The Fief, Noble Estate and Village in Warmia

Note: This village was created by the same Dietrich de Pokilkow who created and then sold the village Püttelkow in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in 1282. More information about the Mecklenburg village is forethcoming.

Before Pettelkau was a village, it was an estate, and before its name was Pettelkau, it was Pokilkow 1296; Pötlickow 1297; Pottelkow, Dorf 1311; Putlekowe 1319; Pöttelkau 1341; Puttilkow 1361; Putilkow 1362; Petlekau 1378; Pütlekow 1378; Pottelkaw 1425; Pettelkow 1550; Petelkau 1615; Petelkeim 1656; Pettelkau 1796-1946; and finally in 1951 it became Pierzchały, after the Polish Knight Pierzchała. Locally, that is in the church registers of Schalmey with a beginning date in 1571, the place is refered to as Pittelkau, Pettelkauia, Petelkau and Petelkau. In antiquity, the gemarkung from which all of the names sprung was Putilik, the place name of an "Old Prussian" gathering place that was fat with natural wealth. The Prussian gemarkung Putilik became the name of the man: Theodoricum de Putilik, in German, Dietrich von Pötlickow and the village name followed that of the man.

"Putilik" is the ancient name of the property that Dietrich von Pötlickow received, or depending on the interpretation, "took". This included the meadows, trees, water, fish, open spaces, fungus/mushrooms, animals and people, both Prussian and German. At the spot where the church now stands on this fief of his, was (before the Christians came) a pagan gathering place, and was to the Prussi a very holy place to meet and perform their cultural rituals.

The place Putilik, considered by the Christian invaders to be a place desecrated by the heathen Prussi, became consecrated by the Christian, thereby giving both the Pagan and the Christian a reason for visiting there. Gemarkung Pottelkow was also a fiefdom! Within the fief was the Gut Pottelkow, the village Pottelkow and several other villages to include the Curia Knorr, Orts Tromp and Schroite, as well as property owned by Old Prussians and German settlers. The fief Pottelkow was the "first seat of the Kollegiatstift" in Ermland as well as a place regulated by a code of law based upon Roman code that was administered by the fief's master, Theoderich de Pötlickow and soon after him the masters of the Kollegiatstift. Before 1341, the time at which we believe that the Kollegiatstift took possession of it, the place was primarily an "adliches Gut" (adlige Güter or nobles estate).

Note: A fief is (according to Websters 20th Century Dictionary): "in the feudal system (1) heritable land held from a lord in return for service; feudal benefice; (2) the right to hold such land".

The first seat, place of the Kollegiatstift in Ermland was at Ort Pöttelkau. Considering that the village Pöttelkau was not complete until 1311 they probably met, if they existed at that time, at Curia Knorr (Knorrwald), but we have no way of knowing exactly where they met or the role that Theoderich von Pöttelkau may have played within this religious foundation. Bishop von Hermann of Prague who changed the name of the village from Potilkow to Pöttelkau in 1341 and thereby creating the surname Pettelkau, et al, was the Cathedral Master of the Kollegiatstift from 1337 to 1349. Bishop von Hermann and the other members of the Kollegiatstift lived a monastic lifestyle in the place Pöttelkau. The Kollegiatstift was moved from village Pöttelkau to village Glottau in 1343 and to nearby Guttstadt at a later date.

Note: A Kollegiatstift is, according to the "Kirchliches Hand-Lexikon 1912", a union of Catholic clergymen consisting of the three highest degrees of the priesthood at a non-cathedral church. The name "capitulum collegiate ecclesiae" (assembly of a little chapter gathering church) has existed only since the 13 century. In former times it was a term used also for monasteries and convents. Since the 12th century the pastor could also be the dean of the assembly. Both positions were filled by free elections of the chapter. It is a form of the common life with its own rules and different forms of private property. In the Orden by the so-called choir gentle-men and the Praemonstratenser (Their name is derived from the French cloister Prèmontrè. It was, in 1120, a founded Orden of "regulierte Chorherren". They lived similarly to monks. Beginning in 1129 they took part in the Christianization of the North of Germany), etc., the Augustiner choir men were represented as well. While the cathedral chapter participated in the legal operations of the government of the diocese, the Kollegiatstifter is independently beside it. The "standard rule" is the rule of the Augustiner, the Kollegiatstifte was its own jurisdictional institution with ownership of some large possessions.

