Gregoróczy Vince (?-1592)
We don’t know for sure if he was Slovenian or Hungarian or both but I think these nations can be equally proud of him, as he was a member of the Valiant Order and fought against the common enemy, the Ottomans. Let me share with you the research of the Hungarian historian Szibler Gábor here. As for the so-called Valiant Order, you can read about the “last knights of Europe” that was defending the 1,000-mile-long Croatian-Hungarian-Transylvanian Frontier for hundreds of years here:
He has come from a gentry family, his father was Gregoróczy István from Krajna (Kraina) and his mother was Katharina Dominics. (I am trying to use the Eastern name order for Hungarian names where the family names come first. However, here I am at a loss.)
We do not know the date of Vince’s birth. He had been fighting the Ottomans from an early age. Supposedly, it was his mother`s cousin, Gáspár Dominics who helped his military career who also left him his domains in Lower-Austria in his Last Will. Gregoróczy Vince was on the Lutheran Evangelic faith. He was mentioned first in November 1552 as a captain of 50 light Hussars. He had 85 Hussars in 1556 and 100 in 1565.
He was called the Constable Master (Veldtwachtmeister der Hungarischen Hauffen) of the Hungarian troops in 1566 in the military camp next to Győr. His nobility (and the nobility of his brother Ferenc) was accepted two years later by the Estates of Lower Austria which was usually the sign of acknowledgment of military achievement but his inheritance from Lord Dominics may have had a part in it, too. The denization into the Austrian nobility was all the more interesting because we do not know about any other Croatian nor Hungarian (gentry) noblemen in the 16th century who had been granted this privilege.
He used to be the Vice-Captain of Győr Castle between 1580 and 1592 but before this period he had substituted many times the post of the Chief Captain. He and Ferenc Jakusith were appointed temporarily as Chief Captains between July 1574 and February 1575 and they wore this post in August 1577 as well. Let me remark that habitually, there were two captains in each castle on the Borderland which had advantages and disadvantages as well. As a rule, one of them went out for raiding while the other one remained in the castle to defend it against a sudden attack. Yet, sometimes the two captains were not on good terms, and “the two captains sank the ship” as the proverb went. Here is more about Győr Castle:
He was in charge of this post for a half year in 1588 (from April to November) until the appointment of Ferdinand Graf zu Nogarol. We find him again in this post in 1590 and in 1592. We must remark, that he was entrusted to such an important post which was always given to foreigners. I think it was because Győr was the gate to Vienna. His appointment was proof that Gregoróczy was respected not only by his soldiers but by the Military Council as well. He must have been a good organizer because he was able to build out the city`s fortifications with the help of the peasants living in the area, building several smaller forts along the rivers of Rába, Rábca, and the Danube.
On the other hand, our hero was frequently accused of his military impinges. It was Prebend Fejérkövy István who reported him and other soldiers for abusing the rights of the prebend of Győr. Körmendy Benedek, the supervisor of the Shrine of the Dead sued him for his violent deeds committed against Horváth György in 1563. He was reported again in 1566 for the confiscation of the prebend`s house.
Yet, these facts were just slightly shadowing his military achievements but do not belittle it. The Pasha of Buda was regularly complaining about the soldiers of Győr which was due to the activity of Gregoróczy. The warriors of Győr, joined by other soldiers from different castles, appeared at Fehérvár Castle on 16 May 1576 and we can find them raiding around Gesztes in September. In order to take revenge for these kinds of ambushes, the Bey of Fehérvár never ceased to devise cunning traps against the soldiers of Győr.
The Turks suddenly appeared at the gate of Győr on 4 August 1577 and they have snared out the Hungarian garrison.
The Hungarians rode out and trusted in their good luck but it was when the Chief Captain of Győr, Karl Zelting arrived and ordered Gregoróczy to withdraw the Hussars. As a result of this, the riders abandoned the Hajdú footmen who were surrounded and slaughtered by the Turks. For this, the Hungarians blamed Zelting while the Turks blamed Gregoróczy saying that his raids had provoked this attack.
Many similar military actions followed suit in this manner. You can read about this battle here:
We don`t know whether Gregoróczy took part in the famous ambush against Koppány Castle in the winter of 1587 as his name was not mentioned in the action but he took part in a similar action in November 1588. He and the Captain of Pápa Castle, Huszár Péter and Voivode Radics of Komárom Castle they collected 2,000 men in an army and were raiding through the slopes of the Vértes Mountain. They ambushed Gesztes Castle and took it. King Rudolf was not over-awed by their success. Even the freshly appointed Chief Captain of Győr, Ferdinand Graf zu Nogarol had to apologize for breaking the Truce with the Ottomans.
Gregoróczy has applied for getting appointed as a captain of some particular castles of the Hungarian Borderland but he was always refused. The cause may have been that he was not a high lord although it was not always an obstacle in such cases. Its true cause must have been that he was considered as an indisposable and very experienced officer of Győr Castle. We can draw this conclusion because he had been appointed several times as a temporary chief captain there.
Gregoróczy Vince died in Győr on 2 July 1592. His wife was called Telekessy Kata and we know the name of his son, Péter. His daughter was called Krisztina, she later got married to the Captain of Tata Castle, Paksy György.
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