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The Weathercock Sharpshooters Fraternity

Historic Highlights of The Weathercock Sharpshooters Fraternity in Pniewy

The Weathercock Sharpshooters Fraternity was set up on the 1st of June 1698 in Pniewy as records this fact a translated version of a privilege given by the King August II. The Fraternity was established by intercession  of  the then Master of  Pniewy and castellan Ludwik Szoldrski.

There was a shooting range  belonging to the “Sharpshooters Guild” in the so called Zydowskie Gory city area in the Strzelecka (Sharpshooters) Street. However,  both city and fraternity events were held  in and around the market place next to the Strzelecka Street, at the so called Tournaments.

The opening and blessing ceremony of the building took place in 1914. The house was built with the Frats’ own financial means. It consisted of a casino-restaurant with an entertainment hall, a billiard room, firing range and bowling alley. A shooting alley was also set with a bunker for range officers and an internal telephone line. There was a band shell in the Fraternity Park. Six years later the Fraternity was duly registered with the Municipal Court.

During the years between the wars, when Saint Ursula Ledochowska founded on the Luboczesnica borough of Pniewy an orphanage of Saint Olof and brought  in polish children the Frats raised funds, rattled coin canisters at street corners, helped get food and many other things necessary to run a home and school for children.

In 1936 many members of the Fraternity became councilors and they had a majority in the Town Hall and Office. On their initiative, on the 17th of April1937 which was the 50th anniversary of  taking religious vows and commencing her charitable and social activities by Saint Ursula Ledochowska she was conferred  the honorary citizenship of  Pniewy and honorary membership of the Weathercock Fraternity. At the outbreak of World War II the Fraternity activities were  discontinued. Right after the end of the war the Fraternity got to work renovating the shooting range and buildings, bringing them back to the old splendor and character.

Toward the end of 1948  some decrees of the people’s power did away with the  The Weathercock Sharpshooters Fraternity in Pniewy. All the wealth and property was, in a way,   “transferred” by the Urzad Bezpieczenstwa political secret police in the nearby Szamotuly. Luckily, the Fraternity’s banner could be salvaged, because at this very moment it was concealed in the Sw. Wawrzyniec parish church (St. Laurent) and all parish priests kept it in top secrecy.

A successful initiative to revive the Fraternity appeared in June 1991. A group of people in the City and Commune Office set up an organizing committee. They began collecting documents and memorabilia from the good old days. On the 26th of September 1994 the first historical shooting contest after the revival was staged at the shooting range in Zajaczkowo. Participants competed for the honorary title of Weathercock King and the First and Second Knight. Soon after that there started attempts to get back the illegally confiscated estate and wealth. 

On the 30th of September and October 1994 in the Poznan suburbs of Kornik took place the unification congress of the The Weathercock Sharpshooters Fraternities of the Polish Republic during which the Pniewy Fraternity received its membership of the body of Republic Weathercock  Fraternities.

For a long time members of  The Weathercock Sharpshooters Fraternity from Pniewy  have been taking part in shooting events and contests all over Poland and Europe.

From 12 to 14 September 2003  The Weathercock Sharpshooters Fraternity of Pniewy was hosting the Unification Congress of The Weathercock Sharpshooters Fraternities of the Polish Republic.