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The history of Herend



The name of the village, Herend has become a word sounding familiar world-wide due to its china factory. Several studies have been prepared about the history of this factory, yet this is the first scholarly monograph that has been written on the history of the village itself.

After thorough literary and archival research the author, himself working as an archivist, investigated the history of the settlement from its very beginning up till now in altogether thirteen chapters. In the appendix three ethnographic studies can be found that describe the traditional way of child rearing and the wedding customs of Herend as well as children's nativity play. In a separate section the most significant documents of the settlement's twentieth century histoiy can be studied.

Today Herend is a large village in Veszprem county with 3200 inhabitants and an area of 1953 hectares (4826 acres). It develops dynamically and may become a town in the near future. The peculiarity of its history lies in the fact that the settlement was established in the middle of the 18th century. The medieval villages that used to be situated in this area were demolished during the Ottoman rule in the 16th century. From 1764 on the Zichy family from Nagyvazsony and the landlords of Szentgal settled down German residents speaking Bavarian dialect in Herend farmstead. The present study also points out that these settlers came from the neighbouring German villages (Ajkarendek, Bakonyjako, Band, Kislod, Varoslod, etc). The farmstead with its quite big population became a village in 1849 only. In the civilian era it was an administrative centre: the neighbouring settlements of Band and Marko belonged to the notary of Herend. From 1898 up till now Herend still fulfils this administrative role.

The development of the village situated at the meeting point of the northern and southern parts of the Bakony is determined by its advantegous geopolitical location. All factors vital for human settlements (water, building materials, climate) were present in the Bakony hills, along the break line of which an important military route linked the Pannonian settlements to Rome. It is not surprising that the area of Herend was inhabited already in the 3rd and 4th centuries A.C.: the conquerors built military camps along the road leading to Rome.

The ranges of the Bakony at the time of the arrival of the Hungarians got in the possession of the Grand Duke, after 1000 in that of the Hungarian king, but remained mostly uninhabited. The kings regarded it as their hunting territories and they controlled their estates situated in this area from the castle of Veszprem. Servants of the queen's court and of the bishop of Veszprem settled down around Veszprem.

On today's territory of Herend five small villages were situated in the 13th—14th centuries: Bakonyszentistvan, Herend, Horhi, Himhaza and Németi. They were the home of the king's hunters. The villages became abandoned from the end of the 15th centuiy, their people, running away from the Ottomans, moved to Szentgal and the nearest fortresses. Herend farmstead was considered as belonging to the fortress of Nagyvazsony in the 16th—17th centuries. At the beginning of the 18th century the settlement had several owners, the biggest one of them was the landowning Zichy family, one of whose manor centres, Nagyvazsony had Herend as its part.

The process of settling people in Herend farmstead was successful in the 1760s: in the year of 1771 already 115 people lived there. Its population grew to almost 500 by the middle of the 19th century, then to 1200 by World War I and 1500 by World War II. The legal relations of the mostly Catholic population were controlled by contracts with the landlords until 1848. The inhabitants dealt with agriculture but had no land property. Only after the abolition of serfdom in 1848 were they allowed to buy land and they mostly did so from the territory of the village of Szentgal having quite big areas around. In 1891 the manor in Nagyvazsony parcelled out its land property in Herend, and in 1899 the landowners of Herend bought Hegyi farmstead and then some other smaller pieces of land and became joint tenants in order to cultivate the common lands (plough lands, forests) together. By emigrating to America from 1890 on, one of these landowners' aims was to buy property for the money they made in the United States.

The china factory, founded by Vince Stingl in 1826 and made well-known by Mor Fischer in the 1840s, had little effect on the life of the village until World War I, as it employed only a few families. In the beginning skilled workers were enrolled mainly from Austria and Bohemia, but during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy a few local people also found employment among the painters and potters. In the 1840s these 10—15 local craftsmen formed a guild and after 1872 they worked within the framework of the trade association of Veszprem. From the 18th century to recent times two water mills worked on the Sed stream flowing through the settlement.

