Seigniorial of Quevedo
As in most of the villages in Campo de Montiel, the urban core sits at an elevation of the field – in this case very soft-, whose prominent place is occupied by the church. However, unlike many of them, their urban layout is quite regular, demonstrating to a limited extent its medieval origins.
It is an old settlement area, as evidenced by the numerous archaeological remains discovered in its surroundings. There are remains from the Chalcolithic Period in the Cerro del Gato, from, of Bronze Period in the Cerro de los Gatos, from the Iron Period in Cerro del Rey, el Morrón and Castillejos, and from the Chalcolithic-Medieval in los Parrales.
However, the most interesting finding occurred in 1934, at Cabeza de Buey. A treasure with abundant gold work and Iberian and Roman coins was found by chance, when farming. The set was composed of “a bowl, four “torques”, a brachial, a needle or safety pin and 480 denarii” that were in the interior of the bowl. Currently it is trusted and partially exposed in the National Archaeological Museum of Madrid.
Between 1610 and 1645 Francisco de Quevedo spent, at least in seventeen stages, long seasons in Torre de Juan Abad. Different reasons caused his stays in the village.
The origin of his link to this village comes from to the twenty lawsuits that the writer held throughout his life with the Council for the collecting of the debt owed by his mother María de Santibáñez, who on 24 November 1598 delivered to the villa the amount of 3,084,500 maravedies, through a mortgage loan.
The Casa-Museo of Quevedo, the International Concert cycles with its Historical Organ, the Templar Hermitage… Torre de Juan Abad boasts great cultural offer.
Church of Nuestra Señora de los Olmos
The first thing that attracts our attention is the great difference in height between the joint formed by the presbyterate-cruise and the main body, indicating the existence of two phases of construction, corroborated by the diversity of styles. The presbytery is pentagonal. Next to the presbytery, on the south side, it is the rectangular body of the sacristy, fully made in ashlars stone, with a socket of reinforcement. In the main side there are two beautiful rectangular windows, supported on Tuscan pilasters, with carved jambs, adorned with floral friezes.
The main body is much lower and narrow than the presbytery. There is no reinforcement brace. In its walls, also made in ashlars, there are four rectangular windows, two on each side, and two doors; , the most important one is the one on the South side.
The gateway of the North side is much more ancient than that the one of the South side. It consists of an ogee arch, with soft flared archivolts and gable barely hinted, done entirely in stone ashlars, emphasizing the cartouches.
Inside, the temple displays rectangular plan, with a cruise just outlined, joining on the epistle side the rectangular body of the sacristy, which covers the entire right arm of the transept.
To highlight the magnificent high altarpiece, dedicated to the Virgin, made by Francisco Cano, carried out between the last years of the 16th century and the beginning of the following century. It consists of predella, three bodies and three lanes. In the predella there is a bas-relief with several scenes from the Passion of Christ, highlighting “the Last Supper” and the “Washing of feet”, as well as various Fathers of the Church and other saints, among whom we find San Sebastian and San Francisco.
Casa de Quevedo (Quevedo’s home)
It is a Museum dedicated to the live and work of don Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas, located in an Ancestral Home of the 17th Century. There he wrote most of his works, and as Lord of the village of Torre de Juan Abad and as Royal Secretary that he was, delivered numerous State affairs and received the most influential personalities in politics and society of the time.
In the upper floor, formerly used as garrets (for storing wheat and other crops) it is a small museum dedicated to the writer, where you can observe different documentation and personal objects such as an inkwell of Talavera ceramics from the seventeenth century, which belonged to Quevedo during his stay in this villa, and from which, some of his most important works were written; and the armchair that he used at home, hand-crafted with whole woods, carved table to table.
Among the original documents there are:
– Quevedo’s Will (signed at Villanueva de los Infantes on the 26th of April, 1645), by which he founds an entailed estate on property and roots, rights and actions, naming as first successor his nephew Pedro Alderete.
– Many manuscripts autographs by Francisco de Quevedo
It is also very important the Library that accounts on a lot of Works by Quevedo and by other writers from the Spanish Golden Age.
