Poniszowice – St John the Baptist’s Church


   The beginnings of the parish in Poniszowice were supposed to date back to the end of the 12th century. The first church was supposed to function at the beginning of the fourteenth century, and in 1399 it was burned down, after which, according to tradition, it was to be replaced with a building from 1401 or 1404. This church was reliably recorded in 1447, in the papal tithe list. At the end of the 15th century, another late-Gothic building was erected, consecrated in 1499.
   In 1520 or 1570, a free-standing belfry was built in the vicinity of the church. In the first half of the 17th century, the building was used by Protestants. In the years 1640-1650, after returning to the Catholics, it was renovated. New altars were purchased, and the chapel of St. Joseph was built from the Franciszek Rogojski foundation. In 1775, the church underwent a thorough renovation and modernization during which arcades were added. In 1835, a stone foundation was made, in 1841 the windows were transformed, in 1844 a new music choir was built in the western part of the nave, and in 1852 a matroneum above the sacristy. In 1882, the church was enriched with colorful polychromes by Kusber from Gliwice.
   In the 20th century, the monument was renovated many times: in 1908, a comprehensive renovation of the church was carried out, and six years later, the arcades were boarded from the outside. Another thorough renovation took place in 1982 and in 2011, when the arcades were dismantled and then reconstructed. In 2012, new foundations were built and the chapel was reconstructed.


   The late-Gothic church was orientated towards the cardinal sides of the world, so the chancel was directed to the east. It was built in a log construction with horizontally laid and joined in the corners wreaths of logs. In this way, a nave on a square plan was created, as well as a narrower and lower chancel, closed on three sides from the east, to which a rectangular sacristy was attached from the north. The belfry was erected as a separate, free-standing building, on a square plan, in a pole structure technique. It was topped with a porch and an octagonal pyramidal cupola.
   The chancel and perhaps the nave were originally enclosed by a plinth offset and a moulded cornice under the roof eaves. A wide roof was added to the chancel façades, and the square nave was surrounded by initially open arcades. The main part of the church was covered with a soaring, two-ridge, gable roof, multi slope over the eastern closure of the chancel, in the northern part also covering the sacristy. Lighting was provided in the chancel by three windows from the east and south, as well as one southern window of the nave. The northern side was originally devoid of windows.
   Originally, the nave was divided inside by two octagonal poles into two aisles. The aisles were covered with a ceiling with a longitudinal beams, while in the chancel a false vault with a three-centered arch. Both parts of the church were connected by a rectangular opening with chamfered lower and upper beams, supported on timber corbels. A roof truss was created over the nave with a vertical poles suspended on collar beams and rafters with braces, with nine bays alternately full and empty. Above the chencel a collar beam roof truss with five bays was built.

Current state

   The church has preserved the late-Gothic spatial layout. It was enlarged by an early modern chapel on the north side and boarded arcades around the nave. The turret on the roof ridge is also early modern. Unfortunately, the original architectural details have not been preserved, because the windows and portals have been transformed. Only the chamfered arcade separating the nave from the chancel is probably original. A valuable monument is the free-standing belfry on the north-west side of the church.

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Architektura gotycka w Polsce, red. M.Arszyński, T.Mroczko, Warszawa 1995.
Pilch J., Leksykon zabytków architektury Górnego Śląska, Warszawa 2008.