Siedlęcin – ducal tower

History

   The construction of the tower was started by the prince of Jawor, Henryk I in the years 1313-1314. Around 1346, wall polychromes were created in the main hall of the tower. Their founder could be prince Henryk or Bolko II of Świdnica. From 1369, Siedlęcin became the property of the knight, Jenchin von Redern, and until the middle of the 15th century the tower was in the possession of this family. The tower was located near an important route connecting Jelenia Góra with Wleń and Lwówek. Later, it was included in the complex of manor buildings. More serious security and conservation works took place in the 19th century, then in the interwar period and after the Second World War.

Architecture

   The tower was built on a rectangular plan with dimensions of 14.35 x 22.2 meters, a height of about 19 meters and the thickness of the walls at the ground level of 2.5 to 3 meters. Originally, it was crowned with a defensive porch provided with battlement. The whole was surrounded by a defensive wall, running about 2.5 meters from the building’s face. Outside, the perimeter wall was surrounded by a moat, fed by water from a nearby river. In the fifteenth century, the tower was raised by one storey and covered with a steep, hip roof.
  
The original entrance led through the ogival portal in the ground floor. Above the vaulted ground floor with two rooms, there were residential floors covered with timber ceilings. The first floor had two rooms. In the 16th century, a fireplace was built in it, along with a warming chamber added into the interior of the eastern chamber. The hearth was accessible from the hall to the west, and the outer chimney was hung on stone corbels. The second floor is currently single-space, but the original three rooms can be reconstructed, based on the arrangement of three outer latrines (each room had one each) and wall steps. It created so-called “warm room” lined with timber to provide higher temperatures. On its extension there was a room with a latrine and a gutter for draining water. The remaining space was filled with a hall with two trefoli windows with deep niches. This representative chamber was decorated with wall paintings. These high-class, 14th-century paintings depict the stories of the knight of the Round Table, Lancelot of the Lake. The original layout of the rooms on the third floor is not known, but judging by the arrangement of windows, there were several rooms. Above, there was a combat level sheltered with a battlement with merlons placed on average every 1.2 meters. After 1575, the breaks between them were walled up and windows were placed.

Current state

   The Siedlęcin  tower house is one of the most magnificent and best-preserved buildings of its kind in Central Europe, and the Siedlęcin’s polychromes are the only ones depicting Sir Lancelot’s history. Their great value is rare for medieval times, secular character of presented content. Since 2001 the tower has been owned by the Chudów Castle Foundation, which has preserved the medieval paintings and elements of the building itself. The building is open to the public from May to October from 9:00 to 18:00, low season in November – April from 10:00 to 16:00.

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bibliography:
Boguszewicz A., Corona Silesiae. Zamki Piastów fürstenberskich na południowym pograniczu księstwa jaworskiego, świdnickiego i ziębickiego do połowy XIV wieku, Wrocław 2010.

Chorowska M., Rezydencje średniowieczne na Śląsku, Wrocław 2003.
Leksykon zamków w Polsce, L.Kajzer, S.Kołodziejski, J.Salm, Warszawa 2003.