Vereinigung der <kath> Geistlichen (der drei höheren Weihestufen) an einer Nichtkathedralkirche. Der Name "capitulum collegiate ecclesiae" erst seit dem 13 Jahrhundert, früher dafuer wie ebenso wie bei den Klöstern: conventus. An der Spitze stand urspruenglich der Propst, seit dem 12 Jahrhundert zugleich ein Dechant. Beide wurden vom Kapitel frei gewählt. Die Zahl der Kapitulanten stand in der Regel seit alters fest u war ursprünglich symbolisch abgezweckt: 4, 7, 12, 24. Die Kapitelaemter wurden urspruenglich vom Propst später vom Kapitel besetzt. Es ist die Form des gemeinsamen Lebens mit einer eigenen Regel (und unterschiedlichen Formen von Privatbesitz) die in den Orden durch die sogenannten Chorherrn (Augustiner-chorherren, Praemonstratenser usw) repraesentiert wird. Während das Domkapitel kirchenrechtlich an der Regierung des Bistums teilnimmt, waren die Kollegiatstifter unabhängig.
daneben. <Die "Standardregel" ist die Regel der Augustiner> Die Kollegiatstifte waren eine eigene Rechtspersoenlichkeit mit teilweise grossem Besitz nach Kirchliches Hand-Lexikon 1912

  Meyers Orts- & Verkehrs - Lexicon des Deutschen Reich - 1912, Pettelkau, Village of 369 residents, Kreis Braunsberg, Ostpreussen, Civil Reg. office was in Tromp. It had its own Catholic Church.

  Pettelkau, Kreis Braunsberg, Ostpreussen. Pettelkau is now in Poland and has been renamed Pierzchaly. It can be found at coordinates 54º 18' 00" North Latitude and 19º 51' 00" East Longitude. The village is 149.3 miles North-Northwest of Warsaw.

  Distances to other places with some early relationship to the village of Pettelkau:

  Although there is no way to prove the boundary of the fief Pokilkow, I believe that the approximate size of the fief Pettelkau is 5 miles north to south and 7 miles east to west at its greatest extent. This is about 35 square miles or 56 square kilometers. The size of the estate was much smaller than this estimate of the fief, but may have contained as many as 30 square kilometers.

Entries from the book Codex Diplomaticus Warmiensis found at the great Archive of Berlin and in Krakow, Poland are attached here in the original Latin, German and English. (Warmia is the Prussian and Polish name of a state that encompassed the Diocese of Ermland. Although that name is no longer officially used, it still used to describe the place in advertisements and mapping, etc) The granting of land or gifts of any kind are named "Privilege" by the Roman Catholic Church and remains as such today. The approximate size and boundaries of the Estate Pettelkau can be deduced by looking at the descriptions of the boundaries of its neighbors. We are still involved in a search for the actual document that grants Theoderich the Estate von Pokilkow, which is known as the "Privilege of Tiedmannsdorf and Vettersdorf". That document will look much like that you see attached here as "No. 96" of the Codex Diplomaticus Warmiensis.

"The main document that describes the Privilege of Tiedmannsdorf and Vettersdorf, dated 12 June 1296, is stated as we remember, that which mentions the property Pettelkau (granica illius de pokilkow) and its cousin villages." Victor Röhrich: Die Kolonisation des Ermlandes, ZGAE Bd. 13 (1901)

The first passage, dated 12 September 1296 can be found in the book Preussisch Regesten as "[1174]" in German and is transcribed at this Internet sites HeinrichI.HTM document in both German and English. As you can see from the following entry, those passages found in the Registen are entered in a partial state of complete translation. The second passage is apparently written as a contract between man and God in a sermon preached by the Bishop of Ermland to the people of Pettelkau and Braunsberg as well as a select body of men concerning the village Pottelkow on 4 April 1311. It appears that this may be the actual dedication of the church at the village Pottelkow as other information confirms the date for such an event. And, the third passage marks the sale of the estate Pettelkau to the Kollegiatestift.


