The parish church of the Holy Trinity, Rachowice
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The parish church of the Holy Trinity

Rachowice

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A representative example of a small, Late Gothic parish church which has attained its final form in the early modern period, when a makeshift wooden nave was added to the brick chancel section. The result was a unique, hybrid structure - one of the last of its kind in the region, its only direct counterparts being the churches in Sieroty and Gliwice.

History

The very first mentions of the parish church in Rachowice date back to 1447, with the earliest section of the church - the brick chancel and sacristy, designed in the Gothic style, dating back to the late 15th/early 16th century. In years 1667-1668, the chancel received a new, vaulted ceiling, with a wooden nave surmounted by a steeple being added on its western side. In years 1679-1688, a tower was added to the nave. In 1705, the tower was lost to the blaze and was only reconstructed in the final quarter of the 18th century. An open porch was added to the church in 1885. From that moment onwards, the church saw no further transformations, with only renovation and conservation works being performed, including in the years 1902, 1938 and 1945-1957. The interior fixtures and fittings of the church have also been replaced throughout its long history.

Description

The church is an oriented structure, situated in the centre of Rachowice, at the intersection of Rachowicka, Kasztanowa and Wiejska streets, in the vicinity of the former grange. The church is surrounded by a small cemetery - still in active use today - which is circumscribed by a wooden fence with a gate covered with a pyramid-shaped roof. The chancel and the sacristy are both brick structures, while the wooden nave is a wooden log structure positioned on stone foundations. The tower, on the other hand, is a post-and-beam structure. The church, designed on an elongated rectangular plan, consists of the nave and the chancel forming a single, integrated shape, with the chancel featuring a semi-hexagonal end section. The sacristy, adjoining the northern side of the chancel, likewise has a semi-hexagonal termination. The tower, adjoining the western side of the church, was designed on a quadrangular plan. The cuboid silhouette of the church is covered with a single gable roof, with a wooden, hexagonal steeple crowned with a cupola jutting from the roof ridge at the point where the chancel and the nave meet. The nave is surrounded by a cloister-like walkway supported by wooden posts with diagonal braces, its northern section having later been transformed into a small vestibule. The entire walkway is covered with a skirt roof. The dominant feature of the church it its squat, monumental tower with slightly slanted walls, covered with a pyramid hip roof with an octagonal base. The small, single-storey sacristy is covered with a pentagonal roof which forms an extension of the northern section of the chancel roof. The chancel façades are covered with plaster and reinforced with buttresses, with the profiled crowning cornice providing the finishing touch. The walls of the nave and the tower feature a wood shingle cladding. The southern façade of the nave and the chancel is pierced with windows of almost identical size, topped with semi-circular arches. The main entrance, positioned in the western façade of the tower, is preceded by an open porch topped with a gable rooflet. The chancel is separated from the nave by a chancel arch wall with an aperture topped with a semi-circular arch. The chancel features a vaulted ceiling of the barrel type, with lunettes; the vault is supported by engaged pillars standing against the chancel walls. The nave, on the other hand, features a wooden ceiling adorned with stencilled decorations. The northern wall of the chancel features an aperture with a 16th-century wrought iron door leading into the sacristy, accentuated with a semi-circular portal designed in the Baroque style. A wooden organ gallery supported by a pair of profiled posts occupies the western part of the nave. The gallery, with its semi-hexagonal projecting front section, features a decorative balustrade and a 17th-centiry pipe organ casing. 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 sacristy features a vaulted ceiling of the barrel type, with lunettes. Notable interior fixtures and fittings include the pre-1679 Baroque main altarpiece incorporating the painting of the Holy Trinity as well as the sculptures of St Catherine and St Barbara, the two side altarpieces designed in the Late Baroque style, with a painting centred around the Pietà motif incorporated into the altarpiece on the right-hand side, as well as the pulpit dating back to ca. 19th century.

Restricted access to the historical monument. The church is open to visitors directly before and after the Tuesday Mass.

compiled by Agnieszka Olczyk, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 17-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Architectural monument record sheet. The parish church of the Holy Trinity [in Rachowice], compiled by H. Wiąk-Marzec, 1996, Archive of the National Heritage Board of Poland.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, T. VI, woj. katowickie, z. 5: Powiat gliwicki, I. Rejduch-Samkowa, J. Samek (eds.), Warsaw 1974, pp. 67-69.
  • Kloss E., Die Bau- und Kunstdenkmäler des Kreises Tost-Gleiwitz, Breslau 1943, pp. 63-67.
  • Matuszczak J., Kościoły drewniane na Śląsku, Wrocław 1975, p. 12.
  • Rachowice. Kościół parafialny pw. Trójcy Świętej, compiled by B. Kubit, Gliwice Museum (brochure X GDDK 2012).
  • Zabytki Sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, S. Brzezicki, C. Nielsen (eds.), Warsaw 2006, pp. 722.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: XV/XVI w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wiejska 10, Rachowice
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district gliwicki, commune Sośnicowice - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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