Saturday, 30 May 2015

Rural Mazovian toponyms on the way to the Pilica

Riding south out of Warsaw, I pass Nowa Wola, Jaroszowa Wola, Wola Prażmowska, Wola Wągrodzka, Wola Kukalska, Łychowska Wola, Wola Boglewska, Dobra Wola, Wola Palczewska, Biejkowska Wola, Stromiecka Wola or Brzeska Wola. Why so many Wolas? (Wola is pronounced 'VOH-luh')

From Wikipedia: Wola in Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, (in Latin libera villa, libertas ) a name given to agricultural villages, appearing from the 13th Century, historically constituting a separate category of settlements in Poland. Settlers were given plots of land and exemption from all rents, fees, and taxes for a number of years. In exchange, feudal landlords, granting these rights, would expect forests to be cleared and cultivation to take place.

Another toponymic suffix that pops up here and there in rural Mazovia is Kolonia (as in Kolonia Brzeźce, Bobrek-Kolonia, Promnia-Kolonia, Częstoniew-Kolonia) - simply 'colony'. People from one village would set up an outlying colony in nearby woods. And then there's Parcela (plural Parcele) as in Michałów-Parcele, Palczew-Parcela, Falęcice-Parcela. Also easy to translate - literally, a parcel of land.

You'll also find plenty of Budy, a word that means huts, shacks, kennels even. Not a complimentary term for your village, should you live in one. (Budy Brankowskie, Budy Michałowskie, Budy Sułkowskie, Budy Opożdżewskie)

Settlements named after Christian names with the suffix 'ów' are extremely common across Poland, every other village in southern Mazowsze seems to have such a name: Michałów, Stefanków, Franciszków, Bronisławów, Edwardów, Henryków, Janów, Józefów.

Other suffixes passed along the way: '-ówka' (as in Kędzierzówka, Jesiówka)  '-izna' or 'yzna' (as in Jazgarzewszczyzna*, down the road from Jazgarzew); the diminutive '-ek' (as in Czachówek, or in Budziszynek, down the road from Budziszyn). Another very common suffix is '-wice' as in Drwalewice, near Drwalew, Staniszewice or Sułkowice).

Less common in the south of Mazowsze are '-in' suffixes; these are more often to seen in the west of the province, as in Gostynin, Gąbin, Krubin, Dobrzelin, Żychlin, Kornelin.

Other 'easy ones' that translate perfectly from English: Nowy-something (New + name ) and, occasionally, as if to make the point, Stary- something (Old+name); Something Dolny and Something Górny (Lower + name and Upper + name). Duży-something, Mały-something (Large + name and Small + name). However, these are not just prefixes; they can be suffixes too. (Lekarcice Nowe and Lekarcice Stare).

Like in Britain, where toponyms are clues to history (-chester suffixes indicate Roman settlements, while -by indicate Danish ones). I'm sure some Polish local historian has carried out such a survey.

So then - late May, Mazovian country roads, south of Warsaw, to the Pilica (the first major river crossing the main southbound routes from Warsaw). Below: bucolic scene, Brzeźce. In Poland, fields tend not to be enclosed, so to stop cattle from straying, they are chained to the spot. This one, being led from field to dairy for milking, is dragging its chain along the asphalt.

Below: the Pilica at Biejków, looking east. A lovely river, paths on either banks and eminently suitable for boating or canoeing.

Below: the Pilica at Biejków, looking west. The river rises in Silesia, heads north towards Piotrków Trybunalski, then swings east and heads that way until it meets the Vistula north-east of Warka.


Below: the lure of the open road, somewhere north of the Pilica.

* Jazgarzewszczyzna. Unless someone can prove otherwise, this is the longest single-element placename in Poland - 17 letters long.

This time last year:
Carrying the weight on both shoulders

This time two years ago:
Railway history - the big picture

This time four years ago:
A new lick of paint form W-wa Powiśle

This time five years ago:
The ingredients of success

1 comment:

Alexander said...

As a regular visitor to Wola Warszawa this explains a lot. But I have only bothered to look in a dictionary.
This article also makes much more sense about Zelazow Wola now.

Best regards,