For each herb [clan shield, coat of arms] the blazon or verbal description of the arms is first given in authentic heraldic style, followed by a translation from the Polish description by Niesiecki. The right and left sides of a shield are identified from the standpoint of the bearer, i. e., the one holding the shield. His right would be your left and vice versa. The tinctures (colors) in heraldry are as follows: azure = blue, gules = red; sable = black; or = gold, argent = silver; vert = green. In heraldry all charges (pictures) on a shield are assumed to be facing dexter (right side) unless otherwise specified. In Polish heraldry all animals or birds are assumed to be in their natural coloring unless otherwise specified.
Arms: Gules, three lances, or, two in saltaire points to chief, one in pale, point to base. Argent. For a crest: out of a ducal coronet a demi goat rampant proper.
There should be three lances of gold (or yellow), displayed in the design of a star on a red field, so that two on the sides are shown with their ends and points upward and the center lance with its point straight downward. on the helmet is a demi goat leaping with its forepaws upward, facing to the right, with horns on its head. Thus Paprocki in Gniazdo, p. 1082, 0 herb., p. 191; Okolski, vol. 1, p. 335, Klejnoty, p. 54.
All date the origins of the arms as described here to the year of our Lord 1331. After Wladyslaw Lokietek defeated 40,000 Teutonic Knights in such triumph that of his people only some forty fell on the field [this is a reference to the battle of Plowce - Ed.], the next day he was riding around the battlefield, when among the Polish corpses he came upon one of his knights, Floryan Szaryusz, who, having fought valiantly in this battle and been weakened by many wounds, was pushing his bowels back inside with his own hand. [In Polish the word jelita means "bowels, guts." - Ed.] The King saw him and in compassion said to his attendants, "Oh, the torment that this valiant soldier is suffering!" And he, gathering almost his last strength, answered, "What the King sees does not afflict and torment me so much as the evil neighbor who lives in the same village as I do." "Do not worry, if you recover from this blow, I will free you from this neighbor's captivity," said Lokietek, and did free him and gave him a lord's estate. Some understand that his ancestral arms had a goat on the helmet, and that he [the King] added to the shield the three lances with which he had seen him pierced. But Długosz does not tell of this, and in fact Paprocki thinks that if such a change had been made to his coat of arms, it would not have been omitted from older historians and would have been reported. Długosz explicitly writes, first, that he was not struck with three lances, but was slashed with many wounds, and then adds that from this time the arms "Koilerogi" [= goat horns] (as they had been called before) received from Szaryusz the new name "Jelita," and there is no mention of a change in the arms. It is evident, then, that these arms, as the Jelita clan uses them now, are more ancient than that battle. Furthermore, if anyone had used a goat in his arms before then, even today one could still find some descendants who would have used both that and this form in their seal, inasmuch as, when this Szaryusz was alive, there were already many houses with these arms, as you will see below, and the conferring of a new coat of arms would not have been used by them all but only by the actual descendants of Szaryusz.
So this is a very old coat of arms, and evidently highly regarded for its bearers even during the days of the pagan monarchs in Poland; but from what it originated is hard to guess, in view of its antiquity. I know this much, that previously the lance was a sign of royal status - as in Virgil's Aeneid, "Bina manu lato crispantem hastilia ferro memorat" ["He recalls him brandishing spears of iron in both hands" - Editor]. According to Plutarch Lysippus put a spear in Alexander the Great's hands when he made his statue; and the superstitious pagan ages put spears in the hands of the gods, such as Mars, Pallas, etc., as a sign of their divinity and authority, says Cyrill. We know of the Feast of Pompeius that spears were distributed to knightly folks as a sign of their valor, and similarly Lucius Scinius Dentatus received 18 spears for the courage he showed on various occasions, for which see Valer. Maximus, book 3, chapter 2, p. 136, and Lipsius de milit. Roman, book 5, p. 448. I also know that at one time there was a Sarus, King of the Goths, who struck Radagas on the head and beat the slaves away from him, circa 406. Parisius in Slavia understands that the name Szary was spread in Poland by descendants of this Sarus. He also tells that this coat of arms was acquired during war with the Romans from one of the Sarmatians, pierced by three spears, and he proves that Polish spears are longer, Roman spears shorter and more like the forms shown in the arms, and they are called "Sarissae." I do not know whether anyone uses similar arms in other countries, except that Petra Sancta in chapter 63 states that the Carloveuses in Britain bear three gold spears with silvered tips in their arms.
