The Ledóchowski Family herb2 Ród Ledóchowskich








Count Antoni Bartłomiej Ledóchowski 1755 - 1835

Franciszek Ledóchowski 1728 - 1783
Stanisław Ledóchowski 1764 - 1819

Krupa = HoryngrodAntoni titleAntoni Bartłomiej Halka Ledóchowski, the first Count, was the son of Franciszek Antoni Halka Ledóchowski (1728-1783) and Ludwika née Denhoff or Dönhoff (1730-1794), whose substantial dowry included Górki, Klimontów, Ossolin and Tetyjów.  He was born on 23rd August 1755 at Krupa, in Wołyń, in today's Ukraine, like several earlier generations of Ledóchowskis and his own children.  

Click to enlarge the Kriehuber print of Antoni on the right.

Antoni's youngest brother Stanisław was born in 1764.

Their father Franciszek and their siblings

Franciszek EnglishFranciszek (1728-1783), who married Ludwika Denhoff, was the grandson of an earlier Franciszek who had fought in Sobieski's wars against the Turks.  He was from time to time a deputy to the Sejm from Wołyń, or from Czernichów, which was rather symbolic as this province had been taken by Russia a century earlier.  In 1764 he signed the law electing the last Polish King Stanisław August Poniatowski; in 1765 he was appointed Royal Chamberlain; in 1775 he was awarded the order of St. Stanisław; in 1776 he was appointed Wojewoda (Governor) of Czernichów; and in 1777 he was appointed a Knight of the Order of the White Eagle.  In 1768 (2, p621) he persuaded the Sejm to order the repayment to him of the last part of the compensation still owed to his great-uncle Stanisław from the time of the Silent Sejm in 1717!

Antoni and Stanisław had another brother and three sisters:
1. Adam, who died as a student in Padua, Italy;
2. Anna, who married Michał Czapski, Wojewoda of Malbork;
3. Marianna, who married Tomasz Witold Alexandrowicz, Castellan of Podlaski and Marshal of the Royal Court; and
4. Apolonia, who married Tomasz Witold z Ursynów Ostrowski, who received several awards and was made a Count by King Frederick Wilhelm II of Prussia. Their sons included Antoni and Władysław Ostrowski, who were both active during the 1830-31 November uprising, the former as General of the National Guard in Warsaw and the latter as Marshal of the Sejm which dethroned Tsar Nicholas (3).
To FranciszekThese husbands and sons were all well known and can be found in the Polish Biographical Dictionary (2).

The last years of the Polish-Lithuanian "Republic of Two Nations" saw increasing interference by the neighbouring powers Russia, Prussia and Austria in Polish affairs, with large scale bribery of magnates to promote their interests, a divided sejm and a weak army.  

There was not much support from the common Rusini or Ruthenians, in particular the future Bialorussians and Ukrainians, for the defence of the Republic, against which Mazepa had led a failed rebellion and in which their Nation's language had been declared unofficial a century earlier (4).

Franciszek (5, p99), was increasingly depressed about the situation.  He retired from public life and moved to Gdańsk, from where in 1779 he gave power of attorney to his 24 year old eldest son Antoni to run his affairs.  He then moved to Vienna, where he died in 1783.  His widow Ludwika continued living in Poland for at least part of the time. King Stanisław August Poniatowski stayed in her family home at Tetyjów near Kiev in Memory of FranciszekMay 1787 on his way to a summit with Empress Catherine of Russia and Austrian Emperor Leopold II to discuss war with Turkey (6, p114).  King Stanisław hoped he would be able to stabilise the political situation in Poland but he did not succeed (7, p30).

Franciszek made donations to the renovation of Klimontów church.  In the church there is a memorial and a decoration in his memory, showing both the Szaława coat of arms of his Halka Ledóchowski family and the coat of arms of his wife Luwika Denhoff's family, the black head of a boar.


1790: Antoni at the Great Four Year Sejm (czteroletni sejm wielki )

Antoni, now head of the family, was deputy from Wołyń at the 1782 Sejm.  In 1785 he married Julia z Rawitów Ostrowska, the daughter of Tomasz Rostowski, Castellan or Constable of Czer.  On 11th November 1789 he was made a Knight of the Order of St. Stanisław.

In 1790 Antoni was elected deputy from Czernichów to the second session of what became known as the Great, or Four Year, Sejm.  In a speech on 21st December 1790 he demanded that Warsaw bankers be forced under oath to disclose which Poles were receiving money from foreign powers and that such people be subject to the death sentence.  In February 1791 he opposed the idea that military be allowed to be deputies at the Sejm.  He was also the author of several anonymous leaflets strongly supporting social reform and the patriotic cause (2, p619; 6, p145).  He defied attacks comparing him with Jacobinists of the Revolution which had just overthrown the French King Louis XVI.