Casa de la Tercia (Home of la Tercia)
The most representative building in the Plaza is the Casa de la Tercia, where the bread for the “Mesa Maestral” (Master Council) was kept. It is a building on carved stone, with a stone carved coat of arms of the Reyes Católicos (Catholic Kings). It has a beautiful support with five arches, sustained on square pilasters.
Located in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (City Hall square), it keeps some porches that have round arches made in sandstone with grayish tones. The name is misleading, as this is the old Alhondiga (wheat exchange building) of the village, from which most of the structures that integrated it are lost. Currently, it is the Library and since 1985 is the House for the Elderly.
Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de la Vega
It is located about 4 kilometers west of the village, in an area dedicated to horticultural cultivation beside the brook of Santa Maria. The Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de la Vega is of Templar origin, from the 13th century. The image of the Virgin whose pilgrimage is celebrated on the 15th of August, is apparently a composition of a Romanesque image of the 12thcentury.
From the original image just the face remains. The image has been object of great devotion by the inhabitants of the Campo de Montiel district, for long. During the Spanish Civil War, luckily the image was saved from being burned due to the devotion and faith of some of the neighbors of the village.
The weekend closest to the August 15 the religious events that precede the pilgrimage are held. One of these events is the procession in which Our Lady is carried to the village.
In the surroundings of the hermitage there is a celebration with bonfires on Friday eve. The pilgrimage meal is held on Saturday. On Sunday there is a auction in the form of bid on the floats of the Virgin. In the evening there is a scuffle at the entrance of the Church, in which a group tries to enter the image in the Church and the other group tries to stop them to do so.
Paraje del Pilar (Pilar’s site)
When leaving the village there is a beautiful promenade lined with benches on both sides that, after 1 kilometre, leads to the water source of El Pilar and its pool. Three huge white poplars, centenarians, to the right, with the indelible traces of time, serve as loyal guardians of the source. On the left side of the source, a covered kitchen; and a small chapel, under the patronage of San Cristobal. Behind, a wooded park.
The Historic Organ of Torre de Juan Abad
A magnificent instrument belonging to the Spanish organ building of the 18th century, was built by the master Gaspar de la Redonda Zevallos in 1763. It is the only historic Organ in our province, and one of the few in the entire region. Thus it has the category of valuable “historical piece“, because 99% of the materials are original. The price and the “features that had to have this organ”, whose contract we keep in the archives, tell us of the importance of this instrument. After an impeccable and meticulous restoration work carried out by Alain Faye and his prestigious organists, the restoration of the organ has been complete. Currently, International concerts cycles are being held throughout the year.
Fiestas and traditions
The Pilgrimage and the “Traída” (carrying) of the Virgen de la Vega
It is held on the 15th of August (the date may change). The fiesta starts on Friday eve, when the “torreños” (inhabitants of the village) camp around the hermitage, in a “night pilgrimage” beside the Virgin. Next day evening, the Virgin is carried from her hermitage to the church of the village. Hundreds of neighbours accompany the Virgen on her way and many other wait for her arrival in the village.
When the Virgin arrives to the church, it is when the highest concentration of “torreños” gather in the year, to see how the young people do not let the Patron be carried into the church until they feel that the money bid for the floats is enough. Sometimes there is a real struggle between those who try to take the image into the church and those who try to prevent them from doing so.
San Anton. On the evening of January 16th, some bonfires are light on the streets and the visitors are invited. San Marcos. Throughout the day it is a tradition to go to the crops to “tie the devil”, as a symbol to dispel the devil. It is also a tradition to eat painted eggs and the typical “hornazo”, baked bread stuffed with “chorizo” (red sausage) and boiled eggs. The Mayos, in Torre de Juan Abad are still preserved in all their purity and nakedness, being one of the most folk events in the province. The boys, accompanied by guitar, lute, bandurria, pestle and bottle, sing to the maidens under their windows and balconies. San Isidro, a celebration to honour the Saint, pilgrimage to the hermitage, competitions and a full day of festive events. The Patron Saint Fiestas, celebrated around the 8th of September to honour the Virgen de la Vega.