Palace complex, Skoroszów
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The palace in Skoroszów is the result of a few hundred years of constant evolution, having originally begun its life as a knight’s manor house erected back in the Renaissance era. The village of Skoroszów itself, located near the border between Silesia and Greater Poland, remained the property of the bishops of Wrocław for many centuries. Sources dating back to the 14th century refer to the existence of a fortified manor with a garden, two ponds and a mill. Skoroszów remained in the hands of the local bishops in years 1249-1527 and in years 1662-1810. In the years 1527-1662, it was owned by the noble house of Prittwitz. The palace itself was redesigned in the Baroque style before the year 1700. During the 19th century, further alteration works have been performed, with the building being expanded towards the east so that its façade now had two additional axes. The Skoroszów palace remains a fascinating example of how a building could evolve from the 16th century until the present day, undergoing subsequent phases of alteration works. Despite these changes, however, the consecutive strata remain clearly discernible. Apart from its value as a historical monument, the palace also bears testimony to the development of the Polish prison system during the interwar period as well as a place where numerous people have been tortured both during World War II and after the war, when the palace came into the hands of the communist-era secret police, the Department of Security (UB). The remains of the park and the promenade remain a valuable example of landscape design consisting of a communication route, a watercourse, a pair of ponds and a recreational area.

History

In 1222, Skoroszów was donated to the Teutonic Knights by the Silesian duke Henry the Bearded.

In 1249, the village was sold to the bishops of Wrocław.

The very first bishop’s manor house in Skoroszów was erected in the mid-13th century.

In 1399, sources mention the existence of a fortified manor with a garden, two ponds, a mill and arable fields.

In years 1527-1662, the village was the property of the house of Prittwitz; between 1599 and 1661, Skoroszów was divided between the members of this noble family. It was them who erected a manor house in the Renaissance style, although it is also possible that there were in fact two adjoining buildings, perhaps using parts of the previous structures as a starting point.

In the years 1662-1810, Skoroszów became the property of the bishops of Wrocław once again.

Before the year 1700, the palace underwent a redesign in the Baroque style.

In years 1810-1921, the village became part of the Prussian royal domain.

In the 1820s and the 1930s, the palace was extended through the addition of two axis from the east; this redesign resulted in the loss of the building’s symmetry, a typical feature of the Baroque period. It was during that time that the building received its side staircase.

In the early 19th century, the causeway leading towards the mill was lined with trees.

In the 1920s, the former causeway was transformed into a promenade leading to the border crossing with Germany, located about 0.5 kilometres away from the complex.

In the 1920s the manor was divided into smaller parts, with the Ministry of Justice acquiring the palace in 1935 and transforming it into a prison facility and a vocational school for inmates. The new annexes with vestibules and a chapel on the ground floor level were added during this period. The cellars were also divided into smaller sections. The palace continued to serve as a prison until the late 1950s.

During the 1960s, the palace and the manor farm were taken over by the State Agricultural Farm (PGR) in Laski, with the building being adapted for residential purposes.

The building has stood abandoned from the late 1980s onwards. The chapel continued to be in use until 2003.

In 1997, an idea for converting the palace into a nursing home appeared, but the project has never materialised. The original layout of the Renaissance and Baroque-era cellars has been restored.

After 2003, the building received a new roof cladding.

Description

Skoroszów is a village located 20 km to the south-west from Kępno, the centre of the district; it lies on the Smortawa, the right tributary of the Studnica river, in the vicinity of the historical border between Silesia and Greater Poland. The palace and manor farm complex is situated to the west and to the north of the road, which, although little more than a village road today, was once a major route from Rychtal to Namysłów. The Studnica river served as the eastern boundary of the complex, branching into two canals: the eastern one, known as the upper river, and the western one, referred to as the lower river, whose waters powered the mill located towards the south. A causeway lined with trees led from the palace to the mill back in the 19th century, although it might have been there even earlier than that. Two ponds are located south of the palace, on the opposite side of the village road. In the 1920s, the causeway was converted into a promenade leading from the palace to the customs building located on the Polish-German border. Both canals have since dried out, with water being present only in the vicinity of the ponds. The palace park has survived in the form of a relatively small area around the palace, with a few beeches, hornbeams and lindens; the trees alongside the promenade include mostly European ashes, lindens, hornbeams, maples, elms, willows and chestnuts.

