Manor house, Strzmiele
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Zdjęcie panoramiczne tej lokalizacji jest niedostępne.

photo

An intriguing example of a nobleman’s country residence constructed in several distinct phases throughout the 17th and the 18th century. Throughout the ages, the village of Strzmiele has witnessed a number of important historical events, having served as the place of residence of an old and distinguished noble family - the house of Bork.

History

Throughout the years, the village of Strzmiele (known as Stramehl until 1945) has served as the place of residence of one of the most ancient and mighty knightly families in all Pomerania - one that could trace its lineage all the way to its old, Slavic roots. In 1255, having given up his office, Bork, the former castellan of Kołobrzeg, decided to settle in his domain, located in the area near Resko and Łobez - a region that had, at the time, been a borderland region. Not far away from his estate ran the boundary between Brandenburg, Western Pomerania and Poland. The first written mentions of the village of Strzmiele date back to the year 1288, back when it had been known under a different name - Wolfsberg (Wolf Mountain). According to the literature on the subject, in the local Slavic dialect the word “Bork” was used to describe that very creature - the wolf. This seems to be confirmed by the fact that the Bork family crest portrayed a pair of wolves on the run. It is believed that a castle was erected in Strzmiele back in the 13th century, inside the meander of a local stream, north of the present village. All that remains of that castle today is a motte surrounded by waterlogged meadows. The structure consisted of the so-called high castle and the lower castle (the castle grounds), designed on a roughly rectangular floor plan. A small settlement has sprung up near the castle; later on, having evolved and expanded, it was chartered as a town under the Lübeck law. Since the Bork family was considered to act with a degree of independence from the Pomeranian dukes that could no longer be tolerated, in 1338 the castle in Strzmiele was besieged and razed to the ground at the order of duke Barnim III the Great. A man named Borante - the son of the family patriarch - is known to have been slain during the siege. In the course of the peace negotiations that followed, the Bork family has pledged not to erect any new castles in their domains. It is believed that the newly chartered town has also suffered substantial damage during the raid that took place in 1338. After the raid, its very name was changed to “Stramehl” - a reference to the stream that ran across the village; yet despite the loss of significance, Strzmiele continued to be referred to as a town even during the 18th century.

During the conflict between Poland and the Teutonic Order, war came to Strzmiele once again. In 1388, Maćko Borek (Matzke von Borcke) and Eckhard von dem Wolde abducted duke William I of Guelders and Jülich, who had been on his way towards Malbork (Marienburg) to join in the crusade against the pagans of Lithuania. The entire scheme was put in place at the request of Władysław Jagiełło, the king of Poland, who also provided the necessary funds. The news of the resulting scandal are known to have reached as far as Rome itself. By way of retaliation, the Teutonic Knights have attacked Maćko Borek’s castle in Strzmiele and burned it down. According to postwar literature, a new castle has been built there at the time on the site of the existing manor house. This, however, appears unlikely, since even 16th-century documents from 1551 and 1583 contain descriptions of the old castle, located inside the meander of the local stream, fragments of which can still be seen today. According to these sources, the structure consisted of the so-called high castle and the lower castle (the castle grounds). The castle was surrounded by a perimeter wall, an earthen rampart and a moat. Inside the castle walls stood a two-storey residential building known simply as “the house”. The ground floor level contained three rooms in total. In 1534 or 1540, the infamous Pomeranian witch Sidonia von Borcke - executed by beheading in Szczecin in the year 1620 - was born at the medieval castle in Strzmiele. During the 19th century, Sidonia became the heroine of a novel by J. W. Meinhold as well as a theme of one of the paintings by the renowned English artist E. Burne-Jons.

The crumbling ancient castle, located amidst waterlogged marshes, is believed to have been ultimately abandoned at the turn of the 17th century. E. Lubinus, the creator of the great map of the Duchy of Pomerania, is known to have spent a night in Strzmiele on August 30/31, 1612. According to the famous cartographer’s own words, he was received by Adrian Bork, who prepared the sleeping quarters for him at an unspecified farmhouse or manor house (“Hoff”). The new family residence was erected during the first quarter of the 17th century, on the site of the former town located west of the old castle, near the local church. It is known that Adrian von Borcke, a counsellor in the city of Speyer, has passed his lands to his family under a will along with the still unfinished manor house. The new residence was erected on an artificial hill designed on a roughly square plan and surrounded by a moat. The exact appearance of this building, however, is shrouded in mystery. What we can tell for sure is that the building had been a masonry structure, since fragments thereof have survived to the present day. Based on a study of other residences of the nobility erected in those times one may assume that the manor house complex in Strzmiele was surrounded by a perimeter wall and still had certain provisions for a defensive function; a single embrasure has survived to the present day. A gate with a drawbridge is believed to have been located in the south-western section of the complex. The building was gradually modernised throughout the ages.

