| Chapter 1 - The first recorded official evidence about The Red Mill
Nb: The archaic terminology used in the original text has rendered some of the meaning unclear.
In the year 1758 :
The contract for the purchase of the mill by Jakub Slechta in the village of Mirenice.
Today, on the date and year written below, this deal was done between His Lordship Count Vaclav Maria, Count of Pöting (sic), Lord of Nalzovy estate, and the miller Jakub Slechta. Namely, His Lordship sold the mill, in the village of Mirenice, part of the Estate from time immemorial, situated beyond the weir with a sluice gate, beyond field formerly called Potuzacka, and a meadow beyond this field, for the agreed sum of 300 gulden (Habsburg currency).
In 1757 the buyer Jakub Slechta paid this sum
by conscription to His Lordship .... 51/45s 'strych' (approx 93 litres)
in cash with the contract .... 100 gulden
and every year thereafter on Saint Havel's day a payment of 50 gulden
The terms and conditions
To keep the catholic faith
Not to buy any stolen grain, and not to steal himself.
The miller is obliged to buy beer from His Lordships pub, as well as to pay the beer contributions to Nalzovy's reeve (or Squire).
To pay 15 'strych' of rye to Nalzovy's fund.
To make good quality flour and to pay fully a conscription not above one 'mirka' (approx. 0.7litre) from each 'strych'
1 mirka (ancient Czech measurement) - wheat or rye
1 -//- - flour
1 -//- - bran
1 -//- - barley
2 -//- - groats
1 -//- - oat
1 -//- - grist
To keep enough water in the pond and not to use on peak flow, so the fish are not harmed or disturbed.
To provide the suzerain (feudal lord) with ample food by corve(a basket measurement) conscription.
If anyone from Mirenice or Otesin goes to mill his flour in another mill and the miller from Mirenice catches him, the miller will have a right to take all his grain and beside that the person will be penalised by the Nalzovy Chancellor.
If it happens that the mill shall be put up for sale, His Lordship will have the right of first refusal.
Franz Xaver Pitak
Writing of/by Josef Slechta (diary?) about his mill in the village Mirenice, which he inherited after the death of Jakub slechta. 1st of July 1784
Managed by his older brother Matej (Matthew) who ran the mill for 7 years before Josef Slechta reached the age of majority(adulthood). Josef paid off his brother Matej in a good will gesture. Also a commitment is defined for mister Josef Slechta and his wife and his future inheritors by the following assessment in the amount of 318 gulden.
Buildings, fields, meadows and accessories .. 300 gulden
Thereunto the stall built by his brother Matej .. 18 gulden
This money Josef Slechta already paid to Matej.
Likewise, to keep articles from previous contract.
Vaclav Maria , Count of Pötyng
Chapter 2 - Prose
A flock of seagulls there counts furrows like centuries ago, willow stands still in the water, just time engraved deeper wrinkles into its wooden face. Grebe ripple the pond for a moment, then hides his fear in water. When merciful darkness settles people around the bulbs, when the fireflies rush over cernava, the land is hold captive, time stops. Short bark is returned by echo, below last year's grass networks the scholarly lapwing guards its books. This is home! It is a small piece of land between the mythical and mysterious hill Prachen, Slavnik, Vidhost, Svatobor. It was also the home of our ancestors, whose joy, illnesses, sins and hope were covered by the dust of centuries.
X X X
In Humpolec , c. 1975 - 1985
Chapter 3 - Back to The Beginning
No one has yet answered the question of when, how and who founded Cernic, Hradesice or even Velesice. Those who centuries ago have left their homeland en masse somewhere between Visla and Dnepr and went to the south driven by a desire for eternal blue sky, a land where even in winter cattle don't die from shortage of food, where the country has a mysterious fruit from which can be fermented a delicious and intoxicating drink, those people knew how to sow grain, butcher sheep, to kill a wolf or man, but could not write. They probably wanted to go further south, as did many Germanic tribes, but the land beyond the Danube was somewhat overcrowded at that time, and only the most militant tribes thrived, so they decided to stay in the area, which decades before had been abandoned by a Germanic tribe; the Marcomanni.