According to the surviving documents, the palace was once located at the very centre of the complex. A fountain had once stood north of the building, with a driveway located to the south. A line of mulberries had once led alongside the path towards the village, although not a single trace thereof has survived. As the Skoroszów manor was divided during the 1920s, a new spatial layout has emerged. The palace now stands on a small plot of land ending with a plastered wall towards the east, while the other sides of the plot are marked with a concrete and chain-link fence.

The palace itself is a brick building with plastered walls, its cellars and lower ground floor section being made of stone. The two-storey structure is covered with a clipped-gable roof with eyebrow dormers. Parts of the building feature a basement underneath. The roof is clad with beaver tail roof tiles. The external walls and some of the inner walls are 1.2 metres thick (apart from the eastern section which was added during the 19th century). The palace was designed on a rectangular floor plan, positioned on the east-west axis; its façade follows an 11-axis design and features a faux avant-corps on the southern side of the building which currently serves as its front façade. The western and eastern gable-end façades follow a three- and two-axis design respectively; they are adjoined by annexes originating from a later period than the building itself. The avant-corps follows a three-axis design and is adorned with rusticated lesenes designed in the giant order. On the axis of the façade there is an arched doorway surmounted by the heraldic cartouche of duke Franz Ludwig von Pfalz-Neuburg, the count palatine of Rhein, with the date 1700 (although the Catalogue of Historical Artefacts [KZSz] lists it as the coat of arms of the bishops of Wrocław). The cartouche is believed to have originally adorned the entrance gate and was moved to its present location at a later date. The northern façade - which had once been the front façade of the palace - faces the courtyard and features a 19th-century porch with elaborate wood-carved decorations.

The cellars feature barrel vaults, with some of the vaults featuring lunettes and being supported by arches resting upon stout pillars. The ground floor section of the building features a two-bay layout, with the western part of the palace following a two-and-a-half bay layout; originally, the building featured an axially positioned vestibule with a staircase towards the south. The wooden winder stairs feature decorative, openwork balustrades dating back to the late 17th century. The stairs in the 19th-century section of the building follow a half-landing layout. The vestibule and the chapel feature a groin vault. The ceiling structure in other rooms is made of wood and features the use of counter-ceilings. The doors are adorned with new door surrounds designed in the Renaissance Revival style, made in the 19th century. The attic section features massive structures known as arcaded chimneys (i.e. chimneys which start as a number of separate flues inside the building which then converge into a single chimney at the top), towering above the central and western parts of the building, originating from the 16th and the late 17th century respectively. One of the chimneys also has an adjoining smokery. The chimneys in the easter part of the building date back to the 19th century.

The building can be viewed from the outside. The promenade and the former border crossing are also accessible.

compiled by Teresa Palacz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 7-04-2015.

Bibliography

  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, Ruszczyńska T., Sławska A. (red.), t. V, z. 7 pow. kępiński, s. 19-20, Warszawa 1958.
  • Nowacki Józef, Archidiecezja poznańska w granicach historycznych i jej ustrój, Poznań 1964.
  • Kalinowski Konstanty., Architektura doby baroku na Śląsku, Warszawa 1977.
  • Skoroszów, pow. Kępno - pałac, dokumentacja historyczno-architektoniczna, oprac. Renata Linette, Poznań 1971 [Archiwum OT NID Poznań.
  • Anders Paweł, Województwo kaliskie, szkic monograficzny, Warszawa-Poznań 1983.
  • Łęcki Wł., Wielkopolska - słownik krajoznawczy, Poznań 2002.

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: XVI w
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Skoroszów
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district kępiński, commune Rychtal
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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