Herb Nieczuja

Research Heraldry Herb Nieczuja

Herbarz Polski translation

Nieczuja herb

For each herb [clan shield, coat of arms] the blazon or verbal description of the arms is first given in authentic heraldic style, followed by a translation from the Polish description by Niesiecki. The right and left sides of a shield are identified from the standpoint of the bearer, i. e., the one holding the shield. His right would be your left and vice versa. The tinctures (colors) in heraldry are as follows: azure = blue, gules = red; sable = black; or = gold, argent = silver; vert = green. In heraldry all charges (pictures) on a shield are assumed to be facing dexter (right side) unless otherwise specified. In Polish heraldry all animals or birds are assumed to be in their natural coloring unless otherwise specified.
Legend of the clan “Nieczuja”
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, debrusied 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, 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 partial cross or sword. Atop the helmet can be seen the same illustration between a pair of wings, red in color. Authors Bielski, on page 575; Paprocki’s “Family Crests” pg. 707; and also in his work “Of clan shields”, pg. 255;  Okolski’s Vol.2, pg. 269; & his “Crests” pg. 68. Petrasancta does not mention this shield at all. The origins of this clan shield has many opinions, and some historians claim that this coat of arms came to Poland from Chechy (Czechoslovakia).    In Paprocki’s work, “Ogrodzie” (Gardens) pg. 183, he claims that in Chechy, the nobles from Lipie (Lipa) the Krzynecki family from Konow and the nobles from Lichtenberg, had used two cut tree stumps placed diagonally with each of them having five cut off branches as their shield designations.   The story goes, that Jaromir, the Prince of Chechy, during a hunting game was ambushed by members of the Werszowicz clan, who had conspired against his life. Apparently, one of the hunters by the name of “Howoryusz”, had seen through this devious plan, and alerted the Prince’s courtiers who had been dispersed at various points in the forest during the game. The courtiers managed to save the Prince in the nick of time from this ambush, and as a result the Prince showed his appreciation by granting Howoryusz noble status and adopted him into his clan coat of arms. The Prince later made him a senator and provided him with a compensatory reward. Of the above mentioned Howoryusz families, a similar coat of arms is used in Chechy by the Berkowicz family from Drzewica.
A variation of this coat of arms contains two two crossed stumps with six knots. A nobility, along with this shield, estates and fortune was granted to the Berkowicz family for their loyal service by Prince Ulrich. Prior to this grant the family received the title of Baron from the Prince. Their previous shield displayed a single tree stump, in much the same manner as the present Nieczuja clan of Poland. Nowadays, according to Paprocki, the difference between the shield of the Lipe family as opposed to the Berkowicz family is that the latter bears five knots or stumps whereas the Lipe family displays six stumps. The Berkowicz family show their crest of the tree stumps between a pair of eagle wings.
According to Paprocki, the nobles of Lipe showed a Carp (fish) placed upon the peacock plumes in their crest. This same author in his work “Stambuch Slaski” described yet another shield as divided in half by a drawn line, on the right side a tree trunk with three sets of roots, on the left half, a lion standing upright on its rear legs with its head turned left, and appears to be holding something in its outstretched paws. This shield is used by the “Bes” family from Kolno and Katowice in Silesia who rendered great services to their lords yet in pagan times.   Adam Bes was named as the chief physician to Prince Boleslaw (son of Wladyslaw) so recorded in 1311. Otto Bes from Rogow, a chancellor of Prince Konrad was recorded in 1422. In 1609, there were recorded the names of Jan Bes from Kolno near Katowice, a judge of a supreme court of Opole and Raciborz, additionally his brother’s name Kasper from Kravary. In Paprocki’s work “The Dedication to Balbinus” and similarly in book 3, stated that he saw a tree trunk with green branches displayed upon the tombstone of John, bishop of Prague, of the Drazica family (page 273). Those writers who claimed that the Nieczuja arms came to Poland from Chechy during the reign of King Wladyslaw Herman were only speculating of the fact if the unknown forefather of this family (and his arms) either received titles and goods