HISTORY NOTES OF VALENTÍN
The place or payment of Valentine appears from very old in the documents preserved in the Municipal Archive of Calasparra.
In the most important document in the History of Calasparra, that of the Population Ordinance of the years 1412 – 1414, when mention is made of the list of houses and estates that the Encomienda de Calasparra had, it already appears as property of the Encomienda de the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem “The new mill of Valantín” and “The site of the old mill of Valantín”.
We must remember that from the year 1289 the castle of Calasparra was donated to the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, turning our people into a Commandery that was governed by a Commander, chosen by the Order, who exercised full powers in civil and religious. As we have seen, Valentine has been linked to the history of Calasparra from a very old time.
We have a lot of news on the old hermitage of Valentín dedicated to the dedication of San Juan Bautista in the Municipal Archive of Calasparra. Especially in the Notarial Protocols, from the seventeenth century, reference is made to testamentary mandates in which money was left to cover the “repairs in the hermitage of Señor San Juan Bautista, located in the payment of Valentine, term of this Villa ” An example of what we can study in the Notarial Protocols on the hermitage of Saint John the Baptist of Valentine is the Testament that Don Juan López Rosillo, priest of the Villa de Calasparra, made in the year 1728, in which it is said: They are owing me by some residents of Valantín some masses from the time that I was chaplain of their hermitage, which appear in my book or memory that I have of them… ”. The central nucleus of this hermitage, which is the oldest of the complex, dates from the 17th century and at least two amplications were subsequently made.
The hermitage of Valentín has a basilica floor plan with a single nave and a side chapel near the presbytery. The roof is gabled on a wooden structure and curved tile, Arabic type, as a covering element. Among the structural elements of the first order it has four semicircular diaphragm arches, reduced to a third of the height. On the arches keys are supported, perpendicular to them, the wooden master beams which, in turn, receive the joists that are placed parallel to the diaphragm arches, supported by one end on the master beam and by the other end on the lateral load-bearing wall. The diaphragm arches are supported by pilasters attached to the bearing walls, three of which, in turn, move to the outside in the form of buttresses attached to the two side walls, three on each side of the hermitage. We have, therefore, a single nave made up of five sections separated from each other by four diaphragm arches, the last of which will also be called the triumphal arch, as it gives way to the section where the presbytery is located. As for the exterior, the hermitage presents three very clear volumes with a gabled roof that allow one to guess perfectly is the interior space of the temple, with the exception of the head where we continue to find the exterior with a gabled roof while the interior is a space resolved with false semicircular vault. The exterior façade is smooth, simply closing the west gable of the nave flat without any decoration. It presents only the generously sized opening corresponding to the main door. It is culminated by a belfry that occupies the entire width of the building, finished off, in turn, by a small bell tower that presents the peculiarity of being a temple type, that is, formed by four supports and an independent roof that, in its day, housed in inside a bell.
In 2010 the Calasparra City Council carried out the work of “Adaptation of the old hermitage of San Juan de Valentín to a Local Social“, all this bearing in mind that it is a building included in the Monumental Catalog of the Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia and, therefore, the actions included changing the interior spatial configuration as little as possible and maintaining the exterior configuration. In this way, the old hermitage of Valentín has been transformed into a social venue where activities of various kinds can be carried out, such as cultural meetings, exhibitions, training talks and other events.
The line that divides Valentin into two jurisdictional halves runs precisely through this hermitage: one jurisdiction belongs to Calasparra and the other jurisdiction belongs to Cehegín.