Neighbors of the Fief Pötilkow: To the west of Gut Pettelkau near the village of Heinrichsdorf was the property (100 Hufen) of Knight Dietrich von Ulsen. To the southwest was the Gut (100 Hufen) of Knight Rupert Miles who shared borders with Dietrich von Pötilkow as well as Knight Dietrich von Ulsen. To the immediate east, at Schalmei, was Albert Fleming, Knight, with 144 Hufen and Conrad Wendepfaffe, Knight with 144 Hufen. To the northeast lay the hill Grünenberg¹ that fell to the equal ownership in 1/3rds, in 1289 to Conrad Wendepfaffe³, Albert Fleming and Johann Fleming, all Knights, "praise God"! Importantly, the villages named "curia Knorr²" (Knorrwald) and Fehlau to the north were included within the bounds of the estate Pettelkau and their northern borders formed the gateway to the City of Braunsberg. Knorrwald may have been the seat of civil government for Warmia during the period immediately after the sacking of Braunsberg by the Swedes and Old Prussians. To the south lay the land of the Old Prussians Nikolaus Trumpe and Johannes Trumpe and their villages, Gr. and Kl. Trumpe fell within the borders of the estate Pettelkau. The borders of the village lands belonging to Tiedmannsdorf touched the borders of the lands of Trumpe, ergo Pettelkau.

Note 1: The Fleming neighbors were the brothers of Bishop Heirich I of Ermland. The hill Grünenberg may have been named from the person Dietrich von Groninge, aka Dietrich von (Theodericus. Tetricus) Grüningen, Landmeister of Livland, Preussen and Deutschland. Please be aware that the spelling of names differs from entry to entry throughout the Preussisch Regesten and other documents. Certainly, there was no prescribed way to spell anything until later in the historical timeline when places and then people were given proper names by the learned ones. More significantly, the hill itself was a most important place of worship and sacrifice for the heathen Prussi. This significance manifests itself in the giving of it in thirds to Bishop Heinrichs ever faithful brothers and friend Conrad Wendepfaffe for their safe keeping.

Note 2: From Websters Dictionary, a "curia": (1) in ancient Rome, any of ten political subdivisions into which the Latin, Sabine, and Etruscan tribes were each divided. (2) the meeting place for one of these divisions. (3.) the Roman Senate house. (4.) in the Middle Ages, a judicial council or court held in the kings name. (5) the collective body of the officials of the papal government: also called Curia Romana.

· We must remember that Warmia (Ermland) was beyond anything else, a Roman Catholic Diocese. But, there were civil matters that still had to be taken care of that were not consistent with the duties of men of the church. Documents indicate that Dietrich von Potilkow was given a piece of property to own and govern that was larger than any other individual estate in Ermland.

· It is our opinion that Knorrwald was the seat of government for the estate Potilkow. That Dietrich von Potilkow acted in the capacity of a lord who was judge as well as the leader of and for the people living within the bounds of his estate. See the document titled: Who was Theoderich von Potilkow?

Note 3: It is my understanding that "Wendepfaffe" means backward or turncoat priest. I wonder if it meant the same thing in the Ermland of the 13th century?

Pettelkau' neighbor to the south-southwest is the village of Tiedmannsdorf and the Estate of Knight Rupert Miles.

Tiedmannsdorf includes the place known as the "Födersdorf Grabenhugel" (grave hill). In ancient times the Prussians cremated and then buried the remains of their dead in unmarked urns in this hill. Since Christians did not believe in cremation, the ownership of this hill became a great point of contention between the two conflicting sides. Becoming a Christian meant that this practice of cremation was one of the cultural traits that had to be given up by the new members of the faith.

Nur in der Geschichte von Tiedmannsdorf fand ich folgende Textstelle: Die Grenzen der Gemeinde wurden gebildet: im Norden durch die Gemarkung Pettelkau (Ortsteil Gr.- und Kl.-Tromp), im Osten durch die Passarge ...

Im Henius-Großes Ortslexikon (ca. 1920): Pettelkau Kr. Braunsberg, Landgemeinde, 341 EW, Post, Fernsprechamt, Eisenbahn in Tiedmannsdorf, 6 km.

In the history of Tiedmannsdorf is found the following passage in the text: The boundaries of the municipality were formed: in the north by the gemarkung Pettelkau (local part Gr. - and Kl. Tromp), in the east by the Passarge River...

The Church Cemetery is the permanent home of the Pettelkauer'. A letter from Ks. Mgr Tadeusz Rudziński in January 2002 lists the names on the Grave Stones and mentions that there are some unknowns and that "many were lost". The names are: " Schrade Family, K.. Anton Chantel, Prothmann, Ruhn??, [and] Johann Zimmermann". The letter says that the entire village was destroyed during WWII and that after the war new quarters were built for the people. "I am 63 years old already and I am retired with a monthly income of $150. It is very difficult, but I have to go on living and working. I also have a vegetable garden and a little farm with poultry, but no cows or pigs. An old woman has helped me." About the church, he writes: "the old high altar from the baroque time and the beautiful side altar (gothic) are all destroyed". Attached here is a list of the dead and burials at Pettelkau beginning in 1683.

