Blinstrubiškiai manor

Near Viduklė in Raseiniai district, near the Raseiniai-Nemaksčiai road, until 1968 stood a large manor complex, which from ancient times was called Viduklė-Alsa, later Viduklė-Paalsė, and from the mid-1700s Blinstrubiškiai manor. It was the oldest patrimony of blazon Swan Blinstrubs de Towtwil.
The first owners of this manor in the second half of the 16th century were Simon’s (S1) sons Peter (S2) and Caspar (S3) Blinstrubs Alsiszki de Towtwil. According to the oldest historical written sources, the manor is first mentioned in vazni’s report of January 8, 1586, about the summons left to Caspar, son of Simon, Alsiszki in Alsa manor (Raseiniai Land Court Book, 1586, LSHA 284 ap.1 b.1). However, the manor probably existed and was the property of Blinstrubs earlier – in the monograph of the historian Vacys Vaivada “The Catholic Church and Reformation in Samogitia in the 16th Century”, with reference to the archive of historian Konstantin Jablonski is a notice that Caspar, son of Simon, Alsiszki was the elder of Viduklė in period of 1575-1576.
Caspar died in 1607, but before he passed away, he handed over a half of Viduklė Alsa manor and administration of it, to his son Adam Blinstrub Alsiszki de Towtwil (S11).  This is can be assumed in the act of donation of October 4 of 1594 in which  Adam Blinstrub Alsiszki, son of Caspar, donates his wife Euphemia Merkelyte (probably immediately after the wedding) a half of manor of Viduklė Alsa (D366, the document unfortunately not survived). During the ruling of this manor by oldest Blinstrubs, it was called the Alsa Manor and its owners used the second name Alsiszki. Later the manor was called Viduklė Paalsė (pol. Widukl-Poolsie) and only in the mid-1700s, when it belonged to the noble family Uvainiai, it got the name Blinstrubiškiai. Names Alsa and Paalsė are originated from the fact that the Alsa river flows nearby. In addition to various buildings, the manor had its own water mill with a pond, a tavern on Raseiniai – Nemaksčiai road, chapel, a garden and not existing anymore village of Blinstrubiškiai (between Paliepiai village and Blinstrubiškiai manor). The territory of the manor complex stretched on the left bank of Alsa river, between Samogitian tract (Žemaičių plentas) and old, partially not existing, Paliepiai-Viduklė road. On March 26 of 1604 (D322), Adam Blinstrub Alsiszki bought Sujainiai manor with Paliepiai village from Christopher Sadowski. Thus, Sujainiai and Paliepiai were connected to the territory of Blinstrubiškiai Manor.
Adam Blinstrub Alsiszki was a Calvinist and taught Calvinism his 4 sons, John (S18), George (S15), Samuel Moses (S17) and David (S16). John and George Blinstrubs de Towtwil, who lived in Blinstrubiškiai, were active members of the Raseiniai Calvinist Zbar, actively participated in the activities of the Evangelical Synods in Vilnius, and founded Zbar (Chapel) with cemetery Viduklė.
After death, Adam left the manor of Viduklė Paalsė to this sons George and John. Samuel Moses, since earlier, had the manor of Kulva and David got from father Ugioniai manor in Ariogala county.
Blinstrubiskiu-dvaras1 In 1645 John (S18, secretary of kings Sigismund Vasa, Wladislaw IV Vasa and John Casimir Vasa) with a first wife Elena Vainiotaite (S28) funded and built a Calvinist chapel on hillside near Alsa river and near the Raseiniai-Viduklė road. In 1706, the chapel was destroyed by John’s nephew, catholic Boguslav Peter Blinstrub (S21), who later was  sentenced to a fine and exile. The construction of the chapel and the land to it, were funded on 7 January 1645 by a separate foundation act (D203). Later, most Blinstrubs ancestors of Blinstrubiškiai manor, who died earlier, were reburied in this chapel. Mention of this can be found in the testament of May 20 of 1669 (D408) of the same secretary of the kings, John Blinstrub, where John asks to be buried according to evangelical tradition in own zbar where his parents, uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents are buried.
From ancient times, until the death of mentioned above John Blinstrub de Towtwil in August 19th of 1669, Blinstrubiškiai manor prospered very well. Unfortunately, but after the death of his first wife, Elena Vainotaitė in 1652-1653, John made one wrong strategic decision. Inspired by the success of his younger brother, Samuel Moses (S17) to expand property by marrying rich widows, in 1653 calvinist John married a wealthy and influential widow Halszka Teresa Szweykowska Masalska, who, according to her testament dated May 30, 1660 (D248), was ultra catholic. In 1653, after she marries John, she not only brings her dowry – Grodek folwark in Minsk County, Zubiškiai folwark in Trakai County and 7000 zloty, but she claims to pledge her for these money John’s part of Viduklė Paalsė manor, with the right that her children from her first marriage may claim this amount after her death (D274-275). Accepting this, was John’s strategic mistake. Later, after Halszka Teresa Szweykowska Masalska’s death in 1660, he repeats the same mistake, in 1664 marrying the thirf wife Anna Margarita Brinkovska and again pledging his manor, this time for 5000 zloty (D262).  According to the testament of Halszka Teresa Szweykowska Masalska,  it can be assumed that relationship between her and her husband John was poor. In her testament, she states that she wants to be buried in the chapel of the Virgin Mary of the Church of St. Bernardine monastery of Tytuvėnai, leaves 1000 zloty to guardians of children of her first marriage, and another 1000 zloty to Bernardines.  