Bucze near Brzesko
The History of the Village
and of the Catholic Parish
The village of Bucze is situated on the Uszewka river in Southern Poland, 9 km north of Brzesko, and 7 km from the Brzesko-Okocim (formerly Slotwina) railway junction.
The name of Bucze is derived from the vegetation indigenous to the region, namely the beech forest which formerly covered the area. The first historical mention of the village dates back to 1596. The village grew around the Grange of the same name. It started as a small settlement, inhabited mainly by serfs obliged to work their lord’s lands. In the 18th century, its proper functioning was supervised by self-governing peasants who answered to the estate owner. A part of the village was inhabited by well-off peasants who came from the village Mokrzyska where they belonged administratively. Within the Bucze domain, they held inheritance rights to the land between Mokrzyska Village and the Uszewka river (approximately 30 acres or a part of it).
Bucze has always been a village of farm-working peasants. The life of the inhabitants focused around land cultivation and obligatory corvee. Over the centuries, they strove against the hardships of everyday life and clung to the inherited land which provided their survival.
The early history of the village has been presented against the background of events occurring in the neighbouring villages of Szczepanow and Mokrzyska since Bucze used to be linked with them both due to parish (Szczepanow) and administrative (Mokrzyska) affiliations.
Initially, Bucze belonged to the Czerny family, then to the Lubomirskis. It was then passed over to the Sanguszkos, the Potockis and the Zamojskis. Over 300 years, the village had numerous other owners and leaseholders. Maurycy Straszewski, the last mortgaged owner of Bucze, Mokrzyska and Szczepanow, plotted out the land and sold it to the peasants.
The opening of the public school in 1891 was a crucial event in the village’s development. Schooling of the children had a positive impact on their parents’ attitudes to education; it induced interest in literature and newspapers. Initially, books and newspapers could be borrowed from the parish library in Szczepanow and later, a library was opened in the local school.
In 1929, the growing self-awareness of Bucze inhabitants resulted in its secession from Mokrzyska’s administrative unit and establishing a new local entity. Creation of the separate administration marks the development of the village; a new school building was completed and a co-operative shop was opened. New local roads and new houses were built and another public library was opened.
Bucze continued as a farm village and a few people occupied themselves with crafts like coopering, carpentry, tailoring, shoe-making, smithery and the production of colza oil. The less fearful travelled, looking for seasonal work in Germany.
The geographical situation of the village, far from the main trade routes turned out to be favourable. The village did not suffer great material loss during the First and Second World Wars. However, there were a great number of casualties: 60 people died on the front lines during the First World War and 16 village inhabitants lost their lives in the course of the Second World War.
In the 20th century, there are two events which merit a mention: the completion of the building of the first church in the village happened in 1947 and in 1951 a new parish encompassing Bucze and parts of the villages of Borek and Bratucice was established. The history of the parish and its religious life sheds light on the formation of an active religious community of parishioners with a proper attitude towards the church. Parish activities do not solely centre on the cultivation of religious and spiritual heritage, they also focus on promotion of cultural values and the preservation and development of love of the Homeland.
At present, the structure of employment has much changed; most of the population now work as hired workers in Poland and abroad. The twin job-holding (farmer/industrial worker) typical in the 1950’s has completely disappeared. Few people own their own businesses. The inhabitants of Bucze focus their interests and attention on family life, education of their children and the cultivation of their traditions. Most families possess a comfortable house with a small garden. In some respects, history has come full circle.
The monograph presents teachers both coming from or working in Bucze. It includes short biographical notes on curates, priests and nuns native to the village and also short notes on scientists and other people who, through their social activity have made and still make their village famous. Apart from the bibliography, the book comprises a list of Bucze school students, teachers who come from the village, descriptions of statues and crosses of the parish, a dictionary of obsolete names and a list of tables, maps and photographs.
As the first written mention of the village dates back to 1596 (although the village itself is undoubtedly much older), Bucze officially celebrates its 415th anniversary in 2011. Two other anniversaries fall in the same year, namely the 120th anniversary of the school and the 60th anniversary of the parish. The publication of this book is the anniversary gift to all inhabitants of Bucze and all interested fellow countrymen.