Last modified: 2011-04-08 by andrew weeks
Keywords: hermanuv mestec | water lily leaf | lily leaf |
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The armorial legends referring to almost all the coats of arms are the most beautiful chapter of the heraldry. They are closely connected with the genealogies or with some events. Our town is even connected with two armorial legends and with several opinions of the historians on its foundation. The oldest legend was chronicled by our native - a poet Rudolf Pokorný at first.
Once upon a time Patrician Heřman with his wife lived on the fortress Mrdice between the present town and the village Klešice. They lived together in harmony and asked God for the birth of children. God heard their pleas freely, and they gave birth to twelve sons altogether. After their death the high spirited sons didn't know with what to do. They became masters of the whole region and they built up themselves a small town Heřmanův Městec. They grew weary of the orderly life and so according to an example of neighbouring patricians and Lord of Lichtenburk they began to plunder in the local region. They attacked wealthy travellers and traders. However, when they overstepped the bounds of decency, the king decided to put a stop to their bluster. He dispatched the troops and it laid siege to the town and encircled it. The family of Heřman were considered as the greatest evil-doers of the region. The besieged brothers despatched a message and a request for the help to the neighbours of the same character. By the stream they sent the leaf of the water lily like an omen that "the water had already run to the mug to Lords." Because the neighbours weren't preferable to them and they were afraid not to come to an end at them too, they drew up for help to them and they crushed the king's troops with collective powers. Afterwards in memory of it the family of Heřman took the leaf of the water lily into their coat of arms. It was at the signal that the shock of the king had come from the water lily. Their town got this heraldry and it has got it up to the present day.
Since the brothers clearly suspected that the king wouldn't let it go at that, they built up quickly more fortresses for their major safety and they connected the fortress in Kostelec with the fortress in Mrdice with an underground tunnel. Then they started to rage even more than before. But the king dispatched the troops again. However this time the troops first humiliated the neighbours of Mrdice and only after that they drew near the town. At that time the family of Heřman couldn't stand up to them for a long time. The town was captured by the troops and the knights ran away through the tunnel to the fortress of Kostelec.
However in the meantime the troops captured even this fortress and they waylaid rebellious knights in the tunnel. It is said all the members of the family of Heřman were massacred. In the place where the fortress used to stand in Kostelec, the king had a chapel built up. As soon as the chapel was finished all twelve members of the family of Heřman under arms with a water lily on their shields appeared on the epistle wall of the presbytery. They were turned round the altar and prayed. It is said they didn't find an eternal peace and now they have to repent here for punishment. This very day it is possible to see nine of them here. Rumour has it that three of them have already received forgiveness. However, one day the fresco was whited out but in a short time the family of Heřman appeared on the wall again and thus it is said that except for God's will they can't be repudiated with anything from this chapel.
So far the legend. Since the oldest writing this legend has been recorded by many historians. This one differs in some details in their presentations. Sometimes it is written that the water-lily was sent to the neighbours by messenger, that the chapel of St. Peter and Paul was built by the commander of the victorious royal troops, that the town had already been founded before the unfortunate activity of the brothers. Most versions don't relate to the more exact period, only sometimes, since the events by Miláno, he mentions the friendly relations of the king with father of predatory sons have been done.
Several events giving some historical background away interlace here,
but it is impossible to realize the specification. We don't know any similar
story in the history, not even we know so many brothers in the stock of
patricians of Mrdice. But we know that the first known Heřman from the
year of 1325 really had more sons, however we don't know for a certainty
how many. We know that he and maybe his ancestry had a quick temper enough
and they were called to the law courts because of damages caused to other
Lords. As well we know that the mine isn't fiction. The report on the
falling of the part of the excavation of the grave in the cemetery in Kostelec
was well - preserved. On the other hand we know that the fresco of the
family of Heřman in the chapel dates back to about the middle of 16th
century and that far older frescoes are found under it. By request of local
people Rudolf II. changed the dates of fairs and ratified the coat of arms
and the right of the green seal.
Source: this webpage.
Jarig Bakker, 14 Oct 2001