All other property she left to sons from her first marriage David and Casimir, daughters Theodora and Petronlla received 5000 zloty. In  the testament she entrusts the guardianship of the children not to John, but to the Chancellor of the GDL Christopher Sigismund Pac, Polotsk voivodeship Janusz Kiska and Vitebsk voivodeship Christopher Kiska. For her husband, John Blinstrub, she only left  Grodek folwark in Minsk County. She also states that the 7000 zloty from pledged to her manor of Viduklė Paalsė must be given to her children from their first marriage. And finally – she orders her a son-in-law, a Kaunas court judge, to sale all her movable property and to give money to the Samogitian subcamerarius to “revitalize emptied by enemies Catholic churches of Samogitia” (kościołów księstwa Żmudzkiego przez nieprzyjaciela spustoszonych). Ironically, between them who contributed most to the emptying of Viduklė and most other Catholic churches in the Viduklė region, was her husband, calvinist John with his brothers and other local nobility. John died in 1669 and left Viduklė Alsa and Sujainiai manor the nephews John (S20) and Boguslav Peter (S21) Blinstrubs de Towtwil as he hasn’t sons.  In the testament of 20 May (D408), he also obliged nephews to pay their manors debts.
istorija_2 Unfortunately, as described below, Viduklė’s Paalsė manor, did not bring happiness to the nephews. They tried in many ways to repair the poor economic condition of the manor, but to got no luck. After marriage in 1669, in January 10, 1670, Boguslav Peter Blinstrub pledges Sujainiai Manor (D406) to his wife Elena Uvainyte for 5000 zloty. In the same year,  he pledges or sells other smaller family’s manors to improve the financial situation. On June 9, 1677, John Blinstrub (S20), tired of paying his debts,  sell his share in the manor to brother Boguslav Peter for a symbolic amount of 1500 zloty (D277). Later, the cousin, daughter of the secretary of the kings John, Kristina Blinstrubaitė Odachowska (S29), tries the rescue the manor. After apparently paying off some debts, she gains the right to own the manor of Viduklė Paalsė in the Grand Tribunal of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, forcing her cousin Boguslav Peter to get involved in a lawsuit. Later, a peace deal seems to have been reached.  It reflects the document dated October 18th, 1680 in which John Constantine Odachowski, son of Kristina Blinstrubaitė, transfers right to ownership of the manor to Boguslav Peter for a symbolic fee of 500 zloty (D278).  Tired of financial burden,  in 1706.05.03 , Boguslav Peter Blinstrub performs the act of vandalism that has already been mentioned and is difficult to grasp in context. He demolishes the Calvinist chapel, founded and built by his benefactor, manor donor, calvinist John, with all the coffins of his ancestors, plough up the Calvinist cemetery around the chapel and joins the land to the manor. In an official explanation later, Boguslav stated that as a Catholic himself, he did not want to allow evangelicals to be buried near the manor. But now, konwing the circumstances in which Boguslav Peter was placed, we can see that this may have been a breakthrough of the anger that had accumulated over the years. An expression of protest stemmed of Calvinist ancestry, Calvinism and the faults of uncle John, who made life difficult for Boguslav Peter. This act, of course, did not go unnoticed by law enforcement at the time. In those days, the breach of the rest of dead people was considered as a great sin and crime.  In 1712 On October 30, the Grand Tribunal of Minsk sentenced Boguslav Peter Blinstrub to a fine of 2000 zloty,  compensation od 300 zloty to the Evangelical Church, and eternal exile from Samogitia for this crime and failure to appear to the court. The land belonging to the cemetery and the chapel was also confiscated.
After the verdict, Boguslav Peter, having no longer right to live in Samogitia and being old, he handed over the manor of Viduklė Paalsė to his son George Merkel Blinstrub (S62). George Merkel, was married to Elena Puzinytė de Kozelski, the rich widow of Upyte marshal and seems to have improved the situation of the manor. But before his death, George Merkel Blinstrub makes the decision, which is still difficult to explain. On March 14, 1734,  by a testament (LSHA F163. ap.1 b.11) leaves a large part of the manor’s property – 10000 tynphas – to the Dominican Monastery of Raseiniai and smaller amounts to the Carmelites and Bernardines of Raseiniai, as well as 2,000 tynphas from the Vizgirdiškė and Latakiai manors to Viduklė church, where he asks to be buried. George Merkel leaves the manor to, called in the testament  as “benefactor”, Boguslav Uwojn (Uvainis) de Ivoszkas, who is also entrusted of executing the will expressed in the testament. In this way, after more than 150 years, the manor of Viduklė Paalsė was lost as a property of the Blinstrubs.
A little bit later, the descendants of the Blinstrubs tried to reclaim the mano from the Uvainiai family, citing various conditions which were not fulfilled by the Uvainiai according to the testamen of George Merkel Blinstrub (D280, D287), but not suceeded and the manor was lost forever. The Blinstrubs, however, should grateful to the nobility who ruled the manor – for manor’s survival until its nationalization in the 1940s and for use of Blinstrubs name in place’s  name – Blinstrubiškiai, which survived until our days.
The later history of the manor was again successful and no less interesting. Boguslav Uwojn left the manor to his son Anthony. After his death, his wife Catherine married Ignatius Micewicz. Katherine, before her death, left the manor to her underage daughters, Uvainytės and handed over their guardianship to her second husband, Ignatius Micewicz. Unfortunately, he later brought daughters to a monastery and took over Blinstrubiškiai manor. However, some time later, nobleman Casimir Anthony Burba from Pašušvis married one of daughters, Anna Uvainytė, thus liberating her from the monastery. In such way the manor returned to Uvainytės and Ignatius Micewicz was sent to court. After marriage Blinstrubiškiai passed to the Burba family.

