Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Sunday, 28 November 2010

The seven severed hands of Simancas

More than 12 centuries ago, when the Moors ruled much of Spain (and don't worry, this isn't a history lesson just a bit of local colour), taxes were demanded of all the villages. When a village didn't pay up punishment was meted out in various forms. To cut a gruesome story rather short - though not to cut out the cutting part - the punishment on this particular village was that seven young women were taken away and had one of each of their hands cut off.
A 'manco' or 'manca' in Spanish is someone missing a hand or arm. The name of the village 'Simancas' comes from the seven - or 'siete' mancas who came from there.
A form of retribution came later in a battle on the ancient Roman wall took place between the Moors (Moros) and the Christians in 939, when the Moors were well and truly defeated.

Plaza Mayor
General Archive of Simancas
Simancas is about 5kms away from La Flecha and about as different in tone and atmosphere as you could imagine. La Flecha is all modern apartments, straight streets, shops and supermarkets - Simancas is ancient, impressive, tiny, twisted streets and attention-calling corners. It is also the national Archive centre of Spain, holding documents, records, manuscripts and information of all sorts that are important to Spanish history. It's many a moon since I've been but we went again this weekend and I'm really impressed at the recent reform and improvement works that have gone on here in the past few years.

Facsimile of a document held in the archives

Illustration done in Winchester, England

Only scholars and pre-booked visits to the inside - but lots of information outside.

Music School

The old hospital - very old!

Simancas is a lovely place to visit and I shall go many more times whilst we live here in La Flecha as it brings me a lot of calm during this time of things 'unknown'. Down by the river, there are some spectacular walks, which leads me on to introduce the new member of our family. Nemo.

Nemo - found
With his favourite little person
He is a rescue dog, rescued not by us, but by Cesar's parents last year. He is extremely timid, quiet and has a damaged back leg following an accident with a car. (Wasn't me!) Since he came back to La Flecha in October with los abuelos and has experienced a bit of fun with the children, he has really come out of his sad little shell. I adore him and I do believe it's mutual. And now, he goes everywhere with us and is as good as gold. He came to Simancas; I take him to the bus stop to meet the children everyday; he came to the pine forest today and Mateo gets up and takes him out in the mornings at the weekend. And we have just received the good news that he can come with us when we go!

Hunting pine cones

He's ours!!


  1. History, culture, information management, cute pets and Mateo looking (only very slightly) like Harry Potter searching through the woods in the Deathly Hallows ..... What is there not to like about this post? Magnificent.

    Added to that, a minor chuckle. I have to admit that when I first glanced at the introductory photo of Nemo and saw the words 'rescue dog' I thought he had no front legs and thought 'aaaaahhhhh, poor, cute thing'. Then I realised I was being a muppet! Go on, have a glance out of the corner of your eye and you may too be fooled.

  2. I love history so thank you so much for sharing. Congratulations on your new dog! Ours brings us much joy.


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