In the 18th century, a stone bridge was constructed, while the former curtain wall was partially or completely torn down and replaced with a new, brick wall. Following a comprehensive redesign of the complex in the first half 18th century, a new building came into being, rising above a tall semi-basement and featuring a two-storey entrance avant-corps positioned on its middle axis. The shape of the roof remains unknown. Based on the analysis of other contemporary buildings of this kind, one may suspect that the manor house originally featured a mansard roof. According to the author of the postwar historical and architectural documentation of the building, the entrance was preceded by a double stairway with a central platform positioned on the building’s axis; the exact appearance of these stairs remains shrouded in mystery. An elongated cellar entrance section (the so-called “cellar neck” - Kellerhals) with a wide entrance door was positioned beneath the middle section of the double stairway. The basement level is believed to have been used as the stable - a remarkably popular design feature that was used not only for country homes, but for some tenement houses as well.

From 1742 onwards, the village of Strzmiele remained in the hands of the Loeper family, who originated from the burgher class. Somewhere around the year 1780, Jan Jerzy Loeper had the old residence modernised once again. It was at that point that a pair of small buildings of the kind known in the German literature on the subject as the Kavaliershaus (guest house, literally “cavalier house”) was erected. The main building was redesigned, receiving the existing mansard roof with jerkin heads. The gable rising above the front entrance avant-corps was either remodelled or constructed from scratch. The original double stairs were replaced with a single flight of steps, resulting in the wide cellar entrance being bricked up, with a new, smaller side entrance being added instead. The manor house is known to have housed a library and a valuable collection of numismatics. In 1786, Johann Georg Loeper, the erstwhile owner of the manor, was granted a knighthood.

During the second or third quarter of the 19th century, the stone bridge was demolished and the south-western part of the moat was filled with earth to make way for a broad driveway. A new curtain wall fragment with gate posts was constructed. The manor house itself was extended through the addition of a monumental terraced avant-corps on its north-eastern side as well as a wooden colonnaded porch adjoining the house to the south-west. After 1945, the manor was taken over by the state, while the palace itself remained under the control of the Radłowo Małe commune, serving as a residential building. In 1966, the house was abandoned and was slowly descending into a state of ruin. In 1987, the dilapidated manor house was taken over by the State Archives, leading to the commencement of a comprehensive renovation; unfortunately, in the course of adaptation works, the Classicist porch was dismantled despite the high quality of workmanship which was evident in its appearance. In addition, the original stairs dating back to ca. 1780 were demolished and replaced with the existing ones - a rather inept attempt at mimicking the design of typical exterior palace stairways from the first half of the 18th century. In addition, the entrance door was accentuated with a faux Baroque portal, which was done in complete disregard of the existing monument conservation practices. The shape of the original window opening in the gable was also modified. Another event which had a particularly detrimental effect on the overall visibility and appearance of the building was the decision to fill the 16th-century moat with earth and soil in order to make way for an access road leading to the parking lot (years 2005-2010).

Description

The manor house is located in the northern part of the Strzmiele village, situated in a lowland area surrounded by hills. North of the manor house lie the fields criss-crossed by a network of waterways, with the village buildings located to the south. A small stream meanders through the flat terrain on the western side of the manor house; remains of a large, medieval castle can be found inside one of its bends. A church from the 17th/18th century designed in a mixture of the Renaissance and Baroque styles as well as remnants of the former grange are both situated in the immediate vicinity of the manor house. Vestiges of a garden with an alley leading up to the manor house can be found on the northern and eastern side thereof. Numerous old trees surround the manor house, including an ancient oak named Maćko with a trunk diameter of 605 cm.

The manor house is a simple and restrained Baroque building with Classical influences, its design quite typical for other buildings of its kind erected in Western Pomerania at the time. Other, similar manor houses are known to have existed in Stolec, Siemczyno, Łoźnica (now in a state of ruin) and Radowo Wielkie (no longer extant). The design cues used for the manor house in Strzmiele were also popular in other Protestant countries in Europe. For example, a surviving nobleman’s residence in Döbbelin in the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, built in 1734, features a strikingly similar façade and distinctive, austere detailing.

