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Sigüenza (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-02-22 by ivan sache
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Flag of Sigüenza - Image by Ivan Sache, 7 September 2019

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Presentation of Sigüenza

The municipality of Sigüenza (4,356 inhabitants in 2018; 38,687 ha, therefore the biggest municipality in the province by its area) is located on the border with the Province of Soria (Castilla y León), 75 km north-east of of Guadalajara.
The municipality is composed of the town of Sigüenza and of the villages of Alboreca (16 inh.), Alcuneza (36 inh.), El Atance (depopulated), Barbatona (15 inh.), La Barbolla (17 inh.), Bujalcayado (6 inh.), Bujarrabal (40 inh.), La Cabrera (4 inh.), Carabias (22 inh.), Cercadillo (17 inh.), Cubillas del Pinar (14 inh.), Guijosa (21 inh.), Horna (16 inh.), Imón (32 inh.), Matas (depopulated), Mojares (15 inh.), Moratilla de Henares (17 inh.), Olmedillas (15 inh.), Palazuelos (51 inh.), Pelegrina (15 inh.), Pozancos (34 inh.), Querencia (2 inh.), Riba de Santiuste (15 inh.), Riosalido (28 inh.), Torre de Valdealmendras (5 inh.), Ures (9 inh.), Valdealmendras (2 inh.), and Villacorza (6 inh.).

The former municipalities of Alcuneza, Guijosa, Moratilla de Henares, Palazuelos, Pelegrina and Pozancos were incorporated to Sigüenza by Decree No. 802, issued on 18 April 1963 by the Spanish Government and published on 22 April 1963 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 96, p. 6,721 (text).
The former municipalities of Alboreca, El Atance, Carabias, Imón, Riba de Santiuste and Olmedillas were incorporated to Sigüenza by Decree No. 3,037, issued on 12 September 1970 by the Spanish Government and published on 17 October 1970 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 249, p. 16,943 (text).
The former municipalities of Cercadillo, Horna and Bujarrabal were incorporated to Sigüenza by Decree No. 3,161, issued on 23 November 1973 by the Spanish Government and published on 13 December 1973 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 298, p. 24,153 (text).
The former municipalities of Riosalido, Torre de Valdealmendras and Villacorza were merged by Decree No. 30, issued on 14 January 1960 by the Spanish Government and published on 19 January 1960 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 16, p. 745, which established the new municipality of Ríotovi del Valle (text). Ríotovi del Valle was incorporated to Sigüenza by Decree No. 1,060, issued on 9 May 1969 by the Spanish Government and published on 4 June 1969 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 133, p. 8,758 (text).

Bernard of Agen (c. 1080-1152) was invited to Castile by another French Cistercian monk, Bernard of Sédirac, Archbishop of Toledo in the early 12th century. His uncle was appointed Bishop of Segovia while his brother was appointed Bishop of Palencia. Canon of Toledo, Bernard was named in 1121 Bishop "in Barbariae Pars" of Sigüenza, then part of Al-Andalus. Queen Urraca commissioned him to reconquer "his" diocese, which he did, on his own funds, in 1124. Bernard soon built a cathedral in the median part of the town and a fortress at its top. Urraca and her son, Alfonso VII, rewarded him with the grant of a feudal domain headquartered in the town and including several neighboring places, such as Riba de Santiuste, Pelegrina, Guijosa, and Aragosa. Bernard was granted jurisdiction on the lower part of the town in 1138 but had to wait until 1146 to rules the whole town.
The chronicles depict Bernard of Agen as a wise and benignous lord. Austere and spiritual, he was also a fierce warlord (a "monk-soldier") when it came to defend the reconquered territories still threatened by Muslim raids. The bishop died in Huertahernando while leading the Christian troops in a skirmish against Muslims.
[Los Escritos de Herrera Casado, 7 January 2011]

Ivan Sache, 7 September 2019

Symbols of Sigüenza

The flag of Sigüenza (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo; video), which does not appear to have been officially registered, is horizontally divided blue-red with the municipal coat of arms in the center.
[Jorge Hurtado Maqueda. 2008-2010. Vexilología local en Guadalajara. Wad-al-Hayara: Revista de estudios de Guadalajara 35-37, 475-505 ]

The coat of arms of Sigüenza, which does not appear to have been officially registered either, is "Per pale, 1. Azure a castle or masoned sable port and windows gules, 2. Gules an eagle sable cronwed or holding in its claws a human bone or. The shield surmounted by a Royal coronet".
The arms, of "immemorial use" must be the oldest coat of arms in the Province of Guadalajara maintained until now without significant modifications, as evidenced by several references and documents. The lead seals used in the 14th century by the Municipal Council feature an eagle and a castle.

In the 18th century, Antonio de Moya (Rasgo heroico. Declaración de las armas y blasones con que se ilustran muchas ciudades y villas de España) provides an accurate description of the arms of the town, completed with a tortuous, exaggerated exaplanation of their meaning involving Roman elements.
In 1924, Julián Moreno (Alma seguntina) interpreted the municipal arms as the merger of the arms of the first two bishops of the town and called for swapping the two quarters. The tomb of Bernard of Agen, first Bishop of Sigüenza, located in the cupola of the cathedral (photo), features a plain shield charged with an eagle. The tomb of the second bishop, Peter of Leucate, located in the presbytery's wall, features a plain shield charged with a castle. Since Sigüenza has been ruled by the bishop since the Royal donation made in 1138 to Bernard of Agen, it is logical that the town used the arms of its lords as its proper arms. It appears now quite clear that the arms of the town were granted by Bishop Bernard, who used the arms of his birth town, Agen [which have, however, the quarters swapped]. The municipal seals used in the 13th-14th centuries in Agen feature on the obverse a fortified town with three gates and two windows, inside a bell tower flanked by another two towers and various pinacles and on the reverse an eagle holding a phylcatery in its claws. The substitution of the human bone to the phylactery in the arms of Sigüenza was clearly a deformation of the original design.
[Los Escritos de Herrera Casado, 21 July 1989]

Ivan Sache, 7 September 2019