Parish Church of St Nicholas, Żarnów
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Parish Church of St Nicholas

Żarnów

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Structure originating from the 12th century - example of early sacred brick architecture in Poland, significantly extended in the early 20th century in the neo-Gothic style, according to a design by Stefan Szyller. It is considered a twin church of the church of St Giles in Inowłodz, and was used as a model in the reconstruction works carried out there.

History

Żarnów, an administration centre of the Piast state, used as a castellany. The parish church is connected with other preserved elements of a settlement complex - hill fort, mediaeval church graveyard, and a locality with legible historical layout preserved, joining with the layout of the roads to Opoczno, Końskie, Sulejów, and Przedborze. The parish was established in 1191. The church is a stone building and originally, it was oriented. In its body, three basic construction stages can be discerned. The first one, Romanesque, of the 12th century, whose relics are: the preserved tower (extended upwards) with a gallery, western wall, fragments of side walls of the original nave, and an eastern apse, which has not survived. The new church was designed as an oriented, single-nave structure. In 1510, the church was extended to the east, and concurrently a new late-Gothic chancel, buttressed and covered by a lierne vault, was built. The last stage of development of the church’s body consists in construction of new naves, chancel, and sacristy, according to a design by Stefan Szyller.

Description

First stage (Romanesque - 12th century). The church is a single-nave, oriented building with a tower on the axis of the western wall, with stairs inside leading to a gallery. The pointed-arch stone portal leading to the tower was built at a later time. The gallery rests on a column delimiting two vault fields of nearly square shape; the vaults are of groin type. Behind the portal, from the side of the tower, there is a preserved semi-circular block of a lintel, perhaps constituting the original tympanum. Side walls of the original nave are partitioned from inside by two pairs of lesenes. A further section of side walls is significantly transformed as a result of the extension carried out in the early 20th century. The preserved relics of the sculptural décor from the times of construction of this part of the church are present.

Second stage (Gothic, early 16th century). Extension of the chancel to the east, in the place of the former apse. The chancel is built on a rectangular floor plan, with oblique buttresses in the north-eastern and south-eastern corner. In the attic, a wall of the older rood wall separating the nave from the chancel has been preserved. The longitudinal walls were originally reinforced by a pair of buttresses, however the northern buttress has not survived. In the northern wall, there is a late-Gothic tabernacle decorated inside and a portal leading to the sacristy (the existing sacristy was built at a later time),

Third stage (neo-Gothic, early 20th century), in line with a design by Stefan Szyller. The church was reoriented then, a new chancel was built from the north, as well as a three-nave church body from the south, with the main entrance on the axis of the main nave. The new church features a basilica layout, and the relics of the earlier building were used as the transept. The main nave is covered by a tripartite vault, and side naves - by a groin vault. connected with the third stage of construction). The church was extended with the use of sandstone, similarly as at the earlier stages. The interior has been equipped with neo-Gothic décor, along with the altarpieces - the main one in the chancel, and the other one in the western side nave. At the neo-Gothic stage, architectural detail solutions derived from the second stage were applied (initially chancel, currently the southern part of the transept).

The church is open on Sundays and public holidays. On week days, the church may be visited upon arrangement with a priest. The priests' house is located to the west from the church, The parish is owned by the Church.

compiled by Paweł Filipowicz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Łódź, 26-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Początki architektury sakralnej w Polsce, część II Zapilicze i Sieradzkie, praca zbiorowa pod redakcją L. Kajzera, rozdziały autorstwa L. Kajzera, P. Filipowicza, Z. Lechowicza, Anny Kowalskiej-Pietrzak, Jerzego Sikory, Wydawnictwo DiG Łódź- Warszawa, 2013 r.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: XII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Plac Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego 16, Żarnów
  • Location: Voivodeship łódzkie, district opoczyński, commune Żarnów
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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