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Count Apa is to be considered the forefather of the Cseszneky family. In 1217 he accompanied King Andrew II on his campaign to the Holy Land. He was mentioned in a document from 1230. In accordance with this record Pope Gregory IX investigated the complaint of Pannonhalma Abbey, since Count Apa and his son, Jakab had occupied the Benedictines' possessions and fishing places in Gönyű. Apa hold important positions during the reign of Andrew II.

Count Mihály was Apa's other son. In 1225 he was royal equerry, then he was not mentioned until 1231, since then he was equerry again and baron of the court till the death of Andrew II. About 1233, Mihály was acting as royal judge in Bana village, Komárom county, then in 1234 carried out the adjusment of borderlines in Rábaszentmihály. After 1234 he was not among the magnates of the court, but in 1241 when King Béla IV had his first battle with the Mongols at Rákos, Mihály - then Burgrave of Bolondóc - distinguished himself so much that King Béla donated him the land of courtiers in Gönyű with right of fishing in the Danube. Nevertheless, Mihály had estates in Gönyű even before 1225 . As one of the magnates, Mihály had an important role in the issue of Golden Bull, which became the basic source of Hungarian constitutionalism.

 

Bolondóc Castle 

Count Jakab, Mihály's son, was Count of Trencsén, royal swordbearer (ensifer regis) and baron of the court. About 1263 he constructed the castle of Csesznek and he took the name Cseszneky after the castle. At Jakab's request in 1263 King Béla IV donated the land Tótréde, that belonged to the castle of Veszprém, to Jakab's officer, Bánk castle serf of Veszprém. According to the charter Jakab had rendered numerous services to the king. His wife was the daughter of Márk Trencséni, member of the clan Csák. 

Lőrinc was known as unwaveringly loyal to the King Ladislaus IV the Cuman and Charles Robert, hence the Cseszneky brothers had conflicts with Andrew III and Wenceslas I and withe the barons on their side. On 25 April 1296 King Andrew III deprived Jakab Cseszneky's sons of their estate in Ipolyvsik that belonged to the castle of Jenő in Nógrád county, due to their disloyalty and numerous rampages. In 1303 King Wenceslas confirmed Magister János, son of Csák in the possession of Jakab Cseszneky's sons estates in Ipolyvisk, and condemned the above mentioned to beheading, because they in alliance with their relative István, son of Márk from the clan Csák, in 1302 during the siege of Buda had supported Charles Robert, caused big damage in Buda, and this way had fallen in high treason. Fortunately, it was impossible to carry out the sentence, and thus the family survived. Between 1308 and 1324 Lőrinc and his brothers on several occasions fought in the army of Charles Robert in Transylvania and at the Russian border. According to a legend the persecuted Templars when rescued the Holy Grail from Léka hid it in Lőrinc's castle in Csesznek.


 Tournament in Csesznek


György was first mentioned in 1519 as landowner in Győr county. In 1526 he was vice-castellan of the castles Komárom and Tata, and when Péter Korlátkői, judge of the royal court and Count of Komárom, had died in the battlefield of Mohács, György took over the castellanship of Tata and Ferenc Somogyi in Komárom. Cseszneky successfully defended the castle from the Ottoman troops. In the struggle for the throne, György, as a faithful man of Louis II's widow, Mary of Habsburg, supported Ferdinand I's claim. In 1528 he and Tamás Nádasdy occupied the castle of Győr for Ferdinand. For his merits he was granted the right of use of red sealing wax, then was appointed royal court judge in Győr. In 1532 when the Emperor Charles V sent Garcilaso de la Vega into exile to an island in the Danube, György was responsible for the provision of the Spanish poet. In 1534 he gained royal donation for Kisbabot village, but in 1547 sold half of the village to Gáspár Poky, subprefect of Győr county.  Originally he was Catholic, but at the end of his liftime he was attracted to the Lutheranism and helped the Lutheran Church with significant donations.

