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What did it cost to build the Saligao Church?

by Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas

As people from all over the world, with roots in Goa’s northern village of Saligao, today celebrate the 137th anniversary of the inauguration of the Mae de Deus Church in Saligao, it’s interesting to look back and establish how much money was set aside for the construction of our beloved Saligao church all those years ago.

We begin with the set-up of things prior to the laying of the foundation stone of the Saligao church. The year is 1866.

The Inspector of Public Works Department, Major Engineer Martins was asked to draw up a plan for a Gothic Church in Goa, which he did. He presented a budget of the construction of the Saligao Church amounting to 49,869 xerafins and 8 reis in silver. The Comunidade of Saligao is to pay all expenses of the building.

Then Major Martins, through Colonel Inspector Candido Jose Mourao Garcez Palha, sent a letter from Nova Goa, dated 10th April 1866, to the Governor General, Jose Ferreira Pestanha, informing him about the building of a new Church at Saligao in Bardez, Goa, and its plan and budget, as well as the days of auction.

The Comunidade of Saligao also sent its minutes to the Governor General, dated 6th May 1866, regarding the auction of the works of the Saligao church submitted according to the plans and budget proposed by Major Engineer Martins. These were approved by the Governor General through an Order of 20th June 1866.

Mae de Deus Saligao Church, Goa : Saligao Serenade

Public tenders were invited and the concerned parties were asked to appear on the first, eight and fifteenth of July 1866 in the House of Comunidade, where the plan, budget and terms of auction by the Notary of the Comunidade, Sebastiao Salvador Coelho, through public announcement dated 28th June 1866, were displayed.

An additional budget of 1606 xerafins, 4 tangas and 26 reis was presented by the Chief Engineer Martins who was present in the Comunidade of Saligao on 16th July 1866. The Procurator of the Comunidade, Francisco Salvador Pinto, made a petition to the Governor General, dated 17th July 1866, to approve the budget and project. The Governor General gave his approval by an Order of 26th July 1866.

In a public meeting of the Comunidade of Saligao held later that same year, it was decided to have the laying of the foundation stone of the new Saligao church in Goa on 7th February 1867.

Below is a free translation by me of the original budget documents that were in Portuguese. Since I have limited knowledge of architectural designs and terminology, my descriptions might not be accurate. Nevertheless, converting the old system into present-day units and measures, we can conclude that the Saligao Church is 45.70 metres in length, 10.97 metres in breadth, and, from base to the tip of the Cross on the spire, 45.70 metres in height.

Here are details of the documents pertaining to the budget of the construction of Saligao Church of Mae de Deus:

YEAR 1866. More or less the Budget of the expenses of the construction of the Church in the Village of Saligao of the Council of Bardez in the place close to Temba known as MADDAVADDO belonging to the Comunidade de Bardez, is as follows:

Article  A.

In what respects to the works of masonry of the church, the sanctuary and the belfry.

The church will be 100 maos [1 mao = 18 inches] in length and 24 maos in breadth; each wall of the church and that of the sanctuary (Capela-mor) of the northern side will be 40 maos in height, built on a foundation of 8 maos in depth and 7 maos thickness, except the two walls opposite on the southern side. These will be 4 maos in thickness and reinforced by eight buttresses of the dimensions indicated in the plan. The sanctuary will have a vault of full turn.

The belfry will be built bound to the front of the Saligao church. This front which will serve as one of its four surfaces will be 100 maos in height from the base and 13 maos of foundation in depth. The exterior breadth with its pillars will correspond to the total breadth of the church. The principal front of the church and its inferior part with its porch will serve as an entrance to the church.

Regarding the works of the masonry of the sacristy, its corridor and choir arcade of the Saligao church:

The sacristy and the corridor joined to the internal part of the sanctuary of the church will be of 50 maos length and 24 maos breadth and its lateral walls will be 16 maos in depth and 4 maos medium thickness. The three respective dividing walls will have the height proportionate to the breadth of the said accommodations.

The arch of the choir, which should not be more than 20 maos in height from its base, will be supported on four pillars of 4 maos thickness and will have a staircase beginning from the corridor, of 6 maos breadth.

Regarding the roofing of the church, the sanctuary, sacristy and corridor:

The roofing of the Saligao church will have the Gothic system and sustained on six big beams with all supports and covered with tiles. The sanctuary, sacristy and corridor will have the system in use and will be covered also with tiles.

Budget of the Works of Masonry

The foundations and the walls of the Saligao church, sanctuary, arcade of the choir and belfry require 170 braces of masonry of 300 cubic maos each brace. For its construction, the following material will be used: 12,750 big stones, each one 3 BD maos of length, 10 thumbs of breadth and 7 maos of thickness. At the rate of 30 xerafins a brace; 5,100 xerafins.

