Last modified: 2015-01-17 by ivan sache
Keywords: burgohondo | ávila |
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Flag of Burgohondo - Image by Ivan Sache, 16 March 2011
The municipality of Burgohondo (1,279 inhabitants in 2010; 5,500 ha; municipal website) is located in the south of Ávila Province, 40 km of Ávila.
Burgohondo was resettled in the 12th century, following the reconquest
of Toledo by Alfonso VI in 1085; the Santa María Augustinian monastery, mentioned ("Sancte Marie de Fundo") in a Bull signed on 21 April 1179 by Pope Alexander III, was in charge of the early
resettlement. Ruled by the Bishop of Ávila, the monastery was
subsequently placed under Royal patronage and became a main center of
religious and civil power in the region.
In 1275, Alfonso X granted a chart to "Burgo del Hondo" (also written "Burgo del Fondo" in other sources) and all the settlements included in its council; the chart was confirmed, with some restrictions, in 1293 by Sancho IV, and, again, in 1267 by Ferdinand IV. In the 14th century, the Burgohondo Council was in permanent struggle with the monastery, which attempted to usurp its rights; Alfonso X and Peter I had to confirm the chart in 1338 and 1351, respectively. Further confirmation was obtained from Henry I and the Catholic Monarchs in 1455 and 1486, respectively. At the end of the 16th century, the Bishop of Ávila complained about the usurpation of the rights on the Burgohondo monastery by the Bishop of Burgos; in 1606, a famous case opposed the Bishop of Ávila and the Abbot of Burgohondo.
In the 17th century, Abbot Diego de Arce y Reinoso reformed the monastery, decreasing the price of grain sold to the villagers and the rent allocated to the canons from 600 to 60 golden coins; he also restored appropriate religious practices. The monastery was often commissioned by the Royal power to celebrate thanksgiving for war victories, royal weddings or end of epidemics. The monastery declined in the late 18th century; following the death of Abbot Pedro de Obilla in 1791, the Bishop of Ávila informed the Court of the difficult situation of the churches placed under the rule of the monastery; no improvement occurred so that King Joseph Bonaparte decreed in 1809 the suppression of the monastery, which had kept only two canons.
Ivan Sache, 16 March 2011
The flag and arms of Burgohondo (municipal website) are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 25 March 1999 by the Municipal Council, signed on 29 March 1999 by the Mayor and published on 12 April 1999 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 163, pp. 10,138-10,139 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:
Flag: Quadrangular, blue and gold arranged in diagonal. In the middle of the flag is placed the coat of arms of Burgohondo.
Coat of arms: Divided into three quarters, 1. Or a church building gray roofed gules, 2. Or nine bezants gray, 3. Azure a tree argent fructed or a bridge and waves argent. The shield surmounted with a Royal crown.
The symbols were designed by Lorenzo Gómez Gómez. On the arms, the first quarter shows the Burgohondo monastery, recalling its religious, political and social influence on the history of the town. In the second quarter, the nine bezants symbolize the nine settlements once part of the Burgohondo Council. The lower part of the shield shows a peach tree, the peaches from Burgohondo being of national fame, and river Alberche, used for ages for crop watering, fishing and grain milling, and today a main environmental resource.
The Royal Academy of History did not like at all the proposed symbols (Boletin de la Real Academia de la Historia, 2001, 198, 1: 178):
Nearly nothing in the description of the proposed coat of arms can pass the most lenient examination. Not the "gray church building" [edificación eclesiástica de gris], not the bezants argent [indeed "gray"] on a field or, not the tree vert on a field blue, not the most weird representation of the waves... The municipality should commission a new project to someone with at least basic knowledge in the matter [of heraldry]. The flag contains the rejected coat of arms, and is therefore rejected, too.
Ivan Sache, 16 March 2011