Vegas de Matute

Vegas de Matute

The first data of this population go back to the Middle Ages, period in which there was a village belonging to the community of Villa and Tierra de Segovia and the sexmo of San Martín.

The original name of the town was Vegas del Monte.

The first lord of the town was Gómez Rodríguez who served Don Sancho IV el Bravo (1258-1295), in whose satisfaction and reward he made mercy of the Tower and House he had in Las Vegas, three leagues distant from Segovia, towards the Sierras de Guadarrama, with real breasts and income that belonged to him in the same place. With the rank of Captain of the People of War of Segovia, Gómez Rodríguez dies on the site of Tarifa in the year 1292, although his lineage will continue for more than 600 years established in Las Vegas.

The family of the Segovia sometimes participates actively in the tasks of government and other withdrawal from public life. In the year 1520, with the uprising of the Communities of Castile, D. Pedro de Segovia, eleven lord of the house, was one of those who most pointed out in the services to the Emperor. The comuneros burned the main house in which he lived and had to retire to the one he had in Las Vegas.

In these years also lived in Las Vegas some characters related to the Court of Kings Carlos I and Felipe II, as the Royal Notary Public of Felipe II, Pedro Perez, who led the peace negotiations in the disputes between Segovia and Madrid for the House of Field.

In the 16th century, the most important work that was done in Vegas de Matute, the Church of Santo Tomás de Canterbury, was undertaken. It was designed by Don Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón. It began as a private chapel owned by the Counts dedicated to San Pedro and later expanded to serve the entire population. It will not be finished until the middle of the seventeenth century.

In the 16th century, the most important work that was done in Vegas de Matute, the Church of Santo Tomás de Canterbury, was undertaken. It was designed by Don Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón. It began as a private chapel owned by the Counts dedicated to San Pedro and later expanded to serve the entire population. It will not be finished until the middle of the seventeenth century. There is no record of when the name change of the town occurred, in Matute there was a human settlement next to the Moros River, possibly older than the village. The truth is that in the documentation referring to the construction of the Church in 1570 Rodrigo Gil calls the place Vegas de Matute and also "Las Vegas".

During the seventeenth century various brotherhoods will be created that will build three hermitages around the town. The hermitage of San Roque at the top of the road that leads to El Espinar, the hermitage of the Virgen del Rosario on the road that led to Otero and the hermitage of the Virgen de Matute on the banks of the Moros River.

Of the old house of the Segovia there are hardly any ruins, nowadays the Torreón and the Palacio de la Sierra are kept, but there is evidence of what it was for a description made in the 17th century, in order to look for evidence of the nobility for Mr. Pedro Ibáñez de Leguizamón y Segovia, member of said family, who will justify the Title of Marqués de Gramosa, granted in 1662. The informants go through Las Vegas and declare: "That the house, castle and fortress of D. Pedro de Ibáñez, Lord of Vegas de Matute, is a strong house all of very old stone with a tower very high and near it a castle old by some points ruined, with three towers that denote its much antiquity, and that at the time it was made would be all very important strength in that land.

The economic activity was focused on poor cereal agriculture and mainly sheep farming. Most of the cattle heads were to be from the lords, who owned the sheers, the mills and many of the houses in the village. The peasantry should be made up of modest tenants.

There were numerous mills along the Moros River: the sauquillo mill, the Batan mill, the Guapa mill and the Valladar mill, which had to be frequently repaired due to the strong floods of the river.

Some families found a supplement for their income in the manufacture of lime and in 1564 the construction of the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial served to revitalize its production. This activity continued as until the middle of the 20th century.

The current population (2011) of Vegas de Matute is around the 300 inhabitants, is a considerably lower figure than its maximum that was in the early twentieth century a few 800 inhabitants, the population emigrated in the 60 and 70 years of the twentieth century to Madrid and other areas of Spain in search of work.

