The motte-and-bailey castle, Mikołów
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

The motte-and-bailey castle

Mikołów

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The only surviving conical motte in the district and the surrounding area, tracing its roots back to the earliest Norman earthen and wooden motte-and-bailey castles and forts. The structure was erected towards the end of the 12th century or in the early decades of the 13th century; today, it remains one of the oldest historical monuments in Mikołów. The distinct form of the motte has become an indispensable part of the surrounding landscape; today, the motte remains one of the very few surviving structures of its kind in the Upper Silesia region.

Location and description

The historical monument is located in the north-eastern part of town, about 250 metres to the north-east of the market square, right next to the św. Wojciecha street. Two small watercourses, i.e. the Jamna river and the stream known as Przykopa, used to run in the immediate vicinity of the motte, with the entire area being marshy and waterlogged. Late 18th-century maps of the town of Mikołów as well as the oldest surviving descriptions of the historical monument, contained in the town chronicles dating back to ca. 1820, the structure consisted of a pair of mounds, designed on a plan the shape of which resembled that of the figure 8. The now-defunct second mound adjoined the southern and south-western side of the existing one. According to the aforementioned description from the year 1820, the structures which stood atop the two mounds were a “citadel” and a “convent” respectively. The references contained in the aforementioned documentation also indicate that small sections of a rampart and a moat were still visible in the vicinity of the motte around the year 1820. These may have formed part of the original design of the motte, serving as additional fortifications designed to hinder the incoming enemy forces, although all this is mow mere conjecture, for the structures in question are no longer extant. The surviving earthen structure, designed on an irregular oval plan, has a total surface of approximately 0.12 hectares.

History

The very first mentions of the motte-and-bailey castle in Mikołów in written sources date back to 1287; however, it is believed that the fortified structure is even older than that, since the existing sources also indicate that Mikołów remained the seat of the local castellans between 1222 and 1260, with the castle being their most likely place of residence. One cannot be sure as to the exact time when the structure was abandoned, although there are reasons to believe that it remained in use in the form of a so-called fortalice (fortalitium) around the year 1500. Conversely, the maps dating back to the late 18th century and the early 19th century show only the underlying mound, with no buildings or other structures.

Condition and results of archaeological research

In 1818, an accidental discovery was made on the top of the motte - a hoard of silver coins known as the Prague groschen, dating back to the 14th-15th century, accompanied by numerous arrowheads and quarrel heads. In 1967, excavation surveys were performed on the site, covering a total area of 75 square metres. In the course of the survey, the site stratigraphy was subjected to analysis, with numerous moveable artefacts (including pottery and metal objects such as crossbow quarrel heads) being recovered from the site. According to W. Galasińska-Hrebenda, the artefacts obtained would seem to prove that the fortified structure remained in use between the late 12th century and the 15th century.

The site is fenced but is accessible all year round.

compiled by Michał Bugaj, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 18-09-2014.

Bibliography

  • Jakimowicz R., Bąk S. 1939. Atlas grodzisk i zamczysk śląskich. Cracow, 19-22.
  • Galasińska-Hrebenda W. 1971 Grodzisko w Mikołowie, [in:] Informator Wojewódzkiego Konserwatora Zabytków archeologicznych na województwo katowickie 1966-1970, 58-60.

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: 1200-1550 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Mikołów
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district mikołowski, commune Mikołów
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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