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Houses were decorated with paint covering their walls[1]. Today it is difficult to determine whether the colours are original or they are a later layer. Some walls are planked[2]. In the later period the tie-beam was plastered. In the oldest houses, a distinguishing decorative element of the wall is constituted by a kind of white joint sealing the space between logs (illustration 22 ). Planked house gables were also considered as decorative. But decoration is the most visible in details, i.e. doors and windows, decorative slats and moulding works.
In the majority of cases we can try, on the basis of the gathered material, to date individual elements. We shall not however forget that in case of the rural architecture the occurrence of many elements is delayed and new details do not exclude the existence of old forms.


Entrances to residential sections were located in both longer walls of the building and in one of the gable walls. Doors having frame-panel structure, pivoted, single-leaf or double leaf, were obtuse in door-frames that only in some cases were chamfered. Front doors are single but the doors in the gable wall are sometimes double[3].
The number of panels varies from two to five in one leaf. The most popular pattern is the division into three panels, the upper and lower having the same size and being smaller than the middle one[4]. Sometimes upper panels may be larger than the lower ones (Dragacz 37). Leaves with four panels where the upper ones are larger can be found in Dolna Grupa 81 and M±tawy 54. Another pattern is the division of the leaf into four panels of the same size. An interesting example may be the doors in Osiek 5 (illustration 23 ) and Wielki Lubień (illustration 24 and illustration 25 ). Panels concentrate in the middle creating a step-like (pyramid-shaped) pattern on the reverse side[5].
All have moulded panel edges.
In the discussed region there are several doors having similar layout of panels with a rosette motive. They can be found in Osiek 5 (illustration 26 illustration 27 ), Wielki Lubień 47 ( illustration 28 , illustration 29 ), Krusze 6 ( illustration 30 )[6]. We also know that such door existed in M±tawy 28[7]. All have moulded shelves between the panels. They are always located in the gable wall.
In this area there were also doors with architectonic decorations (illustration 31 )[8]. Unfortunately they no longer exist, like the only known example of doors with rhomboidal panels in Wielkie Stwolno, stored today in the Ethnographical Museum in Toruń.
In case of double gable doors the internal leaf was glassed (illustration 28 , illustration 29 ).
In all doors there is a variety of fixtures. There are hinges with hooks (the so-called Polish hinges) having angle, cross, vertical, strap and s-shaped form (illustration 32 , illustration 33 , illustration 34 ). There are also decorative bolts and locks with door handles (illustration 35, 36). Among handles there are rare examples of knobs (illustration 37 ).
Internal doors, the most often single-leaf, reproduce simplified ornamental forms of external doors. A very interesting example can be found in Wielki Lubień 47. It is a five-leaf, folding and hinge door, with leaves of the same size leading to the representative room (illustration 38 ).
In farm buildings we can find board and slat doors, as well as board and batten doors with brace.
The preserved doors are generally in good state. However, large differences in forms do not allow any attempt of dating. All the described examples are characteristic for the entire 19th century.