The very arrival of Slavs in the area is shrouded in the mists of time. Even Roman chroniclers were not aware of this fact. After the fall of the empire they had quite different concerns and they weren't too worried about what was happening north of the Alps somewhere in the Hercynian Forest - in the heart of Europe. And historians over the years have had different opinions as to the date of arrival of Slavs in the territory.
Palacky says .....……........ 278 AD
Pius the II. (Silvius Eneas Piccolomini, a cognoscente of czech history).. 450 AD
Curea ................……....... 480 AD
Fulstein..............……........ 550 AD
Kuthen ..............……........ 639 AD
Vaclav Hajek z Libocan ... 644 AD
So, take your pick!
The Byzantine historian Procopius wrote of our ancestors: poor language ... rough barbarians, ... not too pale or dark, not evil although somewhat aggressive ... etc.
Chapter 4 - The First State
We understand from The Chronicles by Prague’s Dean Kosmas (1045 - 1125) that the Czech’s ancestors lived in tribes, tribes in tribal societies. However, Kosmas couldn't possibly know all the names of all the tribes. Thanks to him, we know at least that along the river Ohre there was a tribe called the Lucans and they were militarily defeated by Czechs in the period of prince Neklan. By the lower course of the Elbe river there was a tribe called Lemuz. Today's Melnicko was inhabited by Psovans from which tribe Princess Ludmila originated, wife of Prince Borivoj. The Charvats lived in the Krkonose Mountains, their territory stretched beyond Krakow in Poland and apparently from their tribe came Drahomira, mother of Prince Wenceslas. The centre of today's Bohemia belonged to the Czech tribe. The largest part of the territory belonged to the Zlicans. Their influence extended from the lower course of Vltava through the Moravian-Czech border to the left bank of the Elbe. It seems that the Zlicans also took over Dudlebi in South Bohemia, according to Kosmas they owned Netolice castle and Chynov castle. E. Simek, a native of Mirenice, says in his treatise that the Zlicans influence reached as far as Horazdovice. A hill near Velesice has the same name as the last prince of the Zlicans, Prince Slavnik. The Zlicane were subjugated by the Czechs due the annihilation of the ruling family Slavnikovci in year 995. So the last serious rival to the Czechs disappeared from the political arena and Premyslids Boleslav II. became the ruler of the whole territory. Thus Bohemia was founded ‘de jure’ (as a matter of law).
The elimination of tribal factions was necessary to build a new organization of the state - a united one. Even during the reign of Prince Boleslav II. the territory was divided into counties. Each county was administered by a castle, which either already existed or was newly built. Therefore, this county or region was known as a Hradsky district. At the head of each district was a Hradsky burgrave (castle prefect), a nobleman, a favorite of the reigning prince. And this representative of the district chief wielded wide powers over judicial, military, tax, security, roads, and other matters. Our county was administered by the castle of Prachen and for centuries the name was kept until after the internal reorganization and the seat permanently transferred to Pisek.
The names of the Prachen burgraves are recorded : in the year 1184 there was the burgrave of Prcice named Vitek, in the years from 1220 to 1222 Divis of Divisov and in the year 1264 Purkart of Janovic. It is believed that Purkart had held Hradesice, although evidence is lacking. Back in 1045 the farm estate in the village of Zichovice was administered by the castle and probably not only that village, but many others also. A Hradsky district did not and could not have fixed borders.
In a similar fashion to Hradsky districts; the internal re-organization of the church resulted in deacons taking charge of their own areas.
Such organization could not long fulfil the needs of the modern State. In addition, the burgraves themselves could often pose a serious threat to the Sovereign. Therefore, sometime during the 13th Century, the reorganization of government administration was centralized and entrusted to the king's officials, Supreme Chancellor, etc.. The power of Hradsky burgraves, later regional governors, was heavily curtailed.
So much for the first unified organization of the state.
NB: Throughout this text, we refer to an area, town, et al as being “ held’’. We use this term due to the fact that the property in question usually belonged to the king. The ‘lord’ or squire ‘held’ the property thus benefitting from the assets but administered it for the owner.
