The bell gable is an architectural element
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 crowning at the upper end of the wall of church buildings, usually in lieu of a church tower. It consists of a gable end in stone, with small hollow semi-circular arch
An arch is a structure that spans a space and supports a load. Arches appeared as early as the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamian brick architecture and their systematic use started with the Ancient Romans who were the first to apply the technique to a wide range of structures.-Technical aspects:The...

es where the church bell
Bell (instrument)
A bell is a simple sound-making device. The bell is a percussion instrument and an idiophone. Its form is usually a hollow, cup-shaped object, which resonates upon being struck...

s are placed. It is a characteristic example of the simplicity of romanesque architecture
Romanesque architecture
Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of Medieval Europe characterised by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque architecture, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 10th century. It developed in the 12th century into the Gothic style,...


Bell-gables or espadañas are especially common in small village churches throughout the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

, for they were easier and cheaper to build than a church tower or bell tower
Bell tower
A bell tower is a tower which contains one or more bells, or which is designed to hold bells, even if it has none. In the European tradition, such a tower most commonly serves as part of a church and contains church bells. When attached to a city hall or other civic building, especially in...

. This simple and sober architectural element would later be brought to the Americas and the Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 by Iberian colonizers.
The bell gable usually rises over the front façade wall, but in some churches they may be located on top of any other wall or even on top of the toral arch in the midst of the roof.
In Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

 and the Valencian Community
Valencian Community
The Valencian Community is an autonomous community of Spain located in central and south-eastern Iberian Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Valencia...

 bell-gables are also known as campanar de paret (wall bell-tower) or campanar de cadireta. (little-chair bell-tower) because it reminds of the back of a chair.

In Écija
Écija is a city belonging to the province of Seville, Spain. It is located in the Andalusian countryside, 85 km east of the city of Seville. According to the 2008 census, Écija has a total population of 40,100 inhabitants, ranking as the fifth most populous city in the province...

 the bell tower of the church of Santa Bárbara fell destroyed by a lightning strike in 1892 and was replaced by an espadaña, a more expedient solution than rebuilding the tower.

Dutch Bell-gable

In the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 a bell-gable is an architectural shape of a gable or facade. Mostly used at houses who are more narrow, with mostly two or three windows wide. The shape of the top of the gable is shaped like a church bell. This type of gables was popular during the 17th and 18th century. The earlier bell-gables are usually lower and decorated in a different style many flowers and fruits are used. Bell-gables made in the 18th century are usually decorated with Louis Quinze
Louis Quinze
The Louis XV style or Louis Quinze was a French Rococo style in the decorative arts, and, to a lesser degree, architecture.Datable to the personal reign of Louis XV , the style was characterised by supreme craftsmanship and the integration of the arts of cabinetmaking, painting, and...

 ornaments, resulting in more decorations but loss of flowers and fruits as decoration.

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