Nowe – St Matthew’s Church

History

   The church was built in the second half of the fourteenth century on the site of an earlier timber temple. First, around 1366, a chncel with a sacristy and vestibule was erected, and the nave with the tower was added at the end of the fourteenth century. The medieval construction process was completed by the establishment of vaults at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries and the construction of the gables, with the eastern gable rebuilt in the second half of the 15th century.
   In the years 1557-1581 the building was used briefly by the Reformers, at that time medieval polychromes were probably also painted over. In the following centuries, the church was rebuilt and renovated several times, including in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the last time in 1910-1912. At that time, the northern aisle was extended to the north and the nave was extended on the western side by three bays. Another, fourth gable, modeled on the original one, was also founded, and the presbytery gable was subjected to restaurants and unfortunately distorted. The entire interior was also vaulted then, according to a simplified presbytery pattern.

Architecture

   Orientated towards the parts of the world, the church was located in the northwestern part of the town, in the vicinity of the city walls. It was built on a stone foundation, and above it was made of bricks. It received a hall, three-nave form, erected on a plan of a quadrangle close to a square, originally three-bay (currently it is five-bay). The four-bay chancel in the east was closed with a straight wall, and a four-sided tower stood in the original south-west corner of the nave. Additionally, on the north side, a two-bay sacristy was placed at the interface between the presbytery and the nave. Individual parts were covered with gable roofs, mono-pitched and hip roof (tower).
   The external façades of the church were lined with buttresses, with windows and blendes in the splayed plastered frames. The main decoration of the church were three richly decorated gables: at presbytery, originally stepped, divided into three parts by arcaded friezes supported by doubled semi-columns, and crowned with decorative battlement; the eastern gable of the nave, stepped, decorated with ogival recesses and the western gable of the nave. The six storeys of the tower were separated with cornices and by blendes, while the top was crowned with battlement.
   The central nave was opened to the presbytery with an ogival chancel arch, and to the aisles with arcades set on octagonal pillars. The interior was covered with a gothic stellar vault in the presbytery, cross-rib vault in the sacristy and stellar in the southern porch. The nave in the Middle Ages was covered with a wooden ceiling, although vault was probably planned from the beginning, while the walls of the church were originally covered with polychromes.

Current state

   The parish church in Nowe is one of the most beautiful and largest churches in the nearby area and is an example of a rare, skilful combination of the original gothic construction with the neo-gothic extension. Currently, it still performs sacral functions.

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bibliography:
Dzieje Świecia nad Wisłą i jego regionu, red. K.Jasiński, t. 2, Warszawa 1980.
Grzyb A., Strzeliński K., Najstarsze kościoły Kociewia, Starogard Gdański, 2008.

Website zabytek.pl, Kościół par. pw. św. Mateusza Apostoła i Ewangelisty Nowe.