The parish church of St Stanislaus Kostka, Sianów
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The parish church of St Stanislaus Kostka

Sianów

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The church constitutes an interesting example of how a masonry structure erected according to Late Gothic traditions became combined with 18th-century timber-framing and Renaissance interior fittings. The brick tower topped with a cupola with roof lantern remains a relic of the original, medieval church and continues to define the landscape of the town. The nave retains its original architectural form and structure and is now the only surviving half-timbered parish church (Pfarrkirche) in all of Western Pomerania. The Renaissance fixtures and fittings speak volumes about both the fine workmanship of the artisans involved in its creation as well as of the generosity of the benefactors of the church.

History

The church in Sianów was constructed in two distinct stages. The brick tower dates back to the late 15th/early 16th century, originally adjoining a brick and stone church from the mid- 14th century. This church had been of an aisleless design, featuring a semi-hexagonal chancel and a tower covered with a gable roof topped with a spire, as evidenced by the map produced by Lubinus in the year 1618. In 1665, the tower roof was redesigned. From the 17th century until the early 20th century, the building served as a filial church forming part of the parish in Sucha, remaining under the continuing patronage of the lords of the local manor. The medieval nave was destroyed during the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763). The existing half-timbered church was erected in 1793; it was designed on a floor plan which followed that of its medieval predecessor and, following completion, was fitted with what remained of the fixtures and fittings from the earlier church. The conclusions reached by researchers as to the age of the half-timbered nave are confirmed by the surviving historical plans, a leaden inscription plaque which reads “MDCCLXXXXIII” as well as by the details of the architecture of the church itself. The interiors were redesigned during the 19th century; the bells and pipe organ were installed during the same period. In 1906, a separate parish in Sianów was established, with a renovation of the church following in subsequent years. The lower portions of the southern wall were replaced and a new, northern porch was added. After 1945, the church underwent restoration on several occasions, with the works in question encompassing its walls, roof, tower and interior fittings; during the period in question, the church received a new, Renaissance altarpiece which was relocated here from the church in Cieszyn (Biesiekierz commune).

Description

The church of St Stanislaus Kostka is located in the western part of the town, at the outskirts of the old town complex, on the southern side of Kościelna street. The church stands on an old, historic plot of land. It is an aisleless church, oriented towards the east and featuring a chancel with semi-hexagonal termination as well as a tower topped with a pyramid roof surmounted by a roof lantern. The architectural form of the church is typical of the timber-framed ecclesiastical buildings erected in Western Pomerania during the 17th and 18th century, while the tower retains its Late Gothic form and architectural décor. The nave was designed on a rectangular floor plan, with a semi-hexagonal eastern end section, its total dimensions being 26.9 x 9.7 metres. A medieval tower measuring 6 x 5.5 metres at its base adjoins the western wall of the church, while a small porch (2.2 x 1.6 metres) projects from the northern façade. The main entrance to the church is positioned in the western façade of the tower. The historical church is a tripartite structure consisting of the nave, the tower and the northern annex as well as the southern sacristy. The nave is covered with a tall gable roof with a total height of approximately 11 metres. The chancel section of the church features a three-sided roof. The four-storey tower is topped with a stepped cupola consisting of a lower section shaped as a pyramid roof and an upper section comprising a roof lantern, cupola and spire. The peripheral walls of the nave feature a timber-framed structure with period brick infills. The timber frame consists of a regular arrangement of posts positioned on the sill plate, fastened with top plates and bound together with three layers of wooden beams. No diagonal braces are present in the wall structure. The carpentry joints are secured by means of wooden pins; some parts of the structure are also bound together using metal flat bars which are a later addition. The walls of the tower are made of ceramic brick (Gothic bond) and feature the use of overburnt brick as well as a few field stones and even millstones in the lower parts of the façades; the brick structure of the walls is left exposed, with no plaster finish applied to this part of the church. Wooden ceilings with exposed beams are used for both the nave and the individual storeys of the tower; the ceilings inside the church hall (nave) have been retrofitted with planked panelling. The church features the original wooden king post truss. All roof surfaces are covered with sheet metal, replacing the original cladding. The planked wooden front door of the church dates back to the 19th century. The 20th century solid-frame, single-rebate wooden casement windows are divided into several smaller panes. The façades of the nave exhibit no particular features indicating a specific architectural style, the arrangement of their axial divisions being highly diverse. The overall aesthetic appeal of the façades stems from the presence of the exposed timber frame, with the infills between the beams being covered with plaster and painted white. The brick façades of the tower retain their original texture and colour scheme, with the bricks being laid in the so-called Gothic bond; the tower façades are accentuated by tall, arched bell openings and blind windows, rows of exposed putlock holes as well as millstones embedded in the lower section of the western wall. The entrance is framed with an archivolt portal topped with a pointed arch. The interior consists of the main hall (nave) with a separate eastern chancel section, the vestibule located on the ground floor level of the tower, the porch adjoining the northern wall as well as the modern sacristy. Historic fixtures and fittings consists of a number of items moved to the existing church from its Gothic predecessor, relocated from other churches as well as created from scratch during the 19th century. The most valuable fixtures and fittings are the wooden crucifix (14th/15th century), the Renaissance main altarpiece (1632) as well as the Late Renaissance side altarpiece (first half of the 17th century), the pulpit adorned with a figure of Moses and the baptismal font.

The church can be viewed from the outside. Viewing of the interior is only possible with the consent of the parish priest.

compiled by Waldemar Witek, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Szczecin, 30-01-2015.

Bibliography

  • Witek M.W., Zabudowa ryglowa w przestrzeni miast powiatu sławieńskiego. [in:] Historia i Kultura Ziemi Sławieńskiej, Vol. XI Ośrodki miejskie, W. Rączkowski, J. Sroka (eds), Sławno 2013, pp. 199-220.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: koniec XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kościelna 3, Sianów
  • Location: Voivodeship zachodniopomorskie, district koszaliński, commune Sianów - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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