Windows are the best-preserved part of the detail. All are in frames (illustration 39 , illustration 40 ). Besides a few later examples of box windows they are single, obtuse, open to the outside. On the outside they are encircled by a slat that only sometimes has a beading. The internal side is much richer. The window frame and the slat are moulded, so that sometimes it is difficult to separate them. Also panel sills may be bevelled on the inside.
The most popular form are double-leaf windows with a post, which is also moulded on the inside (illustration 41 ). Each panel is a single-casement panel, divided horizontally into two or three parts. In the thirties of the 19th century three-level, double-casement panels appear in richer houses.
In the 3rd quarter of the 19th century a window cross appears (illustration 42 )[9]. Transom and sub-transom are divided into two panels. The transom is always single-cased, single level. Only in the house in Wielki Komórsk, ul. Nowska 5, the window is three-cased with a rectangular transom. The single-cased sub-transom panels are divided horizontally into three parts. This layout is simplified at the end of the century, what leads to single-cased, single-level panels. In the 4th quarter of the 19th century framed windows opening to the inside appear; thus the window cross becomes more protuberant on the outside.
All windows are glassed with putty.
In comparison to doors, the diversity of fittings is poorer (illustration 43, 44). Among the connecting fixtures there are hinges with hooks and gussets. Among the locking fixtures the most popular are eye hooks.
Window shutters (illustration 41 , illustration 42 , illustration 45 , illustration 46 ) are an important element of the window equipment. Originally there were mounted in all windows, but today they are rare. They have a frame and panel construction[10]. The most popular ones are single and double-panelled[11]. Only the house in Wielki Komórsk, ul. Nowska 5, has window shutters composed of three equal panels. The double-panelled shutters have panels of different heights (lower panels are larger) or equal, more characteristic for sites dating from the 4th quarter of the 19th century[12]. In the middle panels geometrical (rhombuses) or floral (marguerite flower in M±tawy 54) motives appear.
Among the preserved fittings are mainly connecting fittings (none of the shutters is used today), especially circular and vertical hinges. In a few houses we will also find locking fittings - lever espagnolette bolts on the external side of the shutters.
While describing windows we cannot forget about windows in gables, illuminating the loft part of the house.[13]. Very often they have a typical Classicistic fanlight layout (illustration 47)[14]. Sometimes on both sides of the gable there are windows in form of a quarter of a circle, often richly ornamented[15].
The majority of windows are covered with white paint. Only sometimes the colour is yellow or red. The slats encircling the window frame on the outside often have different colour; they are painted with the same paint as shutters.
The state of windows preservation allows approximate dating and typology. There are two main patterns of windows - with a post and with a window cross - different variants of which develop through the entire 19th century.


The most decorative element of the window is the slat over the window (illustration 48). Due to the classicising architectonic form (in the majority of cases) they can be referred to as pediment.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the slats in the upper parts of the window were not moulded - they did not differ from the vertical battens encircling the window case, and formed with them a rectangular band around the window.
The earliest known triangular pediments date from the beginning of the thirties in the 19th century. It is the most popular form (occurs in 30 sites), appearing till the end of the century.
On the turn of the 3rd and 4th quarter of the 19th century, pediments with richer form appear, following however certain symmetry and stiffness. They are decorated with floral motives or form a kind of crown over the window.
An interesting example may be a window (4th quarter of the 19th century) in the house in Nowe nad Wisł±, ul. Wi¶lana 13 (illustration 46 ). The pediment having the form of a traditional triangle ends with two 'horns'. It is also the only window to have a slat below the window being decidedly more decorative than the pediment.


The quoins of corner-notched houses constitute an important element of construction. Logs are connected with a top plate or with dovetail halvings. To protect them against weather conditions the beam ends are left or corner slats are used (illustration 49 ).
The oldest corner slats do not have any ornament. Only in Michale 68 a simplified rosette with moulding is used. Also geometrical forms occur.
In the thirties of the 19th century quoins are covered with rustication (illustration 50 ). Near the mid-century a separate element appears in the slat, constituting a kind of capital. The slat starts looking like a pilaster. An isolated example is the slat in Krusze 4, having a decoratively cut edge.
The ornamentally richest slats, with a strongly marked capital, date from the 3rd quarter of the 19th century and can be found in Osiek 5 and Wielki Lubień 47. They bear the motive of a developed rosette that, in case of Osiek, additionally has a heart motive.
The only pilaster with a capital and a base can be found in the cottage in W±skie Piaski 68.


