Brotherhood house 'El Rocio'



The first records of people worshipping Our Lady of El Rocío in Huelva date from 1747. There is written evidence that some families in the city made a pilgrimage to El Rocío to prostrate themselves in front of the White Dove – a name given to this Virgin – between 1813 and 1814. More and more families joined the group, meeting at two temples in Huelva – the Church of San Pedro and the Church of La Purísima Concepción.

Encouraged by devotee Francisco Carrasco ‘El Polaco’, these groups of fervent pilgrims decided to found a religious brotherhood in Huelva around 1870.

Nevertheless, the truly significant year for this religious brotherhood was 1880. The pilgrims of Huelva, led by Juan de la Corte Mora, asked the City Council of Almonte for the official recognition of the brotherhood. They also asked for a plot of land in the village of El Rocío to be used by the brotherhood, as shown in the local minutes of 31 May 1880.

Thus, the official pilgrimage of the religious brotherhood of Huelva as a dependency of the parent brotherhood of Almonte began in 1881.

Architectonical Characteristics

The front of the building is clearly inspired on Andalusian Baroque, with shutters and cornices intertwining to create a harmonious architecture crowned by a bell-gable with a terracotta of the Virgin. This combination of terracotta and white also appears in the entrance, surrounding the name of the Brotherhood. The ensemble ends with some artistic iron works filling all the empty spaces of the front.

The patio is surrounded by two-coloured glazed tiles depicting the emblems of the religious brotherhoods linked to this one, as well as several terracotta memorials to important dates and the twinning of brotherhoods. Inside the chapel, we can find a recently-made grill of iron and glass guarding the most precious property of the Brotherhood – the Simpecado, a banner depicting Our Lady of El Rocío with the Latin motto Sine Labe Concepta (‘Born without Sin’).

The Treasure of the Brotherhood

The wagon, made by Cordovan silversmith Emilio García Armenta, was donated in 1946 by Rafael Mathé, who was the Main Brother of the Brotherhood that year. It consists of six baluster columns with gadroons and plant ornaments which are supported by four-faced bases with acanthi. Twelve fully-chiselled, silver festoons and twelve bells hang from the wagon. The pavilion of the wagon, consisting of cordons and belt courses, has friezes framing its six round arches. Over them, there is a cresting of volutes and plant shoots symmetrically put in pairs at each side of a palmette, forming a cornice at the corners. The emblem of the Brotherhood is at the front side of the wagon, whereas there is a monogram related to Virgin Mary at the back side. You can see the shield of the Spanish Royal House at the right side of the wagon, while the shield of the city of Huelva can be seen at the left side. Finally, the wagon has a golden crown at the top.

The pottery altarpiece is inspired on that made in 1921 by artist Manuel Rodríguez Pérez de Tudela from Seville, which belongs to the Church of San Pedro – in that time, the Brotherhood was located in that church for the consecration of the Simpecado. The present altarpiece has the same characteristics of the mentioned one, which is adorned with wildflowers of the pilgrimage route to El Rocío and the patrons of the city – Virgin Mary of La Cinta and Saint Sebastian – at both sides.

The Simpecado was donated by the De la Puente brothers in 1937. It was made in José Caro’s embroidery workshop in Seville and finished in 1939. The banner was in the cult ceremony at the Church of San Pedro that year, when the Regiment of the Requetés (a Spanish military corps from the XIX) was appointed as Main Brother of the Brotherhood. In the middle of the banner, one could see an oil painting made by local artist Pedro Gómez in 1919, when the Simpecado was consecrated. In 1946, this painting was substituted by the present wood carving, made by local carver Joaquín Gómez del Castillo.


Mon-Thu 11.00-14.00 / 17.00-19.00

Fri 11.00-14.00