Regarding village institutions, simultaneously with the appearance of new inhabitants the Catholic church and the school were founded. The wooden church built in honour of St. Eustach was consecrated in 1779, while the present Baroque church in 1828. The affiliated church of Herend belonged to the parish of Szentgal from the beginning, the parish in Herend was organised by baron Karoly Hornig, the bishop of Veszprem in 1919- The primary school functioned from 1779 already, the teacher taught the children in German. The parents, however, did not attach great importance to the school, consequently it could become an effective means of social mobility only from the end of the 19th century on. At the parents' request the Catholic primary school was brought under state control, and its maintainance as well as development became the state's responsibility in the hope of assimilating the German inhabitants of the village. This was the purpose of the establishment of the nursery in 1905, where — just like in the school — the language of education became Hungarian. The china factory founded its secondary technical school in 1897 and still runs it, which satisfies the factory's need for skilled workers.

Although the forceful assimilation did not have the results expected, as a consequence of acquiring the Hungarian language, several members of the generation born after 1867 continued their studies in secondary and higher education and rose from the level of peasantry to that of the intellectuals.

Herend changed radically between the two World Wars:

from an agricultural village it grew into an industrial one. In 1941 sixty one percent of its population made their living on industry. In 1920 at the borderline of the village coal mining began and the china factory, that became a company of shareholders, employed more and more workers. In the year os 1940 450 people worked in the factory, which meant that the company, which was successful on the world market, provided Herend and its surroundings with means of subsistence.

The infrastructure also improved: the railway was built in 1870, coaches began to run around 1930, and electricity was installed in the village around 1931.

The recent characteristics of the village were significantly determined by the changes during and after World War II. Some of the German inhabitants joined the Hitlerist political organisation, the Volksbund der Deutschen in Ungarn in 1940, as a result of which their property was confiscated and given to Hungarians in 1945 and after. In 1948 eleven families, altogether 44 people were forcefully moved to the eastern region of Germany (to the area around Dresden).

Between 1945 and 1950 the German population of Herend faced collective punishment: they were deprived of not only their possessions but also their political rights. As a result of the reprisal the assimilation of the Germans accelerated: they used their mother tongue only in their families, lost their folk costumes and a number of their customs faded or disappeared.

Simultaneously with the Germans' deprivation of their civil rights collectivisation also began: first the coal mine, later in 1948 the china factory was also brought under state control, and in 1959 private landowners were forced to form a collective farm. In 1950 the Soviet-type administration was introduced, which controlled the whole civilian society as well. After 1948 the social role of the Catholic church became severely restricted by the state executive and administrative power and the freedom of worship was hindered until 1990.

The development of Herend after 1945 was partly facilitated by the fact that the Communist party regarded the industrial workers their voters, and, consequently, they supported the development of the industrial settlements. Before 1956 the village got piped water and during the decades after 1956 — partly with the support of the china factory — several investments in communal development were made. In 1969 a new cultural centre was built, in the 1970s piped gas was fitted and the roads were also improved. In the 1980s and 1990s telephone and drainage network were constructed. As a result of the constant investment, Herend became the first village of Veszprem from the point of view of its infrastructural development.

The communist system did not succeed in destroying the German culture entirely. From 1955 German is taught as a school subject in the primary school, and in order to rediscover and keep up the  traditions and customs, a club was set up in the 1970s; later in 1992 a German Nationality Cultural Association was organised along with a nationality choir.

After the fall of the Kädär regime the population of the village elected a new local government, which carried out successful communal development and became the sister town of Markleuthen. After the communist regime new associations, clubs and other organisations came into being.

As a result of the privatisation of the china factory, the employees became share holders too. The future of the village depends on the economic performance of the china factoiy employing l600 people on average and that of the majolica factory with 300—350 employees. In the case of the china factory the successful company strategy has ensured the preservation of competitiveness on the world market, while the majolica factory has not found its place in the new economic system yet.

It appears that the inner conditions of the constant development of Herend in the 21st century have been created.   


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