Former parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Miasteczko Śląskie
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Former parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Miasteczko Śląskie

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A representative example of an early modern parish church, its almost completely unchanged form and floor plan being typical of the traditional Roman Catholic churches built in the Silesia region for centuries. It is also one of the more recent wooden churches in the region featuring a free-standing bell tower - a rare sight in the region nowadays. In addition, the church presents a considerable historical value, having been erected as one of many Catholic churches forming part of a greater Counter-Reformation scheme which was beginning to pick up the pace at the time.

History

The construction of the church, designed to serve as a filial church of the Catholic parish in Żyglinek, took place in the third quarter of the 17th century, forming an expression of the growing Counter-Reformation tendencies as well as of the rise in the number of Catholics in the hitherto predominantly protestant town of Miasteczko Śląskie. The church was constructed in the years 1665-1667, as evidenced by the inscription on the rood beam containing the date “23.10.1666” as well as by the additional inscriptions on the southern and northern walls of the nave, where the dates “1665”, “1666” and “1667” are displayed; this conclusion has later been reaffirmed by the results of dendrochronological research. The church was consecrated in 1670; it is believed that the two 17th-century galleries were merged into the current, single organ gallery in 1846, when the new pipe organ casing was also added. In years 1927-1928, the church underwent renovation works which involved, among others, the replacement of the steeple as well as the structure of the cloister-like walkways adjoining the northern side of the nave. The walkways leading alongside the southern side of the church and around the chancel were refurbished at a later date, most likely in the 1950s.

The free-standing bell tower, situated towards the market square, i.e. in the eastern part of the churchyard, had so far been considered to have been constructed at the same time as the church itself, which the date “1669” visible on the weathervane that crowns the tower cupola was supposed to confirm. However, according to the results of recent dendrochronological analysis, the bell tower was erected not earlier than in 1717, its construction being most likely linked to the casting of the bell in 1712. In the course of restoration works conducted in years 1927-1928, both the bell chamber and the cupola were reconstructed, as evidenced by the date “1928” which was added to the weathervane.

Description

The church, oriented towards the east, is situated in the centre of Miasteczko Śląskie, on the western side of the Market Square, in the vicinity of the free-standing, 17th-century bell tower positioned east of the church itself; the old, wooden church is now dwarfed by the nearby Gothic Revival church erected in the early 20th century.

The church itself is a wooden log structure positioned on brick foundations. The church floor plan consists of a nave, designed on a square floor plan, a narrower chancel with a semi-hexagonal termination, adjoined by a rectangular sacristy and a three-sided annex to the north, as well as the square front porch standing against the western façade of the church. The compact shape of the church is characterised by the presence of a distinct nave and chancel, with both of these sections of the structure being covered with separate gable roofs of different heights. The roof of the nave is surmounted by a hexagonal steeple with a two-tier roof lantern, crowned with a cupola. The church is surrounded by a cloister-like walkway covered with skirt roofs supported by vertical posts with diagonal braces. The individual roofs, the entire sacristy and the upper sections of the walls of the church are clad with wood shingles, while the walls of the nave and the chancel underneath the skirt roof covering the walkway leading around the church feature no cladding whatsoever, allowing the exposed log structure to be admired in all its glory. The church features a small number of rather isolated windows topped with semi-circular arches, positioned above the cloister-like walkway. The interiors of the chancel and the nave are separated by a chancel arch wall with a rectangular aperture featuring a pair of profiled beams supported by wooden corbels, adorned with a carved rosette motif and the date of construction of the church - 1666. One of the beams serves as the lintel of the aperture, while the other runs across it, performing the role of the rood beam. The chancel features a false vaulted ceiling of the barrel type, with the upper logs of the chancel side walls running along the entire length of the nave. The ceiling is adorned with stencilled decorations most likely dating back to the 18th century. The nave features a flat wooden ceiling with intersecting crossbeams. A wooden planked doorway leading into the sacristy, topped with an ogee arch, is located in the northern wall of the chancel. In the western part of the nave, there is a wooden organ gallery with an extended section running alongside the northern wall, supported by eleven wooden columns. The organ gallery features a rectangular projecting section on its middle axis as well as a wooden parapet with decorative balusters. The passageway from the porch under the tower to the nave is framed by a 17th-century wooden portal topped with a semi-circular arch. The preserved original fixtures and fittings include the contemporary main altarpiece incorporating the painted, Renaissance predella from ca. 1600, sculptures of St Peter and St Paul as well as the painting of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the 1st half of the 17th century, a Late Baroque side altarpiece from the early 18th century as well as a Baroque painting of St George, dating back to the 17th century.

East of the church lies the free-standing wooden bell tower - a post-and-beam, two-storey cuboid structure with walls clad with weatherboards, covered with a low pyramid hipped roof surmounted by a bulbous cupola with an openwork lantern. A passage into the former church cemetery leads through the eastern section of the ground-floor level of the bell tower.

Limited access. The church is made available to visitors only occasionally.

compiled by Agnieszka Olczyk, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 21-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Architectural monument record sheet. Kościół filialny pod wezwaniem Świętego Jerzego i Wniebowzięcia NMP [w Miasteczku Śląskim] (The filial church of St George and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Miasteczko Śląskie), prepared by R. Rajnich-Walawender, 1997, Archive of the National Heritage Board of Poland.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, Vol. VI, woj. katowickie, issue 12: Powiat tarnogórski, ed. I. Rejduch-Samkowa, J. Samek, Warsaw 1968, pp. 5-7.
  • Konieczny A., Badania dendrochronologiczne zabytków architektury drewnianej w województwie śląskim w latach 2010-2011, [in:] Wiadomości konserwatorskie województwa śląskiego 4: Blaski średniowiecza, G. Bożek (ed.), Katowice 2012, pp. 206-212.
  • Lutsch H., Verziechnis der Kunstdenkmaeler der Provinz Schlesien, Vol. IV: Die Kunstdenkmaeler des Reg.-Bezirks Oppeln, Breslau 1894, p. 419.
  • Matuszczak J., Kościoły drewniane na Śląsku, Wrocław 1975.
  • Zabytki Sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, S. Brzezicki, C. Nielsen (eds.), Warsaw 2006, pp. 554-555.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1666-1667 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Dworcowa 1, Miasteczko Śląskie
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district tarnogórski, commune Miasteczko Śląskie
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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