 Pettelkau (Pierzchaly, Kr. Braunsberg). Das Gut P., dessen Name sich von dem altpreuß. Feld Potilkow herleitet, wird bereits 1296 erwähnt. Dort bestand wahrschheinlich zur Zeit der Besiedlung ein Zentrum des altpreußischen, heidnischen Kultus. Deshalb schuf oder begünstigte man die Umwandlung des Ortes in einen christlichen Wallfahrsort zu Ehren der Gottesmutter Maria, der aber als solcher nie zu größerer Bedeutung kam. Das Gut, bzw. Gutsdorf gelangte schon bald in den Besitz der ermländischen Bischöfe und wurde von Bischof Hermann v. Prag dem daselbst 1341 gestifteten Kollegiatkapitel geschenkt. Dieses Stift wurde jedoch schon i. J. 1343 nach Glottau und bald danach nach Guttstadt verlegt. Die Gestalt der Pettelkauer gotischen Backsteinkirche, ihr auffallend breiter Chor und das vorzeitig abgeschlossene Schiff, die in jenen Jahren entstanden, deuten heute noch auf den ursprünglichen Zweck des Gotteshauses hin.

A Birch-Hirschfeld, Gesch. Des Kollegiatstifts Guttstadt 1341-1811 (in:LV 11, Bd. 24, S 278) - A Triller, Zur Entstehung und Gesch. Der ermländischen Wallfahrtsorte (in:LV 11, Bd. 29, S. 314) - LV 164, S. 193

 The Estate Pettelkau, its name itself is of Old Prussia. The land of Potilkow is described before 1296. The village of Pettelkau is located at the place where an Old Prussian cultural center existed for use by the heathen cultists. Here the favored one transformed the place into a Christian barrier against the heathen Prussi. There creating a place in honor of God and the mother of Christ, Maria, who has never, arose anywhere in a higher meaning. The estate and the village arrived soon into the possession of the Bishop of Ermland and he donated it to Bishop Hermann of Prague in 1341 for use of the Kollegiatstift. The shape of the Pettelkauer gothic Brick church, the remarkably broad choir and the locked sanctuary, which developed in those years, today still points to the purpose of this place of worship.

A Birch, Hirschfeld, Gesch. The Kollegiatstifts Guttstadt 1341-1811 (in:LV 11, Bd. 24, S 278). A trill, to the emergence and Gesch. The Ermlaendischen places of pilgrimage (in:LV 11, Bd. 29, P. 314). LV 164, P. 193.

To the church at Pettelkau came relics and other items considered sacred by the Christian. The church became a place of pilgrimage for Christians even though the distance from any populated area precluded any great number of pilgrims from visiting. When the Kollegiatstift was moved to Glottau in 1343 the church at Pettelkau became a parish church under the management of the Church of Schalmey (Photo of the church). Known is that the church at Pettelkau was given to the Convent at Braunsberg and the Sisters maintained it for many years. The church, except for the Communist Poland years when it was used as a warehouse and fell into disrepair, has been continuously a Parish Church for about 700 years. The church has had extensive repair and is once again what it was intended to be.

The Church Register for Schalmey may have been the first in all of Prussia. The very first entry in this first register is dated in MDLXV (1565) and is for the baptism of a child in the village of "Pittelkaw". Other entries follow without variation in the spelling.

In 1660 and 1688 a census of farms and their masters was made. Please note the people Grunenberg at the village Pettelkau, but no people Pettelkau.

Nicht nur im 2. Weltkrieg, sondern schon früher war Pettelkau ein Kriegsschauplatz, so auch im Jahre 1807. Bei dem Russlandfeldzug Napoleons stießen die von General Ney (s. nebenstehendes Bild) geführten Truppen bei der Schlacht von Spanden auf erbitterten Widerstand russischer Truppen. Der französischen Armee standen mehr als 9.000 Mann, unterstützt von Kavallerie und Artillerie, entgegen. Doch auch diese Truppen konnten die Franzosen bei ihrem Feldzug nicht aufhalten.

© Copyright 1999-2002 by
Harlan Pittelkau, Lacey WA (USA)
Hans Pettelkau, Brüggen/Niederrhein (Deutschland)
Document Research at the Archive of Berlin by Kurt Pittelkau, Berlin