6 May 2017

Chodecz - a small town with a long history

Chodecz appears in the sources dated 1325-1327 as a village with its own parochial church. The village was granted town rights on November 2nd, 1442 by the Polish king Władysław Warneńczyk. The petition for that privilege was issued after a pledge by the prefect of the Brzesko-Kujawski County, Jan Kretkowski. The Kretkowski family was the owner of Chodecz and the neighboring lands from 15th century till the year 1810. In the 16th century the former manor-house was replaced by a castle, located on the hill between lakes. The royal privileges issued for the town in the 16th century led to the town’s development. A stone church was constructed. The inhabitants made their living from crafts, trade and farming. There were 25 craftsmen and 2 tax chamber owners. The merchants specialized in grain trade, the material being shipped to Włocławek, Toruń and Gdańsk. Fur, horse, linen and hemp trade were also popular. The town imported salt and fish.

The plagues and the Swedish occupation of the town contributed to its impoverishment in the 17th century. Also at that time, the castle burnt down. There were just 20 houses left in the town in the year 1662. In 1667 Chodecz was destroyed by the troops heading for the Polish-Turkish war. The lack of defensive wall made it easy for the attackers to capture the town. The rebuilding efforts were impeded by the town’s location – far from the major routes from Kutno to Brześć and Włocławek. The town was captured and completely plundered and destroyed by the Prussian army in the years 1772-1773. There were just 35 houses left in 1775 and in 1793 only 32 out of 54 residential plots were built over. There were two inns, a brewery, a water mill, a distillery, a sawmill, brickworks, tar works, a school and a church in the town. After the destruction of the war the town took on a typical agricultural character, with most of the inhabitants living off the land. Only 22 craftsmen had own workshops. The other occupations were represented by a priest, organist, caretaker, teacher, midwife, brewery master and innkeeper. Major goods traded were: horses, linen and hemp.

A late-Baroque complex of buildings was constructed in the late 18th and early 19th century. It included a columbarium, a hospital and a cemetery church. In the year 1812 Chodecz lost its town rights, only to regain the status of a town in 1822. Textile traders, weavers, fur preparers, paint makers and clippers arrived in the town. A new church was built and the urban spacing of the town re-arranged. In the year 1862 the town gained access to the Warsaw-Bydgoszcz rail line (through the Ostrowy rail station). In the final years of 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century some small industrial works were created, including 2 mills, slaughter house, dairy and an oil-press. The 18th century saw the arrival of Protestants in the town. A Protestant parish was established at the beginning of the 19th century and a church, with adjoining pastor’s quarters built. Tsar Alexander I stopped in Chodecz in the year 1820. Currently the town acts as a service and trade center for its farming neighborhood. Few industrial works are still active- mainly food processing and furniture-making. Tourism plays an ever growing role in the economy of the town









Chodeczek Manor House

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