34 mounds of lime at the rate of 25 xerafins a mound; 850 xerafins.

5,000 baskets of mud (of stones) at the rate of 10 xerafins a hundred baskets; 500 xerafins.

1,500 baskets of sweet sand at the rate of 3 xerafins a hundred baskets; 45 xerafins.

15 maos of coconut jaggery at the rate of 6 xerafins; 90 xerafins.

For works of masons and helpers to dig the foundations, its construction and the walls regulating 10 xerafins a brace, approximately 1,700 xerafins.

The walls in general of the church, sanctuary, arcade of the choir and the belfry, which should be constructed with all its mouldings cimalhas, columns, arcarde, tribunes, vaults and cupolas will produce approximately 425 braces of masonry work of 300 cubic maos each brace. For its construction the following material will be used:

9,000 big stones of dimension and price indicated above; 3,600 xerafins.

10,000 stones of 3 BD maos of length, 10 thumbs of breadth and 7 maos of thickness at the rate of 33 xerafins a hundred; 3,300 xerafins.

12,000 stones of 2 BD maos of length, 9 thumbs of breadth and 7 maos of thickness at the rate of 30 xerafins a hundred; 3,600 xerafins.

5,500 stones of the said length, 14 thumbs of breadth and 6 maos of thickness at the rate of 35 xerafins a hundred; 1,925 xerafins;

400 stones of 3 BD maos square and 7 thumbs thickness at the rate of 100 xerafins a hundred; 400 xerafins.

800 baskets of mud stones idem 800 xerafins.

70 maos of coconut jaggery, idem 420 xerafins.

35 maos of cato, idem 525 xerafins.

For the works of masons and helpers for the perfect execution of all the referred work inclusive of red and white cafelo, calculated at the rate of 20 xerafins each brace; 8,500 xerafins.

The same for the works of carpenters for the construction of all unadorned, entering into account the wood and all necessary material; 500 xerafins.

The walls of the sacristy an the corridor with its foundations and the walls of cement mixed (entulho) in total will produce 60 braces of masonry work. For the execution of its construction the use of the following material will be necessary; 6,700 stones of 2 BD maos of length, 9 thumbs of breadth and 7 thumbs of thickness at the rate of 30 xerafins a hundred; 2,010 xerafins.

15 moios of chunnam at the rate of 25 xerafins a moi; 375 xerafins.

1,200 baskets of mud stones at the rate of 10 xerafins a hundred; 120 xerafins.

300 baskets of sweet sand at the rate of 3 xerafins per hundred; 9  xerafins.

4 maos of coconut jaggery at the rate of 6 xerafins a mao; 24 xerafins.

2 maos catho at the rate of 15 xerafins a mao; 30 xerafins.

Of the works of masons and helpers at the rate of 12 xerafins a brace; 720 xerafins.

The staircase of the choir and the steps, for internal doors of the corridor of the church can produce 7 braces of work of masonry which sum up to 35 xerafins each brace; 245 xerafins.

In what respects to the budget of the timber (roofing):

For the roofing of the sanctuary which should be of two layers and covered with false-tiles will have the following materials:

60 maos girders of timber of mareta of 4 and 6 thumbs of thickness at the rate of 2 xerafins a mao; 120 xerafins.

62 beams of timber each one of 8 maos of length and of 3 or 4 thumbs of thickness at the rate of 1 xerafin a mao; 496 xerafins.

31 beams of timber each one of 5 maos of length and one of said thickness at the rate of of 3 tangas a mao; 93 xerafins.

100 maos of thin timber planks fillings and over it wooden planks of 5 thumbs of breadth at the rate of 15 xerafins a hundred; 15 xerafins.

3,000 small beams kami at the rate of 8 xerafins a hundred; 240 xerafins.

12,000 false tiles of big dimension at the rate of 10 xerafins a thousand; 120 xerafins.

1 BD moios of chunam for the peaks, water channels and moulding (patnam) at the rate of 25 xerafins a moi; 37 xerafins, 2 tangas and 30 reis.

100 baskets of sweet sand at the rate of 3 xerafins a hundred; 3 xerafins.

For carpentry work 100 xerafins.

The same for persons (oleiros) that place the tiles, mouldings (patnam), etc, 60 xerafins.

For the roofing of the church by Gothic system which has to be fixed on master beams and covered with false tiles, the following amount will be spent:

12 tin boxes of seasoned teak, each piece of 14 maos of length and 6 to 8 thumbs of thickness, 6 master beams at the rate of 42 xerafins each; 504 xerafins.

350 tin boxes of equal timber and thickness for plumes, arcs and other inclinations that should reinforce the beams at the rate of 2 BD xerafins a mao; 900 xerafins.

