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Castrillo Matajudíos (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-01-13 by ivan sache
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Flag of Castrillo Matajudíos - Image by Ivan Sache, 14 January 2014

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Presentation of Castrillo Matajudíos

The municipality of Castrillo Matajudíos (aka Castrillo-Matajudíos and Castrillo de Matajudíos; 64 inhabitants in 2012; 2,205 ha; municipal website) is located in the west of the Province of Burgos, half distance (50 km) of Burgos and Palencia.

Castrillo Matajudíos was originally a hamlet of Castrojeriz, a settlement chartered in 974, as Castro Xerez by Count Garci Fernández. The charter explicitly lists the respective rights and duties of the Christians and of the Jews; Castro Xerez is mentioned in the Encyclopedia Judaica as "one of the earliest Jewish communities established in Spain". The privileges granted to the Jews of Toledo were extended to those of Castrojeriz by Alfonso VII in 1118 and confirmed in 1234 and 1240 by Ferdinand III.
Castrillo Matajudíos was originally known as Castro Mota de Judíos. Some documents appear to indicate that Castrillo was originally settled by Jews expelled from Castrojeriz in the 11th century; other could say that Castrillo was stormed by the inhabitants from Castrojeriz. The bad state of conservation of the old documents and a possible confusion between Castro and Castrillo makes it difficult to establish the facts with certainty.
After the expelling of the Jews from Spain ordered in 1492, the name of the village was progressively abbreviated to Castrillo de Judíos, and eventually changed to Castrillo Matajudíos. While mota referred to parts of the costume worn by both the Jews and the Christians in Castile, mata conveys the idea of slaughter maintained in local legends describing groups of Jews having escaped the slaughter and having lived underground since then.

Castrillo Matajudíos is the birth place of the musician Antonio de Cabezón (1510-1566). The birth house of the musician can still be visited. A proposal to rename the village Castrillo de Cabezón was turned down in 1966.
Blind from birth, Cabezón was probably taught music by García de Baeza, organist at the Palencia cathedral. He was appointed in 1526 organist at the chapel of Empress Isabel and in 1538 organist at the Castilian chapel of Emperor Charles I. This position allowed him to meet the cantors of the Flemish chapel of the Emperor, who increased and diversified his musical culture. In 1548-1551, Cabezón travelled with Prince Philip to Milan, Naples, Germany and the Low Countries. He subsequently joined the prince in London for his marriage with Mary Tudor, significantly influencing the British composers.
Considered as one of the best keyboard players of the time, Cabezón mostly wrote pieces for his preferred instrument, the organ, but also for other instruments such has harp or viola. His works were published by Luis Venegas de Henestrosa (Libro de cifra nueva para tecla, arpa y vihuela, 1557) and by his son, Hernando de Cabezón (Obras de música para tecla, arpa y vihuela de Antonio de Cabeçon, 1578).

Ivan Sache, 14 January 2014

Symbols of Castrillo Matajudíos

The flag (photo) and arms of Castrillo Matajudíos (Escudos y Banderas de la Provincia de Burgos website) are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 9 September 2006 by the Municipal Council and published on 3 October 2008 in the official gazette of Province of Burgos. The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Quadrangular flag, white with two horizontal stripes, red at the top and blue at the bottom. In the middle is placed the municipal coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Per fess, 1a. Gules a castle or masoned sable port and windows azure ensigned by a seven-pointed star or, 1b. Argent a Star of David azure, 2. Argent an organ sable. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown.

The first quarter of the shield forms a rebus of the village's name. The second quarter is a straightforward reference to the original Jewish community. The third quarter is a tribute to the organist Antonio de Cabezón.

Ivan Sache, 14 January 2014