The village settled in the Szigetköz in Győr-Moson-Sopron county half-way along the road connecting Győr and Mosonmagyaróvár. Its emergence can be associated with the German Héder – the founder of the Héderváry family – moving to Hungary. It was first mentioned in a charter in 1210. In spite of the relatively late written mention it is certain that it had been a village centuries before. It may have been the only village in the Szigetköz, which has survived at its original location in the Arpadian age.
The Héderváry family established a family centre on the so-called Jewish hill as early as in the XIII century. It started to flourish at an early time, and its castle was also further extended, and the Blessed Virgin chapel, its family funeral place was also built in the first half of the following century. A charter issued in 1443 already recorded the settlement as an oppidum.
Favourable development was halted by the appearance of the Turks in Hungary. The situation of the oppidum was further worsened by the borrowings of the Héderváry family, and also by the fact that Lőrinc, the ban of Nándorfehérvár left the fortress during the Turkish siege of 1521. This was coupled by the fact that the family did not recognize the political power structures in Western Transdanubia, and during the pretenders’ struggle for the throne, they supported the loser János Szapolyai against Ferdinánd Habsburg. Their series of bad decisions resulted in the loss of their estates and also Hédervár in Szigetköz. Their properties were given to the Bakics family from Serbia.
The first thing the new owners did was to ruin the centre of the Héderváry family, and to forcefully spread the new faith of the Protestant religion. The settlement suffered a terrible blow by the unsuccessful Vienna campaign of the Turks in 1529. After their retreat, Lőrinc Héderváry, who supported the wrong side, was captured, and could only regain his estates with the support of his lord, Ferdinánd I., after he was freed in 1535. He immediately set about reconstructing the Héderváry family’s centre, and the chateau was completed in 1578.
The new challenge came with the occupation of Győr by the Turks between 1594 and 1598. As a result of the fights and struggles, Hédervár and the Szigetköz became depopulated.
The resettlement of the estate could only become successful by the joint efforts of the Héderváry, Révay and Czobor families after 1600. After the resettlement, the settlement was further afflicted by the plundering Haiduks, and Germans, the second lost campaign of the Turks against Vienna, the floods of the Danube, and the epidemics. Its situation at that time was further aggravated by the forceful counter-reformation. István Héderváry strengthened the castle in 1643, and the palatine once again endowed the privilege of an oppidum upon the settlement.
After the extinction of the male line of the Héderváry family, Katalin Héderváry received the rights of a male heir, and the estate fell into the hands of the Viczay family.
The XVIII century brought along reconstruction in the life of the oppidum. The castle was reconstructed into a chateau, and a beautiful park was created around it. The size of cultivated land grew significantly. The counts bought up the lands of small-holders one by one, and they hardly tolerated anybody else operating in their own territories. The number of the population increased. The estimated figure in 1720 was 415 persons, and 777 people were recorded during the first official census in 1786. In the very same year, according to the property register in the village, even fire protection was organised, and a support centre had been started even earlier (1681!), and a kindergarten started its operation in 1838. The first village teacher was recorded in 1556.
The people could survive the first half of the XIX century, and thus also the French military campaign by way of requisitioning. Effected by the revolution and the freedom fight, many entered the army, and after the revolution was defeated, these people were closely watched by the upcoming Bach-system. Lajos Kossuth in a letter asked Károly Viczay to give his famous arms collection for the purposes of the revolution, but unfortunately it had been removed by the retreating armies of Jellasics, Croatian ban in October 1848.
The most notable event in the life of the village was the abolition of serfdom – serfs became peasant landowners, and cotters became servants. In the 1870-ies, fishermen’s, millers’ and weavers’ guilds were transformed into industrial societies.
The largest landowner of the village was still the Viczay family until 1873, when they were followed by their heir, Károly Khuen-Héderváry. The largest part of the Viczay family’s arts collection perished in the great fire of 1875. The remaining values were dispersed by the war, and only a fragment of it found its way to the museums of Győr and Mosonmagyaróvár, while the books that had not burnt got to the library of the bishopric in Győr.
In the second half of the XIX century, Hédervár lost its rank as an oppidum, and it did not even have a notary, but joined the notarial district of Ásványráró. The fire brigade club was established in 1889, and later the farmers’ club in 1912, the national paramilitary youth organisation (1925), the civil shooting society (1930), and the Catholic youth societies. The system after the 2nd World War eliminated these communities, and by 1948, there were only two societies operating in the village.
The land reform in 1945 deprived the counts of Hédervár of their properties, although they did not any more farm at that time, but after 1929 the Hungarian-German Agricultural Company leased the land of the estate. The people’s college was organised in the chateau by 1947, where the children living in the neighbouring villages and farms could complete their elementary education. The elementary school of the village itself also moved to the chateau.
The co-operative was organised as early as in 1949, and later in the seventies, the people of the village could farm as members of a real large farm by way of an association between the co-operatives of six villages. Today, individual entrepreneurs and businesses, as well as trading and catering networks also build on the increasing tourist industry. There are only temporary businesses in other sectors, but the Rózsa Ferenc Agricultural Co-operative still pursues its farming and service activities.
The life of the societies revived in 1989, when the Hédervár Circle of Friends was established. Its set objective is to save and nurture the historic and artistic values of the village. The civil guard society was established for the maintenance of public safety, and today there are even two foundations operating in the village, one is for the school, and the other is for the churches of the settlement.
Hédervár was a village with two centres until the middle of the XIX century. Its east centre was the historic graveyard of the village, and the medieval Blessed Virgin chapel. The other, western centre was the square in front of the Renaissance chateau from the XVI century.
Today’s image of the village with its three neatly arranged square is a real attraction for tourists. The new, one-storied or many-storied houses are not ostentatious at all, they were built with moderate taste, and fit well among the many stone monuments, parks, groves, and well-groomed flowery squares and streets.
Like always during its history, one of the most important and outstanding monuments of today’s Hédervár, earlier a manorial centre, is still the earlier chateau and its wonderful park. It has operated as a writers’ rest-house since 1983, and is presently owned by the Public Foundation for Hungarian Fine Arts. Hédervár is one of the oldest villages in the Szigetköz, and even today it may take pride in having the most historic, and artistic values. The notable Héderváry family left behind many wonderful relics, which are harmoniously united by the appealing image of the village of Hédervár.