Gruta. Government owned village, on the lake Gruta, powiat [district] of Troki. 4th administrative district. 99 wiorst from Troki. 8 houses, 85 inhabitants, all Catholics. (as of 1866)
Gruta. (Grutta, ger). 3 localities, powiat [district] of Grudziądz, on large lake Lome, 1/2 a mile from gravel road from Grudziądz to Radzyń, ¼ mile from the railroad from Jabłonów to Grudziądz and the railway station in Mielno. 1 ½ mile from Grudziądz.
1) Gruta. Church village. Area 4431 morgs, 220 buildings, 110 houses. 775 Catholics. 42 Lutherans. Local parish and school; post office and railway station in Mielno.
2) Gruta. Manor farm. From 1866 on called Frankenhein. 2627 morgs of fields, 20 buildings, 8 houses, 149 Catholics, 34 Lutherans. Parish, school and post office as above.
3) Gruta. Formerly a free sołectwo [a farmstead belonging to the village head], currently belonging to the estate of the Knight of Orle. From 1855 on called Bergaus. Located on the lake and adjacent to the church village Gruta. 3 buildings, 1 house, 14 Catholics, 6 Lutherans.
Originally, there was only one Gruta village. Probably, some kind of a settlement existed there from the time immemorial, although it has not been documented. In the documents form 1222, there is a mention of a forest Gruth, offered to the bishop Christian. It is uncertain if this was the exact same area as the current village. First documented information about the village comes from 1282. In this document the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights Mangold von Sternberg gives away the village named Frankenheyn. From the document, it appears that the village was already in existence at this time. Von Sternberg mentions an area of about 2 włoki where in the past an ancient village was located. He mentions also that his predecessor the Grand Master Ludwig von Queden (1249-1252) gave the land to Herman von Meiningen to build a settlement there. There were exactly 108 włoki, as today, all on the lake Lome. The settlement did not succeed because Prussians invaded the village and plundered it. Now, in this document, von Sternberg gives the ownership of the exact same area to Konrad von Lewitz.
In 1315 the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights Karol Beffart allowed the locals to fish in the lake Lome. It is mentioned in 1414 that there were 2000 local casualties in the battle between the Teutonic Knights and a Polish troupes. Despite all this by the year 1435 village Gruta has 148 włóki; 8 of which belong to the village head, 4 to the parish priest, with remaining 136 leased to the castle in Rogozin. There were a lot of inns - total of 7 - in the village.
That the ancient Polish name Gruta, known and used even by the Teutonic Knights, is still in use is due to the privileges granted to the town of Radzyń by the Grand Master Paweł von Russdorf in 1438. In 1667 canon Strzesz visiting the village writes that the old Teutonic Knights church is beautifully appointed on the hill overlooking the lake. From the church tower one can admire the beautiful vistas of the surrounding lands and forests. He also writes about the local school that even though it did exist in the past now is neglected and the school garden was taken away by starosta [the prefect].
In 1677 new privileges were given to the village by Jan Sobieski [King of Poland, (1629-1696)] in which Gruta was granted 3 elective representatives - called leman.
In 1726 some names of the local peasants are listed: Jakób Kędziorka, Paweł Piszorok, Michał Buczek, Paweł Klucznik, Jakób Czajkowski, Stanisław Uszler, Maryan Pilarski, and others. The same year, they received new privileges from the podczaszy królewski [royal deputy cupbearer] Jan Gruszczyński, the administrator of the Rogozin estate.
In 1743 the visiting bishop writes that the old Teutonic church although made of solid brick, is very small and has a bad layout. He complains that the absence of the local school is due to “ob nimiam negligentiam et ruditatem parewtum [parventum – EZ]” [because of too many negligent and uncultivated peasants – EZ] who do not send children to school. In 1747 the royal decree was issued to return the original 8 włóki to the parish priest and to build a new church. The subsequent wars prevented in fulfilling the order, and the fields were not returned. They managed, though, to build the church - made of brick and much more spacious than the old one. The cost of the construction was covered by the royal administration of the Rogozin estate.