Casimir Burba and Anna Uvainytė got four children – son Klet (who later became a marshal of guvernorate’s nobility) and three daughters. One of daughters married to Cyprian Michael Janczewski, son of Raseiniai judge Franz Janczewski. In such way Blinstrubiškiai became a property of Janczewski family and stayed family’s property until a nationalization in 1940.
Cyprian Janczewski was educated  by Adomas Mickevičius in Kaunas and Kražiai gymnasium, belong to secret society “Black brothers”. Later, for illegal activity was sentenced to death but sentence was changed to exile to Bobruisk. After returning from exile he was nobility marshal of Raseiniai district. Cyprian had two sons – Casimir and Edward (1846-1918).

DSC04922 Janczewski family grave in Viduklė cemetery

Professor Edward Glinka Janczewski was famous polish botanist. He was married to Jadwiga Szetkiewicz (1856-1941), the famous polish writer’s, Nobel prize winner Henryk Sienkiewicz wife’s sister. Jadwiga often invited to Blinstrubiškiai manor famous lithuanian poet Maironis.
After Edward with wife moved to Krakow (Poland), his brother Casimir took care of manor until death (1935). After his death his son, also Casimir took care of manor.
This Casimir Janczewski had two son – Henrik (married Sofia Kosakovskytė from Žeimiai) and Thadeus (married Irena from Kražiai). Janczewski family owned an manor until II World War.
Henrik Janczewski remember that manor was wooden, built in 1740 (It is believed that the new manor was built in the old place by Boguslav Peter Blinstrub, a little earlier).

