Hillfort, Siedliszcze
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
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The motte is 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

The motte, known locally as “Horodysko” or “Zamczysko” (burgstall), is located approximately 1.5 kilometres north of the cluster of houses that forms the village of Siedliszcze, about 400 metres south of the Mogielnica riverbed, alongside an unpaved road leading through the arable fields and waterlogged meadows.

All that remains of the medieval structure today is an irregular motte (burgstall) about 100 metres in diameter, standing at about 3 metres tall when calculated from its base; the remnants of the rampart and the moat can only be seen on the western and northern side of the mound. The remaining traces of the fortifications have been completely obliterated due to both the extraction of soil for the purposes of road construction as well as intense tillage. Today, the site itself is used as a piece of agricultural land (arable field and meadow), with the central part thereof as well as its northern and eastern edges being completely disused and overgrown with blackthorn shrubs.

History

The data obtained as a result of archaeological research as well as information gathered in written sources have made it possible to determine that a fortified manor house had existed on this site, having been erected in the late 14th or early 15th century in an area that, many centuries earlier, used to serve as a prehistoric settlement founded by members of the Lusatian culture. The fortified manor remained in use during the 15th and 16th century, although it has also seen intermittent use in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The first mentions of the location in written sources date back to the year 1414. In 1427, the owner of the village was Maciej Smok, the pantler (stolnik) of the Chełm region. In 1466, records speak of the village’s subsequent proprietor - Mikołaj Smoczek, while from 1535 the village is known to have been in the hands of Mikołaj Korybut. The members of the Korybutowicz family owned the village well into the mid-16th century; towards the end of the 17th century the area was acquired by the Rzewuski family, while in 1758 it was sold to Wojciech Węgliński (Węgleński), to whom king Augustus III of Poland granted a new charter (the second to be issued for Siedliszcze, the first one having been granted back in 1548) which elevated the village to the rank of a town. Siedliszcze remained in the hands of the Węgliński (Węgleński) family until 1864.

In 1565, mentions were made of a fortified complex (castle) in Siedliszcze. It is also referred to in a source document dating back to 1602, describing the abandoned settlement (manor) of Stanisław Korybutowicz, encompassing an area occupied by villages and arable fields stretching from the fence surrounding the manor house up to the place known as “Horodyszcze” or the burgstall. The document proves that in the early 17th century, the site of the former fortified manor was no longer in use, having been abandoned some time before.

The site was first discovered by Stanisław Skibiński, who also conducted initial surveys during the late 1940s and the early 1950s. It was also him who made the first mention of the site in professional literature in 1958. He states that back in the 1950s, the motte was still a well-preserved, quadrilateral earthen structure, its dimensions being 90 x 90 metres; both the inner rampart and the remnants of the “castle grounds” were still clearly visible, while a “basin” lined with wooden logs was discovered on the site during melioration works. Based on the conclusions which the researcher has reached, the site was usually referred to in older professional literature as an early medieval hillfort.

Condition and results of archaeological research

Verification activities and surveys were conducted in 1980 by Jerzy Cichomski. The surveys covered an area with a total surface of 27 square metres. A total of three research excavations were made: no. 1 (7 x 1.5 metres) as well as no. 3 (4 x 1.5 metres) in the central part of the motte, no. 2 (7 x 1.5 metres) on the slope of the motte and inside the moat; in addition, 35 geological boreholes were made throughout the whole site.

Surface surveys of the site within the framework of the ‘Archaeological Picture of Poland’ project were carried out by Stanisław Gołub in 1980.

In the course of excavation research, a medieval cultural layer with a thickness of 0.5 metres was discovered in excavation no. 1, with a layer made up of marlstone mixed with sand, clay and primal humus located beneath. In the northern part of the site, a storage pit with the depth of approximately 2 metres was identified. Excavation no. 3 contained brick and stone rubble mixed up with traces of lime mortar; these were most likely the traces of a masonry structure whose presence was likewise indicated by the fragments of handmade bricks found on the surface. The analysis of excavation no. 2 made it possible to determine that the earthen structure of the rampart was made of clay and loamy sand, with no traces of any additional structures. The differences between the highest and lowest level of the terrain in this area originally amounted to more than 3 metres. No traces of walls located on the site have been found in any of the excavations or boreholes. The data obtained through the drilling has made it possible to make an unambiguous determination as to the fact that the structure was erected on a natural marlstone mound covered with sand. Numerous moveable artefacts have been collected, dating back to the period between the 14th/15th century and the 18th century; most of them were fragments of pottery fired in a reducing atmosphere, with pieces of bowls and pots being the most numerous; in addition, many flat tiles and a dozen-odd pot-shaped tiles have also been found. A few fragments of vessels originating from the prehistoric settlement founded on this site by members of the Lusatian culture have been found in excavations no. 1 and 2.

Unlimited access to the historic structure.

compiled by Ewa Prusicka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 19-11-2015.

Bibliography

  • Skibiński S. 1958, Siedliszcze, pow. Chełm, “Z Otchłani Wieków”, Vol. XXIV, pp. 404-405.
  • Skibiński S., Obiekty archeologiczne z terenu powiatu Chełm w opisach archiwalnych, “Wiadomości Archeologiczne”, vol. XXXV, 1970, issue 1, pp. 110-111.
  • Cichomski J., Wczesnośredniowieczne osadnictwo obronne na terenie województwa chełmskiego. Katalog grodzisk. Vol. I, Lublin 1980 (typescript available at the Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Lublin, Chełm branch), pp. 61-63.
  • Wawryniuk A., Leksykon miejscowości powiatu chełmskiego, Chełm 2001, pp. 361-362.

General information

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

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