Herb Wadwicz

Research Heraldry Herb Wadwicz

Herbarz Polski translation

Wadwicz herb

The following, thirty-ninth in a series, was prepared from the classic heraldic reference Herbarz Polski (by Kasper Niesiecki, S. J., Lipsk [Leipzig] edition, 1839-1846) by Leonard J. Suligowski, 218A North Henry, Brooklyn, NY 11222-3608. Mr. Suligowski is Director of Heraldry for the Polish Nobility Association, Villa Anneslie, 529 Dunkirk Rd., Anneslie, MD 21212-2014, for further information on these arms or Polish nobility, write him c/o the PNA. For each coat of arms the blazon or verbal description of the arms below is first given in the 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.


Per pale, gules and argent, 2 fish haurient, adorse, embowed and countercharged. For a crest, 5 ostrich plumes proper (others, a panache of peacock plumes proper).


The shield is divided into two parts by a vertical line. On the right side a fish of the sea appears, silver in color, on a red field; on the left is a fish red in color on a silver field [this is termed "counterchanged"]. Both fish are shown back to back with their heads at the top, tails at the bottom, turned away from each other so that each forms a half-circle lengthwise. On the helmet some families display five ostrich plumes, while others display a panache of peacock plumes. This is how the arms are described by Bielski, p. 283; Paprocki in his Gniazdo cnoty [Nest of Virtue], pp. 800 and 1,173, also in his O herbach [On Clan -Shields], p. 509; and by Okolski, vol. 3, p. 265, as well as in his Klejnoty, p. 87.


A shield very similar to this one is that used by the duchy of Bar, Lotharingia [Lorraine], except that both fish are silver or white on a red field, and instead of a line dividing the fish there are two swords, one directly over the other. There are also two other swords, one alongside one fish, the second alongside the other (Book 6 of Civitat. Orbis, p. 8).


Paprocki's Petrasancta, chapter 56, describes another shield similar to this one, but with no line in the middle and featuring two trout. This is the shield of the [Alsatian] family of Montbeliard. Two salmon appear, arranged as you see here, on a shield borne by the house of Salmeor [Salmon] in France, according to Petrasancta. Paprocki's O herbach, p. 600, tells that at the Battle of Grünwald, that great victory of King Jagiello [1386-1434] over the Teutonic Knights, among the other standards taken in that battle was that of commander Kowalski, on which there are two red fish with their heads and tails forming a kind of circle.


That same Paprocki, in his Gniazdo cnoty, describes the occasion on which these arms were bestowed. A knight called Wadwicz was dispatched twice in a delegation by King Boleslaw [Krywousty or "Wrymouth," 1102-1138]. While returning the second time this knight was plunged into the depths during a storm at sea, and he drowned. In reward for his services King Boleslaw bestowed this shield upon his successors. But in his later book on clan shields Paprocki says that this shield came to Poland from Germany. From what was said earlier, I conclude, along with Paprocki, that it may well be this shield did not originate in Poland, but was imported.


Długosz says of the families bearing this shield that "They were upright and moderate men." The same author also mentions Han Wadwicz of Dabrowa, who, among others, died in 1399 on the field of a battle with the Tatar commander Ediga. John Mezyk of Dabrowa displayed his standard at the Battle of Grünwald, according to Bielski, p. 296, and at that same battle he was appointed to the escort of King Jagiello himself. Peter Mondygier was the first Lithuanian knight given this shield for his successors, at the Horodlo congress in 1413, as cited by Bielski, Paprocki, and Stryjkowski. He had numerous progeny there, and although they have disappeared in Poland, his offspring continue to flourish there. See also Mezyk.


Bearers of These Arms









Wirulowicz Bohusz




Copyright © 2001 Leonard J. Suligowski. Used by permission. This article originally appeared in Rodziny  (August 2000), the journal of the Polish Genealogical Society of America.