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Lerma (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-04-09 by ivan sache
Keywords: lerma | castrillo solarana | revilla cabriada | santillán del agua |
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Flag of Lerma - Image by Ivan Sache, 10 February 2014


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Presentation of Lerma

The municipality of Lerma (2,886 inhabitants in 2012; 1,664 ha; tourism office website) is located on the south of the Province of Burgos, 40 km from Burgos. The municipality is made of the town of Lerma (1,795 inh.) and of the villages of Castrillo de Solarana (43 inh.), Rabé de los Escuderos (14 inh.), Revilla Cabriada (51 inh.), Ruyales del Agua (31 inh.), Santillán del Agua (28 inh.) and Villoviado (21 inh.).

Lerma was established by Celtiberian tribes on a strategic site dominating river Arlanza. In the 10th century, the river was the border of the territory reconquerred by the Christian lords, who erected on its banks a series of forts. Lerma was a small settlement surrounded by walls protected by four gates, of which only the Jail's Arch has been preserved. Lerma was raided for the last time by the Moors at the end of the 10th century, when Almanzor defeated Count Sancho García on the neighbouring Cervera rocks.
Lerma was subsequently fiercely disputed between the Castro and Lara lineages, and then between Ferdinand III the Saint and Alfonso XI, involved in a dynastic quarrel. When the Lara lineage got extinct, Lerma was transferred to the Royal domain. In 1414, Ferdinand of Antequera granted the town and its dependencies to Diego Gómez de Sandoval y Rojas, as a reward for his support in the Battle of Antequera and in his struggle against the Count of Urgel.

The Gilded Age of Lerma started in 1599, when Francisco Gómez de Sandoval y Rojas (1553-1625), 4th Count of Lerma and 5th Marquis of Denia, was made Duke of Lerma. After the transfer of the Royal Court to Valladolid in 1601, the Duke of Lerma established his own Court in Lerma, in order to increase his own influence on King Philip III. The king's favourite for the next 20 years, the Duke of Lerma was granted amazing privileges from the king. The Duchy of Lerma ruled some 50 villages; the duke used the tax collected there to hire the king's architects Francisco de Mora, Juan Gómez de Mora and Friar Alberto de la Madre de Dios.
The town of Lerma, totally rebuilt, is considered as the best preserved historical town of Herrerian style in Spain. The duke built a palace, a plaza mayor among the biggest in Spain (6,862 sq. m), six monasteries, a collegiate church; he also founded cloth and dyeing factories, a printing house with Royal charter, and an hospital. Lerma became a pleasure court, where festivals were celebrated to honour the monarchs. Among the guests of the court were the writers Góngora and Lope de Vega. The comedy La burgalesa de Lerma by Lope de Vega (1613) is based on the festivals given in Lerma in autumn 1613.
Short before his disgrace in 1620, the Duke of Lerma was erected Cardinal; he spent his last years in Lerma and Valladolid, being forced to bring back the money he had illegally obtained, and eventually died in Valladolid on 18 May 1625. His heirs, involved in several court cases, abandoned the town. In the 18th-19th centuries, several travellers described the picturesque town of Lerma and its monumental, cold palace.

Villoviado is the birth town of Jerónimo Merino Cob (1769-1844), better known as Cura Merino (Priest Merino), who raised in 1808 a guerilla of 2,000 men against the French invaders. Cura Merino, winner of 58 battles in Roa, Burgos, Ezcaray, Hontoria del Pinar, Quintana de Puente, Quintanapalla and Vitoria, was appointed Captain and Lieutenant Colonel by the Spanish Government. Napoléon I said he would prefer to get the priest's head than five Spanish towns. At the end of the War of Independence, Merino retired as a priest in Villoviado; when the Carlist Wars broke out, Merino was appointed General in Chief of the Troops of Castile and Extremadura, leading 11,000 soldiers. Following the Carlist defeat, the priest exiled and died in the French town of Alençon (Normandy). The municipality of Lerma repatriated his remains in 1968.

Ivan Sache, 10 February 2014


Symbols of Lerma

The flag of Lerma (photo) is horizontally divided blue-white-red (1:2:1) with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.

The coat of arms of Lerma is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 9 February 2006 by the Municipal Council, signed on 26 March 2006 by the Mayor, and published on 3 April 2006 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 66, p. 5,782 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Per fess, 1a. Argent a saltire, or St. Andrew's cross, gules, 1b. Azure a moon crescent with a twirled snake orled by twelve five-pointed stars all argent. 2. Gules two towers or masoned sable port and windows azure linked by a wall or on a base vert. The shield surmounted by a Duke's coronet.

