Bishop Nicholas the Martyr Parish Church complex, Bejsce
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Bishop Nicholas the Martyr Parish Church complex

Bejsce

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A church in Bejsce, built under the influence of Casimir the Great's construction foundations. It is an important example of Gothic architecture of the 14th century in Lesser Poland. The presbytery's interior, with baldachin niches on the axes of the vaulting supporting ribs, are reminiscent in its expression of the presbytery of the Mariacki Church in Cracow. Presbytery wall painting of 70s and 80s. of the 14th century is one of significant achievements of the rustic style in Gothic painting in Poland. Of equal importance for Polish arts in 15th-19th century are paintings and sculptures in the church.

History

The earliest known mention about the parish in Bejsce dates back to 1326. The two-stage construction of the present, Gothic church (which replaced the wooden one), which took place in the second half of the 14th century, was founded, according to Jan Długosz, by Ostasz from Bejsce. In the 4th quarter and in the early 17th century, at the initiative of voivode of Cracow Mikołaj Firlej, the church was extended by its southern porch and two chapels: St. Anna and Firlejs tomb chapel. The works were carried out by craftsmen from Pińczów, e.g. Tomasz Nikiel. In 1620, the church was plundered. In 1621, after ad-hoc renovations, it was re-consecrated. In 1649, the St. Anna chapel was renovated. In 1771, the present bell tower was built. In 70s and 80s of the 19th century, the church was throroughly renovated and its Gothic style was restored according to a design by Władysław Pietrzykowski of 1877 (the nave was vaulted and the choir was build by Franciszek Ślusarczyk). In years 1882-1893, neo-Gothic side altars and organs (by the company owned by Józef Szymański from Warsaw). In years 1907-1912, the interior, gables, and steeple of the structure were renovated according to a design by Zygmunt Hendel. In years 1935, 1959, the steeple was repaired. In 1964, Gothic frescos  in the presbytery were uncovered and maintenance works were carried out on them. In years 1970-79, the church and fence were renovated, and the bell tower was extended. In years 1993-1994, 2000-2014, thorough construction and renovation works were carried out in the church, and also the elements of its fitting and décor underwent maintenance.

Description

A church complex located on a hill in the village centre occupies the central part of an oval square surrounded by a stone wall and old-growth trees. It is comprised of a Gothic church with the Mannerist Firlejs chapel (described in a separate note), former cemetery and bell tower. An oriented, one-nave church enclosed by buttresses, comprises a four-bay nave and a narrower and lower presbytery with a tree-sided end section. A low, rectangular sacristy covered by a gabled, spiked roof.  The church is adhered to by two lower, symmetrical chapels: from the south, by the square Firlejs chapel with the porch, and from the north, by the rectangular St Anna chapel neighboured by a quadrangular tower located within the wall. The church features Gothic (Polish) and monk bond brickwork, and is partially plastered, Covered with gable roof (over the nave with a steeple, presbytery), and shed roof (over the sacristy, St Anna chapel), and a roof consisting of three triangular sections (ending section of the presbytery). The brick façades of the structure are partitioned by cornices and buttresses with a "veranda" placed between them in the façade, and in the eastern wall of the presbytery - a getsemani. Entrances are accentuated by stone portals: the main one is Gothic and pointed-arch, and the side portals in the porch - Mannerist with a bust of St Nicholas in the lintel (by Tomasz Nikiel?). The church's interior is covered with cross-rib vaulting (in the nave and presbytery — with relief keystones and wall painting of the late 16th century, and sacristy — with sculptured corbels) and barrel vaulting (in the St. Anna chapel). Presbytery walls, covered with wall painting of 70. and 80. of the 14th century, are partitioned by baldachin niches, situated on the axes of vaulting supporting ribs. The entrance to the sacristy is emphasised by a pointed-arch portal with a stone sacramentarium of the second half of the 14th century inside. Among the fitting elements of the church, the following are worth attention, among other things: a crucifix of 20. and 30. of the 16th century (attributed to the Master of Przydonica Passion), gravestone of Elżbieta Firlej of alabaster from before 1596 (attributed to Tomasz Nikiel), painting of St Martin after 1673 (attributed to Martino Altomonte), Crucifixion — a painting of 1874 (by Wojciech Gerson), neo-Gothic side altars of 1883 (design by Józef Dziekoński). The former church cemetery located within the brick fence does not feature any visible funerary objects. In its eastern part, on the church axis, there is a style-less, brick bell tower seated on a T-shape plan. It is comprised of two-storey, rectangular former bell tower of 1771 and a single-storey, rectangular addition of 1978. The façades of the structure are plain, with triangular gables. It is covered by gable roofs.

The historic building is accessible to visitors. It may be visited upon prior telephone appointment.

Compiled by Łukasz Piotr Młynarski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Kielce, 25.09.2014.

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General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 2. poł. XIV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Bejsce 232
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district kazimierski, commune Bejsce
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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