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In the services of the lords of Rosenberg

By selling the inheritance from Jink, Petr Doudlebsky of Doudleby lost the newly acquired estates but gained a considerable amount of ready money while, for a certain period, remaining a partner in Nedabyle mining (he later lost the claim to half of the proceeds from the mining under unclear circumstances). The motivation for his steps in the first half of the 1520s needs to be sought in an effort to create a financial reserve in connection with entering the services of the lords of Rosenberg where Petr is documented from October 16, 1523. His employment in the dominion of the South Bohemian magnates was undoubtedly connected with self-representation costs. It is possible, however, that the knight already linked the perspective of such work with considerations of utilizing new contacts for launching a lending business.

In his first years among the servants of the lords of Rosenberg, Petr was among the group of ‘senior courtiers’. He left it on January 1, 1528 to become the burgrave of Cesky Krumlov, an office in which he is documented until 1531. In 1532-1540, he held the same post at another Rosenberg residence, Tfebon. The knight’s career culminated on October 16, 1540, when he became the governor of the Cesky Krumlov domain - that is, the leading official of the whole Rosenberg dominion at that time. He held this position until his death on March 18, 1550 (SOA Tfebon, CR - registratura, z Rozmberka 10, fasc. I, 1441-1553, ff. 97r, llOr, 118r, 126r and pp. 172-4; SOA Tfebon, rkp. A 22,1, historicky kvatern, pp. 170, 171, 183, 219, 223).

An important milestone in the knight’s professional life was the death of Peter V of Rosenberg on November 6, 1545. The subsequent guardianship period lasting until May 1551 placed considerable demands on the governor of Cesky Krumlov. He became a leading member of the official council that took over some powers of the Rosenberg guardians in their absence (Panek 1989, pp. 42-3). At that time, Doudlebsky participated in an effort to economically strengthen the dominion by seeking new financial resources and restricting the expenditures of the Rosenberg chamber as much as possible (Panek 1985, pp. 18, 20, 32, 34, 36-8, 40, 46-7, 53, 236).

The entering of the services to the lords of Rosenberg introduced Petr Doudlebsky to a prominent social milieu, providing the knight with numerous opportunities to establish contacts with a wide circle of noblemen, many of whom needed ready money for various reasons. He made use of the simplified access to potential debtors to commence credit investments.

Credit investments and their resources

The earliest document of lending activity of Petr Doudlebsky of Doudleby is a debenture dated December 6, 1526 with which Linhart Ekhart of Urtvinovice confirms receipt of a loan of 500 threescore of Meissen gro-schen (SOkA C. Budejovice, AM CB - chronologicka rada, no. 1526/4). Petr’s further credit investments involved members of various knightly families as well as the chambers of the lords Krajir of Krajk, of Sternberg, of Hradec, of Pernstein, Zajic of Hazmburk, Ungnad of Sunek, of Gutnstejn, Kavka of Ricany - and of Rosenberg. The knight’s financial business even outgrew the boundaries of the Bohemian lands, as he found debtors also among members of the Austrian families of the barons of Hohenfeld and the counts of Starhemberg. (SOA Trebon, CR - registratura, Doudlebsti z Doudleb; SOA Trebon, CR - listiny, z Doudleb 7, 9, kart. 7, no. 409, 423; SOA Trebon, pobocka C. Krumlov, VS C. Krumlov, sign. I 5AE 7a, I 7B gamma 3e).

As initial capital for launching his lending business, Doudlebsky could use part of the cash he gained from the sale of the estates from his brother Jink. Petr’s later investments were undoubtedly also based on further extraordinary income to a considerable extent. His property grew thanks to his siblings also at the beginning of the fifth decennium of the 16th century through inheritance from his youngest brother, Frantisek. Having sold his inherited part of the Budislav farmstead, Frantisek lived in Sobeslav and died childless there in 1540. Among other things, Frantisek’s estate included a debenture on 600 threescore of Meissen groschen lent to Lady Anna Hradecka of Rozmital. She repaid this debt to Petr on the holiday of St George in 1544 along with 1,700 threescore she had borrowed directly from him. Later, towards the end of 1547, she borrowed money - this time 400 threescore - from him again (SOA Trebon, CR - registratura, Doudlebsti z Doudleb, no. 7, 10; SOA Trebon, pobocka C. Krumlov, VS C. Krumlov, sign. I 5AE 7a).

Petr’s property was considerably augmented by a one-off appreciation of his professional qualities by Peter V of Rosenberg. In his will dated July 8, 1544 in Cesky Krumlov, he remembered his loyal official with a large bequest of 2,000 threescore of Meissen groschen (SOA Trebon, CR - listiny, z Rozmberka 27/15a, 27/16, kart. 75, no. 410, 413; NA Praha, Desky zemske, DZV 7, f. H 27).

Petr’s mining activities, which did not remain limited to the opening of the mine near Nedabyle, probably also added to his financial potential. While in the service to the south Bohemian magnates, Doudlebsky participated in Rosenberg precious metal mining (Panek 1985, pp. 36-7). He bought the first mining shares as early as the 1520s, at the time of the greatest boom of mining activity near Cesky Krumlov. He further extended his activities in this field later, having invested in many mines in the wider neighbourhood of Cesky Krumlov and near Kamenny Ujezd in the 1540s. Since the mid-40s, he financed above all the mine he had founded himself. Although period sources do not allow us to assess the return on these investments in a complex manner, they probably also played a part in the knight’s property rise (SOA Trebon, pobocka C. Krumlov, VS C. Krumlov, sign. I 7B gamma 3e).

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