The following was prepared from the classic heraldic reference Herbarz Polski by Kasper Niesiecki, S J., Lipsk [Leipzig] edition, 1839-1846, by Leonard J Suligowski, 218A North Henry, Brooklyn, NY 11222-3608. For each herb [clan shield, coat of arms] the blazon or verbal description of the arms is first given in authentic heraldic style, followed by a translation from the Polish description by Niesiecki. The right and left sides of a shield are identified from the standpoint of the bearer, i. e., the one holding the shield. His right would be your left and vice versa. The tinctures (colors) in heraldry are as follows: azure = blue, gules = red; sable = black; or = gold, argent = silver; vert = green. In heraldry all charges (pictures) on a shield are assumed to be facing dexter (right side) unless otherwise specified. In Polish heraldry all animals or birds are assumed to be in their natural coloring unless otherwise specified.
There is supposed to be a gold crescent moon with the points upward, as also appears in the Leliwa arms; there is a single star between the upturned horns of the moon, as well as a second star under the moon, on a blue field; on the helm are five ostrich feathers, but some show only three. (Paprocki in Gniazdo cnoty, pg. 1074; O herbach, p. 573; Okolski, vol. l, page 188; the manuscripts of Rev. Kojalowski).
Paprocki derives the origins of this clan sign in Gniazdo: when a man named Prokop from Drzewica brought Leszek the Black the news that the Poles had chosen him as their monarch, Prokop received this clan sign in addition to other gifts. Others would have it that to Prokop's original arms, in which he bore a single star, the moon and second star were added. But a later book on arms tells that these were acquired on another occasion. A certain foreigner named Arkadyusz was performing military service in the forces of the prince of Sieradz, descended from the Piast line. The Lithuanians invaded those parts and were laying waste everything with fire and sword. Sent out with an advance party, he soon found that the Lithuanians had camped without guard, and gathering the forces entrusted to him, he attacked the pagans' advance guard and succeeded in overwhelming them. Having thus acquitted himself well against the Lithuanians, who were weighed down by their loot, he informed the following Polish forces as quickly as possible that they should come on: so they attacked, and many Lithuanians were killed. In commemoration of this deed for the ages Arkadyusz received the coat of arms as arranged here. And since this battle won by our forces was near the village of Drzewica, the arms were called Drzewica, too. A Drzewicki of these same arms Drzewica, a doctor of Holy Theology of the Benedictine order, was prior at Holy Cross on the hill near Sandomierz.
Other families using these arms:
Copyright © 1993 Leonard J. Suligowski. Used by permission. This article originally appeared in Rodziny (Vol. XVI, No. 2, November 1993), the journal of the Polish Genealogical Society of America.