OBJECTIVE OF THE WORK HISTORICAL BRIDGES
The main objective of this work is to have a reference work that encompasses, identifies, studies and catalogs the numerous historical bridges implanted in the channels that cross the Trujillo Lands, works used to cross the different ancient and medieval roads that they cross their territory, mainly, although we will study some more modern by his unique history.
In the chapters of the book, the reader will find indistinctly the denominations: Land of Trujillo or Historic Territory of Trujillo, because in essence these sentences encapsulate the same substance: a great extension of land that from the s. XIII would begin to profile itself as the jurisdictional domain of the City of Trujillo, encompassing towns, villages, places and stingers. Each enclave has a well-deserved history.
In the fifteenth century, Trujillo’s dominions extended 10 leagues from East to West, from the Almonte River in the Mountain of Villuercas to the Tamuja River, and for 16 leagues, from north to south, from the river Almonte (section Cabañas – Tamuja confluence) to the Guadiana riverc. Taking as reference the Spanish language of s. XVI, established at 5,573 m (rounding), we are talking about an extension of 55.73 km wide by 89.17 km long, in total about 4,970 km2.
From the first half of the sixteenth century, the Province of Trujillo was formed within the Crown of Castile, which, in addition to encompassing the lands of its territory, its boundaries reached practically the extent of present-day Extremadura, to the provincial division of 1833. Begin the study with a historical justification, from the Reconquest until the end of the 16th century, which explains the configuration of the Trujillo Lands, how, from the successive advances of one side or another, the territories which will form its broad jurisdiction. It is necessary to make a small chronicle of the Reconquest, and how the territories granted by Alfonso VIII to the placentine diocese, not completely conquered on that date of the concession, a time of constant advances and retreats, would cover the entire northeastern part of the present province of Cáceres and north of the Badajoz. In 1262 the first demarcation of terms between Trujillo and the territories of Toledo and Talavera took place, which along with the natural delimitations of the rivers Almonte, Tamuja and Guadiana was already constituted the first great fence of its jurisdiction. Some later fringes continue to outline its territory. Thus, in 1369 Enrique II grants the town of Cabañas and its terms to Don García Álvarez de Toledo, meaning the loss of this fortress and its bell to the northeast of its term. In 1430, Trujillo acquires of Juan II the title of City. In 1441 Juan II removed to Don Pedro de Zúñiga the dominion of the city, subjecting it again to the Crown. In 1470 the term of Trujillo was demarcated with the town of Montánchez, and in 1502 the demarcation and marking took place with the town of Medellín and Miajadas. In summary, during the fifteenth century, Trujillo enjoyed a wide jurisdiction bounded basically by the rivers Almonte (east and north), Tamuja and Búrdalo (to the west) and Guadiana (to the south), the last boundary between the mouth of the Búrdalo to the sources of the Gargáligas river.
It will be in the sixteenth century when the great exemptions of the jurisdiction of Trujillo occur, starting with the tows of Berzocana and Cañamero (1538). A reality that will be developed throughout this century, is the alienation of the territories of the Crown, to defray the costs of the imperialist policy of the Austrias. Trujillo, King´s city, will be surrounded throughout the s. XVI in numerous lawsuits against the crown by the alienation of their tows. The exemptions are carried out with all effects: sales of towns, places, pastures and forts, with their vassals included, without possibility of ransom, and whose resignation to the power to rescue was expressed clearly in the documents, situation taken advantage of by people powerful, who had sufficient income to access their property and establish their domain.
The great protagonists, among other places, of the exemption of Trujillo’s jurisdiction during the sixteenth century will be Cañamero, Berzocana, Garciaz, La Madroñera, Plasenzuela (with Guijo and Avilillas), El Puerto (de Santa Cruz) Santa Marta and Torrecillas.
The village of Cabañas, exempt since 1369, despite the failed attempts of the city to regain its jurisdiction, even in the sixteenth century, belonged to Oropesa County.
