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Pelayos de la Presa (Municipality, Community of Madrid, Spain)

Last modified: 2018-08-31 by ivan sache
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Flag of Pelayos de la Presa - Image by Ivan Sache, 19 July 2015

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Presentation of Pelayos de la Presa

The municipality of Pelayos de la Presa (2,502 inhabitants in 2014; 758 ha) is located in the south-west of the Community of Madrid, 60 km of Madrid. One of the smallest in the Community by its area, the municipal territory of Pelayos de la Presa is totally surrounded by San Martín de Valdeglesias, except its easternmost point, adjacent to Navas del Rey.
Pelayos was named for a re-settler, for a chapel dedicated to St. Pelagius, of for the early shepherds known as pelaires since they traded pelt (pieles). The Latin root pagus, "a settler", has also been invoked as a possible etymology. "de la Presa" (of the Dam) recalls the brook of the same name that waters the town and has been known under this name since the 12th century.

The monastery of Santa María la Real de Valdeiglesias was established in Pelayos in 1150. King Alfonso VII ordered to group a dozen of scattered monastic communities, said to be of Visigothic origin but rather re-established after the reconquest of Toledo, in a new monastery. Originally ran by Benedictine monks, the monastery was taken over by Cistercian monks in 1177. The development of the monastery was slowed down by several territorial quarrels with the inhabitants of the valley, the most influent of them being Álvaro de Luna. The reform set up by the Catholic Monarchs eventually boosted the development of the monastery, whose membership and territory did not stop increasing until the 17th century. The monastery was ruined after Mendizábal's Desamortización (1834) and the leave of the last monks.
The architect Mariano García Benito acquired the ruins in 1974, which he restored and transferred to the municipality of Pelayos in 2003 (see Díaz I, Garín A, Lemus L. 2005. Estudio histórico-arquitectónico del monasterio de Santa María de Valdeiglesias (Madrid). Actas del Cuarto Congreso Nacional de Historia de la Construcción, Cádiz, 27-29 January 2005, 329-339 - PDF). The ruins were declared an historical and artistic monument of national significance by Royal Decree No. 3,444, adopted on 23 November 1983 and published on 14 February 1984 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 38, p. 3,918 (text).
[El Pais, 10 January 2014]

Ivan Sache, 19 July 2015

Symbols of Pelayos de la Presa

The flag (photos) and arms of Pelayos de la Presa are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 10 August 1995 by the Government of the Community of Madrid and published on 31 August 1995 in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid, No. 207, pp. 7-8 (text) and on 12 September 1995 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 218, p. 27,496 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: In proportions 2:3. A green panel with a blue border, charged in the middle with the municipal coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Argent a tower proper masoned sable on waves argent and azure, 2. The arms of the Mendoza. A bordure azure charged with 12 five-pointed stars argent. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown.

Green is the colour of the pinewoods that surround the town. The blue border alludes to river Alberche. It took four to five years to have the symbols eventually accepted by the Heraldry Assessors of the Community of Madrid.
[El Pais, 13 August 1995]

The Royal Academy of History found "totally acceptable" the proposed coat of arms, completely different from early proposals, including the one proposed by the Division of Historical Heritage of the Community of Madrid, which had been approved by the Academy.
The tower represents the first settlement established during the reign of Alfonso VIII. The waves represent brook La Presa, the town's namesake. The arms of the Dukes of the Infantado are relevant, since Pelayos was acquired by the 3rd Duke of the Infantado. The bordure alludes to the 12 chapels once erected in the valley, the namesake of Valdeiglesias. No flag proposal was attached to the submission.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1997, 194, 1: 207]

The Royal Academy of History rejected a previous proposal of coat of arms, deemed "the most complicated", featuring an escutcheon supported by an eagle in one of the quarters, different mottoes, and an erroneous representation of the arms of Mendoza de la Vega. The design is "absolutely unacceptable".
The file includes an alternative proposal designed by the Division of the Historical and Archeological Heritage of the Community of Madrid, based on the ideas of the original proposal but with an expression more compliant with good style. It is composed of the arms of the Cistercian Order, recording the monastery at the origin of the town, and of the arms of the house of the Infantado, once lords of the place. Its blazon is "Per pale, 1. Azure a bend chequy argent and gules, 2. Quarterly per saltire, 1. and 4. Vert a bend gules fimbriated or, 2. and 3. Or the motto AVE MARIA. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown". There is no inconvenient to adopt this design, which is fully compliant with our best tradition.
The proposed flag is charged with the initially proposed coat of arms, which should be substituted for the alternative proposal.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1995, 192, 3: 518]

Diego Hurtado de Mendoza y Figueroa (1415/1417-1479), the elder son of Íñigo López de Mendoza, First Marquis of Santillana, was made Duke of the Infantado (full title, "Duque de las Cinco Villas del Estado del Infantado") in 1475; subsequently, the Dukes of the Infantado were made first-rank Grandees of Spain, and were therefore allowed to wear their hat in the presence of the king. Íñigo de Arteaga y Martín (b. 1941) is the 19th Duke of the Infantado.
"Vert a bend gules fimbriated or" are the oldest known arms of Mendoza; subsequently modified several times, the arms always included a red bend on a green field. The arms quartered per saltire were introduced by the first Marquis of Santillana and appear on a seal dated 1440; the marquis quartered his father's arms (Mendoza) with his mother's arms (de la Vega). His descendants were known as Mendoza de Guadalajara or Mendoza de l'Ave María. In the representations of these arms, the first quarter is inscribed with "AVE MARÍA" while the third quarter is inscribed with "PLENA GRATIA" (or, at least "GRATIA").
[José Luis García de Paz (UAM), Los poderosos Mendoza website]

Ivan Sache, 3 March 2018