Our legends with Queen Kinga and Queen Jadwiga

Summary of the previous episodes:

♦    Some members of the Paprzyca family from the Kuszaba Clan arrived in Niewino (Podlaskie) during the early 15th c.;

♦    These families decided to bear the name of Niwiński to reflect their settlements in several hamlets in the vicinity of Niewino ;

♦    After a few generations, a branch of the Niwiński family used the nickname “Książyk” to differentiate from other members.

♦    The first Książyk might be Maciej, son of Andrzej Niwiński who died in 1542.

Our researches have sourced two alternative stories about the origins of our Niwiński ancestry. Interestingly, these origins are reportedly related to the most prominent Queens of Poland during Middle Age times: Queen Kinga and Queen Jadwiga.

1.     Queen Kinga and Niwka: unconfirmed story

In 1239, Polish King Bolesław V the Chast (Bolesław Wstydliwy) decided to marry Kinga (Cunegunda), the daughter of Hungary King Bela IV. She came to Krakow with a suite of courtiers. Among them was a Slavic knight born in Slovakia (at this time a region integrated in the Hungary kingdom). Chronicles report that he had dark hair and a surprising coat-of-arms. His blazon did not picture traditional heraldry emblems. The escutcheon displayed a millstone and the helm wasn’t topped by feathers but by 8 puppies. This coat-of-arms was referred as belonging to the Paprzyce. This Paprzyca knight became a favorite in the court and he received a piece of land in Niwka, a village of Malopolska near Tarnow. Inspired by the name of the village, his family took the name of Niwiński or Niewiński.

Remark: This story has to be confirmed from further researches. The establishment of the Paprzyca nobility is acknowledged between 1249 and 1296.  However, the reference books that we have examined at the Biblioteka Narodowa in Warsaw do not mention any Slovak origin.



King Bolesław and Queen Kinga had a life of devotion and mortification. Their marriage was never consummated. After the death of her husband, Queen Kinga (Cunegonda) joined the Poor Clares monastery at Sandec (Stary Sącz) and lived a contemplative and austere life. She was beatified in 1690 and canonized in 1999.




2.    Queen Jadwiga and Niewino: converging facts

According to another legend, two Niwiński (Niewińscy/Niwińscy) knights were present in the royal suite of Princess Jadwiga (Hedwig) of Hungary when she came from Visegrád to Krakow in 1383. We can imagine what was this experience for a 10 year girl leaving her country to marry a “Lithuanian pagant” three time her age and who speaks a foreign langage. In gratitude for their services, Queen Jadwiga granted the Niwiński knights some pieces of land in Podlaskie and they established their families in the villages Niewino Borowe, Niewino Stare, Niewino Leśne,  Niewino Popławskie, Niewino Kamieńskie. They also developed estates in Sasiny and Zakrzewo, two villages of the same area near Wyszki.

Remark: Historians of the Wyszki area confirm that Paprzyca knights came in the early 15th c. in Podlaskie, settled in the Niewino area, took the name of Niwiński and then Książyk after a few generations. There are several records of the Książyk family during the 16th c. in Niewino Stare, Niewino Leśne and Niewino Popławskie.




The daughter of Louis I of Hungary, Princess Jadwiga was crowned “King of Poland” at the age of 10. She succeeded Casimir III, the last King of the Piast dynasty who had no descendants. She reigned from 1384 to 1399. Her marriage to Grand Duke of Lithuania Władysław II Jagiełło founded the powerful union of Poland and Lithuania. She died at the age of 24 and left no children. Queen Jadwiga was canonized in 1997.



Many references are mentoning this legend of Paprzyce knights arriving in Poland with Queen Jadwiga. Below are the notes provided by an author (identity to be confirmed) who refers to the Paprzyce with the alternative name of Kuszaba.



Source: http://www.genealogia.okiem.pl/niewinski.htm#konstanty, Joseph Niewiński, 2005.

Marie-Jeanne C.K., Paris


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  1. Pingback: How Paprzyca became Książyk | KSIĄŻYK Rodzina bez granic

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