Nowe Miasto nad Wartą – church of the Holy Trinity

History

   Nowe Miasto in the early Middle Ages was a stronghold lying in a place where the old road connecting Poznań with Wrocław crossed the Warta River. The settlement was granted town rights early, as it was already mentioned in the document of Przemysł II from 1283 as “Civitas nova”, so it had to function in the Nowe Miasto church, which was the seat of the parish, erected in the years 1267-1282. The founder of the town was Mikołaj of Dębno of the Doliwa coat of arms, whose family quickly moved their seat from nearby Dębno to the Nowe Miasto and founded their residence, originally wooden, later brick one, erected on an earth mound, probably in the form of a tower house.
   The original parish church was mentioned for the first time in 1393, when its priest was recorded in the documents. The later, Gothic church was built in the second half of the 15th century, but it is not known when exactly. We only know that the altars in Nowe Miasto church were funded throughout the entire 15th century, therefore they referred to both the earlier and the Gothic building. Construction works were probably completed in the first half of the 16th century, when the sacristy was added from the north.
   Church in Nowe Miasto has been renovated many times. In 1593, the gallery over the sacristy was rebuilt into the Renaissance chapel of St. Anna, in 1614 from the south the chapel of St. Antoni was added, and in the following years of the 17th century a new baroque gable was erected on the west facade. Later renovations took place in 1853, 1904 and 1938. In 1959, during preparations for the regothisation of the church, a late-Renaissance polychrome was discovered on its vault, which was fully exposed and reconstructed in large part. Further revovation works were carried out in 1983 and 2001-2003.

Architecture

   The church was built in the north-west corner of the market block of the former town. It was built of bricks in the Flemish bond with abundant use of zendrówka bricks forming rhombic motifs in the facade. Church was erected as a three-aisle, five-bay hall building without a separate presbytery, closed from the east with polygonal lines. The church was built on a rectangular plan slightly narrowing towards the east (its width is reduced from 13.2 meters at the west facade to 11.6 meters at the base of the eastern polygon).
   The church walls were enclosed with two-step buttresses and round blendes, and a tower with stairs was located in the south-west corner of the facade. A two-bay sacristy was added to the northern aisle with a gallery at the top, opened with two arcades inside the church. The half-gables of the sacristy were treated in the most decorative way, which were articulated with blendes placed in two rows, closed with an ogee arches and filled with a window lattice motif. The crown of the church’s perimeter walls was plastered with a band.
   The interior of the church was covered with stellar vaults with a rich drawing, in the central nave eight-pointed, and in the aisles four-pointed with rhombic motifs. The extreme, irregular bays of the aisles were covered with vaults based on the three-ray motif with four additional ribs woven in. The support of the church’s vault system was created from smooth, octagonal pillars not joining in arcades, crowned with octagonal plates with a quarter-round shafts from below, constituting the basis for ribs growing out of them.
   The internal façades of the church were not fragmented, they were only pierced with slender, pointed windows. As in the Greater Poland Bnin and Dolsk, the ribs of the vaults of the aisles were supported on facades without the use of corbles.
   The gallery over the sacristy was located near the altar space of the church and was accessible by stairs directly from the nave, thanks to which it enabled the lords to participate in services more privately, and by raising it above the level available to other faithful, it clearly informed about the social status of the town owners.

Current state

   The church that has survived to this day is one of the most valuable Gothic monuments in Greater Poland, in the form of a small parish temple, which was one of the main buildings of a late-medieval private town, now degraded to the role of a village. Early modern additions are primarily limited to the porch and southern chapel, the Renaissance chapel over the sacristy, the baroque western gable, the cornice over the plaster band and the transformed windows. The interior of the church is decorated with late-Renaissance polychrome from the end of the 16th century, and in the entry from the church to the sacristy, Gothic, metal sheet-covered doors have been preserved.

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bibliography:
Adamski J., Hale z poligonalnym chórem zintegrowanym w architekturze gotyckiej na terenie Polski, Kraków 2010.
Grzybkowski A., Gotycka architektura murowana w Polsce, Warszawa 2016.
Kowalski Z., Gotyk wielkopolski. Architektura sakralna XIII-XVI wieku, Poznań 2010.
Maluśkiewicz P., Gotyckie kościoły w Wielkopolsce, Poznań 2008.