2016 | 24 | 65-76
Article title

Znaczenie gospodarcze Grudziądza w średniowieczu

Title variants
Die wirtschaftliche Bedeutung von Graudenz im Mittelalter
The economic significance of Grudziądz in the Middle Ages
Languages of publication
The aim of the article is to indicate the economic functions of the city of Grudziądz in the settlement and economic landscape of a given territory, at the local, regional and supra-regional level. The author focuses on the market rights and mechanisms, the privileges defining trade and production as well as the activity of Grudziądz townspeople in terms of trade, manufacturing and services. What is indicated in the first part of the article is the connection between chartering the city and development of the settlement hinterland areas. The analysis of the chronology of the development of rural settlement around Grudziądz indicates that the foundation of the city preceded the development of villages located to the north in the valley of River Osa. In relation to the rural settlement that was developing to the east and south, the foundation of the city may be seen as the moment when the market centre for already existing villages was created. In the following part of the article there are discussed the economic issues included in the charter by the provincial Master Meinhart von Querfurt of 1291. Grudziądz was given vast lands; as a result, the agriculture played huge role in the economic activity of the townspeople. Municipal building plots were linked with fields and gardens, which is implied by the regulation of the city council of 1365. The intensified agricultural production there is confirmed also due to the information in the rent book of the Teutonic Order of 1438 about the annual rent amounting to 115 Marks, paid by those cottagers who leased the gardens located outside the city of Grudziądz. Another form of economic activity mentioned in the charter of 1291, which was of great significance for the urban food supply, was fishing. Grudziądz townspeople got the right to catch fish in the Vistula River at a distance of about 17 km from the mouth of the River Osa to the Lake Rządz. Such rights provided many townspeople with the means of earning a living: it is demonstrated by the emergence of a fishing settlement in the southern suburbs. In the charter issued by the provincial Master there was mentioned one very important ordinance indicating that the city fulfilled the function of a centre for the surrounding rural settlement. The ban on building of inns within 1 mile contributed to the fact that the townspeople monopolized the license to sell beer, whose production was certainly an important source of their income. The author devotes a lot of space to the role of Grudziądz both as a trade centre of international trade and local market for rural areas. The plan, mentioned in the privilege of 1313 and aiming at building the trade house in Grudziądz, does not necessarily mean that the Teutonic Order tried to encourage long-distance traders to the city, but rather tried to increase the income from market regalia. At the beginning of the 14th c. there was created a new market infrastructure connected with retail trade serving the nearest rural hinterland. During the 14th c. it was developed. In 1380 the Grand Master Winrich von Kniprode authorized the construction of basements to keep and sell wine and beer. Twenty years later the city council issued an ordinance in which the retail trade of meat was regulated and the monopoly of butchers in retail trade was strengthened. The greatest market undertaking in Grudziądz was the fair, which in 1439 was mentioned for the first time. Finally, the author presents the problem of the role of Grudziądz in grain trade. The oldest information on the structure and territorial coverage of the grain trade in Grudziądz can be found in the books of accounts kept by trade officials (Großschäffer) of the Teutonic Order that are dated back to the 14/15th c. The analysis of the sources indicates that it was Grudziądz, among many small and medium towns of the Kulmerland located at the lower Vistula, that played the role of the most important trade centre for the Großschäffer from Königsberg. The value of commercial transactions concluded by the Teutonic official in Grudziądz was similar to the value in Świecie, but the cities differed from each other in terms of commodity structure. While in Świecie Teutonic Knights purchased mainly grain, in Grudziądz it was wheat that was bought most often (1677 Marks), not grain (266 Marks). Unfortunately, we do not possess sources that would help us identify people who entered into business contacts with the Großschäffer. However, we can assume that most of them were residents of the city and surrounding areas. The range of contracts concluded by the minister of Königsberg in Grudziadz went beyond the local market associated with the local commandry, as it covered the whole Kulmerland and Teutonic territories in Kuyavia. It seems that the city had the particular importance in the export of grain from the central and northern part of the Kulmerland. This is evidenced for example by remarks on the trade activities of the Teutonic vogts from Lipienek who in 1405 and 1451 exported their grain and other goods to Gdańsk and Elbląg through Grudziądz. A very interesting source, showing the economic priorities of Grudziądz, is a memorandum drawn up by the city council in 1444 as a proposal for a new provincial Willkür. Postulates of changes included therein indicate that Grudziądz townspeople were interested in the Vistula river navigation and grain trade, as well as unhindered contacts with merchants and skippers from the Dutch and Zeeland counties. Grudziądz councilors included in their memorial also production issues. They spoke out against the introduction of an additional fee for milling flour in mills, forcing craftsmen to sell their products, and the use of services provided by itinerant barkeepers by brewers. According to the postulates every brewer should have his own licensed premises and the right to sell the product. The memorial is a good summary of the reflections on the economy of Grudziądz, as it included all forms of economic activity of the townspeople that were mentioned in the earlier sources: the grain trade, milling, local market, beer production and its licensed sale.
Physical description
  • Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu, Instytut Historii i Archiwistyki
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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