The parish church of St Adalbert and St Nicholas, Końskie
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The parish church of St Adalbert and St Nicholas

Końskie

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The church is a perfect example of the fusion of Gothic and Gothic Revival architecture achieved through strict compliance with the 19th-century conservation doctrine. In addition, fascinating remnants of an even older, Romanesque church can be glimpsed within its walls.

History

There is ample evidence that the town of Końskie – the ancient seat of the Odrowąż noble family – can trace its roots back to the first half of the 12th century, with both a parish church and a canonry complex being in existence at that time. Somewhere around the year 1220, the existing church was replaced with a new one, funded by Iwon Odrowąż, the bishop of Cracow. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, in the years 1492-1520 or thereabouts, a new edifice was constructed, its fragments surviving to the present day, including, in particular, the spectacular stellar vault inside the chancel. The date of completion of the construction process was recorded in the form of a majuscule inscription on the lintel above the entrance in the southern façade of the nave. In 1749, the grand crown chancellor Jan Małachowski, the erstwhile owner of the Końskie manor, funded the construction of a great new altarpiece featuring an architectural reredos designed in the Baroque style. Having successfully campaigned for the allocation of municipal rights to the town of Końskie, Małachowski brought a period of prosperity to the manor which he owned; after his death, he was buried inside the chancel of the church. In 1777, the church underwent a comprehensive restoration. It has attained its current appearance after the series of extension and restoration works performed in the years 1902-1903, based on the design produced by Wacław Popławski. In accordance with the prevailing conservation doctrine of the day, the church was subjected to a far-reaching process of regothicisation, including the addition of certain features that had never been there in the first place. In the course of the works in question, the nave was extended westwards; a two-storey tower was added to the south-western corner of the nave, replacing the former gatehouse, while the gables above the nave and the chancel were both redesigned through the addition of decorative crenellation. Between the late 1970s and the early 1980s, the entire interior of the church was restored, while the chancel and the ceiling above the nave were subjected to renovation works in the 1990s. In 1993, the church attained the status of a collegiate church. In 2002, the roofs were refurbished, while one year later the entire nave ceiling was replaced, its decorations being meticulously recreated in the process. In 2011, the new main entrance door was added, adorned with a series of Biblical scenes in bas-relief.

Description

The church is situated in the town centre, in the eastern part of the spacious former market place, which was then elevated to the status of a Market Square after the town was chartered. Both the Gothic and Gothic Revival sections of the edifice are made of fine ashlar blocks. The elongated main body of the stone church is adjoined by a two-storey Gothic Revival tower designed on a square floor plan, positioned at the south-western corner and topped with a tall spire flanked by corner bartisans. The walls of all parts of the edifice are reinforced with buttresses, with the gables of both the nave and the narrower, rectangular chancel being adorned by lavishly designed blind windows as well as a crenellated parapet, the latter being an early 20th-century addition. Most of the portals are topped with pointed arches. The Gothic Revival main portal is topped with a tympanum incorporating the image of Christ – the Good Shepherd in bas relief. The walls of the church feature embedded stone detailing salvaged from older churches. All that remains of the Late Romanesque edifice funded by bishop Iwon Odrowąż is the semi-circular tympanum, currently positioned above the portal in the southern façade of the nave and incorporating the symbolic representation of the Cross as the Tree of Life, as well as another fragment of Romanesque detailing embedded in one of the buttresses. The fragments of a sculpted arcaded frieze adorned with a majuscule inscription and the Odrowąż and Rawicz coats of arms, embedded in the tower walls, are relics of the décor of the original, Late Gothic church. The nave, designed as a single, open space, has a wooden ceiling adorned with faux coffers – a rather surprising feature – with the surviving Late Gothic chancel being graced by a spectacular stellar vault. A marble epitaph plaque dedicated to Jan Małachowski, who dies in 1762, is embedded in the southern wall of the chancel. The epitaph plaque is framed with a lavishly decorated surround and is topped with an alabaster bust of the deceased chancellor.

The church is open to visitors. The interiors may be explored by prior arrangement with the parish priest.

Compiled by Aleksandra Ziółkowska, 01-12-2015

Bibliography

  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Końskie, kościół par. pw. św.św. Wojciecha i Mikołaja (Końskie, parish church of St Adalbert and St Nicholas), prepared by J. Maraśkiewicz, 1999, Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Kielce.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, vol. III, issue 5, Warsaw 1958.
  • Kazimierza Stronczyńskiego opisy i widoki zabytków w Królestwie Polskim (1844-1855), vol. II: Gubernia Radomska, prepared by K. Guttmejer, Warsaw 2010
  • Świechowski Z., Katalog architektury romańskiej w Polsce, Warsaw 2009.
  • Wiśniewski J., Dekanat konecki, Radom 1913.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1492 - 1520
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Ks. Józefa Granata 8, Końskie
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district konecki, commune Końskie - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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