from Prince Wladyslaw or that he himself (the forefather) established and founded the village of Nieczujki from which the name of the arms was taken, In Paprocki’s book “The Nest” (Gniazdo) a forebearer of this clan had sired 10 sons. One named Derszlaw became assistant cup bearer in the court of King Boleslaw Krzyousty (Wrymouth). During one of the battles against Chechy, Derszlaw bravely attacked the leader of the enemy troops with such a force that he knocked him from his horse. Subsequently, the frightened Chech troops lost the battle. For his deed, King Boleslaw added a sword to the tree trunk as displayed in the original shield of Nieczuja. However, this same author in his book “Of Clan Shields”, based on information coming from letters (of undisclosed sources and origin) gives a different story of Derszlaw in that he was actually of the “Jastrebiec” clan.   Długosz, Bielski and several other historians claim that the Nieczuja clan arms originated in Poland. During the reign of King Boleslaw Krzywousty, Chechy detachments would not take any chances in fighting with Polish troops out in an open field. Instead, they depended mainly on guerilla tactics waiting for the right moment to ambush the unsuspecting enemy in order to provide them with a greater chance of winning.   While camping at night, one of the members of the troop was sleeping, apparently prompted by God’s will and awoke screaming Enemy !, Enemy !, At this the Polish troop awoke startled and began arming themselves, in time to stop the Chechy ambush attack. In return for saving the day, King Boleslaw granted this knight a coat of arms shaped as mentioned prior. Since Długosz Bielski and other authors agreed that Wszebor, a palatine of Krakow and senator during the reign of King Boleslaw Krzywousty was of the Nieczuja clan, as stated in Bielski’s book on page 211, and Paprocki claims this clan shield had to be established long before the times of King Boleslaw. Among the ancestors of the Nieczuja family, Paprocki listed Derszlaw Nieczuja, an assistant cup bearer at the court of King Boleslaw Krzywousty.
Wszebor Nieczuja a palatine of Krakow and hetman during the last battle of Halicz. Starowolski ‘s work “In Bellat “ and others, he made an unverified statement that Wszebor, during this last battle, allegedly retreated from a battlefield putting at risk the well being of King Boleslaw. I myself mentioned this incident in the first volume in a chapter about castellains of Krakow, where I had proven at that time there were two senators alive and both were going by the name of Wszebor. One of them was a palatine of Krakow of the Lawshowa or Strzemie clan. The second individual Wszebor was the palatine of the Nieczejua clan. Nicholas Bogorya then took over his post at the Senat according to the Miechowa report pg. 69 authored by Nakielski. In this same document he added that before 1198 (pg. 84) the wife of Wszebor Nieczuja granted a village of Golczowo to the monastery of Miechow.   Also, Nakielski mentioned that during the reign of the Polish Prince Wladyslaw, Wszebor Nieczuja achieved many important victories against Russia, as the hetman of the Polish Army.   Trojan Nieczuja’s name was recorded in 1200, Duke Stanislaw Nieczuja and Zdyslaw Nieczuja were recorded in 1261. Długosz praised this family as “Genus Providum” [High born prudent family]
In Bielski’s work on page 283, he cites that they bravely fought under Witold’s command against Edyga, the hetman of Tamerlan’s army. According to Tretera in his “Life and times of the bishops of Warmia” [also used by me as a source of information regarding my own writings of the family of Legendorf..(Auth.)] the Legendorf’s coat of arms derives from the Nieczuja clan arms; altho in the manuscripts of “The Prussian Families” a different coat of arms was assigned.
In the church of St. Francis in Krakow, I on a tombstone, an unknown woman portrayed wearing ancient garment. Among other coats of arms there was one picturing an Oak tree with three of its branches cut off on both sides of the trunk. On each of the sides there was only a slim branch remaining with a leaf and an acorn attached to it. A tip of the tree was slightly bent to the left side of the shield. Other family names such as Cebulka, Letowski and Wlodek have a tree stump (trunk) without a cross , and for a crest, five ostrich plumes> {see also “Ostrzew”}.
A translation from Niesiecki’s Herbarz Polski, Vol. VI, pgs. 535-539

Copyright © 2000 Leonard J. Suligowski. Used by permission. This article originally appeared in White Eagle  (Spring 2000), the journal of the Polish Nobility Association Foundation.