Parish church of St Hedwig, Węgry
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Parish church of St Hedwig

Węgry

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A Gothic church extended during the Baroque period. The church is surrounded by a cemetery circumscribed by a wall with three embedded penitential crosses. The perimeter wall incorporates a gate topped with a Renaissance attic. The church is an example of a Gothic village church with a cemetery surrounded by a defensive wall, redesigned during the Baroque period.

History

The first mention of a church in Węgry in written sources appears in a document issued in 1309, which also references a local parish priest. Researchers have been unable to come to a definite conclusion insofar as the date of construction of the church is concerned. According to K. Degen, the two-bay chancel with a pentagonal apse was erected during the 15th century. In the 16th century, the nave and the tower positioned on the axis thereof were added. During the 19th century, a rectangular porch was added to the western side of the tower. However, the Catalogue of Historical Monuments states that the church - both the chancel and the nave - were most likely erected in the first half of the 14th century, possibly incorporating fragments of an earlier structure.

During the second quarter (or the second half) of the 18th century, the church underwent a Baroque redesign. The nave was extended, receiving a new, western bay, with the adjoining tower being incorporated into the structure of the nave. A new rood arch was also added at that point. A patrons’ gallery was added above the sacristy. The roof above the chancel was extended upwards. The windows were widened and their shape underwent certain alterations. In 1898, a western porch was added to the tower; the tower’s roof was also redesigned, with the original tented roof being replaced with a slender spire.

In years 1961-66, the church underwent complete restoration.

The western and northern sections of the cemetery wall, made of split stone, were erected back in the 16th century. The southern and eastern sections, on the other hand, are a 19th-century addition. The gate which leads across the northern section of the wall is believed to have been erected in the second quarter of the 16th century. A number of penitential crosses are also embedded in this section of the wall.

Description

The church, oriented towards the east and surrounded by a large cemetery designed on a rectangular plan and circumscribed with a tall perimeter wall, is located in the central part of the village, on the western side of the main road.

The church is made of split stone (granite), its walls covered with plaster. It is a single-nave structure with a distinct, two-bay chancel terminating with a semi-decagonal apse. A sacristy is located on the northern side of the chancel. A patrons’ gallery is positioned directly above the sacristy. Having been extended towards the west, the western part of the nave now incorporates the ground floor level of the tower, the latter being designed on a rectangular floor plan.

The chancel features a cross-ribbed vault, with a barrel vault used for the sacristy. A flat ceiling rises above the nave and the patrons’ gallery. The ground floor section of the tower opens towards the nave on three sides, with the connecting passages topped with semi-circular, slightly flattened arches.

The façades of both the chancel and the main body of the church feature a uniform design, their wide, rectangular windows topped with bell arches. A pointed-arch sandstone portal graces the southern façade of the nave; the portal frames a wooden door with Gothic fittings in the form of stylised foliate scrollwork.

The tabernacle niche in the chancel wall is likewise a relic of the Gothic era. In addition, the church also features a pair of rather austere Gothic portals, one leading from the chancel to the sacristy, the other connecting the porch and the ground floor level of the tower.

The main altarpiece, designed in the Gothic Revival style, dates back to the year 1886, while the side altarpieces, designed in the Regency style, were both crafted somewhere around the mid-18th century.

The cemetery surrounding the church is circumscribed with a tall perimeter wall. The western and northern sections of the cemetery wall, made of split stone, were erected back in the 16th century. The southern and eastern sections are made of brick and were constructed during the 19th century. The gate which leads across the northern section of the wall is believed to have been erected in the second quarter of the 16th century. The gate itself is topped with a semi-circular arch above which rises a decorative attic composed of semi- and quarter-circular finials.

A number of medieval penitential crosses hewn from granite blocks are embedded in the wall on the eastern side of the gate.

The church is open to visitors.

compiled by Maria Czyszczoń, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Wrocław, 15-09-2014

Bibliography

  • Degen K., Die Bau- und Kunstdenkmäler des Landkreises Breslau, Frankfurt am Main 1965, pp. 109-113.
  • Lutsch H., Verzeichnis der Kunstdenkmäler der Provinz Schlesien, vol. 2, Die Kunstdenkmäler der Landkreise des Reg.-Bezirk Breslau, Breslau 1889, p. 442.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, seria nowa, vol. IV, issue 2. Województwo wrocławskie, Sobótka, Kąty Wrocławskie i okolice, Warsaw 1991, pp. 155-158.
  • Zabytki sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, Warsaw 2006, p. 920.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1 poł. XIV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Węgry
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district wrocławski, commune Żórawina
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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