History of Torysky

1284 – 1994

(Village pamphlet translated by Paula Kieferova)

Torysky belongs to the characteristic Spiš villages with a rich tradition in folk architecture, clothes, crafts, dances, and songs. The territory of the village, which is spread in the heights 800 meters above sea level in the north part of the Levoča mountains, has long been rich in forests, pasture, and meadows. It determined the character of the village and enabled its inhabitants to busy themselves first of all with pasturage, wood culturing, and farming. But what was the history of the village? Who were its first inhabitants? These are the questions that can be at least partially answered by notices of documents made from parchment (leather), by ancient yellow pages of old books and documents. Their testimony often corroborates tales and fables which speak also about the origin and nomenclature of individual villages. It is similar in the case of Torysky.

It is a fact that name of the village is derived from the river Torysa, which is named in documents from the 13th century as Tarcha, Tarcza, and it has a Slovanic word base. There is in a document of Uhorsky King Ladislav IV Kuman from Sept. 15, 1284 for the first time mentioned the area around the spring of the river Torysy (Tarchafeu), approximately the territory where lay today’s Torysky. But it is not a proof which testifies about the existence of the village. Indeed, we know from other documents that after death of King Sigmund (1437) the Gorgey unjustly took possession of a big part of the forest named Trisko which lay in the territory of a village Vyšne and Nižne Repaše. After investigation of the case in the year 1439 King Albrecht Habsburg adjudged the forest to the town of town Levoča. Only on May 3, 1537, the mayor and town’s council decided to settle Rusins on this territory on Valašska law and to separate for them a big territory of a village. The village was given the name “Torizka”, probably after the small spring Torysa with this name we meet in the documents from the 15th century. The Germans named it “Siebenbrunn”, after the seven springs of Torysa.

But Levoča had to stubbornly defend its not long established village as far as at King Ferdinand I Hapsburg. Surrounding landlords accused Levoča that it established Torysky against the law and that it violantly took parts of the territory of the villages Vyšne and Nižne Repaše and the forest, too, which was said to be used commonly. The ruler settled the long lawsuit only in the year 1557, to the advantage of Levoča.

So Torysky was established by Levoča on its territory. It was made legally as a free king’s town in the 16th century. Levoča owned other villages (Dvorce, Hradisko, Jamnik, Dlhe Straže, Spišska Teplica, Uloža, Vlkova, Vydrnik, Zavada, Vyšne Repase, Nižne Repaše, Pikovce, Arnutovce, Klčov, and Spišske Tomašovce). Levoča had on Torysky aristocratic laws and the inhabitants of Torysky had Levoča as landlord pay taxes for alloted lands, pay in kind different charges, and to work for Levoča. In the 16th century the land tax for the whole village was 17 zlatych (gold coins). For the claim to cook beer inhabitants of Torysky had to pay 8 zlatych a year, for a mill they paid 9 zlatych, and for farming 1 zlaty. They were obliged to hand over beams and planks to the town. As Torysky was a ‘valasska’ village, as natural produce they delivered sheep and goats. They took part in mowing meadows, drying and conveying hay. These services were during the centuries changed. Usually there were more of them. For example in the year 1667 village had, during the election of the mayor of the town, to give 1 calf, 1 roe-buck, 3 woodcocks, 16 hens, 30 ‘gbelov’ of oats, 3 rams, a big cheese and a fee in money. In the year 1766 it was besides 180 zlatych cenzu, 1 calf, 2 geese, 4 hens, 150 eggs, every tenth of sheep, 1 big cheese, and to do everything that was needed and carter’s trade. Certain order in feudal obligation was established by Terezia urbar in 1773, but the feudal obligation to the town or to these noblemen who had Torysky in hire was canceled after abolition of serfdom in 1848.

The inhabitants of Torysky from the 16th century went through many changes. War time had influence on the number of inhabitants, it was accompanied with epidemic of plague. The number of inhabitants was influenced by landlard’s oppression and emmigration. It seems that from the families of the original settlers from 16th century did not preserve any continuity. In 50-60 years of the 16th century we meet in Torysky with these names: Ferenc, Ivan Vaskuv, Timko Morinuv, Ivan Kačur, Jacko, Illiaš, Timko Puchem, Danielin, Jusko Roman, Timko Dubruv, Peter Chronin, Danko, Demian, Fedur Demianov, Ivan Gavur, Demeter Demianov and Andre. The first known mayor of the town of Torysky in 1551 was Jacko. The introduced names in the majority show their Rusin origin. Two hundred years later there are local inhabitants almost (all?) of Slovak origin as surnames of families witness: Kasper, Hamila, Turek, Horasko, Sutak, Kolar, Jarošik, Bradač, Comba, Telepjak, Tabak, Miškuv, Skovranko, Hric, Kloc, Ilšuv, Babej, Sivec, Cipkala, Ilašuv, Šarga, Labas, Petresko, Vasečko, Široky, Barbušak, Seman, Gburuv, Koval, Suchy, Kacaj, Varšo, Sopko, Leško, Vosnik, Moros, Harapas and others.

Torysky (among villages that were in submission to Levoča) was one of the largest and most populated. In 1598 it had 28 houses, while Dvorce only 21, Hradisko 7, Arnutovce 12, Jamnik 22, Klčov 20, Dlhe Straže 5, Spišske Tomašovce 20, Uloža 16, Vydrnik 16, and Zavada 20 houses. Spišska Teplica only had as a little town 60 houses. In 1667 there were in Torysky already 47 frame houses and 16 cotter houses and in 1773 there were 67 houses. The village kept growing up. In 1788 it already had 88 houses and 785 inhabitants, and by 1828 in 185 houses there lived 1336 people. The rising tendency was stopped by an increase in the number of inhabitants emmigrating for jobs at the end of 19th and beginning of 20th century.

The majority of inhabitants preferred the eastern rite catholic church and (?) parish too. The original church in the village was probably wooden and was built in the 17th century. Lukas Sambronsky who is first known local priest built in Torysky in 1663 the first wooden parsonage. The next church in the village was built in 1730 with effort of Andrej Andrejkovič and was dedicated to Saint Michal Archangel. This favorite patron saint of greek catholics appeared in 1788 on a seal which the village had made. The patron of the church changed in 1861 when a new brick classic church was built. Its patron became Virgin Maria Protector. Until the 20th century it underwent several reconstructions.

There are written documents about school building from 1800. It does not mean that children were not taught during winter months in some farmer’s house. Children learned basic school rules: to write, to read, arithmetic and to pray. Parents contributed with presents to teacher who carried out function of church kantor (singer) and bell ringer. Until 1870 children were taught by one of the more educated farmers then took up the post teacher with diploma. Regarding the obligation of children, during the year on a farm they had not a lot of education. Besides traditional agricultural, shepherd’s and woodcutting work, the men of Torysky were skillful makers of shingles and fur coats and the women were weavers of linen and cloth. More marked changes in their lives was brought only by the modernization of society in the 20th century.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *