The companion of the French spy wrote in his diary from his travels around the 17th-century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth that there was a “very beautiful castle” on the slope of the mountain, between the trees. Sources also say that in the later period the building was used as a hunting mansion. It is about a mysterious castle that once stood in a picturesque scenery on a hill in Kluczkowice in the Lublin province. Now very little remains of the palace foundation. Experts say that archaeological research should be carried out here.
“On the southern side of the road from Opole Lubelskie to Józefów there is a little-known, but still mysterious archaeological monument. It is the castle in Kluczkowice” – we read on the Facebook profile of the Lublin Provincial Conservator of Monuments.
According to the information contained in the article by Hubert Mącik, the Municipal Conservator of Monuments in Lublin (published in 2019 in “Rocznik Lubelski” – editor’s note), the object in question was most likely erected before the mid-16th century by Mikołaj Wrzelowski, and then – in the 60-70s. in the 16th century extended for Stanisław Słupecki or in the 1730s – for Krzysztof Słupecki.
Inventories from 1688 and 1690 have been preserved
– Mikołaj Wrzelowski was a middle-class nobleman who owned several villages in that area. His daughter Zofia married Stanisław Słupecki, castellan of Lublin in the years 1568–1575, who owned the neighboring Opole, now Opole Lubelskie. Krzysztof Słupecki was the grandson of Stanisław Słupecki – explains Hubert Mącik in an interview with tvn24.pl.
He tells us that although the history of the castle and its reconstructions is very difficult to reconstruct today, at least inventories from 1688 and 1690 have been preserved, which show that the palace complex, consistently referred to in both documents as “the castle”, consisted of a castle surrounded by a defensive wall and a barn in the outer bailey.
– Objects performing economic functions were located both inside the castle, where there were a sheepfold, pigsties, a kitchen and a cheesecake, and outside. That is, on the barn, where there were “a barn with six doors” and a cowshed – he points out.
A French spy’s companion wrote that the castle was beautiful
Ulryk Werdum also wrote about the castle in Kluczkowice in 1672, who was a participant in the trip around the Commonwealth of the French spy, priest Jean de Courthonne, who organized the magnate opposition in Poland against King Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki, aiming to introduce a candidate from France.
– Werdum’s memoirs from the years 1670-1672 remain after this expedition, in which we read the following sentences about this place: “A stream flows from the lake, by which a very beautiful castle stands among the trees on the mountain slope. From this castle a beautiful view of a long, bushy valley and the lake,” quotes our interlocutor.
It is absent from the 1786 and 1801 maps
He adds that later, after 1752, when Kluczkowice was owned by the Tarłów and Lubomirski families, the castle was used as a hunting manor.
– It is assumed that the object ceased to function in the period between the preparation of the two inventories, i.e. after 1690 and before 1786, when the map of Karol de Perthces, the court geographer of King Stanisław August Poniatowski, was created. There is no castle on this map anymore. Hence, it can be concluded that before the end of the 18th century the castle was no longer used or was destroyed. However, while the map from 1786 is not very accurate, a more reliable source is the map from 1801, made after the third partition of Poland for the needs of the Austrian army, on which the castle is also missing. It was probably abandoned, because the Lubomirski family had a large residence nearby, in Opole, so they no longer needed the one in Kluczkowice, explains Mącik.
Today, little remains of the castle.
– Only the foundations of the entrance gate, small fragments of the perimeter wall and the pit of the palace building can be seen in the field – says the conservator.
Archaeological research is needed
He adds that archaeological research should certainly be carried out here.
– This place holds many secrets. Perhaps it would be possible to find some coins, fragments of pottery or fragments of some wooden buildings. The latter could be subjected to dendrochronological research, which would determine not only in which year a given tree was felled, but also in what season of the year it happened. Even non-invasive tests with the use of a speed camera would tell us a lot – our interlocutor points out.
He adds that the inhabitants of Kluczkowice and Wrzelowiec claim that in the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century farm buildings were erected from the walls of an abandoned castle in both these towns.
– The fence of the parish cemetery in Wrzelowiec was also to be built from the castle walls – says Hubert Mącik.
They’re illegally looking for valuables here
In 2015, the area where the castle stood was entered into the register of monuments as an archaeological monument. As we read on the LWKZ Facebook profile, the hill is systematically penetrated by metal detector seekers.
“On the surface of the castle hill, we constantly find many excavations made by robbers, focused solely on obtaining valuable jewels. We hope that this post about the castle in Kluczkowice will contribute to greater social sensitivity and thus (through more frequent monitoring of the site) will ensure better protection of this valuable archaeological monument from the effects of vandalism described above.
Main photo source: Hubert Mącik