 

 Győr

Mihály was appointed chief-lieutenant to the Castle of Várpalota in 1559, after he and Balázs Baranyai had liberated several villages under Ottoman occupation in the southern part of Veszprém and Fejér counties. For his merits, King Ferdinand I donated him Bakonynána, Dudar, Káloz, Láng, Aba and Felegres villages.
Being the right-hand of castellan György Thury, in 1566 he played an important role in the defense of the Castle of Várpalota with 450-500 Hungarian warriors against the 7000-8000 Turkish soldiers of Arslan, Pasha of Buda. The defenders successfully withstood the siege until Count Salm's relief troops arrived from Győr. Then the warriors of Várpalota helped Salm to reconquer Veszprém and Tata.
Despite being acknowledged as a hero, he received not enough money from the royal treasury for the maintenance of the castle of Várpalota, thus he was compelled to raise funds by making forays against the Ottomans, and sometimes holding the local people to ransom. In 1588 the villagers of the region complained to Ferenc Nádasdy about him. Nevertheless, his behavior was not exceptional at that time, and there were no other means to manage the defense of the castle and local peasants against the Turkish attacks. 

 

Várpalota 

János was mentioned in 1558 as one of the neighbouring nobles in a charter that installed Palatine Tamás Nádasdy and Orsolya Kanizsai into the estate of Kapuvár. On 13 October 1582, the assembly of Győr county elected him to be inspector for the construction of watch fortress in Mérges. János fortified not only the watch fortress of Mérges, since he was the commander of the Hungarian foot-soldiers in Győr, did so with the stonghold of Győr as well. In 1588 he was the representative of István Fejérkövy, Viceroy of the Kingdom, in Fejér county. His braveness was known throughout the country, and the Ottomans were not able to occupy the castle of Győr, but only in 1594, one year after his death.

Mátyás was one of the bravest members of the Cseszneky family. He was a commander of a cavalry unit during the Long War (1591-1606) and fought together with Miklós Pálffy, Ferenc Révay and Karl Mansfeld. He played an important role in the occupation of Esztergom in 1595, and then in the recapture of Tata, Győr and other fortresses. Once when the Tatars tried to attack the Christian forces around Esztergom, his unit not only repulsed the assault, but chased the Tatar troops, that outnumbered them, until Serbia. For his distinguished merits in 1597 Mátyás was authorised by King Rudolf to use red wax seals. 

Benedek took part in several combats against the Ottomans and played a part in the conclusion of the Peace of Pozsony in 1626, between King Ferdinand II and Gabriel Bethlen. Under the influence of Cardinal Péter Pázmány he converted from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism. For his merits King Ferdinand II donated him properties in Csallóköz, and by a royal patent dated on 8 March 1626 in Vienna granted new coat of arms to Benedek Cseszneky, his wife, Sára Kánya de Budafalva, also to Jakab Patonyi and his wife, Anna Kánya, furthermore to Boldizsár Kánya and his sister, Erzsébet.

Erzsébet  was a member of the Veszprém branch, or according to other sources of the Nemesvarbók branch of the Cseszneky family. Her parents probably became impoverished, because despite her high-born origin, she got married to the Slovak butcher from Nagyócsa, Mátyás Bél-Funtik. They settled down in Zólyom county. In 1684 she gave birth to Mátyás Bél, a famous writer, polihistor, and Lutheran theologian. Lady Erzsébet, after her husband's death in 1702, made a lot of sacrifices for her son's education.
She got to the focus of the disputes between Hungarian and Slovak historians, because her Hungarian noble origin proves, that Mátyás Bél's mother tongue was Hungarian, and he can be considered equally Slovak and Hungarian.
She is also highly respected by the Hungarian and Slovakian Lutheran Churches as their benefactress.

János in the middle of 18th century moved to Bács-Bodrog county, and founded the Bácska branch of the Cseszneky family. He founded a flourishing estate in the region that had been devastated during the Ottoman occupation, and laid down the foundations of the local viniculture. According to the records of a lawsuit from 1756 he also had properties in the Jazyg-Cuman District.

