Motte, Ruda Śląska
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
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The medieval motte in Kochłowice is one of the few sites of its kind in Upper Silesia. These structures have their origins in the 8th century, when the wooden and earthen Norman fortified structures known as motte-and-bailey castles first started to appear. The remnants of the wooden and earthen structure in Ruda Śląska are the oldest site in the entire district which has been inscribed into the register of monuments. The remnants of the structure are inextricably linked to the origins of the town and the surrounding region and form a valuable source of information on their history. The fortified structure came into being in the second half of the 13th century and remained in use until the late 14th century or even the early 15th century. The motte in Kochłowice is one of the best-preserved structures of this kind in the entire Upper Silesia region. It remains clearly visible in the surrounding terrain and features well-preserved cultural layers containing various archaeological artefacts, both moveable and immoveable.

History

The absence of written sources of information concerning the motte has made it impossible to determine the identity of its builders or its exact age; the date of its destruction is likewise shrouded in mystery. Nevertheless, one may suspect that the structure was already gone in the mid- 15th century. This is because a document dating back to 1451 has come to light which describes an exchange of real estate in Kochłowice and in which duke Wacław of Cieszyn makes no mention of the motte-and-bailey castle whatsoever, even though one would suspect he should by all means have done so, since omitting this information placed him at a disadvantage. A slightly more recent, brief mention of a sale of land from 1467 has also been discovered from which it is clear that the fortified complex was already gone by that time. The excavations made have led to the conclusion that the historical monument dates back to the period between the mid-13th century and the late 14th century, or even the early 15th century. In addition, archaeological studies show that the complex has been engulfed by the flames at the very end, even though the exact cause of the fire remains unknown.

Description

The remnants of the motte-and-bailey castle are situated ca. 1.1 kilometre to the north-west from the centre of Kochłowice, right next to the sewage treatment plant. The historical monument is situated at the fork of a small river known as Kochłowianka (Kochłówka) and a small stream named Przykopa. The motte-and-bailey castle was constructed on the right (northern) bank of the Kochłowianka river, on a natural promontory projecting from the river terrace. The form of the motte is easily distinguishable among the surrounding terrain, presenting itself as a monumental earthen mound surrounded by a wide, deep moat. The mound, rising at 259.7 metres above sea level, features an irregular, roughly oval plan, its dimensions being ca. 60 x 70 meters. The total surface area of the earthen structure is about 0.3 hectares, or 0.5 hectares if we choose to include the moat. The northern side of the mound and the moat are very well defined, while the southern boundaries of the site appear much less distinguishable.

Archaeological surveys of the site were carried out in 1980 (Jacek Pierzak) and in the years 2013-2014 (Dariusz Goiński). The relics of the structure have been duly documented, as have the numerous moveable artefacts unearthed on the site. In the course of the most recent survey, timber samples were collected for the purposes of carrying out a dendrochronological analysis which should make it possible for the date of establishment of the structure to be determined with a greater degree of precision.

According to J. Pierzak, the motte-and-bailey castle served as the seat of a local knightly family and combined residential, utility and defence functions. A residential fortified tower (keep) made of wood was perched at the apex of the earthen structure. This tower may in fact have been the only substantial structure on the entire site. The tower was most likely designed on a square floor plan, as a three- or four-storey structure, its walls lined with a thick layer of clay. The motte-and-bailey castle most likely also came equipped with a palisade, which, coupled with the wide moat, enhanced the defence capabilities of the complex.

The site is accessible all year round.

compiled by Michał Bugaj, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 05-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Jakimowicz R., Bąk S., Atlas grodzisk i zamczysk śląskich, Cracow 1939.
  • Pierzak J., Średniowieczny gródek stożkowaty w Rudzie Śląskiej - Kochłowicach, “Studia i materiały z dziejów Śląska” 1987, vol. 17, pp. 388-405.
  • Pierzak J., Średniowieczny gródek stożkowaty w Rudzie Śląskiej - Kochłowicach, [in:] Smierz M. (ed.), “650 lat Kochłowic”, Ruda Śląska 2012.

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: poł. XIII w.- pocz. XV.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Ruda Śląska
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district Ruda Śląska, commune Ruda Śląska
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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