The manor house complex in Strzmiele is located on an artificial hill designed on a roughly square plan, surrounded by vestiges of a moat. The manor house complex is surrounded by a brick perimeter wall. The residence consists of the manor house itself as well as a pair of small pavilions of the kind known as the Kavaliershaus (guest house, literally “cavalier house”) which flank the entrance gate.

Designed on a rectangular floor plan, the manor house features a pair of avant-corps; the front (western) avant-corps projects only slightly beyond the building’s outline, while the second (eastern) avant-corps which faces the park is rather more substantial. A double exterior stairway with a landing on the middle axis of the structure adjoins the front avant-corps. The manor house is a single-storey structure with a tall semi-basement. The main body is covered with a mansard roof with dormers, while the entrance avant-corps features a gable roof. The two-storey western avant-corps is topped with a flat roof which doubles as a terrace.

The building is made of stone (basement level) and brick. The manor house and the perimeter wall have attained their present appearance in several stages, hence the differences as to the construction techniques used and the size of ashlar blocks and bricks in the individual sections of the building’s walls. Most of the façades are now covered with plaster. Only the ground-floor level of the eastern avant-corps was lined with field stones. The stones forming part of the surface of the wall are finely dressed; the corner sections where individual parts of the wall meet were approached with a somewhat lesser attention to detail, however, with small stones being used to fill in the gaps.

The rather austere façades of the manor house feature a tall wall base and a profiled cornice at the top. The corners of the Baroque corps de logis and the entrance avant-corps are accentuated with rusticated lesenes. The rectangular windows are framed with plain, eared window surrounds. The symmetrical front façade is topped with a Late Baroque gable with a convexo-concave outline, its middle section accentuated with paired, plain lesenes. The main entrance is accentuated by a simple portal consisting of a pair of rusticated pilasters supporting a pediment in the form of a cornice following an elliptical outline. A rectangular cellar entrance is positioned on the axis of the exterior staircase. A bricked-up 17th century window in the southern part of the eastern façade was left exposed during the most recent renovation works.

The Late Classicist eastern avant-corps is accentuated with smooth corner pilaster strips and a plain parapet. The windows are topped with round arches and framed with surrounds in the form of simple bands.

The Late Baroque guest pavilions were designed on a roughly rectangular floor plan. Both of these single-storey buildings are covered with tented roofs. Their façades follow a single-axial layout, pierced with window openings framed with plain surrounds with keystones in the lintel; the windows themselves are either rectangular or topped with segmental arches.

The interior of the manor house follows a two-bay layout with an entrance vestibule positioned on the middle axis. Inside the rear bay, in the southern section, there is a long drawing room with wooden winder stairs. The room in the eastern avant-corps was most likely originally intended as another drawing room, its windows facing the garden. The current interior arrangement is the result of the reconstruction works performed at the manor house. The only surviving trace of the original décor is the single wooden door surround from the third quarter of the 19th century. The basement beneath the manor house deserves a particular attention, with its original, monumental barrel and double barrel vaults. The large hall in the first suite of rooms on the axis of the building likewise conveys the impression of grandeur, with its six-bay vaulted ceiling supported by two pillars in the middle of the room. A 16th-century embrasure can still be admired in the wall between the corps de logis and the eastern avant-corps. The guest pavilions feature single, open-space interiors. Remnants of the former fireplaces have survived inside the walls.

The building can only be viewed from the outside.

compiled by Radosław Walkiewicz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Szczecin, 16.03.2015.

Bibliography

  • Berghaus H., Landbuch des Herzogthums Pommer und Fürstentums Pommern und Fürstentums Rügen., II Th. Bd VI, Anklamm-Berlin 1870 r., pp. 1858-1865
  • Brüggemann L., Ausführliche Beschreibung des gegenwärtigen Zustandes des Königl. Preusischen Herzogthums Vor-und Hinterpommern., I Th., II Bd., Stettin 1784, pp. 354-355
  • Kąsinowska R., Dwór i kościół w Strzmielu. Historical and conservation documentation. Szczecin 1966, collection of the Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Szczecin
  • Zamki i rezydencje na Pomorzu. Szczecin 2006 pp. 119-122
  • Lubins Reise durch Ostpreussen im Jahr 1612 [in]: “Baltische Studien”., Jg. 14, Heft 1, 1850, pp. 1-25

General information

  • Type: manor house
  • Chronology: pierwsza ćw. XVII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Strzmiele
  • Location: Voivodeship zachodniopomorskie, district łobeski, commune Radowo Małe
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

Licence:

report issue with this site

Geoportal Map

Google Map

See also in this area