The construction of the church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary began at the end of the 13th century, and the main stage of work was probably completed before 1333. The first reference from 1297 mentioned a parish priest named Ludevinus and it can be assumed that construction work began around this time. At the beginning, the eastern part of the church was built – the chancel, then the naves. Several dozen years later, in the first half of the fifteenth century, a church tower and a sacristy were erected. The last stage of the expansion was the St. Mary’s Chapel, which was located at the northern facade of the nave. Its completion in 1498 crowned the process of the formation of the temple.
Until 1534, the temple was subordinate to the Latin Church, then, as a result of the Reformation, it was taken over by the Lutheran Church. This caused a significant neglect of the object, managed by the deacons of that time. Restoration work was undertaken at the beginning of the 17th century and after a great fire in 1658, during which the vaults were destroyed. Further renovations were carried out in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1859, the crowning of the tower was repaired, and in 1870 and in the years 1909-1910 the church was regothisated by inserting new window tracery and renewing the eastern gable.
The church was erected in a south block of the town from the brick in the Flemish and monk bonds with the use of granite in the lower parts. It consists of a four-span, three-nave corpus of a hall form and a three-span chancel, ended from the east by a straight wall. At the chancel in the fifteenth century, a two-span, two-floors sacristy was added from the south, and a massive four-sided tower on the axis of the west façade. The St Mary’s chapel was added to the nave from the north at the end of the 15th century. The compact body of the church was covered with gable roofs with a distinct height difference.
The tower is a four-storey, decorated on the second floor by blendes triads with circular recesses crowning the quadruple narrow lancets, and on the third floor with similar blendes with a simplified composition, placed four on each façade. The individual storeys of the tower are separated by cornices and friezes. The lowest storey of the plinth type includes a wonderful ogival western portal. Originally, there were yet side portals, but now they are walled up. At the western corners of the naves there are slender octagonal stair towers. Outside, the church is surrounded with buttresses, between which there are ogival three-light windows. The eastern buttresses of the chancel are set diagonally and decorated with ceramic decorations in the form of niches framed with wimpergas and topped with crosses. The eastern wall of the chancel is crowned with a triangular gable with two zones of bipartite blendes. Below there is a large ogival window with a tracery, and under the eaves the church is surrounded by ceramic friezes with motifs of rosettes and vines.
The presbytery and the naves, separated from each other with a prominent chancel arch, are covered by the cross-rib vaults. The corpus is supported by slender octagonal pillars and pointed shaped arcades. The ground floor of the tower and one of the sacristy’s rooms are covered with stellar vaults. St. Mary’s Chapel is covered with a rib vault originally supported on the central pillar. In the walls of the side aisles, semicircular niches were placed in the ground floor, above which there is a gallery, piercing wall-mounted pillars at the boundaries of the spans.
The church, despite early modern interventions (reconstruction of the vaults, regothisation of the eastern gable, exchange of traceries) is one of the most prominent hall buildings with a one-nave chancel, a type characteristic of the region of Pomerania (Choszczno, Trzebiatów, Nowogard, Chociwel). In all its parts, it presents a very high artistic quality. At present, it still performs liturgical functions. Inside, there are several valuable elements of medieval equipment. The oldest is a late gothic triptych from the beginning of the 16th century and a romanesque baptismal font.
Architektura gotycka w Polsce, red. T. Mroczko i M. Arszyński, Warszawa 1995.
Jarzewicz J., Architektura średniowieczna Pomorza Zachodniego, Poznań 2019.
Pilch J., Kowalski S., Leksykon zabytków Pomorza Zachodniego i ziemi lubuskiej.
Webpage zabytkowekoscioly.net, Gryfice, kościół Wniebowzięcia NMP.