The motte, Brzeziny
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
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The motte and the surrounding moat are all that remains today of a late-mediaeval motte-and-bailey castle that had once stood on this site. It is one of the few surviving structures of this kind in the Lublin region and remains a valuable source of information about the medieval motte-and-bailey castles that had once been a common sight in this area.

Location and description

If we rely solely on the administrative divisions of Poland, the motte clearly falls within the administrative boundaries of the village of Brzeziny; however, older publications devoted to the subject place it in another village - Trójnia Stara - instead. This fact has most likely been the result of the presence of the said village in the immediate vicinity thereof, for the village of Brzeziny itself lies further away from the site of the former castle. The site, known locally as “Tatarska Góra” (“Tatar Hill”) is situated within the broad Wieprz river valley, about 50 metres to the north-east from the edge of the adjoining plateau.

The motte has been preserved in the form of an islet formed after the edge of the promontory of the plateau has been cut off by the waters of the meandering Wieprz river. One cannot rule out the possibility that this might have been an intentional act devised to create a useful spot for a fortified structure. A drainage channel near the motte, carrying a rather suggestive name of “Przerwa” (“Break”), may serve as evidence of this. The dimensions of the motte, calculated on the basis of a published map, are 45 x 60 metres, with the height measured from its base reaching 7 metres. The traces of the ramparts and the depression towards the east suggesting the presence of a now-vanished moat are difficult to make out in the surrounding terrain. The inner yard of the former castle shows traces of numerous excavations made by treasure hunters. Today, the site of the former motte-and-bailey castle remains disused; it is overgrown with grass as well as a number of trees and shrubs.

History

The motte in Brzeziny is located on the site of a medieval settlement, in the immediate vicinity of Leszkowice - first mentioned back in 1317 - and of Luszawa, first mentioned in 1444. The castle is believed to have formed a part of a manor which also encompassed the village of Leszkowice which lies nearby. In 1317, the villages of Leszkowice, Luszawa and Serock formed part of the demesne of the brothers Dzierżek and Ostasz from Bejsce (Lewart coat of arms), the progenitors of the Firlej noble family. The surviving written sources contain no information about the castle. In the older literature on the subject, the site is referred to either as an early medieval hillfort or an unidentified structure from the period of the Middle Ages. The very first reference to the site in literature was made in 1951 by Leszek Gajewski.

The motte-and-bailey castle was erected somewhere around the mid-14th century, replacing an early medieval settlement which had existed there. It was not meant to last, however, for towards the end of the 15th century it was gutted by fire during the hostilities that had taken place in the area at the time. It was never rebuilt, its ruins standing abandoned and exposed to the elements as centuries went by.

Condition and results of archaeological research

Archaeological research on the site was performed in 1997 by Agnieszka and Rafał Niedźwiadek as well as by Andrzej Rozwałka. In the course of excavation works, three excavations were made, their total combined surface being approximately 0.1 hectare. Eight boreholes on the north-east - south-west and south-east - north-west axes were made on the site of the motte.

The location and height plan of the site was drawn up in 1968 by an unknown author.

A surface survey within the framework of the “Archaeological Picture of Poland” research programme was performed by Rafał Niedźwiadek and Andrzej Rozwałka in 1997.

As a result of the research performed, it has been determined that the fortifications were earthen in nature, the only reinforcements being the scribe-fit interlocking wooden beams positioned at the outer base of the rampart. One cannot rule out, however, that the top of the rampart might have originally featured a structure resembling an interwoven fence. In the section of the inner courtyard located in the immediate vicinity of the rampart, remnants of a building have been discovered, taking the form of an elongated structure positioned on the north-south axis and about two metres wide; the authors of the survey have described it as a “wooden structure reinforced with clay”. The building was erected directly on the primal humus beneath. The overall length of the building remains unknown due to the fact that its remnants both to the north and the south have been damaged when robbers came to the site looking for treasures, digging up holes in the ground which damaged the structure. Traces of a large fire have been discovered both in the area of the courtyard itself and at the base of the mound. In the course of the survey, numerous moveable artefacts have been collected, including fragments of clay vessels, wrought iron nails, crossbow bolt heads as well as spurs.

The site of the motte is open to the public.

compiled by Ewa Prusicka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 10-09-2014.

Bibliography

  • Gajewski L., Trójnia, gm. Firlej, „Z Otchłani Wieków“, 1951, Nr 20, z. 3-4, s. 67.
  • Gurba J., Grodziska Lubelszczyzny, Lublin 1976, s. 34.
  • Gurba J., Starożytne i wczesnośedniowieczne osadnictwo Lubelszczyzny (przeobrażenia środowiska geograficznego), „Rocznik Muzeum Wsi Lubelskiej“ 1978, t. 1, s. 26
  • Nosek S., Materiały do badań nad historią starożytną i wczesnośredniowieczną międzyrzecza Wisły i Bugu, „Annales UMCS, vol. VI, sec. F, 1951, s. 354.
  • Marciniak-Kajzer A., Średniowieczny dwór rycerski w Polsce. Wizerunek archeologiczny, Łódź 2011, s. 328-329.
  • Niedźwiadkowie A. i R., Rozwałka A., Wyniki badań gródka stożkowatego w Brzezinach-Trójni, „Archeologia Polski Środkowowschodniej” 1998, t. III, s. 227-233.

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: 2 poł. XIV-XV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Brzeziny
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district lubartowski, commune Lubartów
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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