Carmelite monastery complex, Trutowo
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Zdjęcie panoramiczne tej lokalizacji jest niedostępne.

Carmelite monastery complex



The monastic complex belongs to a group of small Carmelite monasteries which have survived in the region, its most distinctive feature being the church which shows how monumental design principles which characterised large wall-pillar churches with interior galleries could be scaled down to meet the needs of a provincial place of worship. The interior painted decorations likewise deserve a special mention, displaying an uncanny profusion of sophisticated iconographic themes; unfortunately, the author of the paintings remains unknown.


The monastery was established at the initiative of Jan Rętwiński, who donated an amount of 1500 Polish zlotys to the Carmelite Order in 1710; seven years later, he also bequeathed the village of Trutowo to the monks, accompanied by an additional pecuniary donation, on condition that they would use the money and the land to erect a church and monastery. By 1718, a wooden chapel and a small house for three friars have been completed. The construction of a more durable, masonry structure - which the monks were under an obligation to erect within 6 years according to the terms of the benefactor’s will - was delayed due to the fact that the Rętwiński’s nephews have tried to challenge his testamentary dispositions. In the end, however, the Płock chapter, acting with the authority of Pope Benedict XIIII, examined the dispute in 1725 and ruled in favour of the monks. The exact date of construction of the church is unknown. However, it is certain that the church of St Anne must have already been completed in 1738, since it was during the same year that the interior wall paintings were executed. The construction of the monastery began somewhere around the year 1740 and was completed in 1753, as indicated by the date displayed on the tower cupola weathervane. The church was consecrated in 1770 by bishop Jan Dąbrowski, the suffragan of Wrocław. In 1775, the monastery was inhabited by 15 monks in total.

Following the demolition of the wooden church located in the village of Wola, the local parish was moved to Trutowo in 1835.

Following the thwarted January Uprising, the Carmelite monastery was dissolved by the tsar’s decree in 1864, with the monastery buildings being temporarily taken over by the Russian army. The church was now under the administration of the priests from the local diocese. In 1887, the church underwent renovation works and received some new interior fixtures and fittings. When Poland regained its independence, the parish remained under the administration of the diocese. It was only in 1946 that the Carmelite monks returned to Trutowo.

During the post-war period, the church underwent conservation works on numerous occasions, with the most recent works taking place in the years 2010-14.


The monastery complex is situated on the western side of the local road leading from Wola to the Mazowsze region.

It stands on an elevation the south-western slope of which falls away gently towards the Lubjanka river valley. The church and the monastery form a single, compact ensemble designed on an elongated rectangular floor plan, its longer axis positioned along the north-east - south-west axis. The church is surrounded from three sides by the former cemetery which lies in the shade of old trees and is circumscribed by a perimeter wall, its outer side reinforced with buttresses. The churchyard, designed on a roughly triangular plan, lies south-west of the complex itself.

The church was designed on a T-shaped floor plan, its transverse arm consisting of the square chancel flanked by a pair of rectangular annexes - the sacristy (southern annex) and the former treasury (northern annex). The interior walls of the end section of the chancel feature rounded corners. The chancel itself is separated from the wider, two-bay nave by a chancel arch wall with a semi-circular rood arch. The individual bays of the nave vary in terms of dimensions. The main body of the church is a wall-pillar design with a single open space and a pair of galleries leading alongside the wide walls, accompanied by the central organ gallery which occupies the eastern section of the nave. A row of niches with an elliptical outline sits beneath the galleries, between the supporting pillars. The bay of the nave positioned beneath the tower lies in the western part of the church, partially embedded in the monastery building; the bay positioned directly beneath the tower is flanked by two square-shaped chambers, the southern of which performs the function of the vestibule. A passage leads from the aforementioned westernmost bay towards the hallway running between the two suites of rooms of the monastery.

The chancel features a barrel vault with lunettes, its overall shape being almost semi-domical. The side annexes feature vaulted ceilings of the double barrel type. The nave likewise features a double barrel vault, supported by a double structural arch.

