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Letter #2514

Anna DUNCKEN & Żarnowiec, monastery to Ioannes DANTISCUS
Żarnowiec, 1546-11-22

English register:

Abbess Anna Duncken and the Cistercian convent in Żarnowiec ask Ioannes Dantiscus for advice and support in connection with the actions of the Bishop [of Kujawy-Pomerania, Andrzej Zebrzydowski] that are ruining their convent.

She complains that she was forced to put up the Bishop with a 300-strong mounted retinue at the convent for three days. While there, the Bishop demanded to be handed all of the convent’s privileges and documents. The Abbess refused, citing existing privileges, the Abbot in Oliwa [Adrianus], Johann von Werden and the administrators appointed by the King to oversee the convents in Żarnowiec and Oliwa — Johan Brandes and Jurghen Roßenbark. She also stated that the privileges were kept in the city [Gdańsk]. The Bishop destroyed all the documents he obtained, invoking the King’s alleged orders, in which the abbess does not believe because the King has always regarded the religious very favourably, while the running of the convent has been exemplary.

The Bishop then ordered an inventory of the convent’s assets to be drawn up. He fired all the convent clerks, and to the posts of starost, scribe and servant he appointed Polish men with whom the Abbess is unable to communicate and who only eat, drink and feed their horses pure oats while the convent horses eat chaff and bran. He also took the convent’s best horses. He sent a Polish chaplain with a servant, and the convent has to feed them against its will and beyond its means. These are the reasons why the convent is unable to support itself, as previously, from alms and the bequests of Gdańsk burghers.

The Bishop also appointed an administrator of the convent estate, Kaspar Munkenbeg, who is completely unfit for the job. He also took away letters concerning the church in Puck and the abbey boundaries, promising to return them through his scribe, but he still has not sent them back.

The Abbess asks Dantiscus to write a letter to the King asking him to protect and liberate them from this harassment.

            received Heilsberg (Lidzbark WarmiĹ„ski), 1546-12-21

Manuscript sources:
1fair copy in German, BCz, 1599, p. 79-82
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