CHOPIN’S POLAND CHOPIN’S POLAND

Brochów

Brochów Brochów

The parish church of St Roch (now St John the Baptist) in Brochów was a particularly important place in the family history of both the Skarbeks and the Chopins. Here, on 2 June 1806, the wedding was held of the composer's parents, Mikołaj Chopin and Tekla Justyna Krzyżanowska. In the same church, on Easter Sunday, 23 April 1810, Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin was baptised. Although the Chopins regarded Fryderyk Skarbek as their son's godfather, it is Franciszek Grembecki, of Cieplin, who is entered in the certificate of baptism, possibly as proxy during the ceremony. The godmother was Anna Skarbek, later Wiesiołowska. Fryderyk was also given an 'emergency baptism', which may have taken place shortly after his birth at Żelazowa Wola, in the presence of Countess Ludwika Skarbek [1].

Besides the entries of the Chopins' wedding and little Fryderyk's baptism, the Brochów church records also carried an entry relating to the wedding of the composer's sister, Ludwika, who in 1832 married in her family parish Józef Kalasanty Jędrzejewicz. It is highly likely that the members of the Chopin family combined every stay at Żelazowa Wola with visits to Brochów.

The first church in Brochów was probably built before 1113, during the reign of Ladislaus Herman. Over two hundred years later, in 1351, work began on the construction of a brick church, and a further two centuries later, in the years 1551-61, its rebuilding. Conservation work, completed in 1665, was last carried out by Olbracht Adrian Lasocki, husband of Agnieszka Brochowska.

Situated on the banks of the Bzura, this Renaissance-style building of fortified character is an exceptional example of Polish sacred architecture. Built of red brick, the church is crowned with three towers. Two of these stand either side of the Romanesque portal, the third above the presbytery. The grounds are enclosed by a wall with corner bastions.

Not far from the church, on the manor grounds, a Masterclass Centre is currently being built, where outstanding young pianists from all over the world will be able to hone their skills under the guidance of outstanding Chopin interpreters. Since 2006, Chopin recitals have been held in the church every Sunday during July and August.

A sculpture of the patron, St Roch, standing near the church, is surrounded by slender birches. Flat fields extend all around, with rows of old weeping willows.

Worth seeing in the area:

  • Classicist manor house with coach house, in an historical landscape garden, at Tułowice.
  • Next to the bridge over the Bzura at Witkowice, a plaque and monument commemorating the Polish troops' crossing of the river during the Battle of Bzura (1939).

[1] The question of the 'emergency baptism' is discussed by Mysłakowski and Sikorski, Chopinowie, 148, who also analyse the subject at length in the article 'Okoliczności urodzin Fryderyka Chopina. Co mówią źródła', 28-34.

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