Sencelles: memory imprints (I)
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Sencelles: memory imprints (I)
In this first route, four locations from medieval and modern time’s are linked together. These four points, although of a different nature, are important for understanding the spirit of Sencelles. Memory settings are places where memory and heritage are related. Sencelles, as a district with a long history, preserves many of these sites where knowledge and an evaluation of its heritage are relevant for understanding how far we have come as a people and as a society.
The Parish Church: starting point for a story
The Conquest of 1229 by King James I meant the necessity of a new administrative restructuring of the Andalusian districts, and also the building of parishes throughout the territory. The first parish of Canarrossa was located in Costitx and built in 1236. Two years later the first Mallorcan bishop, Ramon de Torrella moved it to Sencelles and in 1248 in the papal bull of Innocent IV, it already appears as the parish of Sant Pere de Sencelles. Soon this temple became too small for its congregation and in the 14th century a second temple was built on top of the first one. This wasn’t a place only for worship, but also employed as a place for civil gatherings. The current building dates back to the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century, and it preserves an altarpiece set of great artistic and patrimonial value. The main altarpiece is of particular beauty, a work by Albert Borguny Castelló (1766), and paid for by the Ramis´ de Aireflor, with an image of San Pedro, by Antoni Llabres Mudoi (1811). It is crowned with a saddle, a symbol of the people. As for other elements, it is worth mentioning the chapel of Santa Agueda, patron saint of the town; San Juan Baptista, since it welcomes an urn with the image of the Dead Virgin with a panel painting from the 16th century that represents the apostles, work by Mateu Ruiz; the deep or Roser chapel; that of the Name of Jesus; and the organ, from 1746, built by master Mateu Bosch.
The Germanías (The Guilds) (1521-1523)
The Germanías was a popular rebellion motivated against a bad administration of the time by citizen organizations and due to a crisis of authority after the death of Ferdinand the Catholic. The protest of the guilds, craftsmen and most of the inhabitants living outside of the city was based on a disproportional sum of taxes they had to pay. It developed in two stages: the first one led by Joan Crespí, less exalted; and a second more violent one, commanded by Joanot Colom, who managed to eliminate the taxes on basic necessities, and turned the rebellion into anticlerical. Emperor Carlos V reacted forcefully, returning back to the previous situation by the use of strong repression. Social and economic consequences were later suffered by the people for years. This case, for example was documented in Sencelles, where in 1553 the jurists Antoni Carbonell, Miquel Ramis, Sebastià Llabres and Joan Genester argued with Joanot Morey, for the contributions and size of his possessió Alqueria Roja, located at the edge of the town, where the road number can still be seen. The document states that he will pay 4 Mallorcan pounds annually and 25 pounds for the past years but will not claim “debts because of the past Germania“.
The Jews and the assault of the “Callo de Ciudad” (Jewish Quarters) (1391)
The first Jewish community in Mallorca dates back to the Islamic rule (903-1229 AD). They lived in what was called a callo (Jewish Quarter) in Madina Mayurqa. After the conquest of James I, there isn’t any documentation about a Jewish community in Sencelles contrary to other villages like Inca or Felanitx where there is. Many of the people of Sencelles were indebted to Jews, since they were the ones to lend money. As an example of this, we know that on the 24th of December 1280, Pere Fiol and his wife Maria, living in Benyali acknowledged that Bartomeu Seger and Romeu Ripoll owed Hayó Bolax 34 sueldos reales de Valencia (a medieval coin). The only case of a Jew living in Sencelles was in 1387 under the name of Jucef Benmacip.
In 1391 the Jewish Quarter was attacked by a crowd of country people from outside of the city, more than 300 people were killed. After such an event, many Jews converted to Christianity and became converts. As an example, we have a document where it is said that Francesc Salamó, a convert, whose name previously was Salamó de Nuevas, claimed 6 libras from Bartomeu Llabrés de Sencelles.
In a new censorship of 1435, the last Mallorcan Jews were baptized and adopted lineages of local origin.
The “Revuelta Foránea” ( Farmlands Rebellion) (1450-1452)
The Revuelta Foránea was a rebellion of the peasantry and the artisans of the capital against the caballeros ciudadanos (horsemen prepared for war or a rebellion) and the merchants. All of this took place because of inequitable obligations between the capital city and the countryside laborers and farmers. This amounted to the towns having to pay a very high fine and also had to compensate the caballeros ciudadanos for all of the damage caused to their possessios. As for example, Francesc Umbert, who in 1457 presented a list of damages caused by the rebels to his possessió or Canarrossa (Sonarrossa): they had taken 16 caballones (medieval agrarian measurement) of wheat, 4 of oats, and had killed and skinned an ox.