The monastery was designed on an elongated quadrangular plan, its interiors following a two-and-a-half-bay layout with a central hallway flanked by rooms of varying width, some of them arranged in an enfilade layout. The staircase is situated in the southern suite of rooms, halfway through the building. The first-floor level features a similar arrangement. The western corner of the monastery is supported by a monumental buttress. The hallways inside the monastery feature cloister vaults supported by arches. Vaulted ceilings of the barrel type (with lunettes) and of the double-barrel type survive in the northern and southern suites of rooms.

The individual constituent parts of the complex vary in terms of height. The dominant feature of the entire ensemble is the tower, integrated with the main body of the two-storey monastery building. The nave of the church is covered with a gable roof, whereas the chancel and the annexes thereof feature a three-sided roof and shed roofs respectively. The monastery building is covered with a three-sided roof.

The exterior walls of the church feature a pronounced socle and crowning cornice. The side façades of the nave feature two segment-headed windows each, with splayed reveals. The windows are framed with eared surrounds with volutes at the bottom. The chancel façades feature a single window each, their design mirroring that of the nave windows. The eastern façade of the main body of the church features a triangular, windowless gable topped with a segment-headed pediment. The tower is a two-storey structure with lesenes at the corners. The storeys are separated by cornices. The crowning cornice is slightly mitred around the lesenes. Each of the storeys of the southern and northern façades of the tower features a single, segment-headed window. On the western and eastern side, on the other hand, the windows are only present on the second storey. A square tower clock adorns the southern façade, beneath the crowning cornice. The tower is graced by an octagonal bulbous cupola with roof lantern.

The façades of the monastery likewise feature a pronounced socle and crowning cornice, with a simple string course dividing the individual storeys on the southern and western sides of the structure. The southern façade of the monastery follows a ten-axial layout. A portal with entrance door topped with a round arch is positioned on the easternmost axis of the façade; it is accentuated with a profiled surround with keystone and flanked by paired pilasters with impost blocks supporting a simplified entablature, at the edges of which lie two short sections of a split, segment-headed pediment. The window openings on the first floor are rectangular in shape. Blind windows topped with segmental arches and framed with plain surrounds are positioned on the first and fifth axis of the ground floor level (counting from the west). The remaining axes of this façade feature window openings which follow a similar design. The western façade features a single-storey porch positioned on its middle axis. Above the porch there is a window topped with a round arch, flanked by a pair of rectangular window openings. The western corner of the structure is reinforced with a monumental buttress which reaches all the way to the base of the string course above.

The north façade has seen substantial alterations over the years; it follows a ten-axial layout with rectangular window and door openings.

The section of the cemetery wall which adjoins the southern façade of the church features a single gate topped with an elliptical arch, flanked by dual pilasters supporting a simplified entablature surmounted by a triangular pediment. The pediment incorporates a rectangular decorative panel adorned with the image of Elijah on the chariot of fire in bas-relief.

The interior of the church is adorned with painted decorations created by an anonymous artist, portraying, among others, various Eucharistic and Marian motifs as well as the Evangelists and the doctors of the church. A cycle of images devoted to the Carmelite Order graces the gallery parapets. A portrait and coat of arms of the benefactor of the church can be seen beneath the capital of the middle pilaster.

Limited access to the historical monument. The complex may be viewed from the outside. Interiors of the church can be explored before and after church service or other religious ceremonies.

compiled by Piotr Dąbrowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Toruń, 14-12-2014.


  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, vol. 11, Województwo bydgoskie, issue 9: Powiat lipnowski, T. Chrzanowski, M. Kornecki (eds.), Warsaw 1969

General information

  • Type: monastery
  • Chronology: 1725-1738 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Trutowo
  • Location: Voivodeship kujawsko-pomorskie, district lipnowski, commune Kikół
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


report issue with this site

Geoportal Map

Google Map

See also in this area