The last stage of the monastery: the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal
Sant Jeroni de Cotalba suffered several ecclesiastical confiscations and the resulting secularisation during the 19th century.
In 1812 the monks abandoned Sant Jeroni de Cotalba when Napoleonic troops forced them to evacuate the monastery during the course of the Peninsular War; this event did not lead to the expropriation or confiscation of any of its property. The monks returned to the Monastery at the end of the conflict.
Sant Jeroni de Cotalba suffered several ecclesiastical confiscations and the resulting secularisation during the 19th century, the first of which took place in 1820 during the Liberal Triennium. After this period the monks returned to the monastery and attempted to reorganise the community and reactivate its economy.
The final ecclesiastical confiscations occurred following the Decrees of Mendizábal. The order expelling the monks is dated the 6th of August, 1835. At the time, the community of monks at Sant Jeroni was the youngest and most numerous in the Valencian Community.
Years later, the Trenor family, with Irish roots, acquired the estate. Whereas the sale to an individual represented the final death sentence of many convents, the sale turned out to be the salvation of Cotalba.
Federico Trenor Bucelli began restoration work on the monastery and turned it into an active agricultural enterprise and a major producer of Muscat grapes. Considerable investment was channelled into the property during this period; part of it was adapted into a residence and some original features were recovered.
Subsequently the monastery passed into the hands of Federico Trenor Palavicino, who also made significant improvements to the building and converted the west orchards into a French style romantic garden. The garden, which lies between the monastery and the aqueduct, is a fine landscape that places an emphasis on the nature of the district of La Safor.
Cotalba lived through some hard times after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. Due to the necessities of war, the convent was turned into a hospital for those wounded in combat and a refuge for the elderly. The splendid Cotalba monstrance, which was kept in the Gandia Collegiate, disappeared during the war and only a few of its images remain.
The work to return Cotalba to normality after the conflict was extremely tough, but it was made possible by the impetus given by María Jesús Trenor Mascarós, Baroness of Alaquàs. In 1946, part of the convent was set aside to be used by the Discalced Carmelites, who were left homeless after the war.
Since then, five generations of the Trenor family have worked tirelessly to maintain and conserve the monastery, always with sensitivity and respect for this valuable piece of architectural heritage.
The monastery and its surroundings were declared a Place of Cultural Interest as a monument in 1994.