::           Opening The Town Hall Tower 17.11.2012          

The Dirty Bugler


Source: Museum of Old Commerce.

The Town Hall Tower was the central point in the town centre. Hanging bedclothes and underwear on balustrade by the bugler was certainly not consistent with seriousness and dignity of municipal self-government which it symbolized.

The bugler's function was in the old days integrally connected with the tower and extremely significant as far as concerns the life of local community. It probably originated from the guard of the tower who could be found there since the earliest times and in the opinion of whom he was responsible for keeping order in the town and warning about dangers that the town could incur referring to natural disasters or the presence of hostile armies in the vicinity of the town.

We learn about the municipal bugler's responsibilities from the document of the 9th April 1599 made available by German historian Heinrich Schubert. It specifies duties to be performed by newly employed municipal bugler Georg Schmidt (the first whose full name is known).

First of all every day at 1p.m. he should ring a bell and if the fire breaks out – God forbid! - nevertheless if this happens during the day or night he is obliged to ring the above-mentioned bell as well as raise the flag alongside with the lantern switched on in this direction from which flames can be seen. Secondly his duties also include that both during the day and night he guards the Town Hall Tower and cares that each hour ( both during the day and night) is trumpeted. In the third place each morning he should trumpet the whole day. Furthermore, he should in the afternoon and towards the evening play good motets four times and not squeaky melodies. If in the town there appeared or passed through strange people he is every time obliged to signal it”.

The Świdnica's buglers performed their functions with various success. Thanks to irreplaceable Schubert there still remained information referring to the claims submitted to the Town Council against insufficient control over the tower (1662), improperly set clock as well as the laziness of the guard of the tower not to mention the fact that he allows to hang dirty bedclothes on the balustrade of the tower (1761). Certainly it was not an easy function to be performed. It required a lot of commitment and dedication. It could be dangerous. Under the date of 1594 the chroniclers noted a case when an extremely strong wind pulled out the trumpet and tugged it at Kapturowa Street (today Franciszkańska Street). A bench „on which the bugler used to stand was thrown over the balustrade and pushed into one of the chimneys”.

Schubert, in the period between 1559 and 1770, names sixteen buglers. Certainly it is difficult to specify today when the bugler's function was performed for the last time. Probably it expired in the half of the 19th century.

Source: Marek Furmankiewicz - „Historia i plany odbudowy wieży ratuszowej”, „Rocznik Świdnicki 1998”, Heinrich Schubert - „Szkice z historii miasta Świdnicy”.

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