Matejko constitution1791: The 3rd May Constitution

The efforts of the reformists led to the adoption of the liberal 3rd May 1791 Constitution with overwhelming popular support.  This was the first written constitution in Europe and the second in the world after the USA. A key decision was the abolition of the Liberum Veto.  Foreign powers could no longer block Sejm decisions by bribing just one deputy - now they had to bribe at least half of them.  The painting by Jan Matejko shows Marshal of the Sejm Stanisław Małachowski being carried by joyous crowds to St. Jan's Warsaw Cathedral to swear in the new constitution (9).

1792: Struggle against the Targowica

Empress Catherine the Great of Russia feared the spread of the French Revolution and saw this constitution as a threat to her domination of Poland. Many magnates also wanted to overthrow it as they rightly saw it as a threat to their power too.  In St Petersburg on 27th April 1792 Szczęsny Potocki and others signed an agreement calling on Empress Catherine for military support.  Back in Poland on 14th May they established the Targowica Confederation ("Targowica") and on 18th May a 100,000 strong Russian army entered Poland.  

Antoni LedochowskiAntoni had joined the Association of Friends of the Constitution formed to defend it.  He made a voluntary donation to the needs of the army which he published in an appeal in the National Gazette in Warsaw on 13th June 1792: he doubled the tax due from his own properties and paid for all the equipment and upkeep of six infantrymen, four junior officers and five cadets.  In addition, to encourage recruits from his properties he offered them 50 złoty cash in hand plus 300 złoty paid later (6, p125).  Ledóchowskis can take pride in the fact that one of the Targowica leaders told Szczęsny Potocki that Antoni was z gruntu szelmą ("basically a scoundrel") (3, p619).

The painting of Antoni on the right was generously given to me by another of his descendants, Wladimir Ledóchowski, born in 1972.

While the army resisted fairly effectively, there was no support from Poland's supposed ally Prussia, and King Stanisław August, who was privately heavily indebted to Empress Catherine, was accused of a very weak response. He eventually joined the Targowica himself and capitulated.

1794: Kościuszko Uprising

Russia insisted on a further significant reduction in the size of the Polish Army and imposed a Second Partition of Poland in 1793.  Disaffected Polish officers led by Tadeusz Kościuszko, a hero of the American Revolutionary War, organised an Uprising against the Russians, but they were badly outnumbered and after the victory of Racławice they were defeated in subsequent battles.

Antoni sent money to support the Uprising, for which he received a personal letter of thanks from Kościuszko dated 29th May 1794 asking for horses.  Antoni replied that after being plundered by the invaders he could only afford to send four cavalry horses (6, p127).

According to Barącz (6, p118), Stanisław was a waster, but according to the Polish Biographical Dictionary (2, p633), Stanisław did quite a bit in his life. He was in Warsaw during this period, where he was responsible for keeping a record of all jewellery and silver donated or confiscated from arrested people to fund the Uprising, and joined the Temporary Advisory Council.  He was later a deputy member of the Supreme National Council. When the Russian troops arrived he was arrested for two days and then released.

1795: In the Austrian Partition

PartitionsUnder the Third Partition in 1795 Poland was finally divided between Russia, Prussia and Austria, and disappeared completely from the map (click to enlarge, 9). Antoni owed his siblings their share of his inheritance from their parents (6, p128).  He was very unhappy about conditions in the Partition taken by Russia, which was considered the primary enemy, particularly the removal of the Uniates from the Catholic Church by the forcible conversion of Greek Catholics to Orthodox.  So he sold his properties there, including Krupa, where he was born and that had been in the Ledóchowski families for generations.  Krupa was renamed Horyńgród around this time, presumably after the Horyń river.  He moved to the remaining family properties at Górki, Klimontów and Ossolin, near Sandomierz.  These were now in the Northern part, called West Galicia, of the Austrian Partition, which was named the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, or simply Galicia, a province of the Austrian Empire.

1800: The first Count Ledóchowski

Diploma of CountAntoni was elected by the Western Galician landowners to represent them at an audience with the Holy Roman Emperor of Austria, Francis II, on 1st March 1797.  Despite wearing Polish, not Austrian, costume, which caused comment, he appears to have made a good impression on the Austrians.  On 10th May 1800 he was awarded these seals and written diploma in Latin (5, p108) signed by Emperor Francis II "granting you Anthony, all your successors and their Successors' Successors...of both sexes... the rank of Count... to be known now and in the future as Counts and Countesses de Ledochowski..." with the right to adapt Seals the family coat of arms for use as Counts (6, pp131-133).  This was repeated in a German diploma and was confirmed by the Senate of the Congress Kingdom of Poland in 1819 and by Nicholas, Tsar of Russia and King of Poland (6, p134).  His sons Józef and Ignacy had their titles confirmed by the Russian Council of State in St. Petersburg in 1845. (10)

