The beginnings of the fortified stronghold on the territory of present-day Grudziadz go back to the 10th century. It was first mentioned in historical sources in 1065. In 1207 the stronghold was ruled by Konrad of Masovia who, in 1218, bestowed Chelmno Land and the stronghold to Bishop Christian. In 1231 the town was conquered by the Teutonic Knights. In 1299 construction of the castle was completed and a town was erected around it.
The town was partially ruined several times during attacks by Pomeranian Dukes (1242, 1244), the Prussians and the Lithuanians (1278-1281). The seat of the commander of the Teutonic Knights was established in Grudziadz. In the 14th century the town was surrounded by a thick, double wall with 10 towers and 4 fortified gates. Moats were dug along parts of the wall. The town became a center of grain trade because of its favorable location on the Vistula waterway. The large granaries on the Vistula River were first mentioned in historical documents in 1365.
During the Polish-Swedish War (1655-1660) the Grudziadz castle became Charles Gustav’s headquarters. In 1711 Peter I, tsar of Russia lived there. From the 16th until the 18th century the town’s development was hindered by wars, plagues, floods, fires, as well as by competition from other developing towns nearby, in particular Torun. In 1772 Grudziadz passed under Prussian rule and soon after became a garrison town, in large part thanks to the mighty fortress built between 1776-1788. King Fredrick William III found shelter in Grudziadz after having lost the Battle of Jena against Napoleon. The town began to deteriorate with the decline of trade on the Vistula. Further destruction occurred between 1806-1807 when the town was under siege by the French for 5 months.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.