Chapter 5 - The first written report of the emergence of the village
Initially, land was owned by individual tribes, until all land became the property of the monarch. An individual could cultivate as much land as he could with his family, on his legally leased/owned land. The soil was worked, exhausted and laid to farrow. The farmer moved on and worked another plain/field. For renting the land, the farmer paid fees in cash or in kind, eg: the work required to correct the provincial roads, castles, etc. The legal position of Czech farmers around the end of 12 Century was quite lax.
Etymologists explain that the oldest villages have names according to the patriarch or the owner of the area, where his people settled. The oldest villages then are usually those which have personal names from pagan times. For example; Cernic (or crnka) was a village of the people Crncic. Personal name base survives even to this day - there was a noble family, the Crncicky of Kacov. On January 14, 1432, Mikulas Crnc bought some land in Cerejov (close to Velesin). Similar examples are below:
Our village Hradesice was originally called Radesice, it was a village of people Rades. Personal names Rades and Radech are still used by Bulgarians. Other examples
name Bojan - people Bojanovici - village Bojanovice
name Vlkon - people Vlkonici - village Vlkonice
name Velen - people Velenovici - village Velenovy
name Budata - people Budatici - village Budetice, atd.
Patronic names of villages such as Janovice, Petrovice, Albrechtice foreshadow the emergence of the Christian era. But it is not entirely clear cut, since there is evidence that older, already established villages were newly renamed in honour of Christian patrons.
We can confirm that Prachensko was settled very early and it was probably the gold-bearing riverbed that filled the royal treasury. Besides the gold-panning settlements were established farms and pastoral villages. The village grew in size as more and more people settled here. The names of the villages Tynec and Ujezd warrant an explanation ; Tynec meaning securely fenced off. Tyn and Castle had the same meaning. In contrast, Ujezd did not express a specific place, but the area, was usually so large that it was a day’s ride by horse. For example; what area was expressed by Hlineny Ujezd can not be precisely determined. We will have the opportunity later to get acquainted with Nezamyslicky Ujezd.
At the turn of the 10th and 11 century in Bohemia monasteries were being built as religious institutions to which only the monarch could contribute. He gave them therefore the possession of the territory - sometimes it was just a few villages, sometimes extensive territory (either settled or unsettled) and with that all the rights that have hitherto the monarch had exercised alone. This means all the income in kind and cash. Rural people thus became the property of clerical nobility.
However, as part and parcel of the so-called donation; the king also had his officials, eg: Hradska burgraves, comrades and entourage whose services needed reward. We know very little of the origin of these privileged few. Whether they were descendants of tribal princes, descendants or family leaders, can not be ascertained. Granted, that among this privileged class were the distant relatives of the Premyslovci. At the end of the 12th cent. these ‘nobles’ received shares of the kings wealth, eg: Vitek from Prcice, former burgrave to Prachen received c.1178 almost the entire Czech southlands from Prince Bedrich (Frederick), which was later the material basis of political and economic power of the Vitkovci family: Lords of Hradec, of Rozmberk, of Straz, of Landstejn, of Usti. In a similar way then,the feudal lords were supporting the monasteries and gifting land to them. Finally, the entire territory was divided between secular and spiritual lords and rulers. It is known that the monarch would often use some his remaining property; villages, castles etc. as security against loans from their lordships.
Apart from sometimes needing a loan, on some occasions it was a reward for services, in that the King would ‘loan’ the property to some Lord or Nobleman to for them to reap the benefits from said property for a period. Such a village was Hradesice until the year 1469.
According to their secular importance, the nobility and the gentry were organized into two groups :
- high status Lords
- lower status knights
The most important members of the nobility fought on the battlefield under their own banner.
A donation of land deeds was bestowed upon the Benedictine monks of Brevnov by Prince Bretislava I., whom on 18.10.1045 donated the villages of Hydcice, Hydcicky, Ujezdec (clay), Domoraz , Kalinice, Skodra, Zvokotoky, Zivohybice, Zichovice, Psare, Strakonice, Podmokly ( part), Kravolusice : from these villages a fifth territory was created under the auspices of the Brevnov Benedictine monastery, called the Nezamyslice territory.