Ivan Sache, 10 February 2014


Submunicipal entities

Castrillo Solarana

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Flag of Castrillo Solarana - Image from the Escudos y Banderas de la Provincia de Burgos website, 15 February 2015

Castrillo (village website) was first mentioned in the 9th-10th centuries, as Kastriello, and was subsequently known as Kastrello, Castrielo, Castriel, Castel, Castriel de Solarana, Castrillo, Castrillo de Solarana, Castrillo Baldenebreda, and, eventually, Castrillo Solarana. The village is named for a Celtic castrum (fortified camp) located 1 km of the modern village. "Solarana" probably refers to the geographical situation of Las Mamblas, the origin of the re-settlers, located on the sunny side of a mountain (solana).
The big Romanesque church was erected in the 12th century in the upper part of the village, also known as El Castro. A tower or a fort was erected there in the 9th century. Close to the church is a network of 150 caves used by the villagers as private wine cellars.

The flag and arms of Castrillo Solarana are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 3 August 2006 by the Village Council, signed on 13 December 2006 by the Mayor, and published on 2 January 2007 in the official gazette of the Province of Burgos, No. 1, p. 10 (text).
The symbols, designed by the Spanish Vexillological Society, are described as follows:

Flag: Based on the coat of arms, rectangular in proportions 2:3, made of three equal vertical stripes, the outer blue and the central white. In the center is placed the coat of arms of the place.
Coat of arms: Azure a castle argent masoned sable ports and windows gules cantonned by three bunches of grapes or two in chief and one in base. The shield surmounted with a Royal crown closed.

Ivan Sache, 14 February 2015


Revilla Cabriada

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Flag of Revilla Cabriada - Image from the Escudos y Banderas de la Provincia de Burgos website, 3 March 2015

Revilla Cabriada (presentation) originates in the merging of two settlements called Ribiella and Villa Capriata, respectively, the latter being named for the numerous goats (Spanish, cabras) that lived there.
The St. Helen church of Revilla Cabriada was built in the second half of the 12th century in Romanesque style.

The flag and arms of Revilla Cabriada are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 2 August 2006 by the Village Council, signed on 13 December 2006 by the Mayor, and published on 2 January 2007 in the official gazette of the Province of Burgos, No. 1, p. 10 (text).
The symbols, designed by the Spanish Vexillological Society, are described as follows:

Flag: Based on the coat of arms. Rectangular, in proportions 2:3. Green, in the center a golden castle, masoned in black with blue port and windows.
Coat of arms: Vert a castle or masoned sable ports and windows azure. The shield surmounted with a Royal crown closed.

Ivan Sache, 3 March 2015


Santillán del Agua

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Flag of Santillán del Agua - Image from the Escudos y Banderas de la Provincia de Burgos website, 5 March 2015

Santillán del Agua (presentation) emerged in the Middle Ages, probably around a monastery. The village was first mentioned, as San Julianini, in 1075. A local legend says that the village, once named La Aguilera, was renamed Santillán for a local rascal who was never captured.

The flag and arms of Santillán del Agua are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 9 August 2006 by the Village Council, signed on 13 December 2006 by the Mayor, and published on 2 January 2007 in the official gazette of the Province of Burgos, No. 1, p. 10 (text).
The symbols, designed by the Spanish Vexillological Society, are described as follows:

Flag: Based on the coat of arms. Rectangular, in proportions 2:3. White with a red Cross of St. Julian. The flag shall have a blue border in height 1/10 of the flag's height.
Coat of arms: Argent a Cross of St. Julian gules in base waves azure and argent. The shield surmounted with a Royal crown closed.

The arms form a rebus of the village's name. Santillán is derived from San Julián (St. Julian), while "del Agua" means "of the Water". On the flag, the waves azure are transformed into a blue border.
The village is named for St. Julian the Hospitaller, popularized by Jacobus de Voragine's "Golden Legend".
Quoting Gerald Harding:

St. Julian's cross is simply a cross crosslet at 45 degrees. It is made from four Latin crosses arranged at right-angles to each other, with the tops pointing to the "four corners of the world". The image of Christianity being spread all around the world is one reason why this cross is sometimes referred to as the Missionary Cross. Another reason is that St. Julian, like St. Christopher and St. Raphael, is a patron saint of travellers.

Ivan Sache, 5 March 2015

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