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Torrejón de Velasco (Municipality, Community of Madrid, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-05-22 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Torrejón de Velasco

The municipality of Torrejón de Velasco (4,105 inhabitants in 2014; 5,232 ha; municipal website) is located in the south of the Community of Madrid, on the border with Castilla-La Mancha (Province of Toledo), 30 km of Madrid.

Torrejón de Velasco, originally known as Torrejón de Sebastián Domingo, was granted in 1294 by King Sancho IV to Gonzalo Ruiz, Mayor of Toledo and lord of Orgaz, who subsequently offered it to his daughter as a part of her dowry when marrying Lope Velasco. In 1432, the domain belonged to Gutiérrez Gómez de Toledo, Bishop of Palencia and uncle of the 1st Duke of Alba, who succeeded her mother, Leonor Fernández de Ayala, from a prestigious lineage of Toledo. During that anarchic period, Gutiérrez Gómez became Archbishop of Toledo and was eventually defeated in Olmedo (1445) by John II, who confiscated his domains and transferred them to the Count of Plasencia. The count was succeeded by Henry IV and Alvar Gómez de Ciudad Real, Secretary of the Royal Council.
When ruled by the Arias Dávila, Torrejón de Velasco was granted several Royal privileges, such as a weekly free market and a spring cattle fair; this boosted the economical development of the town, which was partially stopped by the War of the Comuneros. In 1522, the revolted villagers sacked the castle and burned down the village, the archives, shops and industries included. As a reward for his support against the Comuneros in the Madrid Alcazar, Charles V made Juan Arias Dávila Count of Puñonrostro in 1523. The castle of Torrejón de Velasco was the seat of the County and permanent residence of the Counts. Charles V and King of France, Francis I, met in 1526 in the castle to discuss the possible marriage of Francis with Infante Leonor; this was the opportunity to transform the old fortress into a cosy residence. Sometimes used in the 16th century as a jail, the castle was subsequently transformed into a ham factory and a wool mill.

Ivan Sache, 27 July 2015


Symbols of Torrejón de Velasco

The flag of Torrejón de Velasco (photo, photos, photo, photo, photo) is described on the municipal website as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 2:3. Red with a yellow diagonal stripe running from the lower hoist to the upper fly, in width 1/5 of the flag's width, at hoist a yellow tower with blue ports and windows, at fly a white trefoil.

The coat of arms of Torrejón de Velasco is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Gules a tower or masoned sable port and windows azure a bordure purpure charged with four trefoils sable. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown.

The municipality organized in 1993 a contest to find out the genuine historical arms of the town. Manuel del Río Nicolás found in the Historical State Archives a letter of the Mayor of the town, dated 1876, describing the arms as "Purpure four mogotillos argent per cross inescutcheon gules a tower or". The proposed coat of arms was "Gules a tower or masoned sable port and windows azure surrounded by three four-pointed stars argent. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed".

The Royal Academy of History could have approved the proposed coat of arms separately - with some modifications - but rejected the joint proposal. since the flag contains elements different from those featured on the coat of arms. The bend sinister is not featured on the arms, the trefoil is placed on one hand on a field purpure and on the other hand on a red field, and, finally, the elements are arranged in a different manner on the two symbols.
The proposed arms are based on a seal from the 19th century, featuring a field purpure and charges called "trefoils". The memoir states that "the charges are of difficult interpretation - trefoils, fleurs-de-lis or undefined elements designed by a whimsical drawer". The charges lack proper heraldic interpretation and are represented in a way far from being adequate. The bordure or and vair, ill-designed, is not explained, either. The Academy cannot propose alternative interpretation since no image of the old seal was provided. The Academy recalls that the municipality proposed in 1994 a totally different design, which was rejected, too.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia; 2006, 203, 3: 387-388]

Ivan Sache, 27 July 2015