We will dedicate a small chapter to the great figures of the Diocese of Plasencia, highlighting the work of Don Juan de Carvajal, Don Gutierre de Vargas or Bishop González Laso, as great promoters and patrons of public works spread throughout the Diocese of Plasencia. The first was famous for the patronage of the Bridges of the Cardinal and Jaraicejo in the second half of the fifteenth century. Don Gutierre was the great Renaissance bishop, leaving many religious works and bridges through the lands of Trujillo, and González Laso, during the second half of the eighteenth century, assigning such works as the Bridge of the Barquilla, the Old Bridge over the Vid stream, the repair of the Bridge of the Cardinal and numerous public works also distributed by the diocese, of which we will give due account. Let us not forget, in the time of González Laso, the parallel work of Pedro Rodríguez de Campomanes, a figure belonging to the civil sphere and very committed to the reality of Extremadura of the late s. XVIII.
We can not start a study of the implantation of works on various channels without knowing them a bit previously. That is why we dedicate a chapter to the definition of the hydrographic network that crosses the Territory of Trujillo. We will provide some information about its etymology and its unique hydrographic features. After reading it we will see that each hydronym has an origin, giving historical identity to each channel within the territory that they cross, such as Magasca, Merlinejo, Tozo, Tamuja, Gibranzos or the singular Ruecas or Gargáligas.
Nor can we miss in this work the important role played by the Honored Council of the Mesta in the Trujillo Lands, implanting a wide network of canyons and cattle tracks in which many bridges were built. To understand its operation, we will explain some basic questions about the rights that were collected, its faculty of constructing bridges, its patrimony and the great power that this institution had for almost six centuries, since its creation in 1273 by Privilege of Alfonso X “The Wise” until its abolition in 1836, with the advent of liberalism in Spain. We make some points related to the reality of livestock transhumance, we will justify this activity since ancient times, we will provide some unique data on the cattle herds in the Middle Ages, we will expose the problem of cattle breeding and Stony Ground of Trujillo, how it was used and abuse of power over the pastures of the Trujillo Council. It will describe the main roads that crossed the territory of Trujillo. Finally, the problem associated with the routes after its abandonment in 1836, the need for its demarcation and the current measures aimed at its recovery will be exposed. We finished his study with a point, related to the layout of the Roman roads and the cattle ranches.
Before the pontoon works there were other types of bridges: the boats, which were so dangerous in times of flood, drowning people and cattle. In some cases they are the reason of the implantation of many bridges studied in this work. In its chapter we make a brief description of the most important boat bridges in our area, on which the city of Trujillo also depended.
In the extensive domain of the Trujillo Lands, which we will necessarily extend to the Tagus River, we will find works of Roman chronology, although some of them are known enough today (Bridges of Alcántara or Alconétar). Others, however, such as the Bridge of Conde of Miranda, or the Bridge of Augustobriga, both on the Tagus, are lesser known, and unfortunately lie under the waters of the Valdecañas reservoir. The first conserves important remains of Roman chronology, and the second was destroyed by a great flood of the Tagus, that gave origin to the work located next to the Risk of Peñaflor. We will approach the study of both with the data that we have at our disposal.
During the period of the Reconquest of the Trujillo territory, we will study two monumental bridges over the Tagus: the Fort of Castros and the Pinos Bridge, which played a key defensive role. At this time, other ancient bridges are destroyed, like Alcántara and Alconétar, during the reign of Alfonso VIII
We will study works built during the 14th century, such as the Archbishop’s Bridge. Many works are framed between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, highlighting in this period great works on the river Almonte as the Bridge ofl Conde or Jaraicejo, the Cardinal on the Tagus and a large number of masterpieces of this period also centered in the Jara Cacereña, to the northeast of the territories of Trujillo.
The Bridge of the Mesta or Bridge of Villarta de los Montes is implanted on the Guadiana River, a work submerged in the Cíjara reservoir since 1956, which gave way to the Cañada Real Segovia towards the Extremadura greenhouses. Thanks to the collaboration of Don Arsenio Blasco we can enjoy the bill of this magnificent work of the gothic-Mudejar of the fifteenth century, rebuilt in the sixteenth century, and whose construction details we will expose thanks to the Specifications for the execution of the work and the plans of the architect Hernán González de Lara.
