Church of San Benito de Abad

In 1532 it was decided to build a chapel under the patronage of St. Benedict Abbot, on the occasion of the loss of the crops. The farmer’s guild was in charge of it, and its slow construction, based on alms, ended in 1554, when the second altar, dedicated to Saint Barnabas, was finished inside. During the nineteenth century its maintenance declined, and in 1826 it was used as a room for the patients of the yellow fever epidemic and also, for some time, as a stable for horses by a military garrison. It has undergone several reforms, the last of which was in 1992.

The church is located on Marqués de Celada Street. The construction work dates back to the mid-sixteenth century and is characterized by its large size and rectangular floor plan. In the simple facade, the main entrance stands out, framed by a semicircular arch of red stone, whose thread is decorated by three fine mouldings that rest on a smooth architrave, from which the capital and the broken columns in the only step that serves as access to the door. The conical capitals are made up of three sections, the second of which is decorated with geometric motifs. Above the arch, the linteled window of the choir has a modern stone moulding. The façade is completed with a simple stone belfry, rectangular in shape with semicircular arches and finished off with stone balls. The base of the facade is occupied by two masonry benches that frame the front. The gabled roof with an Arabic tile covering protects the nave, while the main chapel is covered by a hipped roof.

On one of the side facades there is a small opening, framed by a linteled red stone moulding and modern stained glass windows. Next to it, a slightly sunken semicircular arch gives room for a wooden cross. It is an old access door, now walled up and whose stone arch still survives inside the temple. The head of the church is flat and the sacristy is attached to it. This is a recent construction of poor quality that distorts the original morphology of the building.

The large interior is 26 metres long, plus 9 metres from the presbytery, and is 8.50 metres wide. At the foot of the nave there is a choir or high tribune, which occupies the whole width and which is climbed by a spiral staircase. It is supported by wooden corbels and a stone column with a wooden base. On one side of the grandstand there is a small staircase that leads to the bell tower.

The pair and knuckle armour that covers the nave has a reinforcement of five double braces, decorated with blades, crosspieces, rhombuses and stars, resting on paired corbels. The toral arch that separates it from the presbytery is built with the same type of red stonework block and is supported by half columns finished off with fine battens of Gothic reminiscences. The coffered ceiling of the presbytery is characterised by its octagonal structure, with eight double-knuckle skirts. Its musk is richly decorated with interlaced geometrical motifs. The main altarpiece occupies the back wall, with two doors leading to the storehouse and the sacristy, respectively.

Next to the side walls of the nave there are some supports that serve as a seat for the parishioners, a typical element of the pilgrimage chapels.

The San Benito Abad Church and the movable goods linked to it were declared Goods of Cultural Interest, with the category of Monument, on June 5, 2007.

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