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Tomelloso (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-09-16 by ivan sache
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Flag of Tomelloso - Image by Ivan Sache, 7 June 2019

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Presentation of Tomelloso

The municipality of Tomelloso (36,091 inhabitants in 2018, therefore the 3rd most populated municipality in the province; 24,182 ha; municipal website) is located 100 km east of Ciudad Real and 100 km west of Albacete.

Tomelloso emerged in 1530 around the Tomilloso well, located near the ruins of an old hamlet at the junction of transhumance roads. Farmers from Socuéllamos led by Francisco de Olivares built huts to exploit the land, soon joined by inhabitants from the neighboring towns. The early settlement was ran by the Socuéllamos Commandery of the Military Order of Saint James.
Tomelloso was granted the status of villa in 1589, separating from Socuéllamos. Following an appeal by the mother town, Tomelloso lost most of its independence in 1592, keeping only jurisdiction over minor cases. This did not prevent Tomelloso to outgrow Socuéllamos, so that the status of villa was granted again in 1758, to be implemented only in 1769.

Ivan Sache, 7 June 2019

Symbols of Tomelloso

The flag of Tomelloso is prescribed by an Order issued on 27 August 1991 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 30 August 1991 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 66, pp. 3,084-3,085 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: The proposed flag reproduces in its panel the basic colors of the municipal coat of arms and features the cross modernly known as the Cross of Saint James to recall this Military Order, to which the today's territory once belonged.

The text is, undoubtedly, the verbatim copy of the report made by the Royal Academy of History on the proposed flag.
The flag (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) is horizontally divided yellow-green (2:1) with the municipal coat of arms in the center and a Cross of Saint James in canton.

The coat of arms of Tomelloso is prescribed by Decree No. 2,060, issued on 26 July 1973 by the Spanish Government and published on 6 September 1973 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 214, p. 7,612 (text).
The "rehabilitated" coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Or a thyme bush vert adextered a hare sable on a base vert. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown.

The arms of Tomelloso, "of immemorial use" were "Or three black birds a thyme bush a rabbit passant proper on a base vert. The shield surmounted by an old crown"

The "rehabilitated" arms were proposed on 22 June 1972 by Ramón José Maldonado y Cocat, which had been commissioned on 29 May 1972 by the Municipal Council.
According to all local historians, Tomelloso is located on the site of the old Quinto de la Tomilla, or of a farmer's hut of that name. Later on, this was an insignificant settlement named Aldea de la Tomilla or Tomillar, Tomelloso's namesake. The name refers to the huge quantity of thyme (tomillo) growing there; the place was also famous for its immense populations of rabbits and hares hunted by the local inhabitants. Around 1850, Tomelloso adopted arms featuring a thyme plant and a running rabbit on a green base. The National Historical Archives keep the answer of the Mayor, dated 27 October 1876, to the civil governor of Ciudad Real. Accordingly, "some 25 years ago", a municipal syndic called Domingo Pliego was commissioned to design a municipal seal; he is credited the appropriate, canting symbol featuring the thyme plant and the rabbit. In 1873, the federal government banned this seal, to be substituted by the arms of Castile and León crowned by a star. The imposed seal was short-lived, the original seal being soon re-established. The Seal section of the National Historical Archives contains diverse version of the seal used for more than 100 years.
Ramón José Maldonado y Cocat added to the old seal a Cross of the Military Order of Saint John, to recall that Tomilla, and, subsequently, Tomelloso, belonged to this order, as:
"Or a thyme plant vert a rabbit passant sable or black on a base vert a Cross of the Military Order of Saint James. The shield surmounted by a Spanish Royal crown."
[Ramón José Maldonado y Cocat. 1973. Heráldica municipal de la provincia de Ciudad Real. Cuadernos de Estudios Manchegos 4, 84-109]

The old references to Tomilla have been proven to be inaccurate; the village was originally known as Los Tomillosos, declared depopulated in 1494.
During the Second Republic, the municipality adopted an oval shield, with the thyme plant and the hare sometimes complemented with wheat spikes and grape bunches; the shield was surmounted by the typical mural crown of the time.
During the Francoist rule, the mural crown was substituted by a laurel wreath and a Royal crown open.
The Royal Academy of History recommended to suppress the Cross of the Order of Saint James from the arms, in compliance with the laws of heraldry.
[La Voz de Tomelloso, 25 April 2018]

Ivan Sache, 7 June 2019