Equity shares

Hermitage of San Roque (XVII Century)

Located at the exit of Vegas towards El Espinar, from it you can see a beautiful panoramic view of the town.

Hermitage of Our Lady of the Rosary (XVII Century)

Located on the old road from Vegas to Otero are its ruins. It is currently in the process of rehabilitation

Hermitage of San Antonio del Cerro

It is located at the top where the terms Navas de San Antonio, Zarzuela del Monte and Vegas de Matute converge.

Lime kilns from Zancao

Archaeological park restored with lime kilns from the 16th to the 18th century.


It is located next to the park of the lime kilns. Through it the water that was carried to the town was channeled, it was in service until the middle of the 20th century.

Well of the Lobera

Located in the neighborhood of the lobera in the Carcavilla, it supplied water in antiquity to this neighborhood.

The spout

The caño has been a meeting place for men and women who came to fill their pitchers daily for their consumption and to give their working animals a drink. The water came from a spring, nicknamed "El Manaero", located about five hundred meters away, on the northern slope of the mountain called "El Caloco", where it was collected in a pylon, which poured the water into a canal, saving a large slope, in the so-called neighborhood of "Zancao", by means of an aqueduct built at the end of the XV century, beginning of the XVI, of thirty and seven meters in length, -unico by the zone-, arriving until the present pipe. From there, it continued to another pipe, which was located next to the Palace of the family of Los Segovia and the Church of Santo Tomas de Canterbury. These pipes, were used until last half of the previous century XX.

The foal to shoe

The foal of shoeing is a typical construction of the Castilian municipalities, hallmark of the cattle tradition. Its origin dates back to the Middle Ages and has been used until almost the end of the 20th century. It is built with four stone pillars of a single piece, usually granite, arranged at the corners of a rectangle and joined by wooden crossbars on the sides and by an ubio or yoke on one of the fronts to hold the head of the animal . On the floor there are three wooden supports, two on the long sides and one on the back to hold the legs of the animal and proceed to his hardware. One of the lateral crossbeams turns on itself, to him they are hooked some leather straps that go through the belly of the animal until the crossbar of the opposite side. When turning, the straps are tightened and the animal is lifted so that it does not move. Normally it was located next to the forges to facilitate the ironwork of the cattle of work and to practice cures to these animals.

Church of St. Thomas of Canterbury

The Church of Vegas de Matute, in the Gothic style, was built in the 16th century. D. Pedro de Segovia ordered the construction of a chapel in honor of San Pedro to be buried and to transfer the remains of his parents, D. Juan de Segovia who was buried in the church of Santa Coloma de Segovia and his mother Dª Beatriz González de Tovar that was buried in the church of Villacastín.

The San Pedro chapel is today the first two sections of the side nave of the church. The 2 of December of 1987 were stolen five of the seven tables of the altarpiece, being only the one of San Pedro in Chair and an oval table with the Christ Cosmocrator in the high part. The chapel of San Pedro was small to serve a growing population and in 1570 D. Juan de Segovia, son of D. Pedro, commander in Segovia and Procurator in the Cortes, ordered the extension of the temple to D. Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón

With date 10 of August of 1570 Rodrigo Gil sends document to the Bishopric of Segovia for the reform of the church.

The person in charge of carrying out the work will be D. Juan del Camino, master of stonework, neighbor of El Espinar. It seems that it was Pedro de la Concha, master of stonework, who finished the work. Funding went largely to Vegas residents through tithes (payment of a tenth of the rent). The estates that had jurisdiction over the work were El Cabildo, the Bishop of Segovia and the nuns of San Vicente del Convento in the city of Segovia.

It is known that for the year 1660 was already finished as it appears in a document of justification of cleanliness of blood of one of the lords of Las Vegas.

The main altar is dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury who presides over it from above.

In recent years there have been restoration and cleaning works that have brought to light details that were unknown, for example the brick of the bell tower.

