Historical data

The foundation of the chapel of Nuestra Señora de Bonanza, is due to the 2nd lieutenant Mr. Salvador Fernández and to his wife María Toledo, whom, considered as a priority attend the spirituality needs of the neighbours of the higher areas of the valley of Aridane. They obtained the license the 19th of April 1691, from whom at that moment was the general vicar and dean of the Holy Church Cathedral of the Canary Islands, in vacant post, Doctor Mr. Diego Vázquez Botello, to be able to do it on his property, by the houses of his rooms, where his reservoir and garden stood up by the old path of El Paso, in front and on the other side where the works should begin.

Foto finales del siglo IXX.

The chosen place was a crossroads, at the point known as “La Venta”, by the main path that communicated the island. This path linked the capital city of the island with the valley of Aridane and the Port of Tazacorte, passing the dorsal of the island by the summit path.  Around that small chapel raised in the surroundings of that first “venta” or meson, where the needs of whom passed by  where taken care of,  houses and lodgings were constructed and other neighbours settled,  being these the seeds, and with the passing of time, the future development of the present historic town centre of the city of El Paso.

The 26th of May 1691 the vicar of the island of La Palma granted the correspondent authorization to begin the new fabric, entrusted to the best expertise mason and bricklayer of the island, the master Francisco Sánchez Carmona (1626-1696), who not only worked in La Palma but who developed an itinerant activity within the different islands of the archipelago, so as to his reputation as a stone carver, he was worth of important orders, like the house of the powerful Marquis of  Celada in La Villa de La Orotava (1663) or of the entailed estate of Ponte-Ximénez in Garachico. In his last will he also mentioned in the codicil which he granted the 23rd of April 1696, before the notary Antonio Vazquez, the debt that the 2nd lieutenant Salvador Fernández had incurred with him, due to the “rest of the construction of the chapel that he is building in El Paso”.

 

Antigua-mediados-del-siglo-XX

The endowment document of the chapel, passed before the notary Andrés de Huerta the 19th of April 1692. However, the 2nd lieutenant Salvador Fernández, passed away without the work concluded. His widow, María Toledo passed away a long time after, the 14th of June 1722, and was buried at the church of Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios of Los Llanos de Aridane where her husband had been exhumed. Her last will was, “once the works of the Chapel of Nuestra Señora de Bonanza have been concluded, which is being built in the place called La Venta of El Paso” both of their bones where to be transferred to that enclosure. Because the chapel was still uncovered by wood and roof tiles,  short before the death of María Toledo, and because of the lack of financial resources, she granted, renounced and trespassed the right  to the patronage that she possessed to the horses and shields Captain Mr.  Juan Agustín de Sotomayor y Massieu —who she named as her administrator executor— under the condition he must finish and optimise the enclosure. All of this by virtue of public deed subscribed in Los Llanos before the notary Francisco Nieves the 12th of January 1722.

In the following years, the master Bernabé Fernández (1674-1755) a designer, carpenter and carver from the Island with great personality, was to build its splendid mudéjar covers of ‘tea’ wood (wood from old canary endemic pine tree), especially its major chapel, decorated with bows and carvings in a baroque style, very similar to the ones the same artist made for the church of San Juan Bautista of Puntallana (1717-1719) and for the houses Massieu Monteverde (Pérez Volcán, 1) and (Álvarez de Abreu, 57), in Santa Cruz de La Palma. Finally, during the visit of the bishop Mr. Pedro Manuel de Dávila y Cárdenas the chapel was blessed on the 9th of July 1733, ordered by the same prelate, who found it “decent” although it still had to be finished.

Foto mediados del siglo XX.

After the blessing and enthronement of the image of Nuestra Señora de Bonanza, the confraternity of the same advocacy was created and dedicated to worship the image of the patron with the charity that was collected from threshing floors, winepresses and houses, in forms of wheat, musts, silk, money and tips, as well as the tips left in the collecting box of the Virgin and the cattle of their property. According to the accounts of the butler Antonio Fernández Pino in 1778, 1782 y 1789, it possessed, a shared calf that had been given by Juana Barreto, two lambs that the butler had under the account of the confraternity, another two lambs that where in La Caldera and a shared pig with Salvador Sosa, incomes that also included honey and beeswax from the beehive of Nuestra Señora, the wool of the sheep or the sale of a cow. Likewise, a portable chapel was made to ask for charity, with the image of the Virgin with her crown and niche with the cost of 29 reales and 14 maravedís and a new barrel to enclose the wine. In 1782, with the charity raised between the followers the competent glass was ordered to cover the niche of the sacred image, in order to keep away the rats from damaging the clothes. This chapel was first visited the 9th of July 1733 by the ecclesiastical authority blessing the same day even though it was not completely finished.