The church of St Peter and Paul, Łekno
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The church of St Peter and Paul

Łekno

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With its valuable period fixtures and fittings, this Late Gothic church constitutes a fine example of an ecclesiastical building funded by a local magnate and bears testimony to the continuity of religious cult in the Greater Poland region. The church has managed to survive virtually unchanged despite its turbulent history; today, it forms a valuable example of Gothic architecture in Greater Poland.

History

Initially a ducal fortified settlement, the village of Łekno was first mentioned in 1136 as the seat of the local castellan. Somewhere around the year 1142, Zbylut Pałuka invited the Cistercian monks from Altenberg to settle in Łekno, providing them with a handsome gift of land for the purpose. In 1370, Łekno is referred to as a town in historical sources. Following the fire which devastated the town, the Cistercians moved to Wągrowiec in 1396. In 1444, the municipal rights hitherto enjoyed by Łekno were reaffirmed. Łekno remained a private town and was the property of the Pałuk, Łekiński, Latalski, Opaliński, Szołdrski, Izdbieński and Prądzyński noble families. In the 1st half of the 19th century, Łekno remained the property of Zerboni di Sposetti. It was only in 1888 that Łekno was deprived of municipal rights. The first church to be erected here was funded by the Cistercians; the existing church was built somewhere around the mid-16th century, with the funds for its construction being provided by Nikodem Łekiński, the castellan of Nakło. The church subsequently underwent thorough restoration in the 17th, 18th and around the mid-19th century.

Description

The church of St Peter and Paul is a Late Gothic church oriented towards the east; it is located in the centre of the village, on a hill positioned north of the market square. The church is a brick structure featuring the Polish (Gothic) bond, with granite ashlars being used for the southern façade and the porch. It was designed as a three-nave structure with a layout imitating that of a hall church, with a narrower and lower chancel positioned in the east and featuring a polygonal termination. A sacristy adjoins the chancel to the north; to the south of the chancel rises the chapel of St Joseph, crowned with a Renaissance volute-shaped gable. A 16th century porch adjoins the nave to the south; most likely intended as the ground-floor section of a tower that was never completed, in the 19th century it was extended upwards through the addition of a low, slightly recessed first floor section. Two pentagonal turrets abut the western façade; both of them are accessible by means of a staircase incorporated into the wall. The chancel, naves and the chapel of St Joseph feature original stellar vaults, with a barrel vault being used for the sacristy. Outside, the church features a series of three-stepped buttresses around the nave, with single-stepped buttresses being used for the chancel. The windows of the chapel of St Joseph are Baroque in design, featuring a highly decorative outline. The entrance to the church leads through a brick, archivolted pointed-arch portal.

The highlights of the interior include the Baroque main altarpiece from the 1st half of the 18th century, incorporating sculptures of St Peter, St Paul, St Casimir, St Florian and the Virgin Mary with Child Jesus in the middle section, all created in the first quarter of the 17th century, the limestone baptismal font brought from Gotland and a Baroque pulpit from 1700. Another item which deserves a particular attention is the tomb of Nikodem Łekiński (who died in 1576) and his wife Jadwiga Łekińska née Zebrzydowska. This sandstone tomb, executed in the fourth quarter of the 16th century in the Late Renaissance style, features an architectural surround framing the slabs with carved representations of the deceased.

The church is accessible to visitors; church service times: Saturdays - 6 PM, Sundays - 8 AM and 11 AM, weekdays: 6 PM.

compiled by Beata Marzęta, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 14.11.2014.

Bibliography

  • Gotyckie kościoły w Wielkopolsce, 2008
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, woj. poznańskie, t. V, z. 27, pow. wągrowiecki
  • Andrzej M. Wyrwa, Klasztory cysterskie w Łeknie i Wągrowcu, Bydgoszcz 2010

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: poł. XVI w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Poprzeczna 3, Łekno
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district wągrowiecki, commune Wągrowiec
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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