In 1765 the visiting administrator of Rogozin estate writes that there is a manor farm in Gruta with 10 houses and an inn where they sell beer from Rogozin. In 1766 the village representatives (leman) were: Wojciech Deczyński, Andrzej Mierzwicki, Paweł Klucznik, Wawrzyniec Papalski and a nobleman Walenty Zglnicki. The latter two were most likely the village heads (sołtys) because the village was allowed to have only 3 representatives.
In 1776 the King of Prussia Fryderyk II [Friedrich II Hohenzollern “The Great” (1712-1786) - EZ] established a school in Gruta. German, Polish, Latin and arithmetic were taught there. In 1784 Prussian government gave the Gruta manor, which was leased to the government official Jan Gotlieb Müller, to the royal estate in Rogozin. The manor farm was in poor condition and has been much neglected. The manor had 115 włóki of area. Originally there was no manor in Gruta. Due to the wars and other misfortunes peasant farmlands have decayed and the fields were turned over to the manor farmstead.
In 1787 Ksawery Pawłowski holds sołectwo [the office of the village head and a farmstead that went with the title – EZ]. In 1802 merchant Chomse from Grudziądz buys the sołectwo and incorporates it, with a government approval, into his Knight of Orle estate. The sołectwo becomes a part of his family trust (fideikomiss). In 1855 the government allows for the sołectwo (small farmstead) to be named Bergaus. In 1830, Andrzej Piszora who settled on 32 włoki, and, along with his business partners, was in charge of collecting rents and szarwark [payment for maintenance of the local roads and bridges – EZ] received the ownership of the farmstead from the Prussian government.
In 1833, the peasant fields were divided. Two włoki of the communal pastures, which were to be divided as well, have overgrown with trees and bushes and have been neglected. See: Frölich, Geschichte des Graudenzer Kreises, 157.
About the Gruta church and the parish, we can read in the diocese schematism. Parish Gruta, diocese in Radzyń, church Wniebowzięcia Marii Panny [Our Lady of the Assumption] under the royal patronage. Nothing is known about the erection and the consecration of the church, although some details have been mentioned above. 1800 inhabitants, hospital [a house for the poor] for 4 people. Parish villages: Gruta village, Gruta manor farm, Słupy, Orle, Hansfelde, Annaberg, Ramutki and Petershof. 100 children attend the school in Gruta, and 100 in Słupy. 20 children go to the Lutheran school in Orle.
Previously, there were two other churches in the parish. One was in the village Słupy. It was erected by Bolesław Chrobry [King of Poland, (967-1025) – EZ] to commemorate his war victories and the rule over this area. The church had 6 włóki of land and was still in existence in 1444. Later it must have been damaged in the wars because there has been no mention of it since. Even the existence of the church land was forgotten. Until the year 1648 when the canon of Kruświca and a parish priest Stanisław Mysłkowski regained the land back through the legal procedures. The other church was in Orle. It was made of brick and had a bell tower. In 1667 the visiting official wrote that the church, which was by then taken over by the Lutherans, was in total ruins. Only the walls were standing there with the roof collapsed and the doors wide open. One could still recognize the insignia of the consecration on the walls, though. In 1700 the ruins were dismantled. Michał Mełdzyński, kasztelan [from XV C. on a title of the royal advisory board member - EZ] from Rypin, salvaged the bricks and used them to repair the church in Błędów; the rest of the debris was taken away by the poor. See: Father Fankidejski, Utracone Kościoły [Lost Churches], 85-86. Ks. F.
Gruta, lake in the south-west area of powiat [district] of Troki. 2 wiorst south of Niemen [river]. 3 wiorst long, ½ wiorst wide.
Source: Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego - Warsaw [1881, vol. 2, pp. 879-880]
This translation, by Eva M. Zuber, is used by permission.