Evangelical church, Nowe Dwory
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The church forms an intriguing example of wooden ecclesiastical architecture featuring a hybrid wall structure, with the inner log structure surrounded by an exposed timber frame. The church remains the oldest relic of the religious culture of Dutch settlers (Mennonites) in Greater Poland. The church features a series of valuable painted stained glass windows dating back to 1615.

History

The village of Nowe Dwory was founded in the early 17th century in the process of colonisation of the Noteć river valley, led by Jan Czarnkowski and Zofia Czarnkowska née Herbut. Nowe Dwory was one of the first Dutch settlements in Greater Poland. The settlers themselves did not arrive directly from the Netherlands, but came at the invitation of Zofia Czarnkowska from a number of areas located by the Vistula river. The charter for the village was issued in 1601 by Jan Czarnkowski. Initially, the residents of the village were members of the Evangelical community in Zielonowo.

The first house of prayer, located on the site of the existing church, is known to have existed back in 1615. Earlier literature on the subject supported the view that this 17-th century church was destroyed in 1791 as a result of a fire, with only the tower being saved from the blaze. It was to this tower that Johan Schoeneeck, a master builder from Górnica, added a new body in 1792. The 17th-century tower was subsequently dismantled and reassembled in 1928. Recently, however, a new theory appeared which provides that the church was in fact built in two stages. The first house of prayer was erected between 1608 and 1615. It was a wooden structure with walls made of wooden logs; designed on a rectangular floor plan, it followed an aisleless layout and featured a gable roof most likely topped with a steeple. Somewhere around 1700, the original building was reinforced through the addition of an openwork timber frame and a new roof truss; a tower was also constructed during that time, with new windows being added in the northern wall. The interior of the church has also been transformed, including the addition of new galleries. In 1791, the upper section of the tower, the roof cladding and, most likely, some of the roof truss, were all damaged as a result of lightning strike. The repairs were carried out by J. Schoeneeck, a carpenter. However, because these repairs proved not to have been performed to the highest standards, this section of the church was dismantled and then reconstructed in years 1928-29. In 1860, the foundation and the timber frame were repaired. In 1892, the interior was renovated.

After 1945, the building was taken over by the Catholic Church. The church was incorporated into the parish in Krzyż Wielkopolski, while in 1951 it became part of the newly established parish of Our Lady of Sorrows (currently known as the parish of St Roch) in Wieleń. The southern and northern galleries have both been dismantled. The western gallery was adapted for use by the choir, with the eastern gallery being boarded up to make an additional, enclosed room. In 1998, new wood panelling was installed.

Description

The church is located in the centre of the village, on a small, artificial hill on the southern side of the road from Czarnków to Wieleń which runs alongside the northern bank of the Noteć river. An alley of lime trees runs from the gate towards the church. A cemetery, circumscribed in parts by sections of a brick and stone wall, is located in front of the church. In the graveyard, there is a monument to the residents of the village who died during World War I. A wooden belfry is located in the southern part of the cemetery. The Baroque church, designed on a rectangular floor plan, follows an single-nave layout. The building is oriented to the east. The tower, build on a square floor plan, abuts the church from the west and incorporates a sacristy and porch in its ground-floor section. The nave has a tall gable roof with a jerkin head on the eastern side. The entire building is dominated by a tall two-storey tower: the upper section is smaller than the lower section and the two levels are separated by a skirt roof. The tower features a four-sloped skirt roof with convexo-concave planes, with a lantern crowned with a tented roof rising above.

The church is a wooden building, resting on a stone and brick wall base. It is a hybrid design with log structure subsequently reinforced by an external timber frame. The eastern gable features a timber frame with exposed brick infills. The interior walls are covered with plaster. The tower is a post-and-frame structure with king post, set upon stone foundations. The roofs of the church and tower are covered with sheet metal, with the exception of the skirt roof surrounding the tower lantern, which is covered with wood shingles. The interior features a wooden beamed ceiling.

The log walls of the church are encased by a timber frame with no infills. The eastern gable is framed by wide, profiled cornices. The windows and the entrance located on the northern side are topped with segmental arches. A devotional inscription and the date 1792 are carved on the door lintel. The tower walls are covered with vertically positioned weatherboards; large, louvered bell chamber openings pierce the walls in the upper section of the tower.

The interior features a beamed ceiling with exposed beams (with boards filling the spaces between the beams); the ceiling has two crossbeams supported in the east and west by two pairs of pillars, which have originally formed part of the gallery structure. In addition, a transverse crossbeam runs across the middle of the ceiling. One of the beams features an inscription which reads “Johan Schoeneeck” and the date 1792. A separate room is located in the eastern part of the church, behind the altar; the choir gallery with a projecting central section is located in the west.

Original fixtures and fittings of the church include, inter alia, the Late Baroque architectural main altarpiece adorned with reliefs depicting the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Last Supper as well as figures of the Four Evangelists. A feature which deserves a particular attention are the painted stained glass windows dating back to 1615, positioned in a window in the eastern wall of the church; these feature both heraldic motifs and the depiction of St Andrew.

The church may be viewed from the outside and - following prior appointment - from the inside. More information as well as the Holy Mass schedule is available at the website of the Koszalin-Kołobrzeg Diocese (www.koszalin.opoka.org.pl).

compiled by Krzysztof Jodłowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 11-08-2014.

Bibliography

  • Drewniane kościoły w Wielkopolsce, koncepcja, teksty i wybór fotografii P. Maluśkiewicz, Poznań 2004, s. 171-73.
  • Jankowski A., Kościoły drewniane o zdwojonej konstrukcji ścian w Wielkopolsce, Bydgoszcz 2009, s. 255-58.
  • Jankowski A., Uczciwi mężowie narodu olęderskiego i ich drewniany dom modlitwy w Nowych Dworach nad Notecią, „Kronika Wielkopolski”, 2006, nr 3, s. 5-21.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. V, z. 18: powiat trzcianecki, Warszawa 1966, s. 8-9.
  • Kohte J., Verzeichnis der Kunstdenkmaeler der Provinz Posen, Bd. IV, Berlin 1897, s. 186.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1608-1615
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Nowe Dwory
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district czarnkowsko-trzcianecki, commune Wieleń - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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