Tradition tells us that San Francis of Assisi founded the first Franciscan community in Sangüesa la Vieja (the present Rocaforte) on his return from Santiago de Compostela in 1213. A few years later, in 1266, King Theobald II
founded (also in Sangüesa la Nueva) a church in honour of the saint that was later extended to become a convent. Its Gothic façade and cloister, the collection of funeral steles and a number of images kept in the chapels of the church are some of the most interesting artistic elements
of the convent, which is locate in the Plaza de los Fueros of Sangüesa.
A tombstone embedded in the wall on the left near the door reminds us of the date on which the convent church was founded: 18th October 1266. Over the centuries this building hosted sessions of the Cortes Generales (Parliament) of the Kingdom of Navarre (1530-1551) and was used as a barracks during the War of Independence in the early 19th century. Following a Government decree the convent was closed in 1835 and its monks excloistered. In 1898 the Capuchin order was set up, and they are the present occupants of the building.
Among the artistic elements of the building we would highlight the Gothic façade. It has a pointed arch flared by four ordinary archivolts and four beaded archivolts that rest on capitals decorated with plant motifs.
The church, restored in 1965, has a single nave with a straight header. Its starred vault, with angels on the keystones and supports, dates from the 16th century. In the chapel on the left the 17th-century image of Saint Anthony of Padova stands out, and in the chapel opposite there is a restored image of the Virgin Mary with her Child on her lap from the 13th century. There is no altar piece, and in the vestry is a figure of Christ on the Cross from the 16th century, and the Baroque 17th century images of Saint Francis of Assisi and San Jerónimo.
Behind a foliated door is a delightful square-shaped Gothic cloister from the 17th century. It has 64 pointed arches with very fine columns and trilobes and houses an interesting collection of disc-shaped medieval funeral steles from the old cemetery located at the exit to the church.