Rembów – Castle Szumsko


   The first known owners of the village of Rembów were representatives of the Odrowąż family, who in the first half of the 14th century founded a castle originally called Szumsko or Sumsko. The initiator of the construction could have been Jakub, a Kraków tribunus and castellan of Żarnów, who died in 1331, or Krzesław, who lived until 1357. It is also possible that Jakub started the construction and the work was completed by Krzesław, who did not hold any higher offices. After the latter’s death, the castle, due to marital affinity, became the property of the Porai family. When they built a new seat in Kurozwęki, Szumsko was abandoned and partially demolished before the end of the 15th century. The castle was used for a short time, which may have been due to construction errors – it was built not on rock, but on clay gound, which caused the walls to slide and problems with the statics of the building.


   The castle consisted of a perimeter wall made of sandstone and erratic boulders, defining an irregular oval measuring 24 x 36 meters. From the outside, its defense was provided by a moat with an average depth of about 7 meters, from which stones were selected to build Szumsko. The eastern part of the castle was located much higher than the western part, because the perimeter of the walls included a small hill. The castle buildings, despite the small size of the entire complex and its short functioning, were quite diversified and developed.
   The gate was located in the southwestern part. It was an opening only 1.5 meters wide, flanked on the outside by two buttresses. To the east of the gate there was a building measuring 6.5 x 7.7 meters. The central part of the castle was occupied by a house, probably a tower-like, with two or three floors, built on a square plan with sides of 6 meters and walls 1 meter thick. Both of these buildings closed with their western walls a small, triangular courtyard with sides 12-13 meters long, located in the western part of the castle. From the north, the courtyard was closed by the main, elongated and slightly bent residential building on a trapezoidal plan, to which the tower house was adjacent with its northern wall. A trapezoidal building at the northern section of the perimeter wall, was probably built in the second stage of construction. It consisted of three rooms in ground floor and had dimensions of 6 x 24 meters.
   In the eastern part of the castle, there was another tower-like building, erected on a square plan with sides 5.2 meters long and walls 1.3 to 1.5 meters thick. This tower was located in the highest part of the castle, at the top of the hill, in the immediate vicinity of the perimeter wall. This would indicate that it most likely served as a bergfried, i.e. a tower of final defense in which people took refuge in times of danger, for example if the western courtyard was captured. On a daily basis, its lowest floor could be used as a pantry, storage room or possibly a prison cell.
   The only element protruding in front of the castle perimeter walls was the tower located in the north-eastern part, supported by two massive buttresses, protruding to the east parallel to the two walls. This building had a trapezoidal room inside the ground floor, measuring 2-3 x 2.7 meters. Perhaps the rooms on the upper floors were slightly larger if they were built over the buttresses. The space of the upper floors between the buttresses could also be used for latrines, from which feces would fall into the moat.

Current state

   Unfortunately, the castle has not survived to modern times, which is sad because with a small cubature it presented considerable richness with many buildings, towers and the perimeter of the walls, and as such it had no close analogies in Lesser Poland region. On the other hand, early modern reconstructions would probably significantly obscure the original layout and make its identification more difficult. At present, only relics of stone foundations are visible. Admission to the castle area is free.

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Kajzer L., Zamek w Rembowie w województwie sandomierskim [in:] Przemiany architektury rezydencjonalnej w XV–XVIII w. na terenie dawnego województwa sandomierskiego, red. J.Adamczyk, Kielce 2000.
Lasek P., Obronne siedziby rycerskie i możnowładcze w czasach Kazimierza Wielkiego [w:] Wielkie murowanie. Zamki w Polsce za Kazimierza Wielkiego, red. A.Bocheńska, P. Mrozowski, Warszawa 2019.

Leksykon zamków w Polsce, red. L.Kajzer, Warszawa 2003.
Wróblewski S., Zamki i dwory obronne województwa sandomierskiego w średniowieczu, Nowy Sącz 2006.