Quite a few people obtained titles from the partitioning Emperors to get status equivalent to other titled families in the relevant Empire.  We Ledochowskis are proud but should remember that:
1. Apart from a few Lithuanian "Princes" there were hardly any aristocratic titles in the pre-partition Republic.
2. Many "aristocratic" families such as the Morawskis never obtained titles.
3. Those who obtained titles were often considered "traitors" by the others.
4. The titles went to "successors" and not to brothers and sisters, etc.
Order of Leopold5. Therefore Ledochowskis who were not Antoni's "successors" were in theory not legally entitled to the title.
6. It was and still is nevertheless quite common for Poles who are not such "successors", to "borrow" titles, for social, even if "illegal" use, from other people in the same family, or just with the same surname, who are.
7. Poland's 1921 constitution abolished all aristocratic titles anyway (11).
8. My father Wladimir said it is most unwise for an engineer designing a bridge or the managing director of a bank to call himself "Count", as colleagues will be jealous and clients will fear that the bridge might fall down or the bank go bust.

Whatever Antoni's thoughts on the matter he was also awarded the Grand Star of the Order of Leopold in 1808 and is shown here wearing the costume of a Knight of the Order (5, p109).  One of the reasons was Archduke Charles of Austria's gratitude to Antoni for sheltering prominent refugees from the French Revolution, such as the families of the Prince de Bourbon, Prince de Rohan and Duke of Enghien (6, pp137-8).

Antoni's brother Stanisław

In the meanwhile Napoleon entered Warsaw in 1807 and created the Duchy of Warsaw.  After he defeated Austria in 1809, the area around Sandomierz including the Ledóchowski properties was transferred from Austria to the Duchy.  So Antoni's son Ignacy, on whom there is a separate article, and who had been serving in the Austrian army, moved to Warsaw to serve in the Duchy's new Polish army.

Antoni's brother Stanisław was first adviser to the Ministry of Police and was quite active according to the Polish Biographical Dictionary (2, p633).  For example he signed an appeal calling for calm after Austrian forces left and a decree calling on Prussian officials to leave.  In 1812, when it was apparent that Napoleon would be defeated, Stanisław took part in secret negotiations with the Austrian agent Baum, trying to arrange for the Duchy to be transferred to the Austrian Empire.  As we know these failed and instead it became the Congress Kingdom, a Russian protectorate with Tsar Nicholas as King.

In 1801 Stanisław married the actress Józefa Truskolaska, but divorced her a few years later.  According to the Polish Biographical Dictionary (2, p634) he then married Elżbieta Hoffman and had three children, Franciszek, Anna and Marianna.  However Barącz (6, p118) does not mention this second marriage and claims the children were illegitimate.  It seems to me with the perspective of time that the descendants of Antoni, who supported the Barącz book, did not get on well with the descendants of Antoni's brother Stanisław.  He died in 1819.

Górki, Klimontów and Ossolin

GorkiAntoni inherited Górki, Klimontów and Ossolin from his mother, Ludwika née Denhoff or Dönhoff, who brought them into the family as her dowry.  According to Klimkiewicz (13, p11) these properties, including towns and villages and church funds, totalled 16,497 morgen (around 10,000 hectares or 25,000 acres). Ludwika was in turn descended from the seventeenth century Chancellor of Poland, Prince Jerzy Ossoliński, and

Mieczysław mentions that after the Emperor gave Józef Maksymilian Ossoliński the right to establish the Ossoliński Public Library in 1817, he named the sons of Antoni Ledóchowski as the first of 28 Parish leafletPolish families to inherit the position of Curator of the Ossoliński Economic Foundation (7, p36).

Barącz says that Antoni spent 73,000 złoty renovating the main St. Joseph's church in Klimontów, including its altars, decorations and the sachristy (6, p136), and new confessionals from Austria, which is kindly acknowledged by the parish leaflet until today (8).  

Antoni also put a lot of effort into improving the rights and circumstances of workers and serfs on these properties in accordance with the constitution of 3rd May, even though it was no longer legally in force.


ConfessionalAfter his wife Julia née Ostrowska died, Antoni divided his properties among his children on 24th February 1818 (12, p16).  He entered the monastery of the Franciscan Observance Order (Reformaci) in Sandomierz and then joined the Order of Missionary Fathers in Warsaw.  He lived through the November 1830 Uprising, and wrote a proud letter to his son General Ignacy, the defender of Modlin, in 1831 (6, p144).  He had by then written at least 18 works listed by Barącz (6, pp 145-6).  

Antoni died in the afternoon of 11th November 1835.  Following his wishes there was a humble funeral Mass at the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw.  His son Józef arranged for him to be buried in the crypt of St. Joseph's in Klimontów, next to his wife, and next to the church's founder and Antoni's ancestor, Prince Jerzy Ossoliński.


