Today is: Tuesday 24 May 2022 temp. today: oC
tomorrow: oC
Księga gości

A short outline of Branicki family coat of arms Gryphon career

Branicki family coat of arms Gryphon comes from Branica and Ruszcza near Cracow. In middle ages and the beginning of modern times Branicki family advanced step by step their career taking over castellan and provincial governor’s offices in Lesser Poland, increased amount of properties and gathered king’s land, entered coalitions with families: among others Tarłów family, Sapiecha family, Potocki family, Lubomirski family. But to be honest it was only on the second half of XVII century that the family greatly advanced it’s both social and political status. Branicki family enters magnate elite of nobility in First Republic of Poland. The first that attained the honour was Jan Klemens II (around 1624-1673) closely tied to king’s court of Jan Kazimierz and Ludwika Maria. Consequently legalistic (attitude that accepts and subjects to circumstances). Jan Klemens attitude turned out not to bring the most noble titles to the house because the court sure of his legalism approach gave the important offices to people in doubt or opposing the court. In 1662 he entered the ministers circle as Court Crown Marshal but he wasn’t satisfied as he complained it took too much time and money. When two years later Great Crown Marshal position opened, after taking the position from Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski, Branicki as Court Crown Marshal was supposed – according to common tradition – be promoted to it. Kings decision was however different: Great Crown Marshal title was given to Great ensign Jan Sobieski.


Financial situation had for Branicki far greater turn out. The greater advancement he got was from marriage to Aleksandra Katarzyna, daughter of Stefan Czarniecki, who brought in dowry lands given to her father for war efforts – hereditary and wide Tykocin starosty. Along with oldest properities (Branice and Ruszcza) with sądecki, stopnicki, chęciński, bielski, rateński and krośnieński added up to great magnate fortune.
The foundations were strengthened by Court Marshal successors, especially his son Stefan Mikołaj. While he held a modest office of Crown Stolnik but thanks to marriage with Katarzyna Scholastyka of house Sapieha he gathered estates in roskie(Roś) in Navahradok and town Orla with few villages. Son of Stefan Mikołaj, Jan Klemens (III) focused on adjusting and decorating his vast residences also in Warsaw (Podwale Street 3) and Białystok called Polish or Podlachia Versailles.
During Ausustus III reign he got nominated for important crown duties – Great Crown Hetman and Provincial Governor of Cracow and then for Great Mace and Castellan of Cracow – and unusually profitable bohusławskie starosty in Podnieprz in Kiev Voivodeship. After not so successful two marriages, he married, having almost six cross on his neck with three times as young, barely 18 years old Izabela of house Poniatowski, sister of future king. This marriage didn’t make him however a supporter of Familia of Czartoryski, Poniatowski and Ogiński families.
After the death of Augustus III he was nominated as candidate for Polish Throne and had support of “republic” camp but also of Saxon court. This however didn’t help his relations with royal brother in law, even more so that Stanisław Augustus and Familia members led to limitation of Hetman’s power by appointment of Crown Military Commission. Because of that he joined in 1767 Radom confederation expecting to reactivate former competences of Great Mace, then he supported Barska confederation. All this have put Izabela in awkward position between loyalty to brother and king or husband. Today we would say “Izabela has found herself between the hammer and the anvil” in 1771 Barnicki died without heir as the last after Gryphon sword Branicki. Izabela outlived her husband by 37 years, irritating potential heirs to Hetman’s estate, for peace of mind she let them sell almost all of his property.
Symbolic breaking of the coat of arms accompanied the sumptuous funeral organised by the widow ended the history of this great house.