The Ancestors of this House
Zdzislaw, the 16th archbishop of Gniezno, although it is true that Janicius ascribes to him the arms Ciolek, but I agree with the majority of authors that he belongs here. As a Gniezno canon he ascended that see in 1184, where for 15 years he became for all the model of the good pastor, for he increased ecclesiastical penalties for the clergy and enriched the cathedral church with rich items of gold, silver, and pearls. In addition he cleared many woods and brush and founded many villages and towns in empty and overgrown fields; he went to the Lord for the reward for his labors in 1199. In his Historya Długosz ascribes to him the synod of Łęczyca, at which excommunication was issued on all ecclesiastical estates, but Damalew. in Vitae Archiep. Gnesn. proves with apt arguments that this was the work of his predecessor, Piotr.
Tomasz, bishop of Wroclaw in Silesia, appointed 1232, of whom Długosz says in his Historya that he was a man of uncommon learning and sense; but he suffered much in his pastoral function at the hands of Boleslaw the Bald, prince of Legnica. For he was seized at the Gorka estates of the abbey of S. Maria de Aranda, to which he had gone to consecrate the church, and imprisoned, along with the pastor Bogufal and the canon Herkard, in the castle of Ulaj. There the prince mercilessly tormented the bishop, who was well advanced in years, until he obtained from him what he wanted. Not long after Tomasz returned from this imprisonment, he passed on into the freedom of the sons of God in 1267. He had administered that see for 35 years in great piety. See Długosz, Hist.
Bernard, archbishop of Lwów, received the miter about 1380, and was keenly involved with the estates and laws of the church. See Scrobiszov. in Vitae Archiep. Halicien. et Leopol. He died circa 1391. N. Schary, starosta of Bobrowniki in Dobrzyn province during the reign of Wladyslaw, Prince of Opole, 1396. See Długosz. Piotr, castellan of Sandomierz, 1336.
All the Jelita clan regard as their oldest nest Mojkowice [now called Majkowice, according to the Slownik Geograficzny - Ed.] in Sieradz province, Piotrków district, at which there is a castle not far from the river Pilica, old and made of brick, called Surdega; it is now destroyed, but it was the property of the knight Floryan Saryusz, of whom see above. Among the Jelitas were Zegota z Mojkowice, Sieradz standardbearer in 1433, see Lask., Statut. page 52, and Mikolaj, also Sieradz standardbearer in 1451, see Lask., page 83. Paprocki mentions Floryan and Zegota, brothers and heirs to Mojkowice, saying that Floryan received Wroników and Wozniki, and Zegota received Mojkowice and Laski by a division in 14 10.
Families Using these Arms
Anszenski, Bielski, Biesiad, Boglewski, Borzobochaty, Borzymski, Chilchen, Cieszanowski, Czeczel, Czerkawski, Czerminski, Dabrowski, Dabowski, Dobrzynski, Dziduski, Dzieciatkowski, Dziewaltowski, Dziuglowski, Fanuel, Francuz, Gajewski, Gawlowski, Geometer, Gerdud, Glowa, Golocki, Gomolinski, Gorlewski, Jajkowski, Jelitowski, Kalinski, Kamisowski, Kamocki, Kobielski, Korytko, Kossowski, Kozlarowski, Lasochowski, Litoslawski, Luczelinski, Lacki, Lapczynski, Lazninski, Lochynski, Lukowski, Malecki, Makowski, Marcinowski, Michalowski, Mietelski, Mirski, Misiowski, Modrzewski, Mokrski, Morawicki, Mrowinski, Mysliborski, Pacholowiecki, Paczanowski, Pajewski, Paprocki, Pieczkowski, Pieniazek, Piwakowski, Postekalski, Prumienski, Radogoski, Rajski, Romiszowski, Secygniowski, Serny, Sielnicki, Skokowski, Skorkowski, Sokolnicki, Stokowski, Strumienski, Sypniowski, Szczekocki, Szydlowski, Tarnowski, Wegleszynski, Wielkolucki, Wierzejski, Wilczkowski, Wilkowski, Wolski, Wrzeszynski, Zakrzewski, Zaleski, Zamojski, Zeromski
[Added note to Niesiecki's text by the 19th-century editor, 1. N. Bobrowicz.]
In addition to the families mentioned, there are many others whom Niesiecki himself includes in these arms later in his work, and there are still more whom Kuropatnicki, Malachowski, and Wieladek give. They are the following:
Bialecki, Bielawski, Biesiadecki, Dziaduski, Dzyryll, Frank, Hilchen, Jaklinski, Kicki, Koziaroski, Kozierowski, Krainski, Lasota, Lazinski, Libicki, Lnezelinski, Pijakowski, Raciborowski, Remiesz, Romer, Skapski, Sliwicki, Slawianowski, Slowinski, Slupski, Stawowski, Szczepankiewicz, Szczerbicz, Witowicz, Wojciechowski, Wyrzejski, Zawisza, Zelechonski, Zielinski
A translation from Niesiecki’s Armorial, vol.4 pgs. 482-83
Copyright © 1995 Leonard J. Suligowski. Used by permission. This article originally appeared in Rodziny (August 1995), the journal of the Polish Genealogical Society of America.