Parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (church complex), Małogoszcz
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Parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (church complex)

Małogoszcz

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One of the most valuable ecclesiastical buildings of the Renaissance period in the Świętokrzyskie region, with strong reminiscences of the Gothic Revival style of the early 1600s. Towering above the surrounding town – one of the oldest ecclesiastical and secular centres in Poland, having served as the seat of the local castellan – the church is also notable for its picturesqueness.

History

The town of Małogoszcz was one of the oldest centres of the territorial authority of the Piast dynasty, first mentioned as the seat of the local castellan in a papal bull of 1136. The first church was erected here at an equally early stage, with sources confirming the existence of the local place of worship as early as 1140. However, the location of this church remains unknown; the same also goes for the site of the original castellan’s stronghold. According to one of the theories, the hillfort was positioned atop the church hill in Małogoszcz; however, the exploratory archaeological surveys conducted on the site in the 1970s have failed to yield unambiguous results. In the 14th century, a church is believed to have stood near the site of the existing one. It has received generous benefits under the charter granted by King Casimir the Great in 1342; despite the fact that the existence of the local parish is only confirmed in sources dating back to 1364, there can be little doubt that the church in Małogoszcz had enjoyed a parish church status from a much earlier period.

The existing church was erected in the years 1591-1595, owing to the perseverance and determination of reverend Jakub Bieda Chrostkowic, a missionary from Małogoszcz, who, aware of the poor condition of the existing place of worship, began the construction of a new, brick and stone one allegedly “joining the workmen in their labours himself”. The history of the edifice may now be traced owing to the inscriptions on its walls, documenting the consecutive stages of its construction; in 1593, the chancel was completed, followed by the nave and two chapels (the southern chapel of St Anne and the northern chapel of the Virgin Mary) two years later. During the same year (1595), the church was consecrated by Piotr Tylicki, the bishop of Chełmno, who had started his ecclesiastical career as a parish priest in Małogoszcz. However, the works were still proceeding, and it was only in 1624 that the tower adjoining the western façade was finally completed. The first major renovation and restoration works took place in the years 1796-1800. In 1894, the western porch was added; it was subsequently restored during the interwar period. It is believed that the roof and the gable wall of the northern chapel were remodelled towards the end of the 19th century, their current appearance bearing the hallmarks of the Gothic Revival style. In years 2004-2008, the roofs and façades of the church were restored.

The rectory building, located on the southern side of the church, was erected between the late 16th and early 17th century, with the window surround in the northern façade originating from this very period. Initially conceived as the house for missionary priests, it subsequently underwent a comprehensive restoration in 1986. A wooden bell tower was erected in the north-eastern corner of the former church cemetery in the mid-19th century.

Description

The church complex occupies the plateau of a great hill rising immediately behind the western frontage of the Małogoszcz market square. The former church cemetery is surrounded by a stone wall, its eastern section serving as a monumental retaining wall with the total height reaching 10 metres. The church itself, made of brick and split stone, features a complex silhouette consisting of a clustered ensemble of individual sections, the most immediately noticeable of which is the four-storey, quadrangular tower with single embrasures on every storey; the walls of its uppermost storey feature a number of niches with semi-domical, conch-shaped top sections, designed to accommodate one free-standing sculpture each. The walls of the nave, the chancel – with its semi-hexagonal end section – as well as of the tower and the southern chapel, which has survived virtually unchanged in terms of layout, are reinforced by monumental, two-stepped buttresses; another salient feature of the silhouette of the church are its tall roofs rising above a uniform, profiled crowning cornice. An elaborate, slender steeple topped with a pyramid-shaped roof can be seen jutting from the roof of the nave. The nave and the chancel are illuminated by tall windows with pronounced, splayed window reveals, topped with semi-circular arches. The lintel arches feature profiled surrounds resting on corbels. The southern chapel has survived in an almost unchanged form, featuring a large dome atop a tholobate, crowned with a roof lantern. The northern chapel likewise features a cupola ceiling, albeit concealed beneath the gable roof which accompanies the stepped, Gothic Revival gable. The double barrel vaults of the nave and the chancel are adorned with faux ribs executed in stucco. These serve no structural purpose whatsoever, although they remain a visible sign of the Gothic influences in the architecture of the church, which is a distinctive feature of many building erected around the year 1600, with other features of this kind including the buttresses supporting the walls or the tall roofs of the main body. Another notable feature of the church is the plethora of inscriptions visible on the walls of the church both inside and out; today, these inscriptions remain an invaluable source of knowledge about the process of the construction of the edifice.

The rectory building, originally designed as a missionary house, is a brick and stone structure erected between the late 16th and the early 17th century. Embedded in a steep escarpment, the building now exhibits only a few vestigial traces of its original appearance. These include one Renaissance window surround in the northern façade as well as a niche located in a space which had once served as a chapel, featuring a decorative, Baroque surround. A group of insurgents led by general Marian Langiewicz has spent a few days here in February 1863 – a fact later commemorated by a special plaque.

The historical monument is open to visitors. The church can be explored by prior telephone arrangement with the parish priest.

Compiled by Aleksandra Ziółkowska, 02-12-2015

Bibliography

  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Małogoszcz, kościół par. pw. Wniebowzięcia NMP, Dzwonnica, Plebania, (Małogoszcz, Parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, bell tower and rectory), prepared by R. Postek, 1985, Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Kielce.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, vol. III, issue 3, Warsaw 1957.
  • Kalina D., Historia i zabytki gminy Małogoszcz (in:) C. Hadamik, D. Kalina, E. Traczyński, Dzieje i zabytki Małych Ojczyzn. Miasto i gmina Małogoszcz, R. Mirowski (ed.), Kielce 2006.
  • Kazimierza Stronczyńskiego opisy i widoki zabytków w Królestwie Polskim (1844-1855), vol. II: Gubernia Radomska, prepared by K. Guttmejer, Warsaw 2010
  • Kosik E., W kasztelańskim Małogoszczu, Kielce 1994.
  • Rawita-Witanowski M., Dawny powiat chęciński, prepared by D. Kalina, Kielce 2001.
  • Wiśniewski J., Historyczny opis kościołów, miast, zabytków i pamiątek w Jędrzejowskiem, Marjówka 1930.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1591 - 1595
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Włoszczowska 11, Małogoszcz
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district jędrzejowski, commune Małogoszcz - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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