Stara Zagość – church of St John the Baptist

History

   Zagość was the first seat in the Polish lands of the Knights Hospitallers, which were brought here by prince Henry Sandomierski at the beginning of the second half of the twelfth century. At that time, the first romanesque church and the hospital were built. At the beginning of the fourteenth century the Hospitallers lost their property in Zagość to the Gerward, bishop of Kujawy, as compensation for their earlier invasions to the bishop’s estate.
   Around 1353 the romanesque church was rebuilt into gothic at the initiative of king Casimir the Great. Apparently it was a form of penance for the murder of canon Marcin Baryczka. In the 17th century the church was destroyed by the Rakoczi army, and in 1667 it was renovated and repaired. In the years 1900-1901 the nave of the temple was enlarged, which unfortunately has resulted in the irretrievable destruction of many romanesque sculptural decorations.

Architecture

   The original Romanesque church consisted of a nave and a straight ended chancel. The nave of this church was covered with a flat timber ceiling, and the chancel had a groin vault. In the fourteenth century, the nave and the chancel were extended, and received a three-sided closure. In the Gothic period, a cross-rib vault was also installed in the presbytery, decorated with a boss with a carved Piast Eagle. The outer walls were then surrounded with stepped buttresses that allowed to maintain the pressure of the new vaults on the perimeter walls. The interior was illuminated by very narrow and at the same time high, pointed windows. The nave and presbytery were covered with steep gable roofs.

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bibliography:
Website wikipedia.org, Stara Zagość.
Website zabytkowekoscioly.net, Stara Zagość, kościół św. Jana Chrzciciela, dawny joannitów.