Declared of Cultural Interest (BIC)
The foundation of the Convent of San Francisco was the initiative of D. Diego de Toledo, son of the Duke of Alba D. Fadrique Alvarez de Toledo, and nephew of King Ferdinand the Catholic, and whose coat of arms is on the top of the main altar. The reason was the confirmation of the possession of the Priory of León of the Order of St. John. In gratitude, he donated some houses and an orchard, on the outskirts of the town, for the establishment of a convent and church dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi. This patronage appears in the Latin text engraved on the lintel of the entrance door to the church in Latin, which transcribed reads as follows: “The church is a place of worship for the people of the city.Work dedicated to San Francisco. This is the House of the Lord, firmly built by mandate of the Illustrious Lord D. Diego de Toledo, Prior of Castile, being Pope Clement VII and Charles V Prince of Spain. Year of 1532, March 2″..Show more content
On March 2, 1532, Friar Juan de Espejo, guardian of the convent of Cuenca, took possession of the house and the orchard to build a monastery of the Franciscan Order, thus becoming part of the Franciscan Province of Cartagena.
This convent had an important cultural life and in 1619, the foundation-endowment of the chairs of Grammar and Arts between the council of Alcázar and the Franciscan convent took place in it; A few years later, in 1666, thanks to the patronage of Francisco de Ressa Orozco and his wife Francisca Muñoz Villaseñor, the “Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepción y de San Buenaventura” was founded, with its chairs of Theology, Philosophy, Moral Theology and Grammar, which were the only ones that existed in the so-called “University of Alcázar or San Francisco”.
Of Gothic style of transition to the Renaissance, the temple has a Latin cross plan with three naves, a three-sided polygonal chevet and a 20-meter transept. Above the atrium, which is located at the foot of the building, rises the choir supported by a segmental arch. It is covered by a complex system of star-shaped vaults, the more complex the more important the areas of the building. The columns have plateresque style capitals, a style that can also be seen in the windows. The tower is striking for its great height and size, 35m high, square plan and four bodies. The whole is covered by slate used as curved tiles that are arranged in a gabled roof that allows to appreciate the difference in height between the central nave and the lateral ones. It is curious to note that the north face of the building was completed with reused materials, extracted from the tombstones of what was the old cemetery of the convent.
The cover was made in the last restoration of the church in the 1980s. It has Renaissance characteristics and is built with ashlar stone.