In 1169 the nuns from the convent at Doksany received from Prince Jindrich the villages of Zbynice, Drouchavec, Konin, Prestanice, Stanikov etc., which formed the Zbynice territory. In the second half of the 12th cent. the Bavarian monastery in Windberk received from the Count of Bogen; the villages in the Susice area, namely; Albrechtice, Janovice, Vojetice, part of Podmokly. On December 20, 1178, the Bishop of Solnohradsko consecrated the new Trinity church in Albrechtice. The festivities were attended by four brothers from Velhartice, one of whom; Albrecht, was the abbot of the Windberk monastery. Accordingly the abbot’s name Albrecht was adopted by the village.
Since 1227 the villages of Cejkovy, Velenovy, Pacejov, Vlckovice et al. have belonged to the Benedictine monks of St.George’s basilica at Prague Castle.
The Na Zderaze Monastery (founded 1188) received 11 Prachen villages : Velky Bor, Detanovice (Jetenovice), Dobrotice, Kochanov, Krusec, Bezdekov and others.
The Nepomuk monastery, founded in 1144-5, received Kvasnovice, maybe Techonice, and some other villages.
The whole area of the Royal forest from Nyrsko, Susice and Vimperk, was given as a dowry for Svatava, the daughter of Prince Vladislav I., who was married in the year 1124 to the Bavarian Count Frederick II. of Bogen. According to other sources, this dowry was received by a different Count of Bogen Albrecht III in the year 1192 when he wed Ludmila, the daughter of Count Bedrich. The dowry was quite valuable, because the area was already inhabited at that time. This dowry resulted in a loss of income from the sumava region to the monarch until 1274. In 1257 after the last member of the Bogen family died; the Bavarian dukes Henry and Louis of Wittelsbach claimed the Bogen estate as their inheritance. They were grandsons of the aforementioned Ludmila, who was widowed and later in 1198, married Duke Ludwig I of Wittelsbach. In 1257 the Czech King Ottokar II. chose to oppose this legacy of Wittelsbach at the Battle of Mühldorf but was defeated. Among those fightling bravely against the odds alongside the King was Dluhomil of Budetice. In 1274, sumava was returned to the Czech crown, after mutual settlement was agreed between the Wittelsbachs and King Ottokar II. The only former property of the Counts of Bogen was the sumavan castle Zlibek (Oedschlussel), which was demolished during the Hussite wars.
We know that these villages existed in the 11th and 12th cent. primarily because of the monasteries where archiving of documents was more secure. The secular estates were usually not. All changes of ownership were recorded in the provincial register, except those destroyed in the fire of Prague Castle, year 1541. New records were therefore created but much evidence of the older estates was lost.
Bohemian kings, especially Vaclav I. (1230-1253) and Ottokar II. (1253 - 1278), began to invite foreign settlers, mainly from relatively overpopulated Germany and the Netherlands. The Abbots of newly created monasteries in the border territories did the same; inviting foreign settlers, as did the secular lords. New settlers did not want to work the land under the old Bohemian conditions, but demanded possession by German law (purkrecht or in Latin text emphyteusis). The difference from the Czech law was that whoever worked on the land, leased land, could bestow property upon their descendants, and could sell the lease on (with the permission of the suzerain lord). This law was sought by Czech settlers, and interested landlords also, as noted in one document : " ... we exchanged uncertainty for regular income ... "
The leases were entered into reassessment registers and the division of land was applied in two ways:
a) The Saxony method , in the shape of a fan (or the radii of a wheel) which converged to the village at it’s centre
b) The Bavarian method- the land divided according to soil quality, usually four groups:
1.Near and high grade
2.Near and low grade
3.Distant and high grade
4.Distant and low grade
In our region, the Bavarian method was used. Saxony was more suited to the plain.
