Santa Ines Mission

  • 01 of 13

    Santa Ines Mission

    Mission Santa Ines
    Mission Santa Ines. Richard Cummins / Getty Images

    Santa Ines Mission was the nineteenth one built in California, founded September 17, 1804, by Father Estevan Tapis.

    Interesting Facts about Mission Santa Ines

    Mission Santa Ines was the home of California's first seminary college. During the 1824 revolt, two Indians were killed at Mission Santa Ines.

    Where Is Santa Ines Mission Located?

    Mission Santa Ines is at 1760 Mission Drive in Solvang, CA. You can get their hours and directions at the Mission Santa Ines Website.

    Continue to 2 of 13 below.
  • 02 of 13

    Santa Ines Mission Interior

    Interior of Mission Santa Ines
    Interior of Mission Santa Ines. ©2012 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    The current restored building has the original sugar pine beams from 1817, original floor tiles and designs on altar and ceiling beams painted by Indians. 

    Continue to 3 of 13 below.
  • 03 of 13

    Santa Ines Mission Decorative Painting

    Decorative Painting in Mission Santa Ines
    Decorative Painting in Mission Santa Ines. ©2012 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    Painted decorations in the church were done under the direction of artisans who had access to pattern books.

    Continue to 4 of 13 below.
  • 04 of 13

    Santa Ines Mission Our Lady of the Rosary

    Our Lady of the Rosary, Mission Santa Ines
    Our Lady of the Rosary, Mission Santa Ines. ©2012 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    Made in the mid-18th Century of wood, painted all over in gold, then with colored paint and engraved. The artist is unknown.

    Continue to 5 of 13 below.
  • 05 of 13

    Santa Ines Mission Altar

    Altar at Mission Santa Ines
    Altar at Mission Santa Ines. ©2012 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    The screen on the wall behind the main altar is called a reredos. You can find out about it and more terms in the California mission glossary

    Continue to 6 of 13 below.
  • 06 of 13

    Santa Ines Mission Saint Ines Statue

    Statue of St. Ines, Mission Santa Ines
    Statue of St. Ines, Mission Santa Ines. ©2012 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    The name Santa Ines is for Saint Agnes, who is the patron saint of young girls.

    Continue to 7 of 13 below.
  • 07 of 13

    Santa Ines Mission Painted Ceiling

    Painted Ceiling, Mission Santa Ines
    Painted Ceiling, Mission Santa Ines. ©2012 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    The mission's interior has lots of painted decoration, including on the ceiling. 

    Continue to 8 of 13 below.
  • 08 of 13

    Santa Ines Mission Choir Loft

    Choir Loft, Mission Santa Ines
    Choir Loft, Mission Santa Ines. ©2012 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    The choir at Mission Santa Ines was famous for their singing. They sometimes performed masses that were written at the mission. 

    Continue to 9 of 13 below.
  • 09 of 13

    Santa Ines Mission Cemetery

    Cemetery, Mission Santa Ines
    Cemetery, Mission Santa Ines. ©2012 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    About 1,700 people were buried in the Mission Santa Ines cemetery, but most of the markers were made of wood and have disappeared. 

    Continue to 10 of 13 below.
  • 10 of 13

    Santa Ines Mission Buttresses and Bell Wall

    Buttresses and Bell Wall, Mission Santa Ines
    Buttresses and Bell Wall, Mission Santa Ines. ©2012 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    After the 1812 earthquake, the mission built a new and larger church. It measured 140 feet long, 25 feet wide and 30 feet high, with heavily buttressed walls 5 feet thick.

    Continue to 11 of 13 below.
  • 11 of 13

    History of Santa Ines Mission: 1804 to 1820

    Mission Santa Ines: Solvang, California
    Mission Santa Ines Gate. Geri Lavrov / Getty Images

    Santa Ines Mission was the last one built in the southern part of the state. Father Estevan Tapis and Captain Felipe de Guycoechea surveyed sites in the mission's area in 1798. They recommended the mission's eventual site, a place the local Indians called Alajupapu, but changes in Spanish governors and Catholic leadership led to many delays.

    Father Estevan Tapis founded Santa Ines Mission on September 17, 1804, naming it for Saint Agnes. Two hundred Chumash Indians attended the first mass, and 23 were baptized.

    Early Years of Santa Ines Mission

    The first priests were Father Jose Rumualdo Gutierrez and Jose Antonio Calzada. By the end of 1804, they reported 112 converts, and there was constant construction in the early years.

