Sencelles: streets full of verse and prose








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Sencelles: streets full of verse and prose

Much literature can also be found in Sencelles. Verses and stories have accompanied the streets, squares and houses, transforming the town into a space that is also accompanied by literary memories. A different point of view, kinder and more caring, based on words and flavoured with metaphors that give us a different and, above all, richer perspective. Here is a route to understand Sencelles through the art of the word.

The route begins at Plaça de la Vila, the heart of the town of Sencelles. The parish church, the town’s most important religious building, has inspired or given food for thought to several writers on the island. One of the first to visit it was Antoni Furió in 1840, so if you have the opportunity, you should take a look inside.



Parish church of Sant Pere

 Antoni Furió i Sastre (Palma 1798-1853) was a chronicler of the Kingdom of Mallorca. He was the author of a series of works of great historiographical interest, such as the Historical Dictionary of the Famous Professors of Fine Arts of Mallorca (1839) and, above all, the Optical-Historical-Artistic Panorama of the Balearic Islands (1840), from which we reproduce this fragment in the chapter on Sencelles:

 “In Sancellas the traveller finds neither the splendour nor magnificence of the streets and buildings which he has admired in Binissalem, nor the frank and urban character which distinguishes that town; though simplicity and good faith endear the inhabitants of Sancellas, and if they are somewhat reserved, this must be attributed to the small number of foreigners. We reached our inn via narrow and poorly constructed roads at the same time as the bells were ringing to call the people to high mass: After the contest, we found ourselves inside a temple unique in this town, whose nave we believe was reduced in size to accommodate the 2354 souls that made up its neighbourhood. The temple is modern, well-kept and has a tasteful high altar in which stands the statue of St Peter, who sits in a magnificent armchair covered with papal ornaments.”

 One specific element of the church that has been the subject of literature is the bell tower. To see this magnificent building in its entirety, we have to walk from the main portal to the corner with the church street. The nave has a square cross-section, seven bodies and is crowned by an octagonal spire of great beauty. With the following text we experience an extraordinary fusion between cultivated literature and popular literature.


Bell Tower of Sant Pere

The poet Victorià Ramis de Ayreflor (Palma 1927-1991), who is linked to Sencelles belongs to the family that owns Aireflor, published several collections of poetry, including Petites subtileses – minimal poems – (1979, Castellitx d’Algaida prize), Songs of longing, Songs of the sea and the land and more coverbs (1980), Poemes a Violant, Songs of love and the whole year (1985), etc. She also left us the costume novel Humble people and new coverbs (1978). In her poetic work relating to the town, there is a romance that is reflected in the legend about the origin of the name of the town of Sencelles and its relationship with the bell tower, which was leaning. The bailiff thought that if the tower was fastened with a rope and men and women pulled on it at the same time, they would be able to address it. But after quite a while of pulling and tugging, the church tower did not budge. According to popular tradition, this is the reason why:


-While, some, feet stuck,

they pulled good and hard

all at once, and brave,

the women trulla que trulla

neighbours voices distract.


-So they should seek

to move this heavy tower.

Whenever they pull,

The women play and play

Do nothing but disturb.

 -Let’s try without them, without them!-

Shouts the rector with a very loud voice…

And put aside the women

They pull the oxbows

And straighten the crooked tower […]


We return to the square and see on the façade of the rectory, in the left corner of the building, a ceramic plaque depicting the figure of the philosopher Ramon Llull.


Plaque dedicated to Ramon Llull

The Plaça de la Vila preserves a ceramic plaque with the figure of Blessed Ramon Llull (Mallorca 1232-1316). Although he is not biographically linked to the municipality, the Mallorcan philosopher is one of the main figures in the island’s cultural imagination and is therefore part of the usual iconography in all corners of Mallorca. In the chapel of Sant Joan Baptista within the municipality we find another image of him. His prolific life (travells, debates, conversations with kings and popes, writing books, etc.) can be summarised in this extract from his book Felix and the Book of Miracles (1287-89): “He went through the woods, through mountains and plains, through wastelands and villages and through kingdoms and castles and cities; and he marvelled at the wonders that are in the world, and he asked what he did not understand, and he told what he knew.”

 One of the most famous aphorisms reads: “Love is born of memory; it lives by intelligence and dies by oblivion”.

 From here we go to Plaça de l’Obra, which is accessed through a passageway between the rectory and the parish church. Cross it, turn round in front of the Can Ramis winery (Plaça de Son Morei) and turn into Carrer de Sor Francinaina Cirer. Turn right here until you reach Carrer de la Caritat, which will take you to the monastery.


Convent of the Sisters of Charity

The convent of the Sisters of Charity is located in the house where Blessed Sister Francinaina Cirer i Carbonell (1781-1855) was born. She made her profession in 1851 and her house became the convent of the congregation. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on the first of October 1989. The canon of the Seu, Father Baltasar Coll (1930-2010), was an outstanding writer, Latinist and folklorist who, as a young man, dedicated Some Joys in Honour of the Servent of God Sor Francina-Aina dels Dolors de Maria Cirer i Carbonell, foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Sencelles, written in 1953. Here we reproduce some fragments:


The seeds you sowed in a field of durum wheat

in the homeland of your ancestors

has returned with the heavenly rain.

And today your action is a healing army

Be our protector,

Sister Francina-Aina Cirer

 At the heads they watch, always

the sick and the afflicted,

and comfort the one who cries,

and indoctrinate the little one.

Blessed flower of our country!

Blessed fruit tree!

Be our protector,

Sister Francina-Aina Cirer

 That you are an intercessor

before Almighty God

sixteen books are pledged

in the archive of the old Convent.

All of Mallorca has called on you:

minstrel, gentleman and worker.

Be our protector,

Sister Francina-Aina Cirer

 By crowned angels hand

to the Motherland of all that is good,

be our protector,

Sister Francina-Aina Cirer

 The last point of our route is the Can Romanyà posada. To get there, we return to Carrer de Sor Francinaina Cirer and continue straight ahead along Carrer Llorenç Cartutxo. Here we turn onto Carrer de les Escoles and continue onto Carrer dels Donants de Sang, where we turn left. At the next junction, continue along Carrer de Ramon Llull until you reach Carrer des Rafal. Here we turn left, where at number 16 we find this emblematic building, which also has a literary background.


Posada de Can Romanyà

Jaume Romanyà, a priest born in Sencelles in the 15th century. He was a doctor of sacred theology and held a post as a teacher of grammar in 1535. He was the author of two long compositions in verse that he dedicated to Emperor Charles V during his visit to Mallorca in 1541. He was also the author of a comedy in Latin entitled Nova tragi-comedia Gastimargus appellata: inventaque fuit a magistro Jacobo Romagnano Baleari. It is quite possible that this was one of the first comedies that the Mallorcans saw performed in a public theatre. Although its quality is not outstanding, it is quite important in the history of Mallorcan theatre.