The History of the Wilkowice Manor
The name Wilkowice Manor relates to a group of material objects, such as manor buildings together with an adjacent park and farm areas as well as, in a broader perspective, to all plans connected with the cultivation of tradition in the restored manor interiors and within the green areas and also with their cultural and artistic setting.
The Manor in Wilkowice was built around 1850 at the request of Leonard Wilski. It is a historical brick building erected in neoclassical style on an elongated rectangular plan. Originally it only comprised the present-day seven-axis middle part with a projection crowned by a triangular gable and a two-column portico supporting the first floor terrace.
A three-pillar entrance gate was built in neoclassical style at the same time as the manor layout. The plastered gate is decorated with profiled cornices and cones with garlands.
The Wilkowice Manor is entered in the register of historic monuments under the number 594/83. Manor’s built-up area is approx. 2000 sq.m. It is located within the distance of approx. 80 km from Warsaw and approx. 67 km from Łódź.
In its present shape Wilkowice manor is a structure which consists of a ground-floor part with a residential attic and a four-axis first-floor part. The attic with remnants of a shingled roof, where dried herbs used to hang, is extremely beautiful. High cellars with vaulted arches located under the whole building also contribute to the atmosphere. The ground-floor part has a two-storey projection crowned by a triangular gable decorated with a two-column portico, which supports the terrace at the attic level. Designed at the back of the Manor, the terrace with a roof cover placed on four pillars naturally connects the Manor and garden layout. The staircase leads to the residential attic and the first floor. The ground floor part of the Manor is covered with a three-sided roof and the first floor part – a hip roof1. Inside in the living room there are two characteristic Tuscan columns, from which the hall took its name, the Column Hall. The Manor has wooden ceilings with remnants of stucco-work, on the basis of which the whole stucco cornice complex crowning the historical part of the Manor was restored.
The mansion is surrounded by a mid 19th century landscape park, which was rearranged in 1910 in accordance with Stefan Celichowski’s design, similarly as the park located in a nearby Rossocha.
In the interwar period in about 1925, Tytus Wilski (a son of Ignacy, a grandson of Leonard) developed the Manor in Wilkowice, the result of which was the present body of the building occupying the area of 2000 sq.m. A four-axis two-storey brick outbuilding was added on a plan similar to a square. On the high basement there is a two-storey three-bay outbuilding with a tar-covered hip roof on the northern side. It has wooden ceilings and wooden floors. The staircase with a banister made of balusters is an interesting piece. Thanks to the only baluster remaining from the period it was possible to carry out reconstruction work to restore the original beauty of the whole banister structure.
History of the family who owned the village Wilkowice dates back to the 15th century. The family’s progenitor mentioned in historical sources was Piotr Wilk, Rawa Land judge as well as Warsaw councillor and public prosecutor in the years 1491-1516. Another family member recorded in the annals was Aleksander Wilk, John III Sobieski’s election sejm deputy for Rawa region.
In 1799 Henryka Katarzyna Arndt of the Fergass Tepper family bought Wilkowice from Wilhelm August Arndt. Then after her death on 3rd March 1834 the estate was inherited by her six children being the only heirs (a notarial deed of June 1836) – Filipina Maria Tahufin of the Arndt family, Konstancja Eleonora, Piotr Wilhelm, Zofia Maria, Piotr Jan, Paweł Dawid. In 1836 the entire estate was bought at an auction by Leonard Wilski.
At the end of the 18th century the other part of Wilkowice estate was the property of Jan Kozłowski. In 1807 Jan Kozłowski sold the estate to Franciszek Kozłowski. When Franciszek Kozłowski died on 29th April 1830, the estate was inherited by seven “heirs”, i.e. Jan, Tomasz, Teodor, Andrzej, Piotr and Balcer Kozłowski (the sons) and Julianna Chrapkiewicz from the Kozłowski family. Jan Kozłowski and Julianna Chrapkiewicz from the Kozłowski family sold their parts of the estate to Jakub Sokolnicki. In 1835 also Andrzej and Piotr Kozłowski sold their parts to Paweł Rostkowski. Thus, the estate became the property of Jakub Sokolnicki, Paweł Rostkowski as well as Tomasz, Teodor and Balcer, the Kozłowski brothers. In June 1836 Tomasz Kozłowski sold his part to Paweł Rostkowski, who sold it to Jakub Sokolnicki in the same year. In July 1836 Jakub Sokolnicki bought the part being the property of Franciszek Kozłowski at an auction. In July 1837 Leonard Wilski bought the property from Jakub Sokolnicki. Ignacy Wilski became the owner of Wilkowice in 1875. Its next owner, until the agrarian reform, was Tytus Leonard Wilski (the son of Ignacy and Albina neé Sokolnicka) who married Maria of the Montwiłł family on 10th February 1903 in Vilnius Cathedral. Maria died in 1930. 2.
In 1926 Tytus Wilski transferred ownership of some of the land to Wilkowice village. The land was used for the Voluntary Fire Service.