36 curves of the same timber each one of 5 maos of length which after chiseling remains 6 and 8 thumbs of thickness at the rate of 2 xerafins a mao; 360 xerafins.

5 small beams of 11 maos of length each and 5 and 7 thumbs of thickness for the peak at the rate of 22 xerafins each; 110 xerafins, 2 tangas and 30 reis.

120 maos traverse of 5 and 7 thumbs of thickness at the rate of 2 BD xerafins a mao; 300 xerafins.

40 water channels (aguaneiras) each one of 11 maos of length and 4 and 6 thumbs thickness for the 8 orders of frames (fieira) or moldos madres at the rate of 2 xerafins a mao; 880 xerafins.

68 teak (mareta) for 34 scissor-shaped (tesoura), each one of 15 maos of length and 3 BD and 5 thumbs of thickness at the rate of 1 BD xerafin a mao; 1,530 xerafins.

34 teak beams for oliveis idem 408 xerafins.

3,800 maos of teak for the laths (ripa) of 3 thumbs of length and one of thickness, 25 xerafins a hundred; 950 xerafins.

2,700 maos of champo of 10 thumbs of length at the rate of 30 xerafins a hundred; 810 xerafins.

24 bolts of iron (cavilha de ferro) to bolt the master beams at the rate of  3 xerafins each; 72 xerafins.

14 maos of big nails of teak (pregos grandes aguaeiros) at the rate of 6 BD xerafins a mao; 91 xerafins.

10 maos of nails with head (pregos da cabeca) for the laths at the rate of 10 xerafins a mao; 100 xerafins.

5,000 big iron nails at the rate of 4 xerafins a thousand; 20 xerafins.

3,000 big false tiles at the rate of 10 xerafins a thousand; 30 xerafins.

12 black stones each one of 4 maos in length to be placed under the big cachorros in which the bases of the master teak should remain firm at the rate of 6 xerafins each stone; 72 xerafins.

6 mounds of chunnam (mois de cal) for the top and water-channels, to equip and fix the tiles with mortar by a system of pipes, at the rate of 25 xerafins a moi; 150 xerafins.

400 baskets of mud of stones at the rate of 3 xerafins a hundred; 12 xerafins.

4 maos of coconut jaggery at the rate of 6 xerafins a mao; 24 xerafins.

For the work of carpentry, for the perfect execution of all this construction; 1,500 xerafins. The same for blacksmiths in the form mentioned; 300 xerafins.

To construct the wooden frames of the sacristy and corridor with tiles of one water-channel and false tiles will consist of the following materials:

164 maos of traverses (frechas) of 4 and 6 thumbs of thickness according to the price indicated above; 328 xerafins.

One architrave (tirante) of 7 to 9 thumbs thickness of 16 maos of length at the rate of 4  xerafins a  mao; 64 xerafins.

Two teak beams each of them 14 maos in length and 3 BD and 5 thumbs thickness for the sticks of the frames (para paus de fieira) at the rate of 1 BD xerafin a mao; 42 xerafins.

31 of the same, each one of 15  maos of length and 3 BD and 4 thumbs of thickness at the rate of 6 tangas a mao; 620 xerafins.

18 maos of cross-bars (travetas) of 6 and 7 thumbs of thickness for the 12 cachorros at the rate of 1 BD xerafins a mao; 27 xerafins.

3,000 large laths (covado de ripas largas) at the rate of 80 xerafins a thousand; 240 xerafins.

19,000 false-tiles of big dimension at the rate of 10 xerafins, 2 tangas and 30 reis.

100 baskets of sweet sand at the rate of 3 xerafins a hundred; 3 xerafins.

For the carpentry work 100 xerafins. For the same work by blacksmiths (oleiros) 50 serafins.

For the construction of the floor of the choir of the church (soalho do cor o da Igreja) and its staircase which should be of turned balustrades (balustres torneadas). This will require the following material:

1109 traverses each of 2 maos of length and 6 to 8 thumbs of thickness at the rate of 36 xerafins each; 432 xerafins. 450 maos of planks of 9 thumbs of length; 4 tangas and 13 xerafins.

For the railings of the choir with timber and pattern; 175 xerafins.

For the construction of 9 doors of framework (caixilho) of different size and thickness, being four of these with big moulds and panels (mouldur as e almofadas em relevo), all of good and solid teakwood with iron fittings (ferragem) could cost with the pattern (feitio) and fixing in their proper places 785 xerafins.

TOTAL AMOUNT: The total amount of the budget for the Saligao church is 52,802 xerafins, 2 tangas and 30 reis, two parts in silver and the third in copper, which all reduced to silver coinage is equal to 49,869 xerafins and 8 reis in silver. This amount approximately corresponds to the funds allocated by the mentioned Comunidade.

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