Parish church of St Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Tuczno
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Parish church of St Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Tuczno

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The three-nave hall church with a polygonal end section in the east and a reduced ambulatory leading around the organ gallery forms an important link in the development of Late Gothic architecture of the Greater Poland area, incorporating numerous influences from the ecclesiastical architecture of Brandenburg and Western Pomerania. The interior of the church is graced by fixtures and fittings exhibiting an outstanding artistic quality, including the Mannerist and Baroque altarpieces incorporating paintings created by the disciples of the renowned painter Herman Han from Gdańsk.

History

The first mentions of the Tuczno parish in written sources date back to the year 1349. The first church to be erected here was most likely a wooden structure; the current church is believed to have been constructed in the first half of the 15th century. Some researchers believe that the church was originally designed as a three-nave hall church with a three-sided termination incorporated into the semi-decagonal outline of the exterior walls. It was only in the course of construction that the idea to include an ambulatory was abandoned, with the pillars being arranged in two rows instead. The year 1522, which is sometimes stated as the year when the church was founded, is believed to refer to the period when the construction of the tower has commenced. During the period of the Reformation, the church was taken over by the Evangelical community and remained under its control right until the first decade of the 17th century. In 1581, the church was lost to the blaze; it was reconstructed and consecrated in 1622; shortly afterwards, however, in 1636, another disaster struck, this time in the form of the collapse of the tower. To make matters worse, in 1640 the church was engulfed by the flames once again as a great fire swept across the town; the church was reconstructed in subsequent years, receiving new fixtures and fittings. A new tower was also constructed, based on the remnants of its predecessor. In 1646, the southern porch was completed, as evidenced by the date inscribed inside its gable. The interiors were now graced by new fixtures and fittings and could finally be consecrated once again, which took place in 1660 when Wojciech Tolibowski, the bishop of Poznań, conducted the ceremony. During the subsequent years, further fixtures and fittings were being installed; a document dating back to 1738 refers to the presence of 10 altarpieces inside the church. In 1834, a fire damaged the church, destroying the roof and the tower cupola. Reconstruction efforts followed shortly thereafter. From that moment onwards, the church has changed little, surviving unscathed despite the complete destruction of the town towards the end of World War II.

Description

The church is located in the south-western part of the town, in the corner of the market square, alongside the street leading towards the castle. It is surrounded by the church cemetery circumscribed by the perimeter wall incorporating a Baroque gate in its eastern section and an additional wicket gate in the western part thereof. The church, designed in the Late Gothic style, is oriented towards the east. It is a three-nave, four-bay hall church with a semi-decagonal eastern end section and a square tower adjoining it towards the west. The nave is covered with a gable roof, with the eastern end section featuring a five-sided roof. The four-storey tower is crowned with a two-storey, octagonal bulbous cupola with two open, arcaded sections. The cupola roof is surmounted by a sphere with a metal cross. The church is a brick structure, with the nave featuring a Gothic bond, while the walls of the tower and the sacristies are both based on the use of an early modern bond instead. The roof is covered with beaver-tail tiles. The façades of the nave are reinforced with buttresses and divided horizontally by a pair of cornices, one running beneath the windows, the other crowning the structure just beneath the eaves. The windows of the main body and the tower all follow a pointed-arch outline. Each of the tower façades features a tall, pointed-arch recess reaching all the way to the third-storey level, pierced with a series of window openings. The uppermost storey features a series of bell openings (three in the western wall, four in the northern and southern sides), with tower clock faces positioned directly above. The corner sections of the tower are accentuated by semi-domical stacked recesses. An oval overlight is positioned above the main portal, topped with a semi-circular arch. An Early Baroque portal can be admired in the eastern façade of the southern sacristy. The interior of the church features stellar vaults supported by octagonal pillars positioned between the naves, with a clearly defined impost section. A wooden, Late Renaissance organ gallery is situated in the western part of the church.

The interior boasts numerous original fixtures and fittings, designed in the Late Renaissance and Baroque style. The wooden altarpieces are lavishly embellished by both painted and woodcarved decorations. Inside the chancel, visitors can admire a trio of Mannerist retables from the 1640s; the main altarpiece is graced by the paintings depicting the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Communion of St Stanislaus Kostka (17th century) as well as St Wenceslaus and St Casimir (19th century). This altarpiece is accompanied by two side altarpieces from the 17th and 19th century respectively. An altarpiece from the 1640s graces the northern aisle, incorporating a trio of 17th-century paintings (including the portrayal of the Holy Family in its middle section); there is also another altarpiece, dating back to the first half of the 18th century, adorned with the paintings of St Barbara, one dating back to the 17th century, the other executed two hundred years later. Inside the southern aisle, visitors can admire an altarpiece from the 2nd half of the 17th century, incorporating the painted portrayal of the Guardian Angel (19th century). Other notable fixtures and fittings include the Baroque pulpit from the mid- 17th century or thereabouts and a stone baptismal font dating back to the second half of the 17th century, its vase-like shape partially embedded in the wall. A Mannerist pipe organ casing from the mid-17th century or thereabouts rises above the wooden organ gallery. One of the pillars in the northern aisle is graced by a Pietà sculpture from the Late Gothic period (first half of the 16th century). The ceilings of the central nave and the side aisles are adorned with ornamental painted decorations dating back to the first quarter of the 20th century, while the sacristy ceiling is graced by an early 20th-century polychromy incorporating scenes from the Gospel as well as portraits of various popes. There are also a few surviving examples of historical blacksmithing - the wrought-iron sacristy door as well as the lock inside the church entrance door, with the door itself being crafted at a later date.

The historical building is open to visitors; if closed, visitors should contact the local parish priest.

compiled by Maciej Słomiński, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Szczecin, 14-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Architektura gotycka w Polsce, T. Mroczko and M. Arszyński (eds.), Warsaw 1995, Katalog zabytków, pp. 245-246
  • Heise J., Die Bau- und Kunstdenkmäler der Kreise Marienwerder (westlich der Weichsel), Schwetz, Konitz, Schlochau, Tuchel, Flatow und Deutsch Krone, Danzig 1884-1887, pp. 449-454
  • Korytkowski J., Brevis descriptio historico-geographica ecclesiarum archidioecesis gnesnensis et posnaniensis, Gniezno 1888, pp. 249-251
  • Łukaszewicz J., Krotki opis historyczny kościołów parochialnych w dawnej diecezji poznańskiej, vol. I, Poznań 1858, pp. 222-224
  • Nowacki J., Archidiecezja poznańska w granicach historycznych i jej ustrój, Poznań 1964, pp. 393-394
  • Puciata M., Tuczno, pow. wałecki, woj. koszalińskie, kościół p.w. Wniebowzięcia NMP, wystrój wnętrza, PKZ Warszawa 1971, typescript available at the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Poznań (Piła branch office)
  • Puciata M., Wystrój wnętrza kościoła parafialnego w Tucznie w powiecie wałeckim, “Koszalińskie Zeszyty Muzealne”, no. 3, 1973, pp. 274-303
  • Słomiński M. Tuczno, woj. pilskie. Kościół parafialny p. w. Wniebowzięcia NMP. Dokumentacja historyczno-architektoniczna, PKZ Szczecin, 1990, typescript available at the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Szczecin and in the archive of the Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Szczecin
  • Architectural monument record sheet, compiled by T. Wujewski, 1996, typescript available at the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Szczecin

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1. poł. XV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Tuczno
  • Location: Voivodeship zachodniopomorskie, district wałecki, commune Tuczno - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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