Ermita de Sant Isidre i Sant Pere
I am in front of the Hermitage of Sant Isidre and Sant Pere de Censal, on the “camí vell del Grao” (old route of Grao); a road which as far back as Jaime I traced, precisely because the Muslims already had this rural road to get closer to the place where they carried out their maritime commercial activities. The “camí vell del Grao”, is situated within the area where the Caminàs was, a pre-Roman road that was very popular and it united all the territories of the region of La Plana. And it is exactly here where a variety of hermitages were erected which were converted today not only in the object of pilgrimage and worship, but also in a source of admiration of Castellón’s inhabitants. Hermitages of huertas region (fertile area), hermitages which were christianized from ancient Muslim sites. Let us think: Fadrell, Taxida, Almalafa, Benadressa, Vilamargo, Benirabe, some of them, were earlier and are now the names of the castellonenses areas. When we speak of Christianization of the territory, we refer to the Christianization of those places that were previously occupied by the Muslims.
The hermitage of Sant Isidro and Sant Pere was built by the will of a farmer, whose name was Antoni Castell. He was an owner of a large land plot in this area at the border with the Caminàs. He granted a piece of his property to build the chapel in honor of San Isidro. San Isidro had been canonized in 1622 and the delivery of the lands of Castell was made three years later. That is to highlight that San Isidro was held in high esteem by the agrarian sector of Castellón. Meanwhile, there is an interesting fact which I would like to point out. The patron saint of the farmers’ guild was San Miguel, to whom they dedicated the church that is still in Enmedio street. However, the devotion to San Isidro was obvious there, it was very powerful indeed. And in addition, Castell joined the devotion to San Pere, the saint who, since the Christianization, was very bellowed by the sailors.
It should be mentioned that there were a number of donations to support this hermitage, but I want to emphasize that it is one of the best preserved chapels of this area thanks to the restoration made in the 70s by the UTECO (Territorial Union of Cooperatives of the Countryside) and other banking associations connected to the agricultural sector.
You will see the portico, a very interesting one, because it reminds us a lot of the farmhouses’ trellises, it is very “huertano”. The hall floor, which is a very elegant and noble one, very dignified, of the church type with a wooden roof. And above all, the main altar is preceded by an arch, very Byzantine. The columns of the portico have a capital of inverted pyramid trunk and they are very reminiscent of Byzantine forms. There is the great surprise inside, the jewel in the hermitage’s crown, this is the vault full of tiercerons, the vault of a flamboyant Gothic that was still popular in this area in the seventeenth century. It is also worth mentioning that there was an important altarpiece that still exists today. And one of the great painters of the barocco valenciano (considered “ribaltesco”), Urbano Fos, left this excellent painting in the center of this altarpiece. Nowadays this painting is preserved in the collection of the Co-cathedral of Santa Maria.