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Valdefresno (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2014-12-29 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Valdefresno

The municipality of Valdefresno (2,056 inhabitants in 2010; 10,254 ha; municipal website) is located in the center of León Province, 10 km of León. The municipality is made of the villages of Arcahueja (203 inh.), Carbajosa (26 inh.), Corbillos de la Sobarriba (169 inh.), Golpejar de la Sobarriba (283 inh.), Las Lomas (247 inh.), Navafría (47 inh.), Paradilla de la Sobarriba (132 inh.), Sanfelismo (135 inh.), Santa Olaja de Porma (73 inh.), Santibáñez de Porma (109 inh.), Santovenia del Monte (36 inh.), Solanilla (55 inh.), Tendal (58 inh.), Valdefresno (89 inh.; capital), Valdelafuente (252 inh.), Villacete (65 inh.), Villacil (25 inh.), Villafeliz de la Sobarriba (47 inh.), Villalboñe (34 inh.), Villaseca de la Sobarriba (119 inh.) and Villavente (118 inh.).

Ivan Sache, 8 March 2011

Symbols of Valdefresno

The flag and arms (municipal website) of Valdefresno are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 13 April 2000 by the Municipal Council, signed on 26 July 2000 by the Mayor, and published on 4 August 2000 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 151, p. 9,583 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Quadrangular flag, with proportions 1:1, horizontally divided gules and vert. In the middle of the flag is placed the coat of arms argent with the Dolorosa's heart gules.
Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Argent an ash tree [fresno] proper terraced of the same in base a scallop argent, 2. Fessy gules and vert in the middle an escutcheon argent with the Dolorosa's heart gules, a bordure gules [a chain of] 20 links or. The shield surmounted with a Royal Spanish crown.

The dexter part of the arms represents the municipality (lit. Ash Tree's Valley) as located on the Way of St. James (scallop). In the sinister part, the Dolorosa' heart stands for the old municipality of Voto a La Virgen del Camino (Vow to the Virgin of the Way), made of the today's municipalities of Valdefresno and Villaturiel, once ruled by the Brotherhood of the Sobarriba Council; the flag is the traditional local pennant. The 20 links in the bordure of the shield represent the 20 villages forming the municipality.

The Royal Academy of History turned down the flag and arm's proposals, finding the arms unnecessarily complicated, and with elements not explained in the supporting memoir, such as the scallop, the pennant and the Dolorosa's heart. Moreover, the description mentions 18 stars while the drawing shows 20 of them (Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 196, 2: 344, 1999).
Subsequently, the Academy was submitted updated proposals. The proposed flag is based on the pennant claimed, without proper justification, to have been used in the 16th century by the Brotherhood of Sobarriba; the Academy recalls that the old pennants and the modern flags have completely different status and meaning, the pennants being unique. However, the Academy accepted the design of the modern flag based on the old pennant but conditioned its validation to the production of the missing historical data.
The Academy did not like the addition of the pennant to the sinister part of the coat of arms because of its unheraldic character; moreover, the pennant is made of gules and vert fesses of low luminosity, improperly juxtaposed. The rest of the coat of arms would be acceptable, provided the representation of the chain (no more stars) is improved. The coat of arms eventually proposed by the Academy is reduced to "Argent an ash tree proper on a terrace vert a scallop argent, a bordure azure a chain argent" (Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 199, 1: 150, 2002).

Ivan Sache, 8 March 2011