Lubawa – Bishop’s Castle


   The first timber stronghold was built in the second half of the 13th century, perhaps shortly after 1257, when Lubawa became the property of the bishops of the Chełmno diocese. This small castle was destroyed rather quickly by the Prussians, perhaps during their uprising from 1260-1274. The construction of a brick castle was begun by bishop Herman of Pryzna in the years 1303-1311, and was continued after a nine-year vacancy on the bishop’s stool, by his successor Nicholas Afri. After the destruction by the Lithuanian army in 1330, the works were continued and their first phase ended in the years 1363-1385, under the rule of bishop Wikbold Dobilstein. The final gothic form of the castle was obtained at the beginning of the fifteenth century in the times of Arnold Stapil, although even before the mid-fifteenth century, the castle’s defensive system was slightly modernized, raising a semicircular corner cannon tower.
   After the Second Peace of Toruń from 1466, Lubawa was incorporated into Poland. Her first bishop appointed by the king was Wincenty Kiełbasa. In 1545, the building was destroyed by a fire, and after 1624, at the initiative of bishop Jakub Zadzik, it was rebuilt into a baroque residence, surrounded by early modern earth fortifications.
The political and economic regression at the end of the 18th century led to the gradual fall of the castle. Abandoned by bishop Jan Hohenzollern in 1815, it burnt down. In 1826, it was finally demolished.


   The castle consisted of external walls, forming a quadrangle measuring 71×74 meters, zwinger and four-winged internal buildings with sides of about 50 meters. Four wings surrounded the inner courtyard, referring to the regular conventual castles of the Teutonic Order. Slightly older, formed until about 1385 were the northern, eastern and southern wings, while the western one, although planned from the beginning, was built only at the beginning of the 15th century. The entrance led through the western part, i.e. from the town and the outer ward. The corners of the castle were reinforced by slender, four-sided turrets.
   According to early modern inventories, the castle’s ground floor housed, among others, a kitchen, brewery and bakery, while on the representative floor were a refectory and a chapel, probably located in the eastern part of the southern wing. There was a well at the courtyard, surrounded by timber cloisters.
   On the west side of the main castle there was an outer bailey, separated by a wide moat over which a drawbridge was placed. It had an irregular arrangement surrounded by a brick defensive wall. From the side of the town, the fortifications of the outer ward were not protected by a ditch, and the wicket gate in the wall led directly to the cemetery and to the parish church. The outer bailey was made up of numerous, but mainly wooden and half-timbered economic buildings and a well.
   In the mid-15th century the castle was adapted for artillery defense. A semicircular cannon tower was erected then in the north-east corner of the outer perimeter of the walls and perhaps also a three-sided defensive work in the south-west corner. The cannon tower was squat, equipped with radially spaced loop holes and an upper terrace supported by timber beams.

Current state

   Up to now, retaining walls of the main castle corpus, extending from the outside to 4 meters high, cellars and the portal of castle’s gate have been preserved. For some time, work has been underway on securing and managing the ruins. Unfortunately, it is also planned to build a contemporary pavilion at the castle grounds.

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Leksykon zamków w Polsce, red. L.Kajzer, Warszawa 2003.
Wasik B., Budownictwo zamkowe na ziemi chełmińskiej od XIII do XV wieku, Toruń 2016.
Zamek w Lubawie, red. L.Kajzer, Lubawa 2001.