Continuing downstream the Guadiana River, we will stop in Medellín, and in the history of the current bridge of the s. XVII, existing two previous bridges that were devastated by great avenues of the Guadiana. We will explain the reasons for such ruin in that area.
Finally we stop at the Roman bridge of Mérida, a work well documented today, but we will focus on a key aspect of it: the Visigothic inscription, which reveals the reality of a ruined bridge to the arrival of the Goths, and as the architecture of the time of Eurico emulated the existing one.
It will undoubtedly be s. XVI the golden stage of the bridge architecture in the lands of Trujillo, since much of the works studied and cataloged, are constructed during this century. I dare to identify a set of works within a selected group, built in a certain period, all located in the vicinity of the City of Trujillo. It is a group of bridges with specific characteristics and guidelines, within the architecture of the first half of the sixteenth century, which we will call Renaissance style Trujillo. As we shall see, these bridges have lasted more than 500 years.
Bridge of Alcollarín, on the route of Trujillo to Medellín.
We dedicate a specific section to the bridges of the Abbey of Cabañas, bell that belonged in a historical moment to the jurisdiction of Trujillo, and that under the mandate of the County of Oropesa will be executed at the end of the s. XV and during century XVI, works also singular and some quite unknown.
We will dedicate also a specific chapter to the term of Garciaz, given the great number of historical works that are concentrated in its term. Also to the terms of Berzocana and Madroñera, localities exempt of the jurisdiction of Trujillo in the s. XVI. Being within the area of influence, we have included the bridges of Romangordo and Campillo of Deleitosa, and the other municipalities that reach to the right bank of the Tagus, which in one way or another are related to the history of the vast territory of Trujillo.
The great protagonists of this century will be the Council of Trujillo, the bishopric of Plasencia and the Honored Council of the Mesta. We will see the reasons why different works are promoted by the cited entities.
During the second half of the eighteenth century, the figure of Bishop González Laso will be important in advancing communications in the Plasencia diocese, building roads and bridges that we describe in each chapter of the book.
We could not forget to devote a specific Chapter to the Bridges of Plasencia, some of them having a direct relationship with the city of Trujillo. In this case we focus on the bridges over the river Jerte, in the vicinity of the city, showing a complete study by each of them, which collects notes, annotations and clarifications about its history and construction.
They include the bridges of the neighboring Medellín County, the most adjacent to the Trujillo Lands. Among them, the Medellín Bridge over the Guadiana River, with its extensive history. During the reconstruction the 16th century appears as master of the Sancho de Cabrera Bridge, a remarkable Trujillo master. In turn it gave traces for the construction of two others: the Bridge of Cagánchez, on stream of the same name, and the Bridge of Matarratas, on the river Ortigas, both constructed in the second half of century XVI.
In relation to the Bridges of Trujillo, we made some considerations about the works implanted on its territory, and on the own Renaissance style of Trujillo. As for the historical works that we study, we have referred in some cases to the main historical roads that run through the lands of Trujillo. Among other minor routes, we have focused on the following main paths:
The Royal Route from Madrid to Badajoz, in two specific sections: the section between the Albalat Bridge (on the Tagus) and Trujillo and the section between Trujillo and Miajadas, until reaching the border with the province of Badajoz in the river Búrdalo. In these sections we study works from the 18th century, mainly from the time of Pedro Rodríguez de Campomanes, stopping in bridges of previous chronology such as the Albalat Bridge (XVI century), the Bridge of Jaraicejo on the Almonte or the Bridge of the Rates on the river Merlinejo. Past Trujillo, in the direction of Badajoz, we study the bridge of the Venta Magasca, the bridge of Escurial and the bridge of Romero.
The old road between Trujillo and Plasencia also offers us reference works, such as the Wash Bridge, Barquilla Bridge or bridge of Cardinal, as well as the Old Bridge over La Vid stream, often mistaken for another bridge over the same stream, located upstream, on the Royal Route from Madrid to Badajoz. Much of the works of the first way have been promoted by great placentine prelates, beginning with Don Juan de Carvajal (from Trujillo), first bishop and later cardinal, to whom great works like the Bridge that takes its name on the Tagus in this one road and the Jaraicejo Bridge. The Bridge of the Barquilla and the Old Bridge are works of the Bishop González Laso, promoter that is justified properly for each of them. We will also focus on the study of the Bridge of La Lavadera, a bridge of Mesta associated to the Route of The Vizana, promoted by the Mesta and built by the Council of Trujillo, and we will give part of the destruction of the Bridge of Lavaderos, on the river Merlinejo, masterpiece also.
