The burgstall in Zamch – site no. 1, Zamch
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

The burgstall in Zamch – site no. 1

Zamch

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The burgstall 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

The burgstall is located in the north-eastern part of the village of Zamch, about 250 metres to the north-west of the church, on a small promontory located at the fork of a waterlogged valley formed by two rivers: Nitka and Wirowa. It is here, on this naturally advantageous spot which was further reinforced by the addition of an artificial mound (motte) along with the surrounding earthen rampart, that the hillfort had once stood, serving as the place of residence of the original owners of the village. A similar earthen mound with no traces of any buildings or fortifications is located to the north-west of the hillfort; today, that mound remains completely disused and is overgrown with thick vegetation. This mound is now believed to have been the site of a wooden hunting lodge of the Zamoyski noble family.

The motte is an earthen mound about 40 metres in diameter, standing at about 3-4 metres tall when calculating from its base. Traces of ramparts can still be seen to the south-east and north-east of the mound. Today, the entire area remains disused and is overgrown with thick vegetation.

The oldest references to the village of Zamch - also known as Zamech or Zamek - in written sources date back to the second half of the 14th century. It was then that an immense expanse of primal woodlands along the San river was donated to Iwan (Iwaśko, Jaśko) Kustra from Krzeszów, a great Ruthenian magnate, as evidenced by a charter issued by duke Władysław Opolczyk in 1386. In 1388, the village of Zamch, along with the entire duchy of Bełż, was given to duke Ziemowit IV; however, in years 1412-13, king Władysław Jagiełło decided that two villages - Obsza and Zamch - would be taken back; soon after they were, the king ordered the formation of a separate Zamch district there. It was also here that, in 1425, king Władysław Jagiełło issued a charter conferring privileges upon the burghers of Lviv. Before 1471, the district of Zamch - which was subject to a pledge - was acquired by the Pilecki noble family who owned it right until 1552. Later on, the office of the alderman (starosta) was taken over by Stanisław Ostroróg, who was then succeeded by Stanisław Zamoyski in 1568 and then by his son, Jan - who would later become the chancellor and great hetman - in 1572. In 1588, king Sigismund III Vasa made a “perpetual” donation of the district to Zamoyski, who later made it a part of his newly established fee tail estate (ordynacja).

History

The motte-and-bailey castle was most likely erected during the second half of the 14th century at the initiative of the Kustra noble family who owned the surrounding lands at the time. Later on, the members of the Pilecki and Ostroróg families - the aldermen (starostas) of Zamch - may have performed certain alteration and extension works on the complex. The structure remained in use until the second half of the 16th century.

Condition and results of archaeological research

No excavation studies have been carried out on the site. The location and height plan of the site was drawn up in 1989 by Józef Niedźwiedź. Surface surveys of the site within the framework of the “Archaeological Picture of Poland” project were carried out by Jolanta Bagińska and Józef Niedźwiedź in 2002.

In the course of the surface survey performed within the framework of the “Archaeological Picture of Poland” research programme, two fragments of clay vessels have been discovered on the site of the burgstall, dating back to the early Middle Ages (14th-15th century); in addition, 12 fragments of early medieval pottery (10th-12th century) have been unearthed on the site of the settlement adjoining the burgstall to the south-east.

compiled by Ewa Prusicka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 14-01-2015.

Bibliography

  • Banasiewicz E., Grodziska i zamczyska Zamojszczyzny, Zamość 1990, pp. 110-112.
  • Janeczek A., Osadnictwo pogranicza polsko-ruskiego. Województwo bełskie od schyłku XIV do początku XVII w., Warsaw 1993, pp. 25-26.
  • Niedźwiedź J., Leksykon historyczny miejscowości dawnego województwa zamojskiego, Zamość 2003, p. 620
  • Proksa M., Studia nad zamkami i dworami ziemi przemyskiej od połowy XIV do początków XVII wieku, Przemyśl 2001, pp. 414-415.
  • Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich, F. Sulimirski (ed.), vol. 14, Warsaw 1880-1895, p. 365.

General information

  • Type: castle
  • Chronology: 2 poł. XIV-XV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Zamch
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district biłgorajski, commune Obsza
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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