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Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors
     
 

The Development of the Hӧgyész Domain in the 18th and 19th Centuries

by Josef Hoben
Translation by Henry Fischer 

  On June 2, 1773 the Domain of Hӧgyész was sold to the Apponyi family by the last Mercy, Florimundus Claudius Count Mercy-Argentau (1727-1794).  As a busy Imperial diplomat and ambassador to the French Court in Versailles in the service of the Empress Maria Theresia and her successors, Joseph II, Leopold II and Francis I/II he saw himself unable to devote time to the running of his Domain in Swabian Turkey.  He saw, "how his officials looked after his estates to their own advantage but had to rely upon them."  In 1767 he endeavoured  to find a buyer but his formal request "for permission to sell my Hӧgyész Domain in Hungary to someone," was denied on October 5, 1771 by the Viennese authorities.  Maria Theresia, who laid great store by Mercy, personally took the trouble to bring about a favourable solution to the matter.  On February 10, 1772 the Empress wrote to her "Friend and Minister" Mercy who was the Austrian envoy to St. Petersburg, Warsaw and Paris at the time, "I am sorry to say that I cannot tell you any more about Hegyes except for this memorandum:  the death of Grassalkovich and the changes in the Ministry are to blame."  Yet with the help and support of Prince Kaunitz, Mercy was able to sell the Doman of Hӧgyész that same year to Count Georg Apponyi which was valued at 700,000 Gulden.  The "deed for the sale of the Estates of Count Mercy d'Argentau of the Domain of Hӧgyész or Mezӧhegyes to Count Apponyi" is dated June 12, 17734.  The former Mercy rights of primogeniture were also granted to Apponyi. 

  At the time of the sale, the Domain of Hӧgyész included twenty-three communities of which two were market towns and twelve open prairies with residential buildings.  In addition there were 1,546 "farming households" and 736 "cotter families".  With regard to an inventory of the Domain we have the result of:  A Draft of the Domain of Hӧgyész.  It states that the Domain consists of twenty-three communities and twelve open prairies, kitchen gardens, residential buildings for officials, a wine cellar and 8,000 Eimer of wine,  and in the market town of Hӧgyész a well built castle, fruit garden, two greenhouses, a large courtyard, Jewish synagogue, Jewish shops, brewery and distillery, fruit storage, butcher shop, a well-built church and a rectory in the village.  Everything has a tile roof.  The inhabitants are German Catholics.  Four market days per year.  The Domain has no vineyards and the tenant subjects have a bit.  At the time of this documentation  the churches and rectories in the communities of Duzs, Mucsi and Závod (Calvinist) were extant.  In Duzs there was also a gardener's house, a good mill and four footbridges across the Kapos River and in Calvinist Závod there is a tavern, a mill on the Sárvís River, a custom's house and a store.  This is followed by an enumeration of the Lutheran villages in the Domain. 

  With the change in landlords several significant changes took place in the Hӧgyész Domain.  These changes cannot be simply isolated to the Hӧgyész Domain because parallel to those changes with their landlord important developments effecting the relations between the Domains and their tenant subjects that had existed up to now in the middle of the 18th century were being questioned.  The right of migration on the part of the tenants was being curtailed more and more and the estate owners felt themselves less and less bound by the terms of their settlement contracts.  The inhabitants of the villages were once again treated like they were duty bound serfs so that the demands made of them were always greater.  The peasant farmers were no longer willing to look upon serfdom as something divinely ordained and that it was possible for them to work for their landlords without the demands of serfdom being imposed on them.  More and more complaints were sent to the State Commission about the abuses they suffered so that  government intervention became necessary.  In 1767 the long overdue Urbarial Regulation was put into force.  It stipulated the following provisions:  At the time the regulation went into effect whatever landholdings the tenant subjects worked could not be taken away from them by the landlord and assigned to someone else even thought the land was still the possession of the landlord.  For the first time a legal distinction was made between the land worked by the tenant subject and the land that was cultivated by the noble himself.  The Urbarial Regulation established new binding agreements between the Domains and their tenant subjects and provisions for the protection of the rights of the tenants that had been violated since the first settlement had taken place. 

  There were also significant changes in the religious and confessional sphere in the mid 18th century in the form of rigorous restrictions placed upon the Protestants.  The Mercy Domain with its predominant Lutheran villages came into the possession of the Apponyi family.  At that time the nobles and landlords could not protect or defend their Lutheran tenant subjects from the massive pressures unleashed by the staunchly Catholic House of Habsburg (read Maria Theresia).  As was the case in other villages in the Domain of Hӧgyész the prayer houses and schools of the Protestants were locked up and their pastors and teachers were expelled from the community.  It was only three years after the Edict of Toleration of Emperor Joseph II in 1781 that the Lutherans were permitted to open their churches once more.  In this time frame a super abundance of letters of homage were written to the Domain owners by their Lutheran subjects.  This is the way that the Lutheran pastor in Kismáyok, Johann Friedrich Weiss, along with the Richter, of the village, Johann Just Allrutz, and four Council members in a letter of August 12, 1773 addressed their new landlord, Count Georg Apponyi with their servile request:  "that he would also be a true father and defender of the Lutherans as were the Counts d'Mercy before him."  All of this bending of the knee was futile because as was to be true in all of the Lutheran villages of the Apponyi Domain their prayer house was locked up and their pastor and teacher were driven out of the community. 

  The emancipation of the peasant subjects of the nobles was first set in motion during the reign of Joseph II.  Alongside of the Urbarial Regulation of his mother, Maria Theresia, he recognized and accorded the tenant subjects their freedom of movement and migration in his famous Patent of 1785.  Thereafter the tenants had the freedom to choose where they wanted to live and work without requiring the permission of the noble landlord nor were they obliged to have his consent in order to marry or choose a  trade. 

  Sixty years later in the course of the emancipation of the serfs in Hungary in 1848, land that was worked by tenant subjects became theirs by legal right.  As a result there were some important changes in the former boundaries--including the villages in central Tolna around Hӧgyész.  Changes that had their beginnings during the period when the Urbarial Regulations were in effect when the landholdings were designated Domain or tenant landholdings.  At the time of that division Apponyi received mostly forests and pasturing fields on the borders of the villages of Kalaznó, Felsӧnána and Varsád.  Because the forest bordered the three villages for technical governing purposes Varsád was annexed to his holdings.  After clearing some of the forest and making the land arable an administrator's residence was built, the so-called Rudolf-Puszta.  The north-westerly portion of Hertelend consisted of forests that along with the Duzs forest were both connected with the Hӧgyész forest.  At the time of the division that took place as a result of the Urbarial Regulations this interconnected forest was added to the boundaries of Hӧgyész which was simple to arrange since they all had the same landowner.

Next: A Brief Church History in Hӧgyész

[Published at DVHH.org 12 Sep 2011 by Jody McKim Pharr]

 


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