he village of Byki first appeared in documents in 1416 as the property of Wojciech Jaxa-Bykowski and Mikołaj Jaxa-Bykowski of
Gryf coat of arms, who presumably lived in some wooden manor of unknown form. A brick manor house was probably erected here only at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries by the castellan of Łęczyca, Jan Stanisław Bykowski (d. 1624), although there is an assumption that a small residential tower already existed in Byki around 1500, which later became part of a Renaissance palace.
EAST ELEVATION OF THE MANSION
fter Jan Bykowski's death, the family estate passed into the hands of his son Przemysław of Kossowo, castellan of Sieradz (d. 1648), and when he died, Byki was inherited by his three sons: Alexander (d. 1722), Stanisław (d. after 1695) and Jan. Zofia, the daughter of the latter, after marrying Adam Skórzewski of
Ogończyk coat of arms in 1693, brought him her inheritance as a marriage contribution. Presumably it was she and her husband who, in the 1720s, expanded the mansion into a small palace with a characteristic
octagonal tower. The next and last of the Skórzewski family to own the estate were the children of Zofia and Adam: Stanisław, Jan, Petronella and Zuzanna, who, after her marriage to Antoni Jeło-Maliński, gave him Byki as hereditary property.
BIRD'S EYE VIEW
n 1760 the brothers Aleksander and Stanisław Maliński sold the estate to Michał Wężyk of
Wąż (Snake) coat of arms (d. 1791). The technical condition of the manor house at that time apparently left much to be desired, as evidenced by the fact that five years earlier its western part with the chapel had collapsed. The Wężyk family owned the Byki estate for nearly a century, but did not live here, leasing it to less wealthy noble families. After Michał, the palace was inherited by his son Adam Wężyk, who sold it to Jeziorański family in 1847. The new owners made some renovations and modernization here, but the effect of these works was not awe-inspiring, as exemplified by the opinion of Oskar Flatt, a sightseer and historian who lived at the time - he mentioned in his articles that the building had lost its charm of antiquity because of its modern architecture.
EASTERN ELEVATION WITH RELICS OF THE BAY WINDOW
uring World War I, the manor's interiors were devastated by German troops stationed there. To make matters worse, the then owners (Jeziorańscy), lost a large part of their property, thus they were forced to sell the land in Byki, of which Czarnecki family became the new proprietor. Further destruction and devastation of the building was done by the Germans during World War II, using the mansion for economic purposes, including keeping livestock. The southern part suffered the most at that time, especially the tower-capel, whose condition after the war was so bad that the then owner decided to demolish it.
VIEW OF THE MANSION FROM THE SOUTHEAST, IN THE FOREGROUND WE CAN SEE REMAINS OF THE DEMOLISHED CHAPEL (1957)
TOWER-CHAPEL AFTER RECONSTRUCTION (2006)
n 1961, the last private owner of the mansion, Maksym Czarnecki, handed it over to state administration, which, after a major renovation, opened an agricultural technical school here. In later years, the mansion housed a veterinary college and a vocational horticultural school, and in 1980 it became home to offices of an agricultural advisory center.
MANSION INTERIORS IN PHOTOS FROM 1957 (BEFORE RENOVATION)
upposedly the oldest part of the mansion is the tower standing in its central part, the construction of which is dated to the second half of the 16th century. Originally it was a free-standing building, erected on a rectangular plan with sides of 7x12 meters. At the end of the 16th century, the tower was expanded and a 28-meter long residential wing was added to the south.
CENTRAL TOWER: WEST ELEVATION IN 1957 / EAST ELEVATION TODAY
resumably, at the beginning of the 17th century, the aforementioned tower began to serve as a main gate. The entrance to it from the east was then decorated with a gate portal framed by rusticated semi-columns, as well as by a mascaron and a coat of arms cartouche with an image of griffin. The more modest portals in the western elevation received decorations with floral motifs: fruits, grape leaves and cones. The second floor of the tower is decorated with rectangular Renaissance window frames, while on the third floor we can see three semicircular windows with a coat of arms cartouche.
GATE PORTAL IN THE EASTERN ELEVATION
GATE AND WICKET PORTALS IN THE WESTERN ELEVATION
o the north and south the gate tower is adjoined by residential wings, lower than it by one story, at the ends of which towers were added. In the southern part is the square tower-risalite, which presumably housed a chapel, and on the north side stands the octagonal tower with
three miniature apses serving as shooting posts or only imitating them. The entire building was ornamented with sgraffito type décor and covered with a two (residential wings), four (gate tower, chapel) and six-sided red tile roof. The mansion is surrounded by a park, which used to be larger and probably irrigated with canals.
GROUND FLOOR PLAN OF THE BUILDING: 1. CENTRAL TOWER, 2. CHAPEL TOWER,
3. OCTAGONAL TOWER (RECTANGULAR IN THE GROUND FLOOR), 4. RESIDENTIAL WINGS
he building is preserved in the form given to it during the 19th-century reconstruction, which is only slightly different from its 17th- and 18th-century appearance. Of the late Renaissance architectural details, the portals mentioned earlier have survived, as well as some of the stone frames around the windows, fragments of interior portals and fireplaces. In addition, some of the rooms still have original vaults and wooden ceilings. The mansion houses the agricultural advisory center.
RENAISSANCE DECORATION OF THE EASTERN ELEVATION
The mansion is open during office hours. You can enter it as a petitioner, but you cannot visit it.
It takes about 15-20 minutes to thoroughly view the building from the outside.
You can walk around the park with your dog.
OCTAGONAL TOWER IN THE NORTHERN PART OF THE MANSION
he mansion is located on Kasztelańska Street, 4 km northwest of the city center, at the junction of the S8 expressway and the A1 highway. You can get here from the city center by bus line 9.
There is a small parking lot for petitioners (free of charge).
1. I. T. Kaczyńscy: Zamki w Polsce północnej i środkowej, Muza SA 1999
2. L. Kajzer: Małe czy duże, czyli o tzw. zamkach rycerskich na Niżu Polskim
3. P. Machlański, J. Podolska: Piotrków Trybunalski. Spacerownik po regionie, Gazeta Wyborcza 2008
4. Piotrków Trybunalski i okolice - przewodnik, it 1997
5. A. R. Sypek: Zamki i warownie ziemi mazowieckiej, TRIO 2002
6. A. Wagner: Murowane budowle obronne w Polsce X-XVIIw., Bellona 2019
WE CAN PARK A CAR NEAR THE GATE
Castles nearby: Piotrków Trybunalski - royal castle from the 16th century, 5 km Sulejów - fortified post-Cistercian abbey of the 13th-16th centuries, 23 km Ujazd - relics of a knight's castle from the 15th century, 29 km
Mikorzyce - relics of a 17th century fortified mansion, 31 km Pabianice - Renaissance mansion from the 16th century, 40 km Majkowice - ruin of a 16th century fortified mansion, 45 km Bąkowa Góra - ruin of a 15th century fortified mansion, 47 km Inowłódz - ruins of a royal castle from the 14th century, 48 km
Łopatki - Renaissance mansion from the 16th century, 48 km