Chotel Czerwony – St Bartholomew’s Church


   The first, probably wooden church in the village of Chotel, functioned already in the first half of the 14th century, because in the years 1325 – 1327 its parish priest named Paulus was recorded. Late Gothic church, originally dedicated to St. Stefan, was built in the years 1440-1450 on the site of an earlier one, funded by a chronicler, priest and diplomat, Jan Długosz. A major renovation, mentioned in early modern chronicles, took place in 1645, another was carried out in the mid-nineteenth century and in 1892. A two-story, neo-gothic porch was added then from the west. After the Second World War, in 1947, the church was completely renovated.


   The church was built on a hill, on the west side with steep slopes, in the fenced area of ​​the cemetery, with a wicket on the south side. In the mid-fifteenth century, it was an aisleless building on a square-like plan, with a narrower and lower chancel, closed in the east by a straight wall, to which a narrow sacristy was added from the north. In addition, a square porch was located at the southern wall of the nave.
   From the outside, the façades of the church were reinforced with buttresses, in the corners placed at an angle. The walls were placed on a relatively high, moulded plinth, surrounded with a drip cornice at the height of the window sills and a cornice under the eaves of the roof. The lighting was provided by pointed windows, splayed on both sides, while in accordance with the medieval building tradition, the northern façade was devoid of any openings (this could result from the then symbolism and superstitions equating the north with evil forces or for practical reasons, due to the small amount of sunlight on the north side). The entrance was created in moulded portals: to the porch and inside the porch. The third portal connected the chancel with the sacristy.
   The gable roofs of the chancel and the nave were limited by the shorter walls with triangular gables. The western gable was divided with five ogival blendes, the eastern chancel with three blendes. Moreover, both were crowned with stone crosses.
   Inside, the nave and the chancel were separated by a pointed, moulded arcade. Both the nave, the chancel and the porch were covered with net vaults, with ribs fastened with bosses with decorative forms (shield eagle, shields of Wieniawa and Dębno). A stone sanctuary with a tracery canopy, topped with pinnacles and fleurons, was placed at the eastern wall of the chancel, and a moulded recess was embedded in the southern wall.

Current state

   The church is one of the most charmingly situated medieval, rural sacral buildings, which makes it even more regrettable that from the west its shape is dominated by an ugly, neo-Gothic porch. The plinth replaced in the 19th century, is also early modern. An interesting fact is the sundial placed on the southern porch. Inside, apart from the movable modern equipment, there is an early modern western gallery in the nave and a vault in the sacristy. Three preserved Gothic portals or net vaults with bas-relief bosses draw attention. A Gothic southern niche is visible, while the eastern sanctuary is obscured by an early modern altar. In the porch above the portal there is a stone erection plaque with a representation of Mary with the Child, assisted by St. Stefan and Hieronim, edged with a capital inscription.

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Architektura gotycka w Polsce, red. T. Mroczko, M. Arszyński, Warszawa 1995.