The parish church of St Margaret, Gajków
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The parish church of St Margaret

Gajków

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The parish church of St Margaret is a rural church designed in the Baroque style, erected by a master brickmason Jacob Straube at the initiative of Ignatius Magnet, the master of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star (Ordo Militaris Crucigerorum cum Rubea Stella) in Wrocław.

History

The existence of a church in Gajków was first noted in written sources back in 1276, while the first references to a local parish were made in 1310. In years 1399-1810, the parish remained in the hands of the Wrocław branch of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star. The current, Baroque church was built by master brickmason Jacob Straube in the years 1711-13. The completion of the works conducted at the initiative of master Ignatius Magnet was commemorated by way of an inscription on a cartouche incorporated into the main portal of the church. The interior was completed in 1716, with the church receiving a uniform set of Baroque fixtures and fittings. In 1838, the tower received a tented roof which replaced the original, Baroque cupola which was lost to the blaze in 1834. In 1897, the southern porch was added to the nave, as were the two annexes flanking the tower. In years 1933-34, the building’s façades underwent renovation. The church has sustained damage during the war; in years 1945-47, the chancel and the roof of the church were reconstructed, the vaulted ceilings were repaired and the interior received a new coat of paint. Restoration of the façade followed in 1961, with the new altarpiece - an exact copy of the Baroque altarpiece which graces the northern nave of the church of Our Lady on the Sand in Wrocław - being installed in 1963. In 1992, the church received a new, stone flooring.

Description

The church is situated in the central part of the village; it is surrounded by a cemetery circumscribed by a brick wall.

The church is an oriented, masonry structure designed on a rectangular floor plan, with a narrower, single-bay chancel featuring a semi-hexagonal end section. The three-bay nave is preceded by a quadrangular tower topped with a pyramid roof from 1838, flanked by two annexes constructed in 1897 and featuring a vestibule on the ground floor level. A sacristy adjoins the chancel on the northern side, with a porch added in 1897 projecting ahead of the southern wall of the nave. The roofs of the nave and the chancel, clad with sheet metal, are not the original structures from the building’s heyday, with the entire roof structure having been reconstructed in years 1945-47; the roofs of the sacristy, the southern porch and the annexes are all of the sloping type, clad with ceramic tiles. The façades of the church feature lavish architectural detailing such as the clustered Tuscan pilasters or the elaborate, eared window surrounds. The front façade features an eared sandstone portal adorned with a festoon, a putto head and a pair of cartouches with a foundation inscription and a coat of arms of Ignatius Magnet.

The nave features a vaulted ceiling of the barrel type, with lunettes; the chancel, on the other hand, has a false groin vault constructed in years 1945-47. Groin vaults are likewise used for the sacristy, ground floor section of the tower and the southern porch. The chancel is separated from the nave by a chancel arch wall (rood wall) with a basket-handle arch. The walls of the nave and the chancel are partitioned with niches and clusters of Tuscan pilasters. In the western part of the nave there is an organ gallery supported by pillars terminating with a series of basket-handle arches.

The church fixtures and fittings are mostly Baroque in style, dating back to ca. 1716; notable items on display are the side altarpieces, the pulpit and the baptismal font. The southern altarpiece features a painting of the Holy Family dating back to 1872 and signed “F[erdinand] Winter”. The main altarpiece is a 1963 copy of the altarpiece that graces the church of Our Lady on the Sand in Wrocław. The pipe organ casing was crafted in 1886 by Edward Horn.

The site is open to visitors.

compiled by Beata Sebzda, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Wrocław, 28-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Degen K., Die Bau- und Kunstdenkmäler des Landkreises Breslau, Frankfurt am Main 1965, pp. 174-178.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce. Seria Nowa, vol. IV, issue 2, Województwo wrocławskie, Sobótka, Kąty Wrocławskie i okolice, J. Pokora and M. Zlat (eds.), Warsaw 1991, pp. 16-18.
  • Pilch J., Leksykon zabytków architektury Dolnego Śląska. Warsaw 2005, p. 73.
  • Szetelnicki W. Odbudowa kościołów w archidiecezji wrocławskiej w l. 1945-1972. Rome 1975, p. 187.
  • Zabytki sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, Warsaw 2006, pp. 255-256.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: l. 1711-16
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Gajków
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district wrocławski, commune Czernica
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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