Cemetery of St Roch, currently cemetery of the church of St Stanislaus, Skierniewice
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Cemetery of St Roch, currently cemetery of the church of St Stanislaus

Skierniewice

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The oldest existing cemetery in Skierniewice - a lapidarium where approx. 360 old legible gravestones made of sandstone and other high-grade masonry materials have survived. Apart from the historical value, it is also valuable from the artistic point of view (Baroque church, tomb chapels, graves, gravestones in the form of obelisks, pedestals, columns, and slabs) as well as in terms of landscape and natural heritage (valuable old-growth trees).

History

In 1367, within the borders of the current cemetery of St Roch, there was a chapel (founded by archbishop Jarosław Skotnicki), in whose place - with the consent of the chapter in Gniezno - a small wooden church was built, which - in 1530 was used as a hospital chapel. From the town residents, archbishop Jan Łaski bought plots located outside the town, by the road leading to Rawa Mazowiecka, to built a church and a hospital (shelter) on them. Next to the church and the hospital, he also established a cemetery, dedicating the whole complex to St Roch. In this way, the archbishop wanted to persuade town residents to decommission the old cemetery by the church of St Jacob, near the manor house of the archbishop. The initiative did not meet with understanding and the cemetery “outside the town” was used only to bury the deceased from the hospital (shelter). Such a situation lasted nearly 250 years, and finally, archbishop Antoni Ostrowski managed to transfer the parish cemetery here. In 1779-1918, the cemetery of St Roch was used as a municipal cemetery. In 1720, primate Stanisław Szembek founded in the place of the old wooden ruined church a new Baroque one made of brick, existing up to this day, dedicated to the patron saint of the primate, St Stanislaus the Bishop. It is assumed that the hospital and cemetery retained their former dedication. At the turn of the 18th and 19th century, the prebendary of the church, priest Franciszek Lewandowski, founded the walls around the church cemetery (approx. 1800) and initiated the construction of a hospital building. Dying in 1803, he expressed his will that all his savings should be earmarked for the completion of the construction and for organising a hospital for the poor, which went bankrupt in 1751. The church cemetery quickly became crowded - mainly with graves which subsided over time. More sumptuous graves were located near the church or by its walls. In 1914, the deceased were virtually not buried in the cemetery of St Roch anymore. The task was taken over by a new cemetery of St Joseph, created in 1911. The cemetery of St Roch was officially closed in 1945 with a decision of the district governor (staroste) of Skierniewice. Over time, part of the necropolis was liquidated - in connection with the construction of Niepodległości Avenue in the 1960s, its area was reduced from 2 ha to 0.6 ha. Currently this area is used as a church cemetery; the church of St Stanislaus, which after the Second World War was a filial church of the church of St Jacob, in the 1990s, under a decision of bishop of Łowicz, became a parish church.

Description

The cemetery, within its current borders, is located at the intersection of Rawska Street and Św. Stanisława Street, in the historical centre of Skierniewice. The area of the cemetery is fenced with a plastered 19th-century brick wall, with gates from Św. Stanisława Street (the historical gate, with arcaded passageway and figure of St Stanislaus on its top), and from Niepodległości Avenue. The parish church of St Stanislaus is a Baroque, oriented building, located in the north-eastern corner of the cemetery, approx. 5-7 m from the cemetery wall. The brick building of the former hospital, which originally had probably another form and size, is situated along the line of the cemetery wall, in the southern frontage of St Stanislaus Street. On the cemetery, there are numerous preserved graves and tombs of outstanding citizens of Skierniewice (including foreigners: Russians, French, and Italians), as well as people of other denominations. The graves are located in the immediate vicinity of the church, from the south, as well as along the paths crossing the cemetery area. The oldest graves come from the years 1820-1830. The following ones are worth particular attention: grave of Ignacy Abramowicz (died 1874), a uprising participant of 1830, “Captain of the Horse Artillery Guard”; tomb of Victor Bernard Vacqueret (died 1869), a former officer of the Napoleon’s army, Chevalier in the Légion d’Honneur; grave slab of Mateusz Morawski founded “for his loyal servant” by Duke Field Marshall Aleksander Bairiatyński; cast iron monument on a sandstone base dedicated to Bolesław Jan Bauman (died 1847); monument on the grave of “the owner of the village of Kamionka” Franciszek Szynd(ar) (died 1842); sandstone slab with rosettes in the corners, commemorating judge and landowner Telesfor Tabaczyński (died 1895); sandstone slabs dedicated to landowner Igancy Leszczyński (died 1875) and “former worker on the Warsaw - Vienna Railway” Edward Lubicz Horomański (died 1901); sandstone monument of Roman Niemirycz (died 1880), Polish officer and landowner.

The historic monument is accessible. It can be visited during the opening hours of the cemetery.

compiled by Jolanta Welc-Jędrzejewska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Łódź, 23-05-2014.

Bibliography

  • Józefacki J., Dzieje Skierniewic 1369-1975, Warszawa 1988.
  • Karta ewidencyjna, Cmentarz św. Rocha, przykościelny, Skierniewice, ul. Stanisławska 1, oprac. Sitnicka J., Warszawa 1985, Archiwum Ośrodka Dokumentacji Zabytków w Warszawie.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t 2: Województwo łódzkie, z. 11, Warszawa 1954.

General information

  • Type: cemetery
  • Chronology: 1530 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: św. Stanisława 1, Skierniewice
  • Location: Voivodeship łódzkie, district Skierniewice, commune Skierniewice
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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