Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699

Putnok

Putnok (Source: www.varak.hu)

Putnok can be found in north Hungary, it used to be part of Gömör County. It is near to my family’s origin. We can talk of two castles there: one of them is called Kakasvár (Cock-fort) and it is in the forest while the other one had been pulled down. A manor house of the Serényi family was built above its ruins in the 19th century. You can see their pictures: it is now among the ten cheapest manor houses of Hungary for sale. (It was allegedly offered in 2017 for some 150 million HUF if I am not mistaken.)

Putnok was gifted to the Rátholt family (later called Putnoky) in 1283 by King László IV. The family had done much for the development of the area despite the family feuds. The Putnoky family built the original castle between 1412-27 to defend collecting taxes. This time the settlement was one of the biggest ones in Gömör county. They hosted King Matthias Corvinus in 1460 when he was passing by to Gömör County. The king was taking the neighboring small castle of Sajóvelezd whose owner, Kövér György, had sided with the Bohemian Hussites.

Putnok (www.varak.hu)

The Putnoky family had held Putnok for 300 years. King Zsigmond had even gifted them the right of execution in 1388. Please, note that I use the Eastern name order for Hungarian names where family names come first.


 
Habsburg King Ferdinand I took the castle away from them and sentenced Putnoky György to death in 1547. As it was, Putnoky had happened to be a relative of a money forger, Basó Mátyás and monarchs were quite angry when it came to forging their coins. However, we find the castle in the hand of the Putnoky family again in 1560 when Putnoki János and his son, Ferenc, defended it successfully from a Turk attack. This time they were on King János Zsigmond’s side so General Schwendi took away their castle in 1566. Next year, Bey Hasszán of Temesvár took it by force for a short time. Here you can read my article about General Schwendi:

https://www.hungarianottomanwars.com/essays/general-schwendi-in-royal-hungary-a-german-hero/


 
The castle was a qualified Borderland fort in the Ottoman age since 1578 and Révay Ferenc reported about it to the ruler in 1588 like this: “Putnok is a strategically important fort of the Borderland but it is weak and neglected. The central building should be pulled down and a strong stone bastion should be erected instead.” The same year, the city was burned by Pasha Kara Ali’s troops but the castle was defended by its captain, Horváth János.

The COA of the Putnoky family

The Hajdú soldiers of Prince Bocskai István, Prince of Transylvania took it in 1607. The Turks reappeared this year and destroyed the city and burned the castle, too, but it was again in Hungarian hands in 1658 when Orlay András restored its exploded gunpowder tower. The Orlay and the Serényi families got married in 1688 and the castle has gone to the Serényi family. The castle was taken by Prince Rákóczi György in 1644 but the Habsburgs took the place back soon.

Baron Orlay András opened its gate before the rebelling “kuruc” troops in 1672. The castle had often exchanged owners in the next 50 years, even Prince Thököly Imre camped there once in 1683. The Habsburgs besieged the castle in 1685 and had almost completely ruined it but afterward, they have repaired it. It went to Prince Rákóczi Ferenc in 1705 who was staying there in 1706, too.

As for the Kakasvár, it was owned by the Kakas family of the Rátold clan in the 15th century and mentioned first in 1522. The castle used to belong to Kaza in Borsod county. Assumedly, the castle was built in the 10th-14th century. The Kakas family had been repeatedly mentioned in documents between 1383-1488 because of their feuds against the surrounding families. Now, its ruins are covered by a forest.

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Here are a few pictures of Putnok:

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