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History

The house was, until recently, incorrectly believed to have been built in 1660 by the Prince-Bishop of Breslau (Wroclaw) , Sebastian von Rostock as his private summer residence. But visiting scholars suggested that the building may be much older than that, and an archaeological dig in the cellar in 2012 confirms the mediaeval origins of the house. Meanwhile, the unique polychromatic ceiling and frescoes in the ballroom seem to date from the 1620s. 

We welcome visits from old house and history enthusiasts, especially those who can help us further our understanding of the house. We are still piecing together its story. Recently, a visitor showed us a 1907 photo album with pictures of the house and family. We are very interested in even the minutest piece of new information.

A document called the Registrum Nissense (the Nysa Register), dated 1305, shows the hosue to have been owned by Nicolas Czelme. The name von Hundt appears in the latter half of the sixteenth century, and a Gabriel von Hundt went from Piotrowice to Nysa (or Neisse, in Germna) when King Frederick V of Bohemia came to inspect his Silesian lands in 1620. In 1665 it became the private property of Prince-Bishop of Breslau (now Wroclaw), Sebastien von Rostock before passing down to his nephew on his death in 1671.

We know that it belonged to the Barons von Wimmersperg from 1743 to 1858, and from then until 1945, to a family called Lorenz. The Lorenz family owned the local sugar factory in Otmuchow (Ottmachau). A descendant of the last owner says that the family legend is that the house was acquired by Lorenz when von Wimmersperg failed to meet a debt. The Lorenz family left in 1945 along with all Germans in the region.

Piotrowice was called Peterwitz in German. This part of Silesia was ruled by Prussia from 1745. Before that, the history is complicated, the lands ruled by the Prince-Bishop's of Breslau/Wroclaw were ultimately under Austria, Bohemia, as well as being invaded for part of the early fifteenth century by the Hussites - Czech proto-Protestants. The Hussites may well have destroyed this house, as they did the far larger castles at nearby Otmuchow and Javornik, and that would explain why most of the structure dates from later. Perhaps it was rescued in the early 1600s. 

During communism, with the Germans who had lived here for centuries gone, the area was repopulated by Poles from further East, some from what is now part of Ukraine. The house was occupied by five families of Polish farm workers. It came into private ownership in the late 1990s, and was bought by the current owners, Jim and Anna Parton in 2007, who are lovingly restoring it.

In the process of restoration, discoveries are being made, the most important being a seventeenth century painted ceiling in the ballroom, dated putatively at 1620. This was hidden above newer plaster. The ceiling is in need of restoration, but is in remarkably good condition, with bold colours. It is thought to be unique in Poland. Although many ceilings of this kind exist, this is the only one with allegorical designs, and pictures of birds and animals. One panel may have a portrait of Queen Elizabeth, the Winter Queen, wife of Frederick V. Another looks remarkably like Barack Obama...

Renaissance sgraffito has also been uncovered. A visit to this house is an opportunity to see a restoration project in progress. A frequently asked question is, “How long will renovation take?” We really don’t know...it will take as long as it takes. It is important not to rush a restoration like this.

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