Project (block 1) - Objectives of the Project*
The work aimed for a comprehensive recognition and defining the historic values of a small village church and for preparing the guidelines for its future restoration.
The method and construction of the work
The study started from drawing up the state of research on the object, then the iconographic and cartographic sources documenting its architectonic alterations were searched for. A broad inquiry in several archives both home and abroad was carried out. This aimed for finding historic documents presenting the subsequent stages of re-building the church. Already in 2003 a descriptive and drawn inventory was made and measurements were taken (17 drawings, scale: 1:50, 1:10, 1:5, 1:2, 1:1), a photographic documentation was made (ca. 200 photographs) as well as the architectonic survey was carried out (11 drawings, scale 1:50), supplemented by the author during further works. Due to the extensiveness of the collected research material the work refers to the architecture exclusively, not including the furnishing which however has been named and briefly described.
The work, after characterisation the collected material (archival documents, iconography, cartography and the state of research) and presentation ofthe object, comprises a detailed description of the history of the church and the village against the political, economic and social background of the region (from prehistoric times till our days). The next chapter contains the results of carried out architectonic survey and presents a description of the church (inside and outside) in the subsequent stages of its building preceded with presentation of the development of the methods of architectonic survey and the method of such survey carried out in Gnojewo. Then the church has been compared with other Gothic churches of Żuławy Wiślane/Vistula Lowlands region. The next chapter refers to conservation problems, also in a historic review. Conservation works carried out in the years 1908-1909 have been described and evaluated. The present condition of the church has been presented. Then the church has been submitted to a evaluative analysis (according to Walter Frodl). This demonstrated the main values of the church – its historic, artistic and utility values. Basing on the above it was possible to develop conservation guidelines, determining elements of the church structure designated to unconditional preservation, the elements that could be possibly changed and those that could be totally eliminated. The work has been concluded with the list of materials, on which the study was based and the source annex, comprising the contents of archival documents.
The Illustrations make an integral part of the study – contemporary and historic maps, iconography of the object, photographic documentation presenting the present condition of the church, drawn documentation and measurements, architectonic survey with chronological stratification, reconstruction of the first phase the church and comparative material.
Contents: text - 170 p.; illustrations – 140
Gothic church of St. Simon and Jude in Gnojewo
The village Gnojewo is situated 50 km south of Gdańsk. In Malbork, situated in a distance of 10 km there was the capital of Teutonic Order.
A Gothic church of St. Simon and Jude was erected in 1323 as a half-timbered construction (wooden frame filled with brick wall). It was a three-aisled hall on a rectangular plane with a western tower. Then, in two stages in mid-14th and at in late 14th century it was bricked up on the outside with walls and gained a decorative eastern gable. Perhaps then the posts dividing the space into the three aisles have been removed, and an aisleless space have been created. At the end of 15th century a five-spanned row of vaulted chapels has been built at the south. After 1708 the church has been thoroughly renovated. The church received a rich, painted decoration on thewalls and the ceiling (1717), the new furnishing and new carpentry. The size of widows and distribution of doors have been changed. In 1818 a hurricane destroyed the church tower and soon afterwards the church has been taken over by the Protestants and adjusted to their liturgical needs. The walls between chapels have been pulled down to create an aisle; ca. 1819 a vestry has been built at the east and in the years 1853-1854 a new western tower was erected. In the years 1908-1909 the church has been thoroughly restored under supervision of Bernhard Schmied, the state conservator for the Province West Prussia. After 1945 the church has been abandoned and fell into ruin. Now-a-days the rescue works are in progress.
The church is of a unique historic value. It is the oldest church in Europe with preserved Gothic half-timbered construction. Such churches known so far were built not earlier than at the beginning of 16th century. Next value is a spatial layout of the church from early 15th century (the row of chapels), which is unique on the national scale. It is the only village church in Żuławy Wiślane/Vistula Lowlands region to have brick vaults. The decoration of the ceiling, by the painter Chrstoph Manowski of 1717 is of great value too. They present a rich ideological program, underlining the sacredness of the God’s House.