The wooden stronghold in Rogóźno (Roggenhausen) was erected by the Teutonic Order in the years 1250 – 1260. The construction of the brick castle was probably started after 1275, when the nearby Starckenberg castle was destroyed by the Prussians of Skomand. At that time, Rogóźno was a protection for the only crossing of the Osa River to Pomezania and the guard of the strategically important route from Grudziądz to Nowe Miasto Lubawskie.
In the years 1285 – 1333, the castle served as the seat of Teutonic commanders, the first of which was a certain Wynandus. After 1335, the commandry was liquidated, and a vogt seat was created, directly under the authority of the great masters in Malbork. In the years 1410 and 1414 Rogóźno was occupied by the Polish army, and in 1454, at the beginning of the Thirteen Years’ War, it was burnt down by the retreating Teutonic Knights. After the end of the conflict, Rogóźno was granted to Poland under the power of the Second Peace of Toruń. From then on, until 1590, the castle was the seat of royal starosts, then the management of the royal economy was placed in it.
An inspection carried out in 1564 showed that the castle was in a bad condition due to the sliding of the slopes of the hill and earlier war damages, and probably also due to many years of neglect. The repairs carried out at that time were limited to the necessary works, which is why another inspection from 1624 and bishop’s visits from 1640 and 1647 recorded a progressive decline of the buildings and a profaned chapel. In 1628, the Swedes were to blow up some of the strongholds. Most of the buildings of the upper ward were demolished by the Prussians after 1772, with the use of bricks for the construction of a fortress in Grudziądz. The remaining fragments fell into ruin.
The castle was erected on a hill at the mouth of Gardęga to the Osa River on the west side. It was distinguished by its exposed location on the eastern bank of the valley, along which the road from Grudziądz to Nowe Miasto Lubawskie ran. It consisted of three parts. The top of the hill was occupied by the upper ward in the form of a quadrilateral of the convent’s buildings, preceded from the east by a middle trapezoidal ward, narrowing towards the eastern side. The third element was an extensive outer bailey, located on the adjacent hill on the eastern and north-eastern sides, separated from the main part of the castle by a moat.
The economic ward of a vast outer bailey, 4.5 hectares in size, was similar in shape to a trapezoid with a semicircular bulge in the south-eastern corner. It was surrounded by a defensive wall with 17 towers. Some of them were low half towers, opened from the courtyard side, while some probably had the character of bartisans hanging on the walls. Two entrances led to its area: from the west through the gate’s neck and from the east through a wide, three-story gatehouse, with a stove next to the entrance. The fortifications of the outer bailey were complemented by a moat from the east.
Between the middle ward and the outer bailey there was a gatehouse, preceded by a long neck of a foregate closed with a drawbridge. It fell onto a deep, dry moat with a long timber bridge mounted on two brick pillars. According to the records, the moat was to be closed on both sides with transverse walls to prevent enemies from penetrating inside. The eastern façade of the gatehouse was separated by a high, pointed arcade, inside which a portcullis was lifted. Above, the tower was decorated with three long, pointed blendes, the middle of which was pierced with openings. The other elevations of the tower were also shaped in a similar way. Its interior was divided into seven floors, of which the lowest gate passage was covered with a barrel vault, and the higher ones were separated by timber ceilings.
The middle ward had an irregular, trapezoidal shape. It is known that there was a “summer house” there, and between it and the gatehouse the houses of the commander and the grand master. Outbuildings could also stand in the northern part of the middle ward. All buildings were attached to the northern and southern curtains, leaving a long, irregular courtyard in the center. The middle ward was surrounded from the south and east by an outer defensive wall, being an extension of the upper ward wall, forming a common zwinger with it. In the south-east corner it was strengthened by a small, cylindrical tower.
The upper ward consisted of four wings surrounded by the aforementioned outer perimeter of the walls, connecting with the fortifications of the eastern part of the hill. On three sides it was defended by natural steepness, and from the east by an artificial ditch with a bridge. The dimensions of the upper ward were 38 x 45.5 meters. Its wings, however, did not form a compact quadrilateral, as they did not meet at one corner. It is possible that the main tower, which had never been built, was to be erected there. On the first floor of the southern range there was a chapter house (or refectory) and a chapel, and in the eastern range perhaps another refectory. There was a bakery on the ground floor of the east wing, and a brewery and kitchen on the north wing. All wings except the northern one had a basement. The courtyard was surrounded by timber cloisters, and in its center there was a covered well. From the outside, the two northern corners of the castle were reinforced by two protruding four-sided towers (similar to those used in the castle in Radzyń Chełmiński), of which the north-west was equipped with buttresses. The building closing the courtyard from the south was also flanked by two small corner turrets, but they did not have their own foundations, so it can be assumed that they were placed on the walls (similar to the castle in Golub). The eastern wing housed the entrance gate on the axis. It is also known that the upper ward had a dansker, perhaps located at the west wing.
To this day, from the middle castle survived a long fragment of the outer wall with a round, corner turret. To the north of it stands a monumental gate tower. Around the ruins survived significant stretches of walls, remnants of four half towers and relics of probably still gothic, economic objects. Only weakly legible fragments of the walls survived from the upper castle. At present the area is under private ownership, but there is a possibility to visit the castle.
Die Bau- und Kunstdenkmäler der Provinz Westpreußen, der Kreis Graudenz, red. J.Heise, Danzig 1894.
Leksykon zamków w Polsce, red. L.Kajzer, Warszawa 2003.
Stocka M., Zamek pokrzyżacki w miejscowości Rogóźno-Zamek, “Ochrona Zabytków”, 1/2006.
Wasik B., Budownictwo zamkowe na ziemi chełmińskiej od XIII do XV wieku, Toruń 2016.