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Pastrana (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-02-22 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Pastrana

The municipality of Pastrana (978 inhabitants in 2015; 9,570 ha; municipal website) is located 50 km of Guadalajara.

Pastrana was established in the 13th century by the Order of Calatrava after the expelling of the Moors from the region. Pastrana was granted the status of villa in 1369; the walls and the primitive church were built at that time. In 1541, Charles I sold Pastrana, including the hamlets of Escopete and Sayatón, to Ana de la Cerda (d. 1553), Countess of Mélito and widow of Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, who hired the architect Alonso de Covarrubias to build the Ducal palace.
Her sons, Gaspar Gastón and Baltasar Gastón, sold the domain in 1569 to Ruy Gómez de Silva (1516-1573), Prince of Éboli and personal friend of Philip II, and his wife, Ana de Mendoza y de la Cerda (1540-1592). Ruy Gómez de Silva was made the 1st Duke of Pastrana.
The Dukes totally revamped the town; in 1569, they invited St. Teresa of Ávila to establish two convents of Discalced Carmelited; the women's convent was dedicated to St. Joseph, while the men's convent was dedicated to St. Peter - subsequently, to the Carmel.

In 1570, 200 Morisco families expelled from the Alpujarra settled in Pastrana in the Albaicín borough, where they ran tapestry workshops of great fame in the 16th-17th century. The Dukes upgraded the parish church to a collegiate church, appointing a college of 48 canons, the second biggest in Spain after the Toledo cathedral. After the death of her husband in 1573, the Princess of Éboli retired in the St. Joseph convent. Philip II, however, ordered her to manage the family heritage; in 1576, she joined the Court in Madrid, being soon one of the most wealthy and respected dames at the Court.
The Princess intrigued with Antonio Pérez, the King's Secretary; arrested, she was jailed in the Pinto tower and transferred to the castle of Santorcaz with her sons, and, eventually, to Pastrana. The local legend says that she was allowed to stand ony one hour per day at the grilled window of the eastern tower of the palace to watch outside, thus explaining while the main square of the town is called the Hour's Square.
The Dukes of Pastrana left the town for Madrid in the 18th century, which ended the Gilded Age of the town.

Ivan Sache, 7 September 2019

Symbols of Pastrana

The flag and arms of Pastrana are prescribed by an Order adopted on 9 November 2015 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 24 November 2015 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 230, p. 32,293 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 2:3,, with its half at hoist argent (1/2) and the other half azure (1/2). On the two colors, in the middle, the coat of arms of the town.
Coat of arms: Spanish shield. Per pale, The right [dexter] quarter, azure a bend argent and two fleurs-de-lis or superimposed by a capital letter "P" or fimbriated sable. The left [sinister] quarter, argent in a cross gules a sword gules and a skull proper. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The flag was inaugurated on 6 December 2015 (photos), the Day of the Spanish Constitution (which was adopted on 6 December 1978). The symbols were designed with the help of Antonio Herrera Casado, official Chronicler of the Province of Guadalajara.
The colors of the flag are taken from the coat of arms.
[Guadalajara Diario, 6 December 2015]

The first documented arms of Pastrana are described in Philip II's Relaciónes Topográficas by the villagers Nicolás Hernández de Heredia and Fabián Cano: "The coat of arms of the village was the emblem of Calatrava, because the village was founded by the Masters of the Order; it has been a white cross since the village has a feudal lord."
Accordingly, Pastrana must have used for arms a red cràss flory, maybe since 1369 when granted the status of villa by Master Pedro Muñiz. During the feudal rule of the Cerda lineage, which lasted until the 19th century, the arms of the town featured a white cross; in some circumstances, the arms were those of the lords, that is, the proper arms of Mendoza, Silva, and Cerda. This was not rare, since the town has been attempting since the 16th century to adopt arms mixing those of Mendoza and Cerda, a bend surrounded by two fleurs-de-lis.
In the Relación de la villa de Pastrana, a manuscript dated 1 May 1787 kept in the National Library, Francisco José Fernández de Beteta provided a detailed description of the town, its proper arms included: "The arms are a shield featuring a 'P' with a bend running from the left to the right and, in the angles it forms, two fleurs-de-lis."
In the beginning of the 20th century, the municipality used a new coat of arms, adding to the old one a rebus of the Romantic motto of the town, "Pastrana shall defend the cross until death". A perchament kept in the Town Hall elaborates the motto. The heraldist Fernando del Arco claims that the rebus is based on the emblem used by a noted noble from Pastrana, whose name starts with "P", therefore the letter in the first quarter of the arms.
[Antonio Herrea Casado and Antonio Ortiz García. Heráldica municipal de Guadalajara]

The aforementioned source shows the coat of arms with a Cross of Calatrava, while the coat of arms in actual use, as well as the stone coat of arms applied on the facade of the Town Hall (photo), shows a Latin cross.

Ivan Sache, 7 September 2019