Ermita de San Roque

Villafranca del Cid / Vilafranca

According to legend, in 1520, a man suffering from the plague, who had taken shelter in a cave near Vilafranca, made a solemn promise to build an ermita or small church dedicated to San Roque, if he would be cured. Perhaps he was cured, because this primitive ermita was finally built near the “Barranc de la Fos” and the “Pou de la Llàmia”

This saint was not only worshipped by the inhabitants of Vilafranca for protection against plagues and epidemics, but also against locust swarms. For this reason, on 29 September 1688, he was named Vilafranca’s patron.

Nevertheless, many years would pass before the saint’s sermon would be preached for the first time (in 1658) and a ceremonial procession would be made to the ermita (in 1665). Since its location was unsuitable for frequent visits, the building was neglected, either due to a lack of caretakers, or for other reasons. This was why a new church was ultimately built, and the old one was dedicated to Santa Bárbara.

On 10 February 1704, it was decided to build a new church at the peiró of San Agustín, where it currently stands, in the Eras de San Roque neighbourhood.

It is a slender building of considerable height, with a portico at its main entrance, with the choir placed inside on top. Robust buttresses absorb the lateral pressure exerted by the large walls and the roof. The interior has one nave with a high altar, and its walls are decorated with paintings depicting the saint.

The church was built between 1705 and 1726, although its appearance is robust, there are many cracks and defects in its structure that require urgent repairs, if it is to be preserved.

The peiró of San Agustín or San Roque was also erected in front of this church, although it has now vanished.