The earliest endings of tie-beams have a simplified form of one beading (illustration 51 ). Rafters rest directly on them. If they are not moulded, the diagonally cut end is ceiled with a simple slat on the entire length of the building (illustration 22 ). In richer houses already in the thirties of the 19th century the tie-beams had a moulding: beading - offset - groove (illustration 52 , illustration 53 ). Over them there are moulded wall plates, supporting the rafters, invisible from outside.
The ends of logs adopt very different mouldings in the second half of the century (illustration 54). Also the ceiled slats, covering tie-beams and wall plates, are more and more decorative. The most eminent are slats in Osiek 5 and Wielki Lubień 47 (illustration 55 ).
From the 3rd quarter of the 19th century tie-beams become a single system with protruding moulded rafter ends (illustration 56 ). Decorative battens are very often attached to the rafter ends (illustration 57 ). They appear on the turn of the 3rd and 4th quarter of the 19th century. According to B. Schmidt they originate from the Swiss style[16].


Few gable adornments have survived. Of three basic types only pazdurs (vertical wooden ornaments placed on extreme ends of a roof ridge) have survived[17]. Among them we can distinguish several basic forms. A simplified classicising volute, descending along the rafters, is at present only partly preserved in M±tawy 35, but it originally was also in M±tawy 28, Wielkie Zaj±czkowo and Bratwin. In Wielki Lubień 47, Nowe nad Wisł±, ul. Kwiatowa 6, and in Wielki Komórsk, ul. Grudzi±dzka 17, a pazdur in form of a spear or a pike (illustration 58 , illustration 59 ) has been preserved. Gable ornaments in form of a reverse pazdur can be found in Tryl 40, M±tawy 52 and Wielkie Zaj±czkowo 33 (illustration 60 , illustration 61 ). Some of the gable adornments had symbolic meaning. For example the pike was the symbol of vigilance[18].


Inscriptions are the type of ornament giving the most information. We learn not only when a given house was built but also who ordered its construction and who carried it out.
In the area of Nizina Sartowicko-Nowska eight inscriptions are known. Bratwin 38 has the inscription: "Erbaut im Jahre 1859 von B.M...". Fletnowo 30: "18...B. M. 57". M±tawy 28: "Anno 1831 am 11ten August, Cornel Wichert B. H. Fr. Bohnke B.M.". M±tawy 54: "Fr. Bohnke B. H. ...Anno 1831" but we know that the owner of the house was S. Kerber. Michale 65: "K. L. Luske B.M. 1893". Wielki Lubień 45: "Johann Dobrau B. D Jacob Rathler B. M. 1833".Wielkie Stwolno 11: "Erbaut Von ... Becher im Jahre 1891". Wielkie Stwolno 33: "...Her Alensko B Meister 1887".
Till present day four inscriptions have been preserved: Bratwin 38, M±tawy 28, Wielkie Stwolno 33 (illustration 62 ) and Fletnowo 30; two are known from iconography: Wielki Lubień 45, Wielkie Stwolno 11 and two are known from written documents: M±tawy 54 and Michale 65[19].
Inscriptions are characteristic for the Olęder architecture and for the highlanders architecture in the north of the country[20].
Their number is low with regard to the number of preserved sites.
They are always located in the lintel on the external part of the building. They were created by concave chiselling of wood with a flat and semicircular chisel.
In the peasants' mentality the time a family dwelled in a given region, its 'antiquity' as A. Mietz describes it[21], was a very important element. Therefore the inscriptions were popular among settlers (all names in German), who tried to document their identity. Probably they also indicated the wealth of the peasant[22].

