Parish church of the St Margaret, Stara Łomnica
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Parish church of the St Margaret

Stara Łomnica

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The parish church of St Margaret is the quintessential example of a mid-17th century Baroque redesign of a church located in the Kłodzko Region - a process whereby the substance of an older structure would become imbued with new design elements.

History

The parish in Stara Łomnica is known to have existed back in 1361, with the local parish church of St Margaret, with its square chancel and short nave being erected somewhere around the mid- 14th century. In the 4th quarter of the 15th century the chancel was joined by a masonry tower. During the Reformation period in the years 1552-1622, the church remained in the hands of the Protestant community. It was reclaimed by the Catholics in 1622 and incorporated into the Gorzanów parish; in 1685, the church was redesigned, although its medieval walls were preserved intact. The nave was extended, while the chancel was joined by an annex containing the patrons’ gallery earmarked for the owners of the surrounding lands - a nod towards the local custom first introduced by the Protestants. The uppermost storey of the tower, designed on an octagonal plan, was extended upwards during this period. The appearance of the façade and interior of the church was modernised. The façades received a completely new décor, as did the interiors of the church, which were now graced by new, plasterwork decorations. Decorative stone detailing was also added. In 1755, at the request of the lord of the manor, count von Herberstein from Gorzanów, the parish in Stara Łomnica was reestablished. During the period between the 18th and the 20th century, the church underwent renovation works on numerous occasions. During the period in question, the existing, spacious wooden pipe organ gallery was constructed inside the western part of the nave, its structure supported by sturdy pillars featuring a distinctive, slightly bulbous shafts - a nod towards the wooden architecture of the era. Later on, in years 1912-1932, the interior received its painted decorations, which also extended to the pipe organ gallery parapet and contained numerous references to the Early Baroque period.

The parish church of St Margaret is located in the centre of Stara Łomnica village, at the top of a small hill. Along with the older part of the surrounding cemetery, it is circumscribed with a stone wall, its surface covered with plaster. A 16th-century gatehouse designed in the best traditions of the fortified churches of old forms part of the southern section of the wall. Despite the intervening years and the transformations which took place between the 17th and the 19th century, the gatehouse still features pointed-arch windows designed in the Gothic style. Next to the church there is a rectory (third quarter of the 16th century, 1755), accompanied by a farm designed to serve the needs of the local parish priest. All these buildings taken together form a classic example of a historic church complex

Description

The church of St Margaret was redesigned in the Early Baroque style during the second half of the 17th century. The design was produced by the Italian architect Jacopo Carove, while the actual works were performed by North Italian builders and plasterers whose involvement was most likely provided courtesy of the benefactor of the church, count von Herberstein from Gorzanów. Today, the Early Baroque design remains most readily apparent in the overall shape of the church as well as in the appearance of the plasterwork decorations which bear close similarities to those which grace the church in Gorzanów (1658). The framework articulation, the pipe organ gallery and the painted decorations are all the result of subsequent works carried out between the 18th and the 20th century.

Margaret is oriented towards the east. It is a single-nave brick and stone structure with a distinct chancel designed on a square floor plan and an elongated, rectangular nave. The walls of the main body of the church as well as of its tower and annex alongside the chancel, containing the patrons’ gallery, are all covered with plaster. The silhouette of the church appears compact and unified due to the presence of a single roof covering both the chancel and the nave. Its overall shape is enlivened by the tower on its side, designed on a quadrangular floor plan and featuring an octagonal upper section crowned with a cupola with a roof lantern. The front façade, topped with a triangular gable, features no tower to detract from the purity of its design. The façades of the chancel, nave, sacristy and annex containing the patrons’ gallery are all partitioned with decorative framing and topped with a profiled crowning cornice. The façades are enlivened by the presence of Early Baroque eared portals made of stone. Similar portals - as well as a single Gothic portal topped with a shouldered flat arch - can be found inside the chancel. The ribs of the vaulted ceiling inside the chancel are supported by stone corbels and concealed beneath plasterwork roll-mouldings made up of acanthus leaves tied together with ornamental bands. The ribs converge upon a rosette with a vortical arrangement of petals. The rood arch rises above pedestals adorned with decorative quoins dressed at an angle at the edges and features imposts and plasterwork bands. The window niche surrounds follow a similar design. The flat ceiling of the nave is adorned with a plasterwork cartouche designed in the Early Baroque style. The walls and the ceiling of the nave are adorned with preserved Baroque Revival painted decorations from ca. 1912-1932, incorporating both figural and ornamental motifs, their extensive iconography containing references to the cult of the Virigin Mary as well as to the broadly defined teachings of the Catholic Church (the Holy Family, the Annunciation, the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Visitation, Exodus, images of the Evangelists and saints as well as various scenes from both the Old and the New Testament). The images take the form of wall paintings surrounded by decorative frames, with the exception of the ceiling paintings which are incorporated into plafonds and medallions. The wooden parapet of the pipe organ gallery is adorned with Baroque Revival painted decorations incorporating various foliate motifs. The fixtures and fittings of the church date back mostly to the 17th and 18th century, including the altarpieces combining elements of the Baroque and Rococo styles, the pulpit, the pipe organ casing and a collection of sculptures and oil paintings.

The building is available all year round and may be visited upon prior telephone appointment.

compiled by Iwona Rybka-Ceglecka, National Heritage Board of Poland, Regional Office in Wrocław, 30-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Bach A., Urkundliche Kirchen-Geschichte der Grafschaft Glatz, Breslau 1841, pp. 436-438.
  • Eysymontt K., Studium historyczno-architektoniczne zespołu zabytkowego wsi Stara i Nowa Łomnica, PP PKZ Wrocław 1986, typescript, archive of the National Heritage Board of Poland, Regional Branch in Wrocław
  • Lutsch H., Verzeichniss der Kunstdenkmäler der Provinz Schlesien, Die Kunstdenkmäler der Landkreise des Reg.- Bezirks Breslau, Breslau 1889, Bd. II, p. 63.
  • Rybka-Ceglecka I., Boguszewicz M., Wiśniewska D., Studium środowiska kulturowego gminy Bystrzyca Kłodzka, woj. wałbrzyskie. ROSiOŚK (National Heritage Board of Poland - Regional Branch) Wrocław 1995, typescript, pp. 225-227.
  • Rybka-Ceglecka I., record sheet of the parish church of St Margaret, 1997, Archive of the National Heritage Board of Poland

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: ok. poł. XIV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Stara Łomnica
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district kłodzki, commune Bystrzyca Kłodzka - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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