Dating from 1663, the Iglesia de los Trinitarios Descalzos as it was first known, was the third home of the Order of Descalzed Nuns of Ronda, who nowadays are located in the convent attached to the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Merced.
The plaza in front of the church, Plaza Los Descalzos, still retains the name of the order. An older Christian chapel, the “Ermita del Cristo de las Penas o Peñas” occupied this site from mid 16th century, being demolished to make way for the church you see today. In 1836 the Descalzed Order vacated the church and convent, and a school was established on the site using the church as their chapel.
1875 was the year the Iglesia de Padre Jesús was consecrated on its existing site, having previously been the parish church of Santa Cecilia, and since the Iglesia de los Trinitarios Descalzos wasn’t being used it was decided to convert and re-consecrate it into a replacement Iglesia de Santa Cecilia, the name it has retained since.
Santa Cecilia is unique in Ronda for having a highly ornate Baroque entrance with paired Tuscan columns framing both the main doors, and the upper window which is itself crowned by a papal cross. To the left of the main entrance there is another smaller entrance, with a small balcony that can be used by the Bishop to address the congregation.
During the Spanish civil war the Iglesia de Santa Cecilia was temporarily used as headquarters for Republican troops, so suffered less damage than other churches which were ransacked by socialist troops and many of the treasures spirited away or destroyed.