Parish Church of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Starygród
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Parish Church of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Starygród

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The Church of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Starygród, built in the mid-17th century, is one of a dozen or so wooden churches in Greater Poland which have a double wall structure. On the west side, it is adjoined by a tower having a post-and-frame structure, covered with weatherboards and with eternit in the upper part, and topped with an onion-shaped roof with a lantern. Inside, there are wall paintings by Tadeusz Szukała.

History

Stary Gród is a small village which was established beside a fortified settlement upon the Orla River, which probably existed as early as in the 11th century. The village was referred to as a castellan’s seat in the years 1232-1406. From the mid-13th century to 1412, it belonged to a Benedictine monastery in Lubiń. Then, it was owned successively by the Starogrodzki family, the Lubiatowski-Jutroski family, in the 16th century — the Konarski family, and at the beginning of the 17th century — by the Zborowskis and the Sieniuts. The next owners were the Żdżarowski family, followed by the Walknowskis (from 1660), and the Umińskis and the Sokolnickis (in the 18th century). In the 19th century, it belonged to the Pruskis, Bronikowskis, Mielżyńskis, and — until 1939 — to the Chełkowskis. The first church was founded by the Order of Saint Benedict in the 13th century. The first local parish-priest was mentioned in sources dating from 1421. A wooden church was mentioned in 1570. The present church, founded by Wojciech Żdżarowski, the contemporary owner of the village, was built in around mid-17th century; it replaced a previous church building. It was dedicated to Saints Adalbert and Stanislaus the Bishops in 1668. In 1736, the church underwent restoration financed by the Umiński family and the parish-priest Goliński. The sacristy was converted into a two-storeyed founder’s loge, the interior was redecorated, and the church fittings were replaced, including the altars and the pulpit. In c. 1800, owing to the efforts of the owner of the village, Paweł Sokolnicki, and the parish-priest Ignacy Bogucki, the church underwent full-scale renovations. A new tower was constructed, a new sacristy (without a founder’s loge) was built, and new weatherboards were installed. In 1850, the tower and the western part of the main body were destroyed by a strike of lightning; they were reconstructed in 1852 owing to the efforts of Aleksander Mielżyński. In 1888, a small post-and-beam vestibule was added to the sacristy. The music gallery was modified in 1917. The church underwent extensive renovations in 1927 (the wood shingles covering the roof were replaced with eternit covering). The interior was redecorated most recently in the years 1967-1968. It was then that the wall paintings were executed by Teodor Szukała.

Description

The Parish Church of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary is oriented towards the east. It has a wooden log structure resting on a newer wall, enclosed with a frame structure without infill and covered with weatherboards. The tower has a post-and-beam structure. By the nave, on the west side, there is a tower, partially merged with the main body of the church. It contains a porch at the ground floor level. The chancel, terminated polygonally, is narrower than the nave. It is adjoined by a sacristy with a vestibule on the north side. Inside, there is a flat ceiling. On the rood beam, chamfered and profiled, there is a crucifix, most likely dating from the 18th century, and two folk sculptures from the 2nd half of the 19th century: Our Lady of Sorrows and Mary Magdalene. The music gallery, constructed in 1817, is supported by two columns. The parapet bulges out in the centre; the straight sections on its both sides were added in 1852. The parapet panels are decorated with images of musical instruments (painted in 1819) and three carved heads of angels from the Baroque period. The rectangular windows of the church are headed by segmental arches. The exterior walls are crowned with a profiled cornice. The tower is covered with eternit and topped with an onion-shaped roof with a lantern. Over the west entrance, below a small roof, there is a crucifix from the late 16th and early 17th century. The church is topped with gable roofs with eternit covering. The notable elements of the interior include three Baroque altars founded by Rev. Gielski, dating from c. 1720. They may be works of the woodcarver Jan Skoroszyński of Zduny. The architectural main altar features altar gates above which there are sculptures of Saints Adalbert and Stanislaus the Bishops. In the central field, there is a painting of Our Lady of the Snows from the 17th century, fully repainted. On a sliding altar panel, there is a painting depicting the Crucifixion of Jesus, painted by A. Szymański from Pleszew in 1908. At the top, there are sculptures of Saints Casimir, Jadwiga, and Potamiana the Martyr, dating from 1908. By the arch separating the chancel and the nave, there are two non-architectural side altars adorned with acanthus motifs. They incorporate modern paintings: of St Stanislaus and Our Lady of Sorrows (the left one) and of Mary Magdalene and Jesus of Sorrows (the right one), also painted by A. Szymański in c. 1908. The Baroque pulpit dates from around mid-18th century. The Baroque baptismal font, bearing folk features, comes from the first half of the 18th century. It features a sculpture of an angel holding a vessel. The church is surrounded by a graveyard, covering an area in the shape of an irregular trapezium. It is enclosed with a brick plastered wall with square posts with pyramidal tops. On the west side, there is a gate and two wicket gates. A number of trees grow in the graveyard, predominantly lime trees and elms. The undergrowth is dominated by ivy. To the north of the church, there is a wooden bell tower covered with a gable roof. To the south-west of the church, incorporated into the wall, is the Romanesque Revival tomb of the Chełkowski family, built in the 4th quarter of the 19th century. Built on a rectangular floor plan, it has two storeys and a crypt. It is topped with a gable roof with slate covering. It is made of brick (not plastered). The corners are decorated with double lesenes. Below the crowning cornice, there are arcaded friezes. In the front façade, there is a stone portal flanked by columns. Above, there is a relief depicting the coat of arms of the Chełkowski family. Each side façade has one axis; the windows are headed by semi-circular arches. The chapel has a pseudo-open wooden roof truss with an ornament decorating the boards. To the north-west of the church is the tomb of Jan Nepomucen Węgorzewski, Royal Chamberlain, erected in the 1st half of the 19th century. It has a rectangular floor plan. The walls are made of brick and covered with plaster. It has a gable roof with a type of parapet. Over the entrance, there is an epitaph plaque. The graveyard also contains a dozen or so graves from the 2nd half of the 19th century and early 20th century.

The church may be visited inside during Holy Masses.

compiled by Beata Marzęta, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 27-11-2015.

Bibliography

  • Jankowski A., Kościoły drewniane o zdwojonej konstrukcji ścian w Wielkopolsce, Bydgoszcz 2009, 304-307.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, woj. poznańskie, t. V, z. 4, pow. gostyński, oprac. T. Ruszczyńska, A. Sławska, Warszawa 1980, s. 53-55.
  • Zgodziński B., Województwo leszczyńskie, Warszawa-Poznań 1989, s. 353

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: poł. XVII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Starygród 16
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district krotoszyński, commune Kobylin - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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