National and historical symbols of Hungary

In this section you can find the crests of almost 2400 settlements of Hungary with notes. Find the starting letter of the settlement in the list and click if you want to see it.

The Coat-of-Arms of the Town of Derecske [¤]
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Derecske

(The County of Hajdú-Bihar)

The coat-of-arms is shield-shaped.

The charges are two lions rampant-combatant, queue fourché, langued and armed gules, holding jointly with their paws a straight sword, on the tip of which the chopped-off head of a Turkish enemy is borne transfixed.

The charges are all proper, borne against the field azure of the shield. Across the top a barred helmet affronté, ensigned by a crown or. The mantling is on the dexter azure and or, on the sinister gules and argent.

The coat-of-arms of a settlement, a village or a town is a symbol visually expressing the local spirit, the stages of the history of the place in a compact way and, at the same time, referring to the deep emotional inter-relatedness between the individual and his environment.

The earliest time when Hungarian towns used coats-of-arms was the 13th century, whereas the first recorded bestowal dates back to 1369 (the town of Kassa).

Following sporadic early examples from the Middle Ages, the practice of using coats-of-arms by villages on their seals became widespread practice in the 17th century, with charges usually referring to some kind of agricultural activity. This was the time when practically all settlements had their coats-of-arms, but those of the minor ones dwelled by serfs ignored the rules of heraldic conventions. The coat-of-arms of the town of Derecske also goes back to such humble beginnings.

The most important data of the settlement's history are its first mention in 1291-4 by the document called the Regestrum of Várad, and its position in 1311 as part of the estate of Debrecen. Before the Turkish reign Derecske used to be a big settlement, but the line of its owners is hard to detect.

There are several early 17th-century data, according to which Haiduk soldiers used to live in the area, but the town's status as a privileged Haiduk settlement can credibly be justified only as of 1631. This was the year when the Transylvanian prince György Rákóczi I, by his deed issued at Gyulafehérvár, settled 1,000 Haiduk warriors led by General András Erdélyi, former Captain of Böszörmény. Thus Derecske became one of the settlements called "minor Haiduk towns" in the county of Bihar. For the Transylvanian princes these places primarily meant reliable military bases. This service of theirs was rewarded by privileges, which they wanted to get renewed after the Turkish reign as well. In 1702, however, the Habsburg ruler mortgaged the areas to the ducal Esterházy family. Then, in 1745, as provided by the gift of deed by Empress Marie Theresa, Derecske obtained perennial rights as the centre of the Esterházy estate.

The inhabitants of Derecske, together with other settlements, hoped to regain their privileges in a lawsuit of long standing. Although they were not successful, they managed to keep the issue on the agenda until the abolition of serfdom. This explains for the fact that even during the period of subjugation as serfs, they displayed their one-time privileges on their coat-of-arms and used their 17th-century seals, which emphasized their military virtues. Although in 1631 Derecske was not granted a coat-of-arms of its own, on the basis of the above it clearly follows that the settlement used a seal bearing a coat-of-arms of this kind.

The seal was made in 1749, and its charge served as the basis of today's coat-of-arms. (The legend reads Sigillum Oppidi Deretske 1749.)

The seal's charge bears two lions rampant-combatant, fourchée (double-tailed), langued (with their tongues thrust out), jointly holding with their paws a straight sword, on the tip of which the chopped-off head of an enemy warrior (possibly a Turk's head) can be seen.

This is the charge on the basis of which the Body of Representatives had the town's present-day coat-of-arms made in 1991.

E-mail: ph.101@matav.mail.hu