Andrej Książyk, "Łożniczy Króla"
Andrzej Książyk is mentioned in two books:
►Herbarz Polski tome XIII (page 59-60) – Adam Boniecki – Warszawa 1909.
►Liber Quitantarium Alexandri Regis ab a. 1502 ad 1506 – Ksiega skarbowa krola Aleksandra Jag. – Adolf Pawinski – Warszawa 1897. Texts available in another article:
Andrzej Książyk was “Łożniczy” of King Aleksander Jagellon from 1503 to 1505. This position of cubicularius lectistrator is a court office granted to the nobleman (szlachcic) responsible for the royal bedroom. In the time of Alexander Jagellion, Łożniczy was just an honorific position given to a young nobleman as a royal expression of gratitude. Andrzej was certainly in charge of the private appartment and he had an exclusive position in terms of access to the King. Considered as one of the closest servitor of King Aleksander, Andrzej was also responsible with anything related to the royal privacy and intimacy. It is most likely that the “Łożniczy” had the duty to follow the King wherever he may go, including on battlefields or in diplomatic missions. From our 21st c. perspective, this job sounds like some kind of upper class servant. In fact, the position of “Łożniczy” was a privilege that ensured much influence. Later, in the time of Stefan Batory, the holder of the position would receive the formal title of Chamberlain. During the reign of Stanislaw August, Chamberlains ruled on the private entourage of the King and built very influential positions.
Alexander Jagiellon had been Grand Duke of Lithuania since 1492 when he became King of Poland after the death of his brother Jan I Olbracht in December 1501. He was 40, didn’t know much about Poland and had few Polish supporters. The chronicles of his short reign (1501-1506) tell that he badly missed Lithuania, hardly spoke Polish, struggled in support to his Russian and Orthodox wife Helena and did not feel comfortable in Poland.
Andrzej Książyk succeeded to the previous Łożniczy during the third year of the reign and held this position until King Alexander left Poland for Lituania. Here we can speculate about the reasons of such a royal favour. In 1503, most of the royal entourage was not Polish. The King was unpopular and he was facing serious suspicions of Russian espionnage. Moreover, chronicles report a fierce confrontation in corridors between the Poles and the “Russo-Lithuanian” courtiers. To address the expectations of his subjects, King Aleksander had to shift the balance to the benefit of the Poles.
The presence of Andrzej Książyk at the Court needs to be investigated further. Was he recommended by a Polish grandee? Did someone of the Niwiński/Książyk family served the Jagellion dynasty in some recent battles? Coming from the Eastern Province of Bielsk Zemia (today in Podlaskie), Andrzej probably spoke Polish and Lithuanian, the native language of the King. In the volatile environment of the Court, he was certainly considered as a "loyal Pole", as opposed to "hostile Poles" from Central Poland. King Alexander Jagiellon died in Vilnius, alone, without courtesans and only assisted by Helena.
Alexander Jagiellon was not the greatest King of Poland but we can only be proud that Andrzej was chosen among all the dworzanin of the royal entourage to serve the Crown. At this stage of my research, I have no track records of Andrzej Książyk before 1503 and after 1505. I will try to get more about this discreet ancestor.
Marie-Jeanne C. Ksiazyk
updated February 2015
Herbarz Polski tome XIII (page 59-60) – Adam Boniecki – Warszawa 1909.
Łożniczy (łac. cubiculari, lectistrator) – urząd dworski I Rzeczypospolitej, odpowiedzialny za królewską sypialnię: słanie łoża, pościel, bieliznę osobistą. W czasach Stefana Batorego, zaczęli używać tytułu podkomorzego. Wyparci przez szambelanów w czasach stanisławowskich.
Łożniczy (lat. cubiculari, lectistrator) - the office of court of the First Republic, responsible for the king's bedroom: the bed turndown service, bedding, underwear. Łożniczy were also in charge of the private appartments of the King. Later, In times of Stefan Batory, they began to use the title of chamberlain.
Source: Zbigniew Góralski, Encyklopedia urzędów i godności w dawnej Polsce. Książka i Wiedza, 2000, s. 76.
Zawód dla młodych dżentelmenów
Adam Drzewicki herbu Ciołek - łożniczy królewski (1501), właściciel dóbr Drzewica, podstoli krakowski, podkomorzy sandomierski, kasztelan małogoski i radomski, starosta: szydłowski, inowłodzki, rzeczycki, lubocheński i ryczywolski. Zm. 1534.
Stanisław Bniński h. Łodzia, ur. ok. 1735 - łożniczy królewski (1757), podkomorzy królewski (1770), i szambelan królewski. Zm. 1802.
A job for Young gentlemen
Adam Drzewicki clan Ciołek - Chamberlain (1501), Lord of Drzewica, Lord High Steward of Krakow, Chamberlain of Sandomierz, Castellan of Małogoskie and Radom, Governor of Szydlowski, Inowłodzki, Rzeczycki, Lubocheński and Ryczywolski. Died in 1534.
Stanisław Bniński clan Łodzia, born approx. 173 - Chamberlain (1757), Chamberlain Royal (1770) and Grand Chambellan. Died in 1802.
During his position in the Royal Castle of Krakow, Andrej Książyk has certainly met and maybe befriended with Stańczyk, the Court Jester. Stanczyk served three kings: Alexander I Jagiellon (1501-1506), Sigismund I Jagiellon (1506-1548) and Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572).When Andrej began his service in 1503, Stańczyk was 23. Considering that łożniczy królewski was a job for young gentlemen, they were close in age.
Stańczyk remains a rather mysterious (and somewhat disputed) profile in History. His name is probably the diminutive of Stanisław Gąska (c. 1480–1560). He was very popular during his time and has been widely portrayed in Polish literrature and arts. Above: two paintings from Jan Matejko in the 19th c. Left: Stańczyk in Ball at the court of Queen Bona (1862). Right: Stańczyk in The Prussian Hommage (1882).
J. M. Bazewicz, Atlas historyczny Polski, wydanie II, 1918