Delineation (marking out) was performed by experienced land surveyors – The Locators. At first they were mainly foreigners, later the Czechs. So in 1377 the woods were measured for the landlords of Litice and Potstejn by Oldrich Zakovec, or maybe another member of his family, who measured the zakov pond in Cernic.
The allocated area of land was called a Lan and the tracts were all the same size in any one village. This led to an increase in settlers. Therefore this time/period is considered as the birth of the villages, which can be traced to modern times. Measurement was not only for agricultural land, but also the new residential areas and village square. A lot of common(or public) land remained unmeasured. This land was called the municipality. 12 Lans were measured out in Cernic, ie 12 farmers. In Hradesice 18 and a half Lans whilst in Smrkovec there were 6 Lans. According to surviving documents, it is considered that the time of this lease system began in the 13th cent.,e nding in the 15th century. One such document was found preserved behind a wall of the reeve’s house in the village of Kozlov dated March 17,1347. Albert of Hradek applied this lease measuring system to the villages within the Zbynice area in the year 1305. Milenovice at Protivin was similarly measured in 1334. Throughout the 14th cent, the villages of the Nezamyslice area were also measured. It is therefore not too far from the truth, that the records on Hradesice ( 1360 ) and Cernic ( 1377 ) should be considered the first records of leased villages. At this time in villages could already be found a blacksmith, an innkeeper, a shepherd, a suitable water mill, but all without land.
The initial payment on the transfer of lease under this system was known as podaj. The balance of the fees known as urok to be paid twice yearly (spring St.Georges day and autumn St.Havels day) ad infinitum.
The leasees were required to pay podaj on the municipal land, but urok was not payable.
During this time of emphyteusis (the lease system) most villages with the name of Lhota, usually new villages; had their payments of podaj and urok suspended for a period of six years. This period of grace was known as ‘Lhota’.
So in 1406 Lipova Lhota demonstrably existed:
Urok: 60 gros per year , ie 2 x 30 gros.
The subjects in Domoraz , Podmokly , Stanikova , Volesovice paid 64 gros.
In addition; the leasees also had to pay:
Poctne : 6 chickens and 20 eggs ( refreshments for the Abbot ).
Podymne : 1/10 of a gros rates for house.
Berne: 34½ gros ( tax ).
Tithing : 4 gros , only paid by leasees of Zichovice.
Robota: 8 days work in lieu or 1 gros for one day manual workers and one and a half gros per day for animal handlers.
Those people liable in the villages of Volesovice, Stankovice and Podmokly carried out their robota by repairing roads to Bavaria.
Payments due and benefits in kind were maintained at approximately the same level in all the regions. To assess the level of salaries, we will examine wages from the years 1376-1378 :
The able-bodied worker earned 1 gros per day, the price of a sheep was 2-3 gros, a working ox was 50 gros, a working horse 80-90 gros. Two gros for 6 chickens. A strych (0.9 hl) of rye was 5 gros.
Around this time villages were laid out around the centre piece- the village green. In Hradesice the distinguished locator designed one of the best village greens in the country. In southern and southwestern Bohemia they often used the radial development style around a circular village green (okrouhlice). This form is applied in Cernic in the shape of a horseshoe.
Some names of villages come from the time before emphyteusis, the time of primary tillage : Kopaniny ( kicking turf away), Niva ( first sown land), Loziste - by old Czech spas Laziste. Laz land was stripped, ready for cultivation, a similar meaning as Kopaniny. Palenky - land which was cleared by burning. Jeriste from jariste, small infertile land where they took one harvest and then laid to fallow for two years. Zahrady (gardens) however, consisted of high grade soil and were most suitable for the sowing of the heavier crops : cabbage, turnips, carrots, hemp, linen. The gardens were fertilized annually, and non-locals were not allowed to have (or after harvest to graze) livestock – were fenced off. All settlers complied with this policy of crop rotation : some land was sown with winter crops only, others only spring crops So the wasteland was used for grazing thus avoiding damage to the cultivated areas. The animals put to pasture were cattle, pigs and sheep. This produced a little manure that was mixed with straw, thus providing fertiliser for the Zahrady (designated gardens).