Home | Introduction | Download e-book | Conference 2001 | Special thanks | The note of law | Contact
Articles: Poland | Małopolska | Mazowsze | Ziemia Łęczycka | Żuławy | Nizina Sartowicko-Nowska | Ziemia Kwidzyńska | Ziemia Walichnowska | Ziemia Sieradzka | Ziemia Wieluńska
Articles --> Żuławy

Spatial layouts of villages

A diversity of spatial layouts of villages is a characteristic element of the Żuławy region. B. Lipińska distinguishes 32 types of the village layout[1]. However, it seems that the number of types that are unquestionably associated with the Żuławy is lower and there are only several types related to the Dutch colonization. At the same time, it should be emphasized that the form of a newly established village was dictated by specific terrain conditions, which have been transformed by humans since the Middle Ages. The legal status (emphyteusis) of settlements established after the mid-16th century provided opportunity for a considerable movement of rural population, and it is obvious that "olęders" also were trying to acquire farms with better soil and in safer locations if their financial situation permitted them to do so. Even though, the size of "olęder" population in Żuławy villages (rarely approaching 50%) indicates that arrangements of new villages cannot be solely attributed to their influence, their contribution to the development of marshy wastelands was highly appreciated by their contemporaries. It is also noteworthy that the classifications of village layouts proposed by historians[2] vary due to the fact that the clear identification of an original layout can be difficult partly because a form of many villages evolved in time, changing their original arrangement.

Until the 16th century, all villages had a compact layout, which was associated with the type of the village foundation system - allocation of plots, farms, fields, and a three-field cultivation method. Settlements established in the 14th and 15th centuries were of the following types: an oval village, a street-square village, a one- or two-sided linear village, a multi-street village, a sakowa village, a square hamlet, a linear hamlet, and a manor. In that period, settlers also established water linear villages with buildings lining a river or a canal and flood bank linear villages with buildings separated from a flood bank by a road. In those villages, the river played an important role as a communication route. In villages established after the mid 16th century, the land was allocated in a different way with fields aggregated into a single plot and buildings located in its center. In this arrangement, buildings were removed from each other and no longer formed a dense row as in earlier villages. As a result, new settlement types emerged, such as: the Waldhufendorf (łańcuchówka) village, Zeilendorf (rzędówka) village, row village and single-homestead village. Their location in relation to a waterway is described by the term "flood bank" and localization of buildings on an artificial rise, by the term "on terpy". The Waldhufendorf (łańcuchówka) village type refers to a long settlement situated on both sides of a single road or on one side of a waterway with buildings at considerable distances from each other. In a Zeilendorf (rzędówka) village, buildings were also located on both sides of a straight road, which usually ran on an old causeway, but were closer to each other than in a Waldhufendorf village. In a row village, buildings were situated on one side of a road on small building plots, close to each other. Single-homestead modular villages were characterized by a regular arrangement of homesteads, which were removed from each other and usually had separate perpendicular driveways leading from a road - a village axis. In a single-homestead linear village, homesteads are located at equal distances from the main road.

A terp was a man-made slight rise (a quasi-engineering form) - a characteristic element of the Żuławy region clearly standing out in the flat landscape. To date, the structure of the terp has not been thoroughly researched, so it is not clear whether it consisted only of dirt from canals and ditches dug in a neighboring homestead or it contained some internal structure, for example fascine, wicker baskets filled with dirt and rocks, wooden posts, or fieldstones[3], which would form a foundation, a core, or a rim of a mound. Terpy usually have an oval shape, but sometimes the surrounding ditches form a four-sided small plot, similar to plots of Mennonite cemeteries, which also are situated on rises. The relation between a terp and a shape of a homestead is also uncertain. It is also unclear whether the shape (oval or circle-like) of a mound determined the shape of a homestead or vice versa, a terp was built in accordance with the planned homestead layout and whether the size of a mound remained the same or was occasionally changed, for example, because of extension of a homestead. Erosion and floods transformed the original shape of mounds. Numerous terpy, often without buildings, are still visible in the landscape, others were re-developed or liquidated, particularly during the active operation of state farms, when administrators tried to aggregate farm acreage.

[1] B. Lipińska, op. cit., part 2, p. 188 - 189;
[2] cf. description of the spatial layout in the B. Lipieńska catalogue, vol. III;
[3] Some sources provide information that due to their scarcity in marshy areas, fieldstones were transported by boats from other regions and presented to a newly married couple as a real and symbolic foundation of their new house.

Home | Introduction | Download e-book | Conference 2001 | Special thanks | The note of law | Contact
Articles: Poland | Małopolska | Mazowsze | Ziemia Łęczycka | Żuławy | Nizina Sartowicko-Nowska | Ziemia Kwidzyńska | Ziemia Walichnowska | Ziemia Sieradzka | Ziemia Wieluńska

Copyright 2005 © jerzyszalygin@wp.pl