Santa Ines Mission

Santa Inés Virgen y Martír Key Facts

Santa Inés Virgen y Martír, located in Solvang, California, in the Santa Ynez Valley, was founded on September 17, 1804. Also known as Santa Inés, this mission was named after Saint Agnes of Rome, a thirteen year-old Roman girl martyred in A.D. 304. This mission was never totally abandoned after secularization.

General Information

Santa Inés Virgen y Martír

Founded:
September 17, 1804
Also Called:
Santa Inés
Current Status:
Santa Inés is an active Catholic Church of the Archdioces of Los Angeles.
Summary:
Santa Inés Virgen y Martír, located in Solvang, California, in the Santa Ynez Valley, was founded on September 17, 1804. Also known as Santa Inés, this mission was named after Saint Agnes of Rome, a thirteen year-old Roman girl martyred in A.D. 304. This mission was never totally abandoned after secularization.

Key Facts About This Mission

Named For

Saint Agnes of Rome, a thirteen year-old Roman girl martyred in A.D. 304.

Founding Father President
Fr. Esteban Tapis
Fr. Estevan Tapis

Fr. Estévan Tápis (c.1756-1825), who served as Father President from 1803-1812

Founding Missionaries

Frs. José Antonio Calzada and Romualdo Gutiérez

Indians Joining Mission

This mission is located in the land of the Chumash people and was initially populated by neophytes from missions Santa Bárbara and La Purísima. The neophytes at Santa Inés were referred to as Inezeno (after the mission). They were one of three distinct linguistic/geographic entities of the Eastern Coastal Chumash.

Mission Site

An inland mission, Santa Inés was established near a ranchería, Alajulspu, in the Santa Inez Valley and sits on its original site.

The mission is on the eastern edge of the town of Solvang, founded in 1911 by a group of Danish educators. Note that the name of the valley and the town of Santa Inez is spelled with a "z" while the mission is spelled with an “s.”

Layout

Traditional quadrangle and neophyte housing area

Water Source

Both Alamo Pintado Creek and Zanja de Cota Creek passed through the mission lands and water was channeled via an elaborate system of canals into two stone-lined reservoirs, a lavandería, and mill complex.

Population

The mission was established late in the mission era and only operated for thirty years. There were relatively few natives in the immediate area. The highest mission population was only 768 in 1815.

Livestock
Santa Ines Cattle Brand
Santa Ines Cattle Brand

Santa Inés had a large and relatively stable livestock herd. In 1832 the mission had 9,460 animals, including 7000 cattle and 2000 sheep.

Agricultural Output

Over the years between 1804 and 1832 Santa Inés harvested over 121,000 bushels of wheat, barley, corn, beans, peas, lentils, garbanzos (chickpeas), and habas (broad beans). It had the second highest production of wheat in the entire chain.

Mission Church

The current church, with its plain facade, dates to 1817. The interior was repainted with the current design in 1825, and the nave was recently embellished with additional floral motifs along the whole of its length.

Mission Bells
Santa Ines Bell Tower Repair, Circa 1911
Santa Ines Bell Tower Repair, Circa 1911

The Santa Ines campanario (bell wall) collapsed in 1911 and was rebuilt with five bells. It was restored to its original design in 1947.

The mission museum displays the bells of 1804, 1808, and 1818.

Mission Art

The mission is known for its extensive collection of church vestments, which date from the 17th century through 20th century and includes a chasuble worn by Fr. Junípero Serra and a 17th century cape crafted in materials from the Court of Louis XIV of France.

The impressive mission museum includes a painting of the Archangel Raphael rendered on canvas by an Inezeño or neophyte convert of Santa Inés. 

Significant Event(s)

The largest Indian uprising in the mission era began at Santa Inés in 1824, triggered by the excessive beating of a neophyte by a soldier.
 

Santa Ines built a gristmill about a half mile from the church in 1820 and a fulling in1821. The ruins of these pioneering industrial structures are visible from a telescope mounted at the edge of the mission parking lot, near the exit road.

Secularized

1834

Year Returned to Catholic Church

1862

Interesting Facts

The mission served a buffer against a hostile Indian group, the Tulares, who occupied the region to the northeast.

Santa Inés was never totally abandoned after secularization, and California's first seminary / college, Our Lady of Refuge, was built in 1844 on the mission grounds.

Mamie Goulet, the niece of Father Alexander Buckler, devoted twenty years (1904-1924) to the restoration of the vestments of Santa Inés.

Additional Information

Ching, J. (2004). Mission Santa Inés. (PowerKids Press, Missions of California Series)

Baer, K. (1956). The Treasures of Mission Santa Inés. (Covers the history, lists and describes the paintings, sculpture, and craft works at this mission)

Engelhardt, Z. (1932). Mission Santa Inés: Virgen y Mártir and Its Ecclesiastical Seminary. (The definitive early history of the mission)

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