Evangelical church, Izbica Kujawska
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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With its sophisticated architectural composition, the church remains a valuable testimony to the contribution of the Evangelical community to the life and development of the town of Izbica Kujawska while at the same time being one of the few surviving structures of its kind in the Eastern Kuyavia region.

History

In written sources dating back to 1311, Izbica Kujawska is referred to as a town owned by the local nobility. In 1394, the town was officially granted municipal rights. From the second half of the 15th century until the end of the 19th century, the town remained in the hands of various noble families. In the 16th century, the town was home to a Polish Protestant community. The wars against Sweden and the devastating fire of 1735 left the town in a state of ruin. It was mostly thanks to the efforts of Jan Skarbek, the erstwhile owner of the town and the surrounding lands, that the reconstruction efforts could finally begin, pushing the local community back on the track towards economic growth. In the early 19th century, the town became the property of Augustyn Zboiński, who invited two waves of German settlers - mostly Protestants - to take up residence here; the first wave came in 1812, while the second stage of the settlement programme was implemented many years later, in 1847. In the early 1860s, the total population of the town amounted to 2127, with the Evangelical community being the third-largest religious group with 316 members in total; in spite of this fact, however, during the period in question they still did not have their own place of worship. Despite having lost its municipal status in 1870, the number of Protestant residents was still on the rise. During his first thanksgiving mass, the local pastor Richard Paszke made an appeal to the local residents to begin campaigning for the construction of a new church. Towards the end of September 1905, a special committee was appointed and a resolution on the construction of a church was adopted. The design for the new church was created by a construction engineer named Wnukowski, with the participation of his assistant named Lindner. The task of overseeing the actual construction works was entrusted to Otto Nendze. The cornerstone was laid on September 29, 1906. The construction works began in earnest in 1907, with the new, Gothic Revival church opening its doors to the public on September 29, 1909, in the presence of bishop Juliusz Bursche. The total cost of the construction of the church amounted to 12000 rubles. In the early days of January 1910, the building attained the status of a parish church. A new pipe organ was purchased in 1926, most likely followed by renovation works in 1927. In 1928, a wall was erected around the church. In the middle of September 1935, the committee for the construction of a pastor’s house with a confirmands’ hall was appointed. In 1937, the building was consecrated. After World War II, religious services continued to be held at the Evangelical church well into the 1970s; after that, however, the church faced closure. From 1992 onwards, the building remains in private hands.

Description

The former Evangelical church, designed in the Gothic Revival style, is located in the western part of town, beyond the boundaries of the original chartered town. The silhouette of the church continues to define the landscape of this part of town. The church is positioned on the north-south axis, standing on a plot of land positioned between Kościelna street to the north and Narutowicza street to the south. A low, brick perimeter wall with metal railings and a gate supported by brick posts precedes the front (southern) façade of the church, with the gate being positioned on the axis of the main entrance.

The church itself is a free-standing brick building positioned on stone foundations, featuring a tall, brick wall base. Designed on a rectangular floor plan, the church is a single-nave, five-bay structure with a northern altarpiece section featuring a semi-hexagonal end section, adjoined by a pair of rectangular, single-storey annexes. The main body of the church is covered with a gable roof, with the end section featuring a three-sided roof instead. Both of the side annexes are covered with mono-pitched roofs and feature stepped gables adorned with pinnacles. The roofs of the church are clad with roof tiles, while the tower spire is covered with sheet metal. The church is made of exposed red brick, with the exception of the portal, blind windows, the two corner turrets gracing the front façade as well as the top section of the central tower, which all feature a plaster finish.

The southern (front) façade follows a three-axial layout and is slightly wider than the main body of the church; its middle section takes the form of an avant-corps topped with a three-storey tower. A pointed-arch portal, positioned on the middle axis of the façade, is adorned with a wimperg-shaped gable adorned by a blind oculus, its surface covered with plaster much like the rest of the wimperg. The portal is flanked with lesenes adorned with slender, pointed-arch blind windows and capped with triangular rooflets. A large, pointed-arch window is positioned above the portal, in the lowermost section of the tower, with a trio of smaller windows positioned directly above. The body of the tower is reinforced with a pair of narrow, two-stepped buttresses positioned at its corners; higher up, alongside the tower clock, these buttresses transform seamlessly into lesenes adorned with pointed-arch blind windows - a clear reference to the design of the portal below. The uppermost section of the tower, designed on an octagonal plan, features a row of large, pointed-arch windows with wooden louvres, surmounted by triangular gablets which form a crown adorned with preserved fleurons. The tower is topped with an octagonal spire surmounted by a sphere and a cross. The side sections of the front façade are punctuated with axially positioned pointed-arch windows, above which runs an arcaded frieze and a simple, band-like cornice. Above the cornice rises the front gable, intersected by the central tower and adorned with blind windows featuring a smooth, plaster finish. The front façade is flanked by a pair of two-storey turrets, their upper sections flowing seamlessly into octagonal blind lanterns with plasterwork crowns and spires, reminiscent of the design of the much larger central tower.

The western and eastern façades follow an almost identical, five-axial layout, with a row of tall, rectangular, pointed-arch windows on each side. Each of the windows features splayed window reveals as well as tracery decoration in the area just below the arch. The spaces between the windows are occupied by single-step buttresses adorned with pointed-arch blind windows, their surfaces covered with plaster. Below the windows of the church runs a profiled cornice which also extends to all the other façades of the church. Rectangular recesses with dentilled upper sections are positioned below the cornice, underneath each of the windows gracing the side façades. At the top of the side façades runs a single-step eaves cornice surmounted by a plasterwork band and an arcaded frieze consisting of miniature arches supported by three-stepped brick corbels.

The northern façade follows a single-axial design, its walls supported by buttresses. The façade decorations mirror those of the eastern and western façades. A pair of single-storey annexes featuring a two-axial façade layout are positioned on the north-eastern and south-western sides of the rear façade. The side sections of the rear façade (i.e. the façades of the annexes) take the form of stepped half-gables surmounted by pinnacles capped with small, pointed rooflets. The annexes themselves are covered with mono-pitched roofs. Entrance into the church is possible through a pair of doorways positioned on the south-eastern and north-western side.

The interior of the church is a single, open space preceded by the main entrance vestibule. A porch with a side staircase leading into the galleries is located beneath the tower. The nave features a wooden barrel vault with a pointed-arch outline; the side galleries inside the nave are supported by square-shaped pillars positioned on pronounced socles. The ceiling above the galleries is supported by means of steel columns. A pointed-arch window on the northern side of the church provides additional illumination. None of the original fixtures and fittings have survived to the present day.

No visitor access to the building.

compiled by Mirella Korzus, Historical Monument and National Heritage Documentation and Popularisation Department of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Cultural Centre in Bydgoszcz, 08-12-2014 - 19-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Record sheet, Kościół ewangelicki, prepared by Dębicki P., 1992, Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Włocławek; Archive of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Warsaw.
  • Kosman M., Izbica Kujawska - przeszłość i teraźniejszość, Poznań 1974.
  • Izbica Kujawska, Izbica Kujawska 2001.
  • http://www.intercentrum.com.pl/1,10,101928,0,pl.html

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1906 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Izbica Kujawska
  • Location: Voivodeship kujawsko-pomorskie, district włocławski, commune Izbica Kujawska - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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