Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Łaszew
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Parish Church of St John the Baptist

Łaszew

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An example of wooden sacred architecture from the 16th century, belonging to the group of late-Gothic wooden churches of Greater Poland. It is one of the few objects which retained their original appearance from the 16th century, which is fully distinct in terms of style.

History

The first mentions of the parish in Łaszew date back to the end of the 14th century. The church was probably erected in years 1520-1531 (the date was established on the basis of archival sources and study of the painting on the ceiling of the chancel and the nave; the date was established on the ante quam basis - the building was constructed no later than in 1531). The church was renovated in the 17th century, circa 1739 and later on. In 1778, a side porch was added to the building on the southern side. On the basis of Professor Czesław Krassowski’s research, it is assumed that the following elements have survived from the time the church was built: the log structure and sill plates of the walls of the nave, the chancel and the sacristy, as well as the ceilings of those three church parts, the roof truss, parts of the steeple turret structure, the rood opening, three inner portals with doors and fittings, the choir with stairs. The western tower was erected in the 17th century, and the southern porch in 1778. In years 1811-1813, the parish status was revoked and the church became a filial church of the church in Mierzyce. At the beginning of the 20th century, a full-scale renovation took place which encompassed the church tower and the interior, including the altar, the ambo, and the choir. In years 1965-1967, the painting covering the ceiling of the chancel and the nave was renovated and large parts of it were reconstructed. The parish in Łaszew was re-established in 1991, and a complete renovation of the church took place at that time - it was fully dismantled, foundations were laid and the church was reconstructed, with the most damaged elements being replaced. The works were completed in 1996 with the laying of a new wood-shingle roof.

Description

The church is oriented, located in the central part of the village, to the west of the local road leading to Strugi Pątnowskie, situated among scattered buildings on a fenced graveyard. The church is representative of the architecture from the 16th century, which is characteristic of sacred buildings of Greater Poland. The interior features partially preserved wall painting. The building was erected on the plan of a square nave and an adjoining chancel - narrower, also built on the plan of a square, terminating in a semi-hexagon. Adjacent to the chancel from the north, there is a sacristy on the floor plan of a narrow rectangle, and next to the nave on the western side there is a tower on a rectangular floor plan. The cuboid bodies of the nave and the chancel are covered with a common gable roof, ending in a multi-faceted way on the eastern side, with pronounced wide eaves around the chancel. On the western side, the gable is triangular. Above the chancel arch, there is a steeple turret on a square floor plan, with straight walls, covered with a four-sloped tented roof. The cuboid body of the sacristy, the porch, and the tower are covered with separate roofs: a mono-pitched roof, a three-pitched roof, and a hip roof, respectively. The roofs and the western gable are covered with wood shingles on ridge beams and boards, partially with drywalls laid underneath. The walls have a log structure: they are supported on chipped bales with lap joints, without protruding beam ends, with hidden-pin, each of the tie beams having dowels. The sill plate is wider and many of its sections have diagonally-chamfered edges. The tower has a post-and-frame structure, with the sill plate resting on stones. On the outside, the walls are clad vertically with wide weatherboards made of pine wood with trimmings. On the inside, there are horizontal weatherboards made of larch boards with chamfered edges. The walls of the steeple are clad vertically with weatherboards. The roof truss is of the king-post type with double collars and consists of 14 trestle rafters (seven filled and seven hollow), with span of A-frames equal in length to the width of the nave. Around the chancel, the ends of the roof beams project approximately 100 cm out of the wall face, creating wide eaves supported by angle braces mounted in brackets. The brackets and angle braces are embellished with cuts and elements of half-rollers. The ends of beams and brackets are chamfered. King post frames are hung on rafters with the use of pairs of braces. At the bottom, king post frames are joined with the truss beam with angle braces, which are positioned on one side. In an elongated frame, the king post frames are reinforced with two levels of transoms and St Andrew’s crosses. The elements of the roof truss are chipped and sawed. The joints used are dowels, pins, dove-tails, simple lap joints, newer joints with steel anchor plates glued in. The ceilings are flat and made of wooden boards. In the chancel and above the nave they are on the same level as the paint decoration. The floors are wooden and made of boards. The boards have a tongue and groove joint. The chancel floor is one step above the nave. The window openings are rectangular and square, with straight top section and simple narrow frames of varying size. They are single-leaf windows made of wood, divided into sections (4, 15 or 18) by muntins, fitted with glass panes. On the southern façade of the chancel and in the northern and southern wall of the have, there are rectangular window openings. In the eastern wall of the chancel, there is a slightly smaller rectangular window on the axis, and in the eastern façade of the sacristy, there is a small window opening. Additionally, there is a small square window below the eaves in the southern wall of the main body (the opening is an oval on the inside). The door openings are rectangular, straight, or with an ogee top - as in the case of the door in the western wall of the nave. Their size is varied. The openings are surrounded with wide profiled frames. The doors are single or double, made of battens. The interior of the church is single-bay, the ceilings of the nave and the chancel are flat and at the same level. The rood opening has a rectangular profile. The rood beams are profiled on the nave side. On the bottom beam, there is a sculpture - the Passion. In the northern wall of the chancel and the southern wall of the main body there are rectangular door openings with wide profiled frames, and in the western wall, there is a portal with an ogee top. Along the western wall of the nave there is a choir, supported on two pillars and enclosed with a simple sill. The main altar dates back to the second half of the 17th century. The painting covering the ceiling of the chancel and the nave is homogeneous. The ceiling is partitioned into coffers with rosettes, divided with wide bands with candelabrum motifs. One of the coffers features a figural scene - Vir Dolorum with a kneeling figure of the founder.

Limited access to the historic building. Viewing possible by prior arrangement with the parish priest by phone (43 886 65 76).

compiled by Agnieszka Lorenc-Karczewska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Łódź, 23-09-2014.

Bibliography

  • Inwentarz drewnianej architektury sakralnej w Polsce, z. 4b, Warszawa 1993, s. 71-77.
  • Rosin R., Ziemia wieluńska w XII-XVI w. Studia z dziejów osadnictwa, Łódź 1961, s. 94, 167, 193.
  • Wolff-Łozińska B., Malowidła stropów polskich I połowy XVI w. Dekoracje roślinne i kasetonowe, Warszawa 1971.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: XVI w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Łaszew
  • Location: Voivodeship łódzkie, district wieluński, commune Wierzchlas
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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