[1] The remains of such painting can be found on the walls of the house in Wielki Lubień 47 (grey-blue), Osiek 5 (orange), Dolna Grupa 12 (yellow), Górna Grupa 54 (green), Krusze 3 (white), Krusze 39 (grey), M±tawy 52 (yellow and green), Wielki Komórsk ul. Grudzi±dzka 28 (white), ul. Grudzi±dzka 17 (black), Wielki Lubień 48 (pink and blue).
[2] The homestead in M±tawy 28 was planked in the mid-nineties of the 20th century, although the house in M±tawy 53 seems to have preserved the original planking.
[3] Gable doors lead directly to a chamber or a room and probably that is the reason why they were double. The front door always leads to the hallway, leading further to residential rooms.
[4] The three-panel pattern with panels of different size is very popular in the period of Classicism. Compare: J. Tajchman, Drewniane drzwi zabytkowe na terenie Polski (systematyka i problematyka konserwatorska), Ochrona Zabytków, 1991, no. 4, p. 275. In Nizina in double-leaf door such pattern can be found in Krusze 4 and 39, Michale 9, Wielki Komórsk ul. Grudzi±dzka 17. The building in Wielki Lubień 48 has such pattern for single-leaf, six-panel doors.
[5] A similar type, but not so developed, can be found in Bratwin 38 and Osiek 2.
[6] Doors in Osiek and Wielki Lubień are divided into four rectangular panels of the same size. Upper and lower are placed horizontally and the two in the middle are placed vertically. The door in Krusze is different - it has three panels; upper and lower are rectangular and oriented horizontally and the middle one is square. The concave rosette in a quadrangle occupies the largest part of it.
[7] This door differs the most from others. It had two square panels of the same size. The rosette in relief does not cover the entire panel.
[8] This was a double-leaf door in Krusze 6. It was placed in the longer wall on the side of the road.
[9] Despite the appearance of the window cross, windows with a post only will be used till the end of the 19th century, what seems to be confirmed by a signed house in Wielkie Stwolno, dating from 1887.
[10] Only the site in Nowe nad Wisł±, ul. Rybaki 9, has board and slat shutters.
[11] Single-panelled shutters prevail in the first half of the 19th century.
[12] Double-panelled shutters with panels of different size appear around the mid-19th century. Those with equal panels appear in the 3rd quarter of the century and at the end of the century they are a dominating form.
[13] Besides windows, lofts were illuminated with holes placed the closest possible to the ridge. They were in form of a rhomb or a square.
[14] According to Z. Ludkiewicz this type originates from the Spanish architecture and was taken over by the Dutch. Compare: Z. Ludkiewicz, op. cit., p. 39. It does not have any justification and such windows are a typical element of Classicistic architecture, often seen in cities.
[15] The most decorative forms occurred in the no longer existing homestead Dragacz 10.
[16] B. Schmid, Die Bau..., op. cit., p. LXXXV
[17] Józef Błachnio distinguished three basic types of gable adornments: decorative pazdurs, motives cut out in a board and nailed to the gable, ¶parogi being a decorative extension of rafters and weather-vanes. Compare: J. Błachnio, Ozdoby nadszczytowe na Ziemi Chełmińskiej i Michałowskiej, Grudzi±dz 1954, p. 3-10.
[18] Ibidem, p. 9.
[19] The inventory was made for three best-preserved ones. Photos from Wielkie Stwolno 11 and Wielki Lubień 45 are in the Card of Register of Architecture and Construction Historic Monuments Historic Monuments of Architecture and Construction registry Card, written information without iconography regarding Michale 65 and M±tawy 52 are also in conservation documents. Compare: Michale 65, Historic Monuments of Architecture and Construction registry Card; M±tawy 52, Historic Monuments of Architecture and Construction registry Card; Wielkie Stwolno 11, Historic Monuments of Architecture and Construction registry Card; Wielki Lubień 45, Historic Monuments of Architecture and Construction registry Card.
[20] A. Mietz, op. cit., p. 174, 176.
[21] Ibidem, p.177.
[22] Families related to the Mennonite community of Wicherts and Kerbers were quite popular in this area. As we know, Mennonites, while in the 19th century no longer constituting the most numerous group, were still the richest farmers. Compare: Ibidem, p.176; A. Goertz, Mennonite Families in the Montau-Gruppe/Schonsee Region 1800-1840, http://www.mmhs.org/prussia/montau.htm, 11.03. 2006.

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