Nieszawa Statutes of 1454

Nieszawa Statutes of 1454

 

(Nieszawa Privilege), privileges granted to the gentry by King Casimir IV of Poland near the city of Nieszawa. The privileges were based on those given to the Wielkopolska gentry in September 1454 at Cerekwica and were granted separately to Małopolska, Wielkopolska, and the Sieradz, Chełm Sanok, and Przemyśl lands. They were bestowed at the height of the war between Poland and the Teutonic Order in return for the gentry’s support of the king in the war and in his conflict with the magnates. The Nieszawa statutes abolished the magnates’ exclusive right to hold high offices and reformed court procedures and local administration, controlled by the magnates, to benefit the gentry. The statutes also substantially limited royal authority. Laws could be promulgated and questions of war and peace decided only with the consent of gentry members of the sejmiki (local assemblies), and the gentry was exempted from trial by royal officials, with the exception of special instances. The statutes also limited the rights of cities: the Malopolska version extended the jurisdiction of gentry courts to cities. The statutes constituted an important milestone in the rise of the Polish gentry commonwealth.

REFERENCE

Historia państwa i prawa Polski, 2nd ed., vol. 1. Warsaw, 1965.
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