    Santa Ines Mission 1800-1820

    By 1812, the complex was well built. Then, on December 21, 1812, two earthquakes struck. It took more than four years to repair the damage. In 1817, the mission produced 4,160 bushels of wheat; 4,330 bushels of corn and 300 bushels...MORE of beans. Records listed 1,030 converts; 287 marriages and 611 deaths and it had reached its largest population of 920.

    Father Uria was in charge into the early 1820s. Building continued into the early 1820s when the church murals were painted.

    Mission Santa Ines in the 1820s-1830s

    When Mexico won independence from Spain, they had little money to support the missions. Soldiers were forced to get their supplies from the missions and pay with IOUs. They got no salary, and became frustrated until their anger came out toward the Indians.

    In 1824, a Spanish guard beat a Purisima Indian and set off a revolt that spread to all the Santa Barbara area missions. At Santa Ines, two Indians were killed, buildings were burned, and the priests taken hostage. The Indians burned the soldiers' quarters, but their quarrel was with the soldiers, not the Fathers. When the fire threatened the church, they stopped fighting and helped put the fire out.


    After secularization in 1834, the Fathers kept the mission running for a while by selling its cattle, tallow, hides and grain. Eventually, the Indians lost interest and drifted away.

    In 1843, Governor Manuel Micheltorena granted part of the land to Francisco Garcia Diego y Moreno, first Bishop of California. He used it to create first seminary in California, College of Our Lady of Refuge. The college later moved near Santa Ynez, where it stayed open until 1881.

    The next Mexican Governor, Pio Pico, illegally sold Santa Ines Mission to Jose M. Covarrubias and Jose Joaquin Carrillo for $7,000 just weeks before United State took California over from Mexico. The United States revoked this sale in 1851, and returned the mission to the church.

    Santa Ines Mission in the 20th Century

    The mission was never entirely abandoned, but the buildings fell into disrepair. Finally, in July 1904, Father Alexander Buckler was put in charge. He and his niece Mary Goulet spent 20 years restoring it and preserving its art work and fabrics.

    When Father Buckler retired in 1924, the church was offered back to the Franciscans, and Franciscan Capuchin fathers from Ireland took over. They modernized the buildings to make them livable. A full restoration began in 1947, returning the buildings to the way they were before the 1812 earthquake.

    In 1989, a multi-million dollar project reconstructed eight of the nineteen arches on the eastern facade and restored the east wing.

    Santa Ines Mission is now an active parish church with regular services.

    Continue to 12 of 13 below.
  • 12 of 13

    Santa Ines Mission Layout, Floor Plan, Buildings and Grounds

    ©Betsy Malloy 2002

    Construction at Mission Santa Ines stared before the church was formally dedicated. The missions at Santa Barbara and La Purisima sent workers, and by the dedication, the first buildings were already complete, a row of buildings 232 feet long by 19 feet tall and wide with 30-inch thick walls, housing a church, sacristy, the Fathers' quarters and a granary.

    Building continued for the next eight years. In 1805 another row of buildings, 145 feet long by 19 feet high and wide was added, and another 38 feet were completed in 1806. In 1806, a gallery was also added to protect walls from rain. New missionary houses built in 1807 and five soldiers' homes, a storehouse and guard house built in 1810 continued the expansion.

    By 1811, after eight years of continuous building, the quadrangle, measuring 350 feet each side, was finished.

    The following year, an earthquake damaged the church and buildings, creating huge cracks and toppling some of the walls. It took six more years to finish the...MORE church and adjacent campanario, which was dedicated on July 4, 1817. The church was 140 feet long and 25 feet wide with 30-foot tall buttressed walls five feet thick. The pine timber ceiling, made of wood brought from the mountains 30 miles away, supported a tiled roof.

    Building continued into the 1820s, including a new grist mill and reservoirs and an elaborate water system to carry water from the mountains for livestock and crops.

    The original bell tower fell in 1911 and was replaced with wood and plaster structure that lasted until 1949 when it was replaced with a concrete campanario holding bells cast for the mission in 1807, 1811 and 1818.

    The statue of St. Agnes on the altar is believed to have been made at the mission by native artists. The reredos was painted by Indians in 1825 in a fresco style on the adobe walls, using plant-based colors.

    Continue to 13 of 13 below.
  • 13 of 13

    Santa Ines Mission Cattle Brand

    Cattle Brand of Mission Santa Inez. ©2014 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    In 1817, the mission inventory included 6,000 cattle; 5,000 sheep; 120 goats; 150 pigs; 120 pack mules and 70 horses.

    The Santa Ines Mission picture above shows its cattle brand. It was drawn from samples on display at Mission San Francisco Solano and Mission San Antonio.