Filial church of St Jadwiga and the Holy Trinity, currently church of the Holy Trinity, Grębień
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Filial church of St Jadwiga and the Holy Trinity, currently church of the Holy Trinity

Grębień

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An example of a wooden late-mediaeval sacred architecture characteristic of Greater Poland. The church features lavish Renaissance wall painting in its interior.

History

The settlement of Grębień was mentioned as a property of archbishops of Gniezno in 1299. An information about the existence of a chapel belonging to the parish in Kadłub comes from 1470. The existing church was built in the last years of the 15th century or in the early 16th century. It is dated first of all on the basis of research of wall painting in the interior. Painting on the walls comes probably from approx. 1500, and from the years 1520-1531 - painting on the ceiling of the nave and the chancel. The church probably had two dedications: to St Jadwiga and to the Holy Trinity, which is reflected in the iconography on the ceiling of the chancel and the nave. The dedication to St Jadwiga occurs in a document of 1522. A description of 1668 in turn includes information that the church was dedicated to the Holy Trinity (it is described as a wooden church with belfry and small sacristy, with brick floor inside and one altar). In 1719, the land plot of the church in Grębień was donated by the chapter in Gniezno to the parish priest in Kadłub, imposing on him at the same time an obligation to renovate the church - which at that time was connected with necessary repairs of the roof and altars. In the confirmation of the transfer of ownership to the land of 1720, one can find the first mention about the wall painting. The information that the church's roof had been repaired also comes from approx. 1720. In approx. 1752, floors of the church were repaired. In the inspection document of 1763, there is a mention about a choir with pipe organ in the church. In the years 1780-1797, the floors were repaired again, and the belfry was renovated which, however, was replaced already in 1810-1816. In a document of 1816, there is the first mention of the southern porch. In 1827, 1863, and 1904, the church was consecutively administered by the parish in Pątnów, Krzyworzeka, and Dzietrzniki. In 1900, a new southern porch was built. In approx. 1914, the sacristy was either extended or built anew, and the church walls were reinforced with supports. In 1950, wood shingles on the roof were replaced, as well as the floors in the church. In the years 1952-1958, the wall painting was subjected to examination and to restoration works, and in 1998-2001 - a general renovation of the church, archaeological studies, and renovation of wall painting along with its partial reconstruction were carried out. During the renovation works, nearly all sill plate beams were replaced, drainage hoses were installed around the church, all weatherboards and cladding of the building were replaced, and new aspen split wood shingles were laid. The wooden log structure was reinforced. During the renovation of the roof truss, works stabilising the joints between the original truss and the tower built at a later time were carried out. Also the fittings of the church in Grębień were subjected to conservation works: the main altar (triptych) was restored, as well as the ambo and Stations of the Cross. Currently the church is in a very good condition.

Description

The church is located in the eastern part of the village, by the side road heading south towards a hamlet of Budziaki, perpendicular to the local road running through the village towards the Wieluń-Praszka route. It is situated in the middle of a former cemetery - an area circumscribed by a wooden fence. The church was built in late Middle Ages and includes architectural elements that appeared in the early 16th century (round window in the eastern wall of the chancel, profile of the southern portal, painting on the ceiling of the nave and the chancel). It is a single-nave building with a rectangular, nearly square body and a slightly narrower and shorter rectangular chancel. The western wall is adjoined by a tower built on a square floor plan. Along the northern wall of the chancel, there is a sacristy erected on a rectangular floor plan, and by the southern wall of the church, there is a rectangular porch. The walls of the towers taper towards the top and reach the level of the roof ridge over the nave. The nave, chancel, porch, and sacristy are covered by a common two-pitched roof, with wide eaves around the chancel. A the level of the rood, a steeple turret covered with a hip roof is embedded in the roof ridge. The tower is topped by a tented roof. The roofs are clad with wood shingles. The church rests on a concrete posts. The wooden walls of the nave and the chancel are based on a log structure reinforced by supports. The tower features a post-and-frame structure. Walls are covered with weatherboards from outside, and inside with wall painting. The ceilings are wooden, flat, made of planks, at the same level over the nave and the chancel, covered with painting. The roof truss is of king-post, single-collar type, with twelve rafter posts (the first, fourth, and eight post from the east solid). The pillars are joined by a single level of transoms, reinforced with raking shores arranged in a St Andrew's cross and wooden brackets. On the sixth post from the east, there is a post-and-beam steeple turret. The floors are made of wooden planks. The stairs by which the choir can be accessed, located in the south-western part of the nave, are comprised of a single flight of nine steps made of quarters of logs. The window openings are rectangular and square, with a flat top section, and there is an oval window in the eastern wall of the chancel. In the openings, there are wooden one-leaf windows with multiple panels. The door openings are rectangular, with a straight top section, or a round arch or segmental arch in the top section. The doors are of beamed and planked type. The façades of the church are covered with vertical weatherboards, with battens on the joints of the boards. In the eastern wall, in the chancel part, there is a round window partitioned into four panels, placed under pronounced eaves topping the triangular gable of the roof. In the part of the wall of the sacristy adjoining it, there is a single-leaf, rectangular, six-panel window in the centre. On the southern façade, in the nave section, there is a rectangular, eight-panel window, and in the porch section - a rectangular six-panel window. In the western wall of the tower, there is one-leaf rectangular door with a straight top section, located in the centre of the wall. Inside, the nave is symbolically separated from the chancel by a rood beam; on the eastern wall of the chancel, there is the main altar in the form of a triptych, with three wooden painted figures in the centre, and painted leaves. The altar partially obscures the round window in the centre of the eastern wall of the chancel. On the northern wall of the chancel, there is a portal leading to the sacristy. On the southern wall, on the opposite site of the portal, there is a window. The woodcarving and painting finish of the openings in the chancel are preserved in their original form and correspond to the other elements of the church wall painting. The nave can be accessed from the south through the porch. To the left from the entrance, there are narrow stairs attached to the wall, leading to the choir. The choir with a balustrade rests on three pillars. Underneath, in the western wall of the nave, there is a door leading to the tower. Painting on the walls, depicting the Passion of Christ, are arranged in bands, which is characteristic of late-Mediaeval wall painting. Their are topped with a decorative frieze circumscribing the church (preserved only in fragments). On the ceiling of the nave, there are dense foliage motifs in which figural scenes and coats of arms of the founders are embedded. The composition of the painting on the ceiling of the chancel is based on the partition of the painting surface into coffers, in which false stylised rose windows are placed. The wide partitioning bands between individual fields are decorated with candelabrum ornaments, and at their intersection there are larger rose window motifs. In the middle, on two coffers, there is a scene depicting the Holy Trinity. In two coffers on the northern side, there are Poraj and Leliwa coats of arms.

Limited access to the historic building. The church may be visited on Sunday after the services held at 10.00 a.m., and on other days after prior arrangement and upon consent of the parish priest in Dzietrzniki (phone 43 886 56 17).

compiled by Agnieszka Lorenc-Karczewska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Łódź, 22-08-2014.

Bibliography

  • Arszyński M. (red.), Inwentarz drewnianej architektury sakralnej w Polsce, t. 24, z. 4b: Kościoły w Wielkopolsce XVI wieku, Warszawa 1993, s. 37-48.
  • Wolf-Łozińska B., Polichromia stropu w Grębieniu. Z zagadnień przełomu gotyku i renesansu w Polsce, „Biuletyn Historii Sztuki” 1953, t. 15, nr 2, s. 7.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1500 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Grębień
  • Location: Voivodeship łódzkie, district wieluński, commune Pątnów
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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