Kancelaria miasta Grudziądza w średniowieczu
Die Kanzlei der Stadt Graudenz im Mittelater
The chancery of Grudziądz in the Middle Ages
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The chancery was one of the most important offices of the municipal council in Grudziądz. Its beginnings are connected to the foundation of the city in 1291. It was the municipal writer who mostly influenced functioning of the chancery and production of documents. The position was probably staffed right after the city was founded in 1291. To this day there are preserved data about only four medieval writers: Florian (1400), Johannes Schönau (before 1405), Goswin (1436) and Andreas (1478). Their responsibilities included participating in proceedings of the municipal council and magistrate court and recording their course, composing and writing documents, resolutions and Willkürs, recording minutes accepted by the council and court in the municipal books, taking care of town archives, and representing the city outside. Moreover, a municipal writer was supposed to advise on legal interpretations and resolutions. In some cases writers could also settle economic, administrative and legal issues on behalf of the city and citizens. Initially, the municipal chancery mainly dealt with the documents that the city council received from the Teutonic Order. Only later the writers started to produce documents themselves, which were the basic product of the chancery at least to the beginning of the 15th century. As far as the municipal books of Grudziądz of the medieval period are concerned there are no manuscripts left. Information on the Willkür of 1466 and the fragments of the magistrate court’s book of 1480–1486 and 1498–1506 were presented in the monograph and article by Xawer Froelich. The records of the aforementioned magistrate court’s book suggest that various sale and purchase transactions were most commonly entered into. The entries could have been made by both nearby nobility and Grudziądz citizens. Other records concerned buyout of debts, donations to local churches and hospitals, testimonies, civil and criminal cases. Basing on comparisons of Grudziądz with other small Prussian towns, such as Bartoszyce, Brodnica, Chojnice, Golub, Malbork, Młode Miasto Gdańsk, Nowe, Nowe Miasto Toruń, Nowy Staw, Pasłęk, Puck, Radzyń Chełmiński, Sztum or Świecie, we can assume that in Grudziądz first books were kept from the second half of the 14th century or beginning of the 15th. Perhaps first books were related to accounting and rents paid by Grudziądz townspeople. At a later time municipal writers probably started to keep other types of books, such as Bürgerbuch (a book registering the names of people who became citizens), general book of the municipal council, Willkürs or books of the magistrate court.
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