Imre was lieutnant and landowner, who following the steps of Count István Széchenyi gained distinction by developing Hungarian horse breeding. Imre was the patron of the notable poet, Pál Jámbor (Hiador) and the advocate of his election to the parliament. In 1848 he supported of his fortune the establishment of the National Guard and the Defense Forces of Bácska, therefore he suffered serious reprisal under the Serbian Voivodeship.

Ferenc was an estate supervisor, then mill industrialist and grain merchant, who played an important role in the mechanization of Hungarian agriculture and in the development of the mill industry. After World War I he took part in the organization of the feeding and catering of the starving population. His estates in the Délvidék were confiscated by the Serbian state. He died in Budapest in 1924.

Gyula was born in 1914 and spent his childhood in Hungary and in the Délvidék. As a young man he exceled by his talent, his published poems showed his patriotic commitment. Originally, he was studying to be a Catholic priest, but changed his mind and chose the military carreer. In 1940, as a member of a cavalry unit, he took part in the reannexation of Northern Transylvania. For his braveness showed during the marching, Regent Miklós Horthy bestowed upon him the title vitéz and awarded him the Commemorative Medal for the Liberation of Transylvania and the Medal For Bravery. In 1941 on the recommendation of the Princes Boncompagni-Ludovisi he was nominated counsellor for Croatian King Tomislav II. In Croatia he was authorized to use the old titles of the family. Since the King did not actually occupy his throne in Zagreb, Count Gyula left the service. Between August and September of 1943 he led an interesting adventure: being committed to the freedom of Macedonian nation, and perhaps inspired by his ideal, Gabriele D'Annunzio's action in Fiume, he was proclaimed Macedonian Grand Voivode. Nevertheless, his adventure in the Balkans was not crowned with success and after two months of reign, he was obliged to give up his ambitions. In 1944, Giorgio Perlasca, an old business partner of the Cseszneky family, introduced him and his brother to Spanish diplomat Ángel Sanz Briz and along with them the Cseszneky brothers took part in the rescue of Jews in Budapest. After World War II he emigrated to South-America and probably died in Brazil.

Mihály was born in 1910. He played an important role in the the restoration of the mill industry of Hungary, mutilated by the imposed Peace Treaty of Trianon. After World War II his properties were confiscated by the Communist regime, and his family was labelled as class enemy and was deported. Mihály, for being a class enemy, spent several years in prison and forced labour camps in Komló and Sztálinváros. He did not live to see the restoration of constitutionality, in 1975 he was gathered to his forefathers.

The following persons have been closely related to the Cseszneky family:

Reverend Mátyás Bél (Nagyócsa, March 24, 1684 – Pozsony, August 29, 1749) was a writer, Lutheran minister and alchimist. His parents were Mátyás Bél-Funtik butcher and Erszébet Cseszneky. He started his studies in Losonc, Alsósztregova and Besztercebánya, then studied humanities in the Lutheran Lycée of Pozsony. He became a tutor in Veszprém, then trained himself further in the Reformed Academy of Pápa. Between 1704 and 1707 he lived in Germany: studied theology, medicine and zoology at the University of Halle, then became rector for the high school of Bergen. From 1709 to 1713 served in Besztercebánya as an assistant minister, then became the rector of the local high school. General Heister almost made him execute for being a suspected sympathizer of Rákóczi. In 1714 he was invited to become the rector of the Lutheran high shool in Pozsony. In 1716 he married Zsuzsanna Hermann, who gave birth to eight children. In 1719 he was elected first minister for the Lutheran Church in Pozsony and held this position during 30 years. In 1742 he suffered an apoplexy, after which shortly retired. He was the greatest Hungarian historian and geographer in the 18th century who made the first description of  the snow-capped mountains of Liptó. As one of the most excellent scholars of his age, he was engaged in lingustics, history, geography and agriculture. His most famous works is Notitia Hungariae novae historico-geographica (Vienna, 1735–42) which contains the description of ten counties with the drawings of Sámuel Mikovínyi, and even today is considered an important source. He founded the first regularly published newspaper in Hungary, the Nova Posoniensis. A century before the establishment of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences made a proposal to found a society for Hungarian scholars. 

 

Mátyás Bél