the Regional House


The parish school building, currently the Regional House

Now, go to the former building of the parish school attended by St. Szymon of Lipnica. Since he was a child, Szymon displayed fondness of learning. His parents wanted him to become a baker like them, but noticing the great talent of their son they decided to send him for further education in Cracow. In 1454, Szymon was enrolled to the Department of Liberated Arts at the University of Kraków, from which he graduated three years later obtaining the title of Bachelor. 
He could have become a physician or a theologist, but he chose the brown habit with a white rope, joining the Order of Bernardines, located near the Wawel castle, in a quarter of Cracow called Stradom, at the church of St. Bernard of Siena. After one year of novitiate and theological studies, he was ordained. He was then sent to Tarnów, where he served as the guardian, that is the superior of the religious house. Around 1467, he returned to Cracow, where he remained until his death, apart for a break during which he made a pilgrimage to Rome and the Holy Land.
„(…) Guild fraternities, the echo of the power of artisans,
Emerged at the workshop from the effort of handicraft,
Statutes, privileges written in books
And the common meetings in the fraternity—Sunday.
A long candle made of bees’ wax,
First, rolled from wax lumps,
So that when the last service comes
It was lightened at a “sister” or “brother” (…)”

                                          /Czesław Anioł/

The artisans of Lipnica

The former parish school is currently the Regional House. It keeps a collection of exhibits that bear a testimony to the past of the region. There are cabinets with important documents and photographs, as well as old agricultural tools and pieces of household equipment that are no longer used today. In the House, you can also find memorabilia of the artisans’ fraternities that operated in Lipnica—the evidence of the intense development of the town, particularly in the middle ages.

The House is opened upon booking at the Municipal Cultural Centre. If you wish to visit it, it is recommended to contact the Centre in advance.
According to the chronicles, the oldest and largest craft guild in Lipnica Murowana was established by shoemakers. The guild of blacksmiths and tailors also plays an important role in the life of the town. In the 15th and 16th century, as chronicles have it, there were as many as 26 craft guilds gathering artisans of different specializations.

The affiliation at a guild entailed not only the opportunity to learn a chose profession, but it also enabled one to join a larger community, which enjoyed respect among other citizens. The education of an artisan was hard, long and accompanied by a number of ceremonies. It was crowned with the receipt of the status of a master, which allowed an artisan to launch his own workshop.

The candidate for a master had to prove not only the skills he acquired, making, for instance, a pare of lady’s shoes, which was generally considered more difficult than men’s shoes. He was also obliged to meet a number of formal requirements, that is having the citizenship of Lipnica and a promise of marriage, should he be yet unmarried.

Unfortunately, over the course of time and the advancement in technologies and their products, the importance of artisans diminished and handicrafts eventually died out. It influenced the change of the traditional guild functions, which assumed a religious character developed particularly vividly in the last period of their activity.

Their important role was to serve the Church, as the guilds constituted a type of religious fraternities. Each guild was assigned specific tasks that it was supposed to realise every day. These tasks included taking care of churches. “The shoemakers’ guild looked after St. Leonard’s church, blacksmiths maintained the church of St. Urszula, which stood in Lipnica between the 16th and the 18th centuries, according to the entries in the guild’s statute from 1683.

Additionally, a chapel that stood on the site of the contemporary shrine in Podlesie, belonged in the years 1596—1730 to the blacksmiths’ guild. In the parish church, blacksmiths took care of the altar dedicated to the Heart of Lord Jesus and had its own flag. Other activities (rituals) pursued within a guild included firing (smoking) the cross on the crossbeam on the Candlemas day and carrying candles during processions, adorations etc., as well as funerals of the guild’s members, which is more heard of”.

For a long time, craft guilds were also responsible for the town’s defence. Each guild was assigned to a particular section of town walls. What is more, they were obliged to gather weapons, maintain fighting condition, and take part in a battle, should the need be. These duties were treated as one of the most important privileges because they almost ennobled the craftsmen.