Rurka – Templar’s Chapel


   In 1235 the prince of Pomerania Barnim I gave the Templars the Bania land. In the early 40s of the thirteenth century monks started building their commandry on the river Rurzyca. It was a type of farm and it had primarily an economic function. Its defense was due to its location on the swamps, not from the extensive fortifications. Its main task was to provide revenue to the parent center. The chapel was built between 1244 and 1248.
   After the death of the donor, his son Bogusław IV, realizing the danger of occupation of the duchy border by the Order and remembering the struggles of his father against the Knights Hospitaller in the Stargard land, began to fight the Templars from Rurka. In 1282, they received from the margraves of Brandenburg, Otto IV and Konrad I the patronage of the church in Chojna, becoming de facto border guard of the Brandenburg. Border fighting was temporarily interrupted by a truce from 1284 in Czworokoło, in which Bogusław IV promised that he would not harm the monks. However, after a few years fighting broke out again and this time the commandry suffered considerable damages. In 1291, the Knights Templar appealed to Pope Nicholas IV, who cursed Bogusław. The prince did not take too much and ordered to imprison the legates carrying anathema. The conflict ended after the dissolution of the Knights Templar in 1312. Their last commander in Rurka was Jordan Esbeck from Lietzen.
   Pope Clement V decided to hand over Templar goods to the Knights Hospitaller.
The new owners settled in 1329. In the 70s of the 14th century, Commander John Wilhelm Holsten came into conflict with the knights family of the von Wedl, which caused armed invasion in 1373 to the commandry, the burning of buildings, robbery and profanation of the chapel. Interestingly, in the dispute, the Wedls were supported by the townspeople from Chojna and the peasants from Barnkowo, creating an interstate alliance. Knights Hospitaller left the ruined commandry, but in the area of Rurka still functioning a property belonging to the monastery.
After the dissolution of the Order in 1648, the estate and the chapel were taken over by the Brandenburg Margrave, and the church was abandoned and converted into a granary. In the second half of the 19th century it was rebuilt into a distillery. After World War II the chapel was further devastated. In 1999 archaeological research around the chapel and security work was undertaken. Today the chapel is privately owned and is subject to further renovation.


   The commandry was placed on a slight flattening of the hill protruding above the surrounding marshes. It had an elliptical shape measuring 70 x 50 meters with a longer axis on the north-south line. In the north – east part there was an exit from the dyke, connecting the commandry with the road. In the northern part there was a pond, fed through the channel with the water of the river Rurzyca.
   The chapel is a orientated, small, one-nave building, with a simple ended, narrower chancel, which is slightly lower than the nave. Both parts are covered with gable roofs. The walls of the church were erected from granite blocks, laid in regular layers. At the western gable there is an oculus, and in the north wall of the chapel there is a pointed portal. In the Middle Ages, the free-standing chapel was located on the southern edge of the courtyard of irregular development.

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Pilch J., Kowalski S., Leksykon zabytków Pomorza Zachodniego i ziemi lubuskiej, Warszawa 2012.
Radacki Z., Średniowieczne zamki na Pomorzu Zachodnim. Suplement do monografii z 1976 roku, “Materiały zachodniopomorskie. Nowa Seria”, t. II – III, zeszyt 2,  2005/2006.
Radacki Z., Średniowieczne zamki Pomorza Zachodniego, Warszawa 1976.

Website, Kaplica templariuszy. Rurka.