Manor’s main house was described by Janczewski’s in such way. Building had stone foundation. Both the front and the back of the building had a large porch with stairs. The building was horizontally covered with broad planed boards. The manor was poorly equipped and only in the 19th century, white tile stoves were built in representation rooms. In one room, an antique type high brick fireplace was built. In the representation rooms walls were artistic painted and other rooms were simply painted.
In front of the mansion, pyramidal poplars grew. There was a young linden alley towards Alsa river.  Around the manor number of larches and chestnuts grew. Chestnut was planted in an alley of Raseiniai-Viduklė road passed once manor’s territory.

The census of the parishioners of Viduklė parish of 1865 revealed us who lived in Blinstrubiškiai manor at that time and at the same time revealed how rich and organized the manor was. In addition, a couple of secondary things has been revealed: 1. Blinstrubs still felt nostalgia for the old manor. A couple of them managed to get a job at the manor. Nobleman George Blinstrub (unidentified single, died in 1878) worked there as manciple and after his death ID106 Michael Stanislaus Blinstrub continued the job until death in 1886. 2. In the census, the manor is named as the manor of the head of the nobility of Raseiniai county. It shows its exceptional status among other manors of Raseiniai county.
Below is a list of Blinstrubiškiai manor residents.
1. Wife of a nobleman, owner, widow Casimira Burbaitė Janczewska
2. Wife of a nobleman Anna Blus
3. Vogt (manager) Franz Butinevičius
4. Clerk Constant Volotk
5. Manciple Georg Blinstrub (single, d. 1878)
6. Bailiff Geronimo Petrusevičius
7. Gardener Anthony Girkont
8. Assistant Cyprian Radavičius
9. Cook Anthony Narkevičius
10. Lackey Ignatius Puišius
11. Carter Joseph Juozaitis
12. Gatekeeper Alexander Drukten
13. Chanceloir Dominic Žukauskas
14. Credensor Dominic Klemdov
15. Seamstress Julia Kovalevska
16. Maid Barbara Truskovska
17. Hofmistress Paulina Butovskytė Krasovska
And more than 70 workers.

Blinstrubiškiai now have large state owned retirement home which was established in the territory of the Blinstrubiškiai manor in 1946.  In 1968 old buildings were demolished and new buildings for 400 inhabitants has been built.

The Blinstrubiškiai forest (official name) is located nearby. The photos show the former manor park, the white stone building is reconstructed former servants’ quarters.

DSC04918 DSC04919 DSC04920 DSC04921 blinstrubiskes3 blinstrubiskes5

In 5th. of October of 2020, descendants of Blinstrubs de Towtwil family, through fund raising campaign and with active help of noblemen Juozas Kazimieras Blistrabas, Bronius, Adelė, Vaida and Mindaugas Blistrubiai, Vincas Blinstrubas and family’s historian and genealogist Šarūnas Blinstrubas, raised a monumental stone in former Blinstrubiškiai manor place, in memory of noblemen Blinstrubs de Towtwil lived and prospered once in Viduklė county.

120846422_693069421317473_2082131290622620251_n Monumental stone in memory of noblemen Blinstubs de Towtwil of Viduklė county in former Blinstrubiškiai manor place 120847113_383673452646092_2132147522568698251_n Monumental stone in memory of noblemen Blinstubs de Towtwil of Viduklė county in former Blinstrubiškiai manor place 120862878_677154393233166_4754001140257640751_n Monumental stone in memory of noblemen Blinstubs de Towtwil of Viduklė county in former Blinstrubiškiai manor place

A list of all donors of Blinstrubs monumental stone (in alphabetical order)  can be found below.

Aukotojaiweb A list of all donors of Blinstrubs monumental stone, raised in 2020-10.05 in Blinstrubiškiai, (in alphabetical order).