The old parish church of the New Town of Toruń was erected from 1309 to the 15th century. Construction began with the chancel, in 1340 the church was shaped, and from 1359 to the first half of the 15th century, at the sides of the nave, side chapels were added, while the roofs of the aisles were raised and hidden underneath the flying buttresses. The characteristic double tower roof was built after the fire in 1455. In 1345 the patronage of the church was given to the Cistercian monastery, with the Benedictine period. Since 1557 the church has served the Evangelicals, and in 1667 it was again taken over by the Benedictines. In 1703 it was robbed by the Swedish army, who requisitioned the two largest bells. One of them, called Thornan, is located in Uppsala Cathedral and is currently the largest bell in Sweden. In 1724, in the neighborhood of the church of St. James began the course of events later called Toruń Tumult, that is riots between local Protestants and Catholics.
Temple is a basilica church, meaning it has lower aisles in relation to the nave. From the remaining gothic Toruń churches, the construction system of the nave is rarely used in the Poland. It consists transferring the weight of the vaults of the nave with the flying buttresses of the aisles. As the aisles were raised in the fifteenth century, only one flying buttress is visible above the roof of the sacristy.
In the western span of the central nave a massive tower was built on a square plan. On it floor a matroneum is opening to the inside of the church. On the west side of the northern aisle, a storage room and a treasury were built. The richly decorated presbytery and sacristy adjoining the eastern part of the nave. The chancel has an atypical, four-and-half-span system, ended with a straight wall. Two pairs of diagonal buttresses embedded in the corners of the eastern half-spar are also not very common. Each pair of buttresses runs at a slightly different angle, forming a kind of wreath. What’s more, the buttress system is continuing in a magnificent triangular gable, slightly retracted from the east wall of the presbytery. buttress were dragged here over the edges of the walls, and their upper parts were treated as decorative pinnacles. The culmination is decorated with openwork rosettes and large-scale tracery painted on plaster.
In the central nave stellar vaults were laid, and rib vaults in the aisles. Vaults of chapels have varied, complicated patterns. The spans in the presbytery have the shape of elongated rectangles, covered with stellar vault, except for east span extended by a half and covered with a spectacular pseudo polygonal vault. Over the arcades, in the thick walls, extensive niches have been cut, while in the upper part of each of them a window was pierced. The niches are separated in the lower part from the naves with timber sills, and in the pillars between them, the passages are pierced. As a result, a communication porch was created in the thickness of the wall, which on one hand led to the matroneum (gallery) in the tower, and on the other it originally opened up to the choir rod screen. On the pillars and arcades in the tower underneath are polychromes from the second half of the 14th century. In the southern aisle, a painting based on the legend of St. Mary Magdalene, and in the presbytery on the vaults and on the walls, the figures of St. James and St. Philip are painted.
Architektura gotycka w Polsce, red. T. Mroczko i M. Arszyński, Warszawa 1995.
Walczak M., Kościoły gotyckie w Polsce, Kraków 2015.
Website wikipedia.org, Kościół św. Jakuba w Toruniu.