The parish of San Bartolomé wants to return the splendour to its bells and make them known to the public

The repair of the bells will cost almost 50,000 euros and will address the poor condition of wall supports, iron yokes and clappers.

Wednesday 15th March 2023
Mike Smith with Álvaro Monfort (XAD)

On Friday 17th March, the parish of San Bartolomé will offer an extremely interesting opportunity to get to know Victòria, Sebastiana, Mariana and Bertomeua, the bells that crown the church-fortress whose repair is currently being carried out.

At 6.00pm, Marcos Buigues Metola from the Asociación de Campaners de la Catedral de València will provide a explanation on the uniqueness of the church bells, offering information and historical documentation about them and their unique ringing.

The bells of San Bartolomé are not just any bells. The oldest are Sebastiana and Victòria dating from 1941 and weighing 190 kilos and 159 kilos respectively. They are followed by Bertomeua La Grossa, the largest and a “heavyweight” that was cast in 1942 and weighs 1,332 kilos. Finally, Mariana, is the youngest of all. She dates from 1963 and weighs 496 kilos. The first three were made by the artisans Hermanos Roses de Silla and the last one by Salvador Manclús from Valencia. Currently, the oldest bell preserved in Xàbia is the one found in the chapel of Santa Llúcia which dates from from the year 1450 anddeclared an Asset of Cultural Interest by the regional government.

After embarking on the costly first phase of rehabilitation of the tosca stone monument, the parish is in the midst of restoring its four bronze jewels. The company 2001 Técnica y Artesanía is in charge of restoring their splendour and leaving them in optimal conditions for their continuous and safe use for decades to come.

The budget amounts to 49,489 euros. The parish has published and broken down the cost of the interventions required by each of the bells in order to seek the support of the parishioners and municipal entities that wish, within their capabilities, to contribute to perpetuate this symbol of historical-religious heritage. from Xàbia.

2001 Técnica y Artesanía has carried out an in-depth analysis of the four bells to check their condition. All of them present, at a general level, almost the same defects. They are in “good acoustic condition” but do not function when turned over “due to the poor condition of the wall supports and the auxiliary elements such as the inadequate iron yoke and clapper”. The cost of its repair amounts to 8,851.15 euros in the case of the first two. The second, 12,202.85 euros and the jewel in the crown, 19,583.85 euros given its greater size.

The parish priest, Juan Antonio Navarro, advocates for its rehabilitation, explaining the meaning that the bells have for a town beyond the religious and, specifically those of Xàbia, as a reflection of that defensive past that the temple bell tower had and since which, was entrusted to protect so many xabieros from pirate attacks. “Seeing the dates of birth of these bells, we realize that the only voices that are still alive and that we continue to hear the same as our elders heard are those of the bells.”