The complex of the church of St Martin, consisting of the church, the rectory and the Catholic house, Kępno
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The complex of the church of St Martin, consisting of the church, the rectory and the Catholic house

Kępno

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The St Martin parish church complex retains a uniform architectural style despite the fact that its individual components have been erected during different periods. The church was erected alongside the existing rectory, which had been built back in the second half of the 19th century and then redesigned in 1911. The church itself was designed by Roger Sławski, an architect, with its Baroque Revival form being strongly reminiscent of the design of the abbey church of the Trinitarian Order in Krotoszyn. The Catholic house was erected in 1911, after the church was completed; the building was then extended in the 1930s and the 1940s .

History

Kępno was first mentioned as a town in a document dating back to 1283. The exact date of its original foundation remains unknown; Kępno initially formed part of Silesia, and was then incorporated into Greater Poland in 1146, serving as a border settlement located by the Niesob river. For a few centuries, the town remained in private hands. However, the town’s development was not particularly dynamic, leading to periods of stagnation. It was only during the second half of the 17th century that the town was able to embark upon the path of growth once again. The town was chartered for the second time in 1660, when a large number of Protestants moved there from Silesia. In 1664, the local Evangelical church was built. Kępno served as the capital of the district in years 1856-1975 as well as from 1998 onwards. It is located along the path from Kalisz and Wieluń towards Silesia, an important postal route leading to Dresden. After 1793, the city was incorporated into the Prussian Partition, while in 1815 it became part of the Grand Duchy of Posen.

The church of St Martin served as the filial church for the parish in the nearby town of Baranowo.

A separate parish was established in Kępno in 1684; the first, wooden church was funded by Marcin Olszowski from Olszowa, the alderman of Wieluń.

The rectory was erected in the second half of the 19th century and then redesigned in 1911.

In 1911, the Baroque Revival church designed by Roger Sławski was erected.

The Catholic house was also built in 1911 and subsequently extended in 1934, 1936 and 1942.

During World War II, the church was converted into a warehouse for army uniforms.

The parish-priest of the Bralin parish was responsible for the management of the church in Kępno in years 1944-45.

The floors were replaced in 1997; underfloor heating was also added in the process.

The cladding of the tower was replaced in 1998, while further refurbishment works were carried out one year later - the interior was repainted, the roof cladding was repaired and parts of the interior fixtures and fittings were restored.

Description

Kępno is the southernmost town in the Greater Poland province. It is actually located much closer to Wrocław, Łódź, Katowice or Opole than to the major cities in Greater Poland. The town is situated on the Wieruszów Upland, in the western part of the Wieluń region. The national highway no. 11 leads through the town itself, while the expressway no. 8 towards Wrocław is located nearby.

The St Martin church complex, consisting of the parish church, the rectory and the Catholic House, is situated west of the Market Square, on Kościelna/Kościuszki street, within the territory of the original chartered town. The parish church and the Catholic House both stand alongside Kościelna street. The façade of the church faces Kościuszki street. The Catholic House is positioned so that its roof ridge runs in parallel to Kościelna street. The rectory and the neighbouring utility building are located in the garden, west of the church. The façade of the rectory overlooks the garden and faces in the direction of Kościuszki street.

The church is a brick edifice set atop a plastered brick foundation. The church was designed on a rectangular floor plan and features projecting corner sections adorned with pilasters. The rectangular outline of the church encompasses both the three-bay nave and the short, rectangular chancel with the adjoining treasury and sacristy; the treasury and sacristy are both designed on a floor plan in the shape of a square with a truncated corner. The northern part of the church features a tower designed on an oval floor plan and adorned with pilasters, connected to the main body of the building by the concave sections of its façade. The building features a compact body the dominant section of which is the cuboid corps de logis incorporating the nave and the chancel, featuring slightly projecting corner sections which are delicately rounded off at the edges. The entire building is covered with a single hip roof from which additional three-sided sections are extended to accommodate the avant-corps at the structure’s corners. The roofs are clad with beaver tail ceramic roof tiles, while the bulbous spire crowning the tower and the rooftop steeple are clad with copper sheets. A quadrangular steeple with a lantern and a profiled cupola crowned with a sphere is positioned in the middle of the building’s roof ridge. The tower is a slender structure crowned by a lavishly profiled, quadrangular cupola with truncated corners, topped with an openwork lantern surmounted by a spire with a sphere and a crucifix at the top.

The façades of the church are covered with smooth plaster. The corners of all façades are rounded off and flanked by Tuscan pilasters, each of them set atop a plinth. The capitals of the pilasters support an entablature which runs alongside all the façades at a single level, providing a visual separation from the upper section of the tower. The rhythm of the walls is emphasised by the presence of slender windows topped with semicircular arches, framed with broad window surrounds with keystones and small wings on the sides; decorative panels are placed underneath each window.

The interior follows a single-nave layout, with a narrower chancel featuring a spherical vault; the nave features a reinforced concrete barrel vault with lunettes and broad supporting arches. The vaults follow a basket-handle shape; the undersides of the arches feature decorative coffering with a rosette in the centre of each sunken panel. The interior fittings have been moved from an older church; most of the fittings are designed in the Baroque style and were made in the 1st half of the 18th century. The highlights of the interior decor originating from that period include the main altar, the baptismal font as well as a series of sculptures and coffin portraits. Notable fixtures and fittings made in 1911 include the pulpit and the two side altarpieces, one of which incorporates a painting depicting the Feeding of the Multitude.

The site is accessible to visitors. Viewing of the building is only possible by prior arrangement. More information about the parish and the Holy Mass schedule can be found on the website of the Kalisz diocese: www.diecezja.kalisz.pl.

compiled by Teresa Palacz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 23-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Anders P., Województwo kaliskie, szkic monograficzny, Poznań 1983.
  • Rocznik Diecezji Kaliskiej - 2002, s. 168, Kalisz 2002.
  • Łęcki Wł., Wielkopolska - słownik krajoznawczy, Poznań 2002.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, Ruszczyńska T., Sławska A. (red.), t. 5, z. 7 pow. kępiński, s. 7-9, Warszawa 1958.
  • Kokociński J., Kurzawa Z., Z dziejów Kępna, s. 182, Poznań [b.r.]
  • Kurzawa J., Nawrocki St., Dzieje Kępna, Kalisz 1982.
  • Janiszewski J. ks., Powiat kępiński z mapką powiatu na podstawie różnych źródeł, Kępno 1928.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 2 poł. XIX w - 1911 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kościelna/Kościuszki 3, Kępno
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district kępiński, commune Kępno - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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