LA ROCA CASTLE
In the northern part of town, on a small hill, you can see La Roca castle. It is located where the Praetorium -or fortification station- was located on the Roman road, linking Granollers (Sempronia) and Mataró (Iluro). It is documented that in the year 936, the French King Louis IV d’Outremer made a donation to the Monastery of Sant Cugat del Vallès, which owned the castle until 1243. When publishing the Sant Cugat Cartulary, Mons. Josep Rius considers that it was Louis V, the successor of Lothair, and the date was 986. Whatever the case, we have documentary evidence from the end of the 10th century.
It seems that the Count of Barcelona entrusted the castle to Arnau Mir de Santmartí, a descendant of Gombau de Besora. The castle was later given, along with other assets and territories, to Guillem de Muntanyola o de Vacarisses, first Lord of Montcada. Upon his death, it passed to his children Renard Guillem and Bernat de Sarroca, from 1040.
Through the marriage of Sansa, the lady of La Roca, to Pere Bertran de Bell-lloc, the Lordship of the castle passed to his descendants, the Bell-lloc family. Guillem de Montclús, who was married to Guillema de Bell-lloc, was the owner and Lord of everyone who depended on the castle between 1243 and 1276. From that year, it was no longer in the possession of the Bell-lloc family. It passed to the Lleïr de Vilanova family until 1283 (the Berenguer i Bertran brothers). The next owner, Ramon de Cabrera, sold it in 1287 to the royal notary Pere Marquès.
According to Pasqual Ferrer, the Cabrera family were the owners for 56 years, until 1343 when they sold it to Pere Arnau Marquès, who was the owner for 42 years. After passing from one owner to the next for a time, Pere Arnau Marquès sold it to the King in 1385 for 30,000 sous.
The jurisdiction of the castle and the district of La Roca belonged to the King, but during certain periods in the fourteenth century, the property changed hands back and forth between the monarchy and the nobility.
In 1405, it was purchased by Ramon de Torrelles and was the centre of the barony of La Roca from 1468. That year, the title of Baron of La Roca was granted to Martí Joan de Torrelles i de Sentmenat.
With the arrival of the Torrelles family, it seems that the census of the population grew greatly, up to 880 inhabitants, since the count obtained royal permission to hold a market on Wednesdays and two annual fairs, that of Sant Jaume and of Santa Magdalena. For this reason, people of various trades settled and three inns were opened in La Roca, with cadres for the horses. It was then that it was agreed to demolish the old Romanesque church in order to build the current structure, which was inaugurated on 28 November 1558, with Fr. Gaspar Desfonts celebrating the mass.
In 1418, Granollers paid 10,000 florins to King Alfonso IV of Catalonia and V of Aragon to obtain the dismemberment of the county of La Roca and to declare itself independent. From then on, and with the decline of the Torrelles, Granollers prospered while La Roca became a small town where the inhabitants barely subsisted.
During the war against Joan II (John II, 1462-1472), the castle was besieged and taken by Government forces.
At the beginning of January 1463, the Count of La Roca received a communiqué from the Government recommending that the inhabitants barricade the castle, because the forces of Joana Enríquez (Juana Enríquez) and the Count of Foix, captained by Pere de Bell-lloc and Bernat de Guimerà, had taken the castle of Montcada and were heading towards La Roca. Despite the resistance, the castle had to surrender to the enemy forces on 19 April, due to the lack of ammunition, food and water. The King’s army seized the castle and imprisoned Martí Benet de Torrelles, Lord of La Roca.
In 1465, it was rebuilt by the Torrelles, with the help of the people and the Government, until they went to ruin and left La Roca in 1480, giving rise to a period of theft and destruction. From 1664, it became the property of the Santa María del Mar Community of Presbyters.
In the early 18th century it passed from the Torrelles to the Sentmenat. Pere de Torrelles-Sentmenat, a knight of Sant Joan and Governor of Catalonia, was the last of the family to own the castle.
The confiscations of the liberal Minister Mendizábal ordered the expropriation of all ecclesiastical assets in 1836.
In 1880, Joaquim Alomar i Font acquired the castle, the Mas Soler Farm, lands and forests. This property is documented in the tenth century, as the Castle of La Roca. Just as Pedro Català i Roca believes that Maurins Castle or “Morino” castle corresponds to Mas Soler, for Francesc Carreras Candi it is simply the nickname of La Roca Castle. From 1880, both properties passed to Joaquim Alomar, until the castle estate was broken up in November 1949. Antonio Rivière then bought the castle in 1952 to restore it and turn it into his private stately residence.