The Scottish Trail
The Scottish trail is a planned educational and cultural trail presenting connections between the Polish and European cultural heritage. Its route joins the cities of the former Wielkopolska borderline (Wschowa) with the cities of former Konin district (Konin, Kleczew, Koło). Leszno- Gostyń – Jarocin – Pleszew – Kalisz – Konin are points of this trail. Żychlin is the last stage within the Konin district.
Considerable group of Scottish emigrants settled in Polish Kingdom in the second half of the 16th century. Religious and political persecutions caused a second phase of the Scottish immigration, also concerning a large group of people, dated at the beginning of the 17th century. Among the cities where the presence of the “islanders in checked skirts” can be seen, we can enumerate cities of the former Konin district: Konin, Kleczew, Koło.
The Scottish commune in Kleczew wasn’t numerous. Among the Scottish families, there were Morrisons and Rossmets, related with the Rottermunds. Most probably some of the Scots from Kleczew conversed and returned to the Roman-Catholic Church community. What can prove the above is the fact that some Scots living in the city held clerical dignities (f. ex. village-mayor).
The Scots appeared in the royal Koło about the 16th century and their stay was only temporary. The list of Scottish merchants from 1651 contains surnames of some Scots from Kleczew. Names of four Konin citizens were also included.
Parish of the Reformed Evangelical Church (Calvinistic) in Żychlin is connected with the stay of the Scots in the mentioned towns, as former Konin and Kleczew citizens, including members of Andrus, Benet, Gibbon, Melton, Morrison, Pekok, Thomson families. Some of these families stayed in Konin and its precincts at least till the beginning of the 18th century. Other emigrated to cities, where living conditions were much more convenient, as fiscal duties were less severe (f. ex. Jarocin, Kobylin, Gostyń).
Żychlin near Konin, in the Stare Miasto commune, is the oldest parish of the Reformed Evangelical Church. Representatives of many noble families related with this religious community are buried on the local parish cemetery, such as Potworowscy, Żychlińscy, Bronikowscy family – who have their own mausoleum not far from the cemetery. The old church bell tower (18th century) was preserved. There also is a lapidary of preserved tombstones brought to Żychlin from the whole of Poland. Among these there are several preserved gravestones related with members of Scottish families. These are the sparse evidences of Scottish presence in Poland.
Part of the Scottish emigration returned to the Roman-Catholic Church. Their testaments donating some sums of money for catholic churches only prove the above. Inscriptions engraved on the brick wall of the Konin parish St. Bartholomew church are also interesting. Among them we may find the name of Jan Scot (Szkot) from Konin (17th century).
Prepared by Paulina Wojtyniak