Brief history of Radłów and its surroundings
The name of the town and district is probably derived from an ancient farming tool called 'radło' (meaning a coulter. i.e. wooden plough), or ploughed fields, However. this hypothesis is not sufficiently documented. The very first historical notes mentioning Radłów can be found in The 'Cracow Cathedral Code' under A.D. 1080, when a parish becomes established In Radłów. Another mention on Radłów stems from the year 1236, under the reign of Henryk Brodaty (the Bearded). Prince of Kraków. According to the 'Monograph on the Cistersian Abbey at Mogiła', it was in 1236 that Wisław, the Bishop of Kraków, paid a visit to Radłów. A.D. 1241 brought with it an unprecedented defeat for Radłów. As countless Tartar hords reach the area, the local wooden church goes up in flames and the frightened inhabitants seek refuge in the inaccessible forest. Nobody knows whether the village survived or not, but over the next several decades Radłów kept a Iow profile. It is not until the reign of Casimir the Great that it resurfaces a gain. The Kraków bishopric is then occupied by Jan Grot from Słupa, who builds the church at Radłów with his own funds. The church survived intact until 1915. Radłów was also mentioned frequently by Jan Długosz, the famous Polish chronicler. May 3.1448 witnesses the visit to Radłów of Cardinal Zbigniew Oleśnicki, the Bishop of Kraków, In 1450, Zbigniew Oleśnicki comes over to Radłów again, this time with the Kraków Chapter. in order to demarcate his estate from the gentry villages of Zabawa and Zdrochec.
The Swedish lnvasion of Poland in 1655-1660
In 1655, the area is ravaged by the Swedes. A major battle, with active participation from the locals, takes place on the fields of Radłów. As Piekański, a historian, writes, ‘The population of the hamlets belonging to the Bishop of Kraków bravely faced the Swedish robbers, and, grouped in guerrilla bands, would often put whole units to the scythe. 'The years of 1656 and 1657 go down as a defeat of Radłów and its surroundings. The Hungarian army led by Grzegorz Rakoczy along with Cossacks set the village on fire, burning down its part; luckily, the church escapes unscathed.
Due to its location on the rough Dunajec river, the whole area was exposed to frequent heavy floods. Jan Długosz mentions the floods of 1118, 1221, 1252, and 1253, However, the largest one took place in 1270. This is how it is described by Jan Długosz, ‘From June 22 until mid-August, torrential rains kept falling continuously day and night, and thus the Vistula, Raba and Dunajec rivers broke their banks, flooding the land, and turning fields and forests into wasteland.’ ‘The Kraków Chapter Annual’ notes under the very same year that ‘on July 21, an unheard-of overflow of the rivers, especially the Vistula, Raba and Dunajec, which drowned people, cattle and other creatures to a major extent, that the fields could be roamed by boat like rivers, with snakes and birds finding refuge in high trees as well as houses, provided any managed to survive so despite the surge [...] The flood was followed by a great three-year-long famine, which killed numerous people…’, Two further heavy floods of the Dunajec and Vistula fall on the years of 1468 and 1533. As registered in the "Liberum memorabilium" by Stanisław Hozjusz, the then parish priest of Radłów, The Dunajec reached as far as the church threshold, with murky waters rolling around, carrying people, as well as all kinds of goods and chattels. ‘Further floods struck Radłów and the area in 1647, 1671, 1724, 1774, 1788, 1813, 1844, and 1903. The flood of 1934 reached an amazing scale. It all started on July 17 and lasted for almost a week, when the waters of the Dunajec, Uszwia and Biała merged into one sea, with barely house roofs and treetops sticking out above. Radłów itself got surrounded by water, even partially flooded from the east and north. The unleashed Dujnajec returned to its original bed by tearing down the tall wall to the south of the manor. Taking Into account the spectre of famine and epidemics, the government organized aid in the form of food relief as well as free sowing corn rations. The violent temper of the Dunajec was harnessed only by the dam built at Czorsztyn towards the end of the 20th century, thus making the lives of the locals residing along the river much more quiet and peaceful.
History of Radłów during the partitions
As the year of the first partition of Poland, 1772 becomes a true breakthrough for Radłów. It was that very year, under the management of Kajetan Jałtyk, the Bishop of Kraków, that the Radłów estate was confiscated, coming under the control of the Bochnia District. In 1819, the area of Radłów is given by Emperor Joseph II as a token of gratitude and recognition. to Count Hampesh. The estate is then acquired from the latter by Radenfeld, who builds an impressive palace in Radłów in 1844. It is about that time that the Radłów estate is purchased by the Helc family of Kraków, to be then passed into the hands of Jagiellonian University Professor Straszewski, eventually coming into possession of the Dolańskis. Serfdom was finally abolished under the reign of Franz Joseph l (1849 -1850). In 1873 Radłów was hit by a cholera epidemic, claiming numerous lives. It was followed in 1880 by such famine that the locals fed on weeds and tree bark. The second half of the 19th century brings with it increased emigration to Germany. Denmark and the United States. The period just before World War One turned really creative for Radłów. The development of the village is favoured by the court, seated there for almost one hundred years. A voluntary fire brigade is established as well. It is during that time (over the years 1903-1905) that a court- and schoolhouse is erected (consisting of two classrooms, two rooms and a kitchen for the school head master).
World War One
In 1914, when World War One broke out, the pitched battles taking place along the line of the Dunajec turned the whole region of Radłów and its surroundings into a wasteland. The ancient church dating back to 1337 falls prey to fire, along with the presbytery and the accompanying buildings. Livestock losses reached 95%. The population suffered from famine and abject poverty. As a result of the heavy fighting, the hamlets of Siedlec, Biskupice Radłowskie, Glów and Łęka burned down as well. The harried inhabitants were evacuated to Borzecin and farther villages. The whole neighbourhood of Radłów was a battlefield. The palace and the schoolhouse were partially damaged. Once the Russians retreated, reconstruction started. Wood was delivered by rail and floated on rafts along the Dunajec. Thanks to the year-and-a-half-long activity. Glów, Sanoka, and Łęka Siedlecka were raised from ruin. In 1918, after the four years of war, when Poland is free again, the heavy wounds get healed, and new life emerges upon the rubble. A new townhouse was erected in Radłów in the years 1924 1925. A huge flood hit the area on July 17, 1934, and lasted for a whole week. On September 7 and 8, 1939, a battle was fought in the region of Radłów, Niwka, Biskupice Radłowskie, Wola Radłowska and Wał Rudy between Polish and German troops. As a result, 31 houses and outbuildings were reduced to ashes.