, page 51, and Odpisy Dregera in Pelplin, p. 122).
During Bishop Rozdrazewski's inspection in 1583 the plague raged so fiercely that the inspection of the churches in Brusy, Lesno and Wiele was not completed. Wiele parish then belonged to the Zaborski or Starogard deanery. A later inspection by this same bishop reports that there was then a wooden church here under the patronage of St. Nicholas. Four wlóka'sbelonged to the pastor. There were so many empty wlóka's in the village that the Mass-tithe from the whole village only amounted to 13 bushels of rye and the same of oats. The pastor was Jan Lubichowski (p. 203).
During the days of the Commonwealth Wiele belonged to the Tuchola starosta's. An inspection report from 1570 states that "Wiele, property of Jerzy Zalinski, has 60 wlóka's, of which 4 belong to the pastor, 35 are empty, 21 are settled, further there is 1 inn inherited and 1 rented, and 1 gardener." A 1664 report lists here only 45 wlóka's, 6 belonging to the soltys, 4 to the priest, a fifth held by the deacon of Mirachowo, 1 belonging to the peasants. The church was collationis regiae [government-supported]. The Wiele beehives, lying in the Zaborska forest, which was part of the famed Tuchola Forest, were tended in turn by the inhabitants of the neighboring villages (see Sl. G., XII, p. 595)....
In 1686 Wiele parish belonged to the Mirachowo deanery and numbered some 600 souls. Its pastor was Stan. Jacek Zeromski, who rebuilt the rectory. His predecessor was Rev. Piechowski (p. 9). Szaniawski's inspection in 1710 reports that the church bore the title of St. Anne's; the Brotherhoods of St. Anne and St. Joseph existed there. Five wlóka's belonged to the pastor, in addition to which he held one free from the Tuchola citadel. He collected a Mass-tithe from the ecclesiastical village of 14 bushels of rye and the same of oats. The organist was also the teacher (see p. 14). Finally, from Rybinski's inspection in 1780 we learn that in 1728 the church was built from parishioners' contributions and consecrated on 24 June 1769 by suffragan Bishop Wolicki. [Translator's note: this seems unlikely, perhaps the church was built in 1728 and consecrated in 1729, or built in 1768 and consecrated in 1769]. Wiele then (in 1780) had only 218 Catholic inhabitants, the whole parish numbered 2,035 souls, there were 70 Protestants, and no Jews. The pastor was Jan Netzel (p. 66).
According to Goldbeck's topography, in 1789 the village had 33 hearths (p. 251). In 1812 the French passed through the parish, namely through Wiele-Kliczkowy and Borsk, fleeing from Cossacks who were chasing them. They encamped in Borsk, and the inhabitants sheltered themselves and their cattle in the nearby woods. In 1892 in a field belong to Kiedrowski several urns were found, among them a very small one which held bones and a gold ring. Not far away there is another gravesite which has not yet been excavated. Ks. Fr. (Rev. Frydrychowicz).
Source: Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego - Warsaw [1893, vol. 13, p. 310]
This translation, by William F. Hoffman, first appeared in the Winter 2000 issue of "Bulletin of the Polish Genealogical Society of America".