Antoni's children

Tadeusz croppedAntoni sent his sons to the prestigious Theresianum boarding school in Vienna.  A long letter dated 20th September 1802 urged them to love and obey God, to use gentle words with people for good purpose, to love their country Poland, and to be virtuous, hardworking and manly (6, p134-5).  The sort of letter I should have written to my children when they left home for their studies.

They and their descendants spoke excellent German, and continued to have close links with Austria.

1. Antoni's eldest son Józef inherited Górki. His sons included Cardinal Mieczysław of Poland and Antoni, who became Chamberlain to the Austrian Imperial Court.
2. Antoni's first daughter Apolonia first married Stanisław Alexandrowicz and then Józef Ledóchowski, from the Denys line of Ledóchowskis.
3. Antoni's second son Ignacy started his career in the Austrian army before being wounded fighting for Napoleon. As a General of the Polish army he defended the Modlin Fortress during the November 1831 Uprising.
General Ignacy's grandchildren included Blessed Maria Teresa, Saint Ursula, Wladimir General of the Jesuits and General Ignacy II Ledóchowski of the Polish Army, all born in Austria.
4. Antoni's third son Tadeusz became a Field Marshal of the Austrian army, shown in this painting by Elise Moddell (5, p126).
5. Antoni's second daughter Izabella married Wiktor Rembieliński, a TymoteuszThree pupilsSenator of the Congress Kingdom of Poland.
6. Antoni's fourth son Tymoteusz, shown on the left in this painting by Gaibel (5, p128), became a Major of the Austrian Hussars, Chamberlain to the Austrian Imperial Court and Tutor to three Archdukes.

The parents of the Archdukes gave Tymoteusz the Kriehuber watercolour on the right showing his three pupils, including the future Emperor Francis Joseph (click to enlarge picture or dedication.)



Jan Ledóchowski, 2018


(1) Krupa shown on map of Volhynia (Wołyń).  Rizzi Zanomi.  Published by Presso Antonio Zatta in Venice in 1781.  Horyńgród and Klimontów shown on map of Kresy.  Published by PTR Kartografia in Warsaw in 2014, ISBN 978-83-60641-75-0.

(2) Polski Słownik Biograficzny (The "Polish Biographical Dictionary" or collection of historical biographies of well known Poles). Ministerstwo Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego.  Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Kraków 1971.  Text on Franciszek Ledóchowski by Władysław Serczyk; on Antoni Ledóchowski by Emanuel Rostworowski and Afons Schletz; and on Stanisław Ledóchowski by Andrzej Zahorski.

(3) See Jan Ledóchowski.

(4) See Stanisław Ledóchowski.

(5) Catalogue of the Warsaw Historical Museum Exhibition on the Ledóchowski Family in November 2008.  Ed. Barbara Hensel-Moszczyńska.  Wydawnictwo Duszpasterstwa Rolników, Włocławek. ISBN 978-83-88477-83-6.

(6) Pamiętnik Szlachetnego Ledóchowskiego Domu (Memoir of the Noble House of Ledóchowski).  Fr Sadok Barącz.  Published by "Gaz. naród" J. Dobrzańskiego i K.Gromana, Lwów 1879, pp 118-146.

(7) „… aby pozostał nasz ślad”  („ we may leave a trace”).  Mieczysław Ledóchowski.  Published by Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Ossolineum,  Wrocław 2002.  ISBN 83-7095-051-5, pp 33-37.

(8) Parafia p.w. św. Józefa, Klimontów

(9) Wikipedia.

(10) Information from the genealogist Tomasz Lenczewski.

(11) Article 96 of the March 1921 Constitution, second sentence: Rzeczpospolita Polska nie uznaje przywilejów rodowych ani stanowych, jak również herbów, tytułów rodowych i innych, z wyjątkiem naukowych, urzędowych i zawodowych (8).  "The Polish Republic does not recognise family or status privileges, or any coats of arms, famliy titles or others, with the exception of academic, official or professional titles."  The same constitution guaranteed that all citizens are equal.  Women got voting rights on 28th November 1918, a few days after independence.

(12) Photo taken in 2021 with the kind permission of the current owner Mr Andrzej Widuch.

(12) Kardynał Ledóchowski na tle swej epoki (Cardinal Ledóchowski against the background of his times.)  Fr. Dr. Witold Klimkiewicz.  First published in 1939.  Reprinted by Księgarnia Świętego Wojciecha, Poznań 1988.


Detailed information on living family members will be included in this website only if submitted or approved by them. Sczegółowa informacja o żyjących członkach rodziny może zostać umieszczona na tych stronach jedynie w wypadku gdy dana osoba wyrazi zgodę. Jan Ledóchowski