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Orphans’ cash boxes and church endowments

As already mentioned above in the buying up of farm money, not only the subjects, but also institutions that inter alia dealt with credit in the village and small town milieu were also present within the instalment system. These included orphans’ cash boxes and church endowments. Funds were given to the orphanages from the farmstead holders who paid the annual instalments for the inheritance shares to juveniles. These funds were usually kept here until they reached adulthood (earlier pay-outs could have occurred when the money was used, for example, to pay for the education of the child).

Only the amount of the financial means, which were transferred to the orphans’ cash box as covered annual instalments, can be investigated from the land registers. It is therefore not possible to discover the total amount of the means in them. In all of the examined localities in West Moravia during the pre-White Mountain period (with the exception of Radesm and Pocitky on the Zdar estate where it was impossible to determine these values before 1618), several tens of Moravian gulden came to the orphans’ cash boxes in this way in the villages and several hundred in the small towns (Chocholac 1999, pp. 133-4). Thus, the existence of funds in the orphans’ cash box gave farmers some hope of obtaining a loan (credit) in the event of an economic crisis on farmsteads caused, for example, by a natural disaster. It was thus possible to obtain money to repair the house, to buy grain, etc. During the war, the shift of these monies to the orphans’ cash boxes significantly declined and in the second half of the 17th century it was practically none with the exception of Bobrova. The provision of loans from these monies was thus impossible.

The financial means generated by the instalment system were also paid into church endowments. They were the annual payments, which ageing farmers or their wives willed, payments that children paid as requiems for the masses celebrated for their deceased parents or fulfilment of previous buying up of farm monies which were conducted in the name of the church endowment by the sextons who were to take care of their functioning.

In West Moravia in the pre-White Mountain period, less money came into the church endowments than the orphans’ cash boxes - in the Kufim and Tele regions, it was approximately only a fifth of the amount, not quite a third in Dolnl Bobrova. In the post-war period, unlike the orphans’ cash boxes into which, with the exception of Dolnl Bobrova, in fact no money from instalments came, the church endowments from all of the localities in the Tele and Zdar regions acquired more means that had been the case in the pre-White Mountain period. The growing share of church endowments in the purchasing of farm money in the second half of the 17th century was also visible in small towns of the Pardubice estate (Siglova 2017, p. 235). This situation was probably influenced by two factors. The first was increased activity of sextons, especially in small towns that bought up a lot of farm monies and thus expanded the property of the requiems. The second factor could have been the growing Baroque piety which could have led to a closer attachment to the Catholic Church and, consequently, to an increase in its support of wills on the part of the subjects.

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