The parish church of St James, Murowana Goślina
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The parish church of St James

Murowana Goślina


An example of a small, Late Gothic urban church positioned on the medieval Way of St James and extended during the Baroque period according to a design which was most likely prepared by a renowned Italian architect, Pompeo Ferrari. The church features surviving original interior fixtures and fittings, including a Baroque altarpiece dating back to the mid- 17th century as well as a headstone of Ursula Potulicka née Ostroróg (from the Lviv branch of the Ostroróg family), which constitutes a valuable example of Renaissance funerary sculpture.


Murowana Goślina (initially known as Goślina and then as Goślina Kościelna) started its life as a ducal settlement, only to become a private town at a later stage. The exact date of its foundation remains unknown. The oldest mentions indicating that the settlement achieved the status of a town date back to 1389. Towards the end of the 14th century, Murowana Goślina took over the function of the castellan’s stronghold from the town of Radzim. During the 15th century, the town remained in the hands of the Pniewski, Donaborski and Kościelecki families; in 1494, it was taken over by the Potulicki family, while in 1596 it was acquired by the Rozdrażewski family. During the centuries that followed, the town was the property of the Leszczyński and Działyński families, while in the 18th century (until 1793) it came under the jurisdiction of the Górowski family. In the 19th century, the town’s owners was the House of Winterfeld.

The parish in Murowana Goślina was most likely first established back in the 12th century, although the first mentions of the parish only date back to 1406. Very little is known about the first church of St James that stood there at the time . It is believed that this church existed there in the late 12th or the early 13th century. It is also suspected that it took the form of a Romanesque tower made of stone ashlar blocks. The earliest references to a church of St James date back to 1483. The surviving Late Gothic nave was added to the existing Romanesque church at the turn 16th century, although some researches believe that it was in fact erected even earlier than that, in the 14th century. The church was renovated in 1650. In 1717, a Baroque chancel was added to the nave at the initiative of reverend Filip Woliński, with the design being attributed to the architect Pompeo Ferrari. In years 1830-31, the Romanesque part of the church was torn down and the nave was extended towards the west, which the ashlar masonry from the demolished Romanesque building being reused during the construction of the extension. It is probably also during this period that the sacristy on the northern side of the church was built. These numerous extension and alteration works have diluted the original architecture of the church. Subsequent renovation works took place in 1910 as well as in years 1959-61 (when the Gothic walls of the nave were exposed through the removal of the plasterwork) and in years 1983-84.


Church of St James is located in the centre of the town, in the market square (on the north-western side thereof). The church consists of the nave and chancel. Parts of the nave date back to the Late Gothic period, while the rest of the structure was added at a later date, its Gothic Revival design blending in with the older section. The nave was designed on an elongated rectangular floor plan. The rectangular chancel in the east was designed in the Baroque style. A rectangular sacristy adjoins the northern side of the nave. The nave, chancel and sacristy are covered with tall gable roofs.

The church is a brick building, with Gothic bond being used throughout; the section of the nave which was added at a later date also incorporates ashlar masonry. The walls of the Late Gothic sections of the nave as well as the stone western façade are free from plaster, unlike the chancel and the side walls of the Gothic Revival part of the nave. The roofs are covered with ceramic roof tiles. The nave features a wooden beamed ceiling built in years 1959-61, with sections covered with wooden boards. The chancel and the sacristy feature brick sail vaulting.

The eastern façade of the nave is topped with a Late Gothic gable adorned by blind windows topped with segmental arches. The side façades follow a five-axis design; the Late Gothic sections thereof feature exposed brick walls and windows topped with segmental arches. A rectangular side entrance framed by an austere, brick portal is positioned on the southern side of the church, on the axis thereof. A tombstone of Ursula Potulicka née Ostroróg (from the Lviv branch of the Ostroróg family) - a fine example of Renaissance stone sculpture - is embedded in the wall on the western side of the entrance. The western façade is lined with ashlar blocks; it is topped with a plastered gable designed in the Gothic Revival style, adorned with pointed-arch blind windows. A rectangular entrance framed by an austere brick portal is positioned on the axis of the façade. The plastered façades of the chancel are framed by corner pilasters. The windows in the side façades are topped with semicircular arches. The eastern façade of the chancel is crowned with a decorative gable with a convexo-concave coping, partitioned by a pair of pilasters.

Inside, the walls of the nave are partially covered with plaster, with some sections of the brick walls left deliberately exposed. The nave is covered with a wooden beamed ceiling in the eastern section and a false ceiling with rounded corners in the western section. The Late Gothic walls feature two rectangular niches which used to serve as armaria (closets for vestments). A basket-handle rood arch separates the chancel and the nave; the chancel itself features plastered walls with a sail vault resting upon arches.

The fixtures and fittings include an architectural main altarpiece dating back to around the mid-17th century, incorporating the sculptures of St Peter and Paul as well as of the Holy Trinity. The middle field of the altarpiece incorporates the painting of the patron saint of the church - St James. Another feature which deserves a particular attention is the Renaissance tombstone of Urszula Potulicka née Ostroróg (from the Lviv branch of the Ostroróg family), the wife of Piotr, the governor of the Kalisz province, who died in 1575. This fine example of sandstone funerary sculpture features a lying figure of the deceased as well as an inscription in Polish and representations of the Nałęcz, Prawdzic, Abdank and Topór coats of arms.

The church can be viewed from the outside and from the inside. More information about the parish and the Holy Mass schedule can be found online at:

compiled by Krzysztof Jodłowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 25-09-2014.


  • Gotyckie kościoły Wielkopolski, koncepcja, teksty i wybór fotografii P. Maluśkiewicz, Poznań 2008, s. 156-57.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. V, z. 15: powiat obornicki, Warszawa 1965, s. 5-6.
  • Kohte J., Verzeichnis der Kunstdenkmaeler der Provinz Posen, Bd. III, Berlin 1896, s. 26.
  • Tomala J., Murowana architektura romańska i gotycka w Wielkopolsce, t. 1, Architektura sakralna, Kalisz 2007, s. 286.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: XV/XVI w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: pl. Powstańców Wielkopolskich , Murowana Goślina
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district poznański, commune Murowana Goślina - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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