Hornos del Zancao Archaeological Park

Located in the foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama, at the foot of the hills known as Calocos, the Segovian municipality of Vegas de Matute boasts an interesting monumental complex formed by the Gothic church of Santo Tomás de Canterbury, the work of the great master Juan Gil de Hontañón, and two old palaces of the 16th century.

To the beauty of its landscapes and the interest of its artistic heritage, recently joined one of the most peculiar archaeological parks of Castilla y León, the kilns of Cal del Zancao, which has received the award of Environment CLEAR SOURCES for sustainability in small municipalities. All these attractions form a group that can be visited throughout a memorable day.

The Archaeological Park

The manufacture of lime through the combustion of limestone rocks is a simple process whose use was extended mainly in the construction of lime and ridge walls. Possibly in Vegas de Matute there was some lime kiln prior to the 16th century, but it is from this moment when its production is intensified to be able to supply the works of the monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

Although there are other lime trees, those of Zancao are the most important. It consists of seven ovens that have recently been restored and enabled with an interpretive itinerary.

Lime kilns

The biggest peculiarity of the ovens of Vegas de Matute with respect to other similar ones is the presence of portals or plots. They consisted of a simple room whose walls were built with stone and mud around the mouth of the oven. During the days that the cooking lasted, the lime was to be kept by the fire, watching the temperature of the oven and administering the necessary fuel.

When the stones that leveled the oven with the ground were blackened, the lime-stone knew that the cooking had reached its optimum point. Normally about ten hours had passed since the start of the fire. From this moment, the temperature should remain constant. After the first twenty-four hours, the flames began to come out through the upper part of the oven, accompanied by black smoke. The cooking lasted for more than three days, until the stones that crowned the camera acquired a whitish tone. The mouth of the oven was then covered, facilitating gradual cooling. After about three days, the oven had cooled and the quicklime could be removed.

Raw materials

The stone was collected from the mountains and nearby quarries where the whitest and purest were chosen. From the inside of the furnace, the lime began with the glaze. On the petril or poyete that surrounds the interior of the chamber the first course of stones that would support the weight of the rest of the load was placed. Selecting each stone and studying its correct position began to rise in height to orurn a false vault that was auctioned from the outside.

As fuel was used the scrub and broom that was cut in the mountains, even reaching the pine forests of Alto del León. The firewood was introduced through the mouth of the oven to the central hole. There the fire was ignited that was gaining temperature gently. Soon the limestones began to sweat, slowly losing moisture.

The Aqueduct

On the Zancao creek, very close to the oldest kilns, a singular aqueduct is preserved that led the water from the northern slope of the Calocos to the village. Its most visible part consists of a large arch of almost seven meters of light that saves the stream with its thirty-five meters in length. The water was distributed from here to the pylons of the Zancao, the Plaza and the fountain of the old Palace, today moved to the neighborhood of the Lobera.

Festivals of Vegas de Matute

Fiesta of Santo Tomás

  • December 29
  • Saint Thomas of Canterbury is the patron saint of the Villa. The Saint is taken out in procession through the streets of the town and a refreshment is offered at the Town Hall.
  • Traditionally there were parties in honor of the skipper on 29, 30 and 31 days in December.

Feast of the Virgin of Matute

  • First weekend of September
  • The Virgin of Matute is in her hermitage on the banks of the Moros River. Every year the procession goes up to the village on the first weekend of September, and remains in the Church until it is taken down to its hermitage on the first weekend of October.

Festivities of Santa Águeda

  • First weekend of February
  • The 5 day in February celebrates Santa Agueda. In these festivals the women dress with the typical Segovian costumes and organize their party at the margins of men. Normally they are celebrated coinciding with the first weekend of February.

Feast of the Ascension

  • Month of May
  • The fifth of the town celebrates it, and traditionally on Friday they climb a tree from the Moros River, which is planted in the town square.
  • On Saturday, the procession presided over by the Quintos is celebrated, in which the Christ is taken out through the streets of the town adorned with some threads that will then be taken by the small children of the town.