The manor remained under the ownership of the Wilski family until the end of the Second World War. The last two owners of the manor were: Tytus Jerzy Wilski, attorney-at-law who died in the battle of Kock on 5th October 1939 and his father-in-law Tytus Wilski, who left the manor in 1946.
Many representatives of Polish cultural, artistic, scientific and business life found shelter in the Wilkowice Manor during the war. Among them there were: Henryk Sztompka, pianist; Wanda Roesler-Stokowska, singer, with daughters; Dąbrowski, future rector of the Medical University and Krystyna Strzembosz, lady of the manor. General Anders’ wife, daughter, son and granddaughter hid here as well under a false name. This is where a legend on his coming back on a white horse and liberating Poland from occupation originated from.
In August 1941, after Władysław Anders had been appointed a commander of the Polish Armed Forces, General Anders’ wife – Irena neé Jordan-Krąkowska in fear for her safety left for Wilkowice estate in Skierniewice, a property of the Wilski family, under a changed name - Irena Miłosz. At that time Tytus Wilski was an Arkonia philistine. While escaping the Gestapo also General Anders’ daughter, Hanisia, together with her daughter, Ewa, left for Wilkowice manor.
“I must state that from that moment on, until the very end of the war for us it was a real home, the place we always most cheerfully came back to.”
“In Wilkowice at the table there sat at least 40 the so called residents, i.e. friendly relatives, those known and unknown, who having been thrown out from their homes by the Germans had been looking for a shelter. Tytus Wilski, president, and his daughter Alusia welcomed everyone with open arms. Among others I met there Zosia Gutowska with her two sons. Our Ewunia was accommodated in the room already occupied by two granddaughters of a painter Wierusz-Kowalski, Maryjka and Krysia Strzembosz, who were almost the same age and related to the owners.”3
Anna Anders-Nowakowska – General W. Anders’ daughter
“The estate of my aunt, Aleksandra Wilska, located in Wilkowice, the Rawa Mazowiecka poviat, for shorter or longer periods served as a shelter for many people (Henryk Sztompka, pianist; Wanda Roesler-Stokowska, singer, with her daughters; Dąbrowski, a future rector of the Medical University and many others). For some time the Anders’ wife stayed in Wilkowice under the name Irena Miłosz together with her daughter Hanisia and son Jerzy (who taught me the multiplication table when I suffered from scarlet fever). There was also the General Anders’ granddaughter and Hanisia’s daughter, Ewa, aged two or three years, who shared a room with me (7-year old at the time) and my younger sister.”4
Maria Strzembosz, Warsaw
After regaining independence when the communist government took over power, the Wilkowice Manor was taken into public ownership and over the subsequent decades performed various functions (a school, an agricultural cooperative, a post office), and was gradually falling into greater and greater ruin until 2006.
Today, the manor and park complex in Wilkowice, just as a vast majority of similar facilities in the Rawa poviat, is privately-owned. Its present owner, Marta Kaczkowska bought Wilkowice Manor together with a 2.01 hectare park in 2006 at a public auction in Rawa Mazowiecka. The Manor gained an owner who had studied art, pedagogy, diplomacy and agriculture. Diversified knowledge and experience are conducive to creating a harmonious vision of the future and to designing the development of the Manor and, what is more, they provide favourable conditions for the pursuit of the mission.
In addition, subsequent areas adjacent to the Manor were purchased: 11.11 ha in 2007, 0.12 ha in 2008 and 5.18 ha in 2009. The 18-hectare mansion that is an ultimate result comprises:
1. The landscape park (from the mid-19th c., designed by Stefan Celichowski – in the register of historic monuments under the number 481);
2. (Vegetable and herb) ecological fields;
3. Meadows; 4. Ponds;
6. The orchard;
7. The acacia grove with a clearing;
8. (Wooded) wasteland;
9. The farm area;
10. The Manor;
11. Manor buildings
1) Piotr Solle, Powiat rawski. Przewodnik turystyczny, Łódź 2010
2) Marian Rożej na podstawie:
Archiwum Państwowe z Rawie Mazowieckiej. Wykaz hipoteczny, syg.873 oraz Dobra Wilkowice AB syg.43;
G. Ciołek, W. Plapis, Materiały do Słownika twórców ogrodów polskich, PWN, 1968 r.;
Z. Matuszewski, Powiat rawsko-mazowiecki, Rawa Mazowiecka, 1929 r.;
Polski Słownik Biograficzny pod red. W. Konopczyńskiego, Kraków;
Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich pod red. F. Sulimierskiego, B. Chlebowskiego, W. Walewskiego, Warszawa 1902 r.
3) A. Anders-Nowakowska, córka Gen. W. Andersa „Mój Ojciec Generał Anders”, Oficyna Wydawnicza RYTM, Warszawa 2007, s.98
4) A. Anders-Nowakowska, „Mój Ojciec Generał Anders”, Oficyna Wydawnicza RYTM, Warszawa 2007, s.99-100.