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Evangelical church - Zabytek.pl

Herburtowo, 16

woj. wielkopolskie, pow. czarnkowsko-trzcianecki, gm. Wieleń-obszar wiejski

The church remains a fascinating example of sacred wooden architecture of north-western Greater Poland.

Its most distinguishing feature is the remarkable clarity of the exposed hybrid structure of the walls, incorporating elements of both log structure and timber framing.


The village of Herburtowo was founded in 1618 in the process of colonisation of the Noteć river valley, led by the Czarnkowski noble family. The village and the nearby village of Marianowo were jointly referred to as “Dolne Holendry”; this name, referring directly to Dutch colonists (known as the Olędrzy in Polish) proves that the settlers were in fact of Dutch ancestry. Meanwhile, the name of Herburtowo was derived from the maiden name of its founder, Zofia Czarnkowska née Herburt. Historical sources mention the presence of 19 houses in 1632; in 1710, the village had four hundred residents, while in 1772 the number of household owners was stated at 27. The residents of the village were initially the members of the Evangelical community in Kocień Wielki; from 1641 onwards, Herburtowo formed part of the Dębogóra community, only to be reincorporated into the Kocień Wielki community in 1716. Finally, in 1745, the village was incorporated into the newly established community in Wieleń. In 1639, Herburtowo was mentioned in the ecclesiastical charter of Mikołaj Aleksander Kostka, the erstwhile owner of the Wieleń manor, granted to his subjects of Mennonite faith.

The first house of prayer, located on the site of the existing church, was erected between 1641 and 1647. The building was destroyed during a fire on May 18/19, 1781. In 1782, the current church was erected on the site of that building, designed by Johann Schoeneck of Górnica. After 1945, the church was taken over by the Roman Catholics and was incorporated into the parish in Krzyż Wielkopolski, while in 1951 it became part of the newly established parish of Our Lady of Sorrows (currently known as the parish of St Roch) in Northern Wieleń.


The mosque is located in the centre of the village, on the southern side of a dirt road leading towards Marianowo and Wieleń. The former Evangelical cemetery, situated on a small hill, as well as the free-standing wooden belfry are located north of the church. The area around the church - the cemetery overgrown with grass and a few trees, with a brick-and-stone wall from the northern and western side - adjoins the nearby farmsteads in the south and the east. The church is oriented towards the east.

The wooden structure is positioned on a plinth made of split granite and ashlar stones which is about 50 centimetres in height. The walls feature a hybrid structure, with a log structure with notched lap joints on the inside and an independent timber frame on the outside, the latter supporting the roof of the church. The roof truss is of the rafter and collar type, reinforced longitudinally with purlins and bargeboards connecting the individual rafters. The church features a gable roof which flows seamlessly into a tented roof above the semi-hexagonal termination in the east; the entire surface of the roof is clad with wood shingles.

The church in Herburtowo remains an interesting example of a hybrid wall structure, with the inner log structure being surrounded by an exposed timber frame with no infills. In most cases, solutions of this kind are covered up by weatherboarding and are therefore not readily apparent; in this case, however, the absence of any external cladding makes it possible for the structure to be admired in all its glory. The church features a simple shape, designed on a rectangular floor plan with a semi-hexagonal termination in the east. The gable end of the western façade is clad with vertical weatherboards. The interior is a single space with a rectangular choir gallery in the western section, supported by rough-hewn pillars. Originally, the church also features side galleries running alongside the side walls halfway through the length of the building; however, these galleries have subsequently been dismantled.

The reason for the application of the characteristic hybrid wall structure in Herburtowo remains unclear. Although many similar buildings can still be found in Greater Poland, in nearly all cases a logical explanation for the use of this solution can be given. In the case of newly-built structure, the goal of this solution was to transfer the weight of the roof to the external timber frame. In case of log buildings which presented a risk of collapse, the subsequent addition of an external timber frame was an emergency measure. The church in Herburtowo, on the other hand, is a relatively small building positioned on a solid foundation, with its light roof truss hardly necessitating the use of such reinforcement. The latest research suggests that Schoeneck, the carpenter who led the reconstruction efforts in 1782, might have wanted to imitate the design of the previous, early 18th-century temple that was later lost to the blaze. If this were true, then the existing church could be said to owe its architectural concept to the builders who also applied the hybrid wall structure when constructing the church in the nearby village of Nowe Dwory somewhere around the year 1700.

The absence of a logical reason behind the use of a hybrid wall structure of this Evangelical church may, also point towards an ideological significance thereof. Recreating the form of the previous house of prayer reflected an older tradition that reached far back to the 17th century, reinforcing the sense of uniqueness of the local residents and their exceptional status conferred upon them under the so-called “Dutch rights”. This fact was of particular significance towards the end of the 18th century, as the Prussian partitioning power started to impose its own legal regulations in these territories.

The church can be visited from the outside. Church service on Sundays at 10:00 AM and on weekdays at 4:30 PM.

compiled by Teresa Palacz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 03-07-2014.


  • Jankowski A., Kościoły drewniane o zdwojonej konstrukcji ścian w Wielkopolsce, Bydgoszcz 2009, passim.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, T. V, Z. 18: Powiat trzcianecki, red. I. Trybowski, O. Zagórowski, Warszawa 1966.
  • P. Hammling, Zur geschichte des Betzekreises, Heimatkalender fuer den Netzekreises 1923, s. 61n.
  • O. Grossert, Evangelium und Deutschtum im Filehner Gebiet unter polnischer Herrschaft 912-1789, Schoenlanke 1929 passim.
  • B. Schmid, Volkstuemliche Baudenkmaeler im Netzekreise w: Netzekreis. Ein ostdeutscher Heimatbuch, Berlin 1932.
  • Quellen und Urkunden zur Geschichte des Netzekreisses, Schoenlanke und Kreuz 1934, s. 22.
  • Quellenband zur Geschichte der zweiten deutschen Ostsiedlung im westlichen Netzegau. Deutschland u. d. Osten 10, 1938, s. 44, 156.
  • Ruszczyk G., Architektura drewniana w Polsce, Warszawa 2009, s. 518.

Category: sacral architecture

Building material:  drewniane

Protection: Register of monuments, Monuments records

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_30_BK.160197, PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_E_30_BK.62197