The Old Road from Cáceres to Trujillo also has historical reference works, in this case the majority promoted by the Council of Trujillo in the first half of the s. XVI, some already disappeared as the one of the stream Magasquilla, and finally clarified the approximate chronology of the Bridge of the Tamuja in this old way, work of century XVI, possibly promoted by the Bishop gift Gutierre de Vargas and in whose mastership participated the artist Sancho of Cabrera. In the historiography that we offer of this bridge they resolve finally all type of doubts, of course, this bridge is not Roman.
The Old Road from Trujillo to La Cumbre (and Montánchez) has important historical works on the river Magasca, Magasquilla, Gibranzos and Tamuja. The bridges located in the Magasca and Gibranzos are twin brothers, framed in the so-called Trujillo renaissance style, associated with a very specific period and with very specific traces. The Magasquilla Bridge is the work of Francisco Becerra, built in the second half of the 16th century. In the jurisdictional limit southwest of Trujillo, on the river Tamuja and before reaching Zarza de Montánchez, we also find a singular work, which we will study and unfortunately we again clarify that its chronology is not Roman. In the branch from Ruanes to Montánchez, we study the Canchal Bridge and the Benquerencia Bridge, two magnificent works that can not be missed in this study, although, very close to the river Tamuja, they already belong to the territory of the Order of Santiago (the first to Torre de Santa María, the second to Benquerencia, places of Montánchez).
On the Route of Trujillo to Medellín we offer the study of the bridge of the Aldehuela de la Calzada, on the Magasca River, a late 15th century bridge destroyed by a large avenue and later rebuilt in the 16th century, keeping its arch aimed at the gothic On the Alcollarín river we will show an unpublished bridge in the Land of Trujillo, associated to the own Renaissance style of Trujillo, and of great architectural beauty. We will include in this itinerary the study of the Bridge over the river Ruecas, a work in which, since the end of the fifteenth century, the City of Trujillo was directly involved, through a concert with the Mesta for its construction. We will bring a large amount of historical data related to the execution of this bridge, the collection of rights for the passage of cattle and the litigation that had the Trujillo Council with the Mesta, as well as other historical explanations related to it, for example over him happened the Ferdinand the Catholic and that was reconstructed almost a century after its implantation by Sancho de Cabrera. We will, for the time being, lose a bridge in which Sancho de Cabrera also intervened, on the Gargáligas river, since its location has not been possible, and I am very much afraid that if it has not been destroyed by the landslide so enormous that has suffered the Vega north of the Guadiana after Badajoz Plan, has been engulfed by some reservoir.
On the route of Trujillo to Guadalupe we find historical works such as the Ninth Bridge over the Magasca River, associated with the Renaissance style of Trujillo, bridge of the Infantas, on the stream of Las Águilas, another work of the sixteenth century and probably promoted with the Consistory of Trujillo. Before reaching the town of Logrosán we will stop at bridge of Cilleruelo, another historical work of the same century, and whose bill follows the Renaissance canons. Finally, leaving Cañamero we will stop at the bridge over the river Ruecas of the nineteenth century road linking Trujillo with Guadalupe, a bridge that, almost in the middle of the 19th century, made its way to Guadalupe through the Ruecas gorge.
We will make a brief description of the old Way between Trujillo and Torrecillas towards Deleitosa, with the description of another one of the historical bridges par excellence on the river Tozo, work that we associate justifiably to the artist Sancho de Cabrera.
We finally include in the study of the main routes that run through the Land of Trujillo, the works implanted in the old route Cáceres to Plasencia (by Talaván and Torrejón), among other things because of its relation with the historical territories of Trujillo, being implanted the Bridges of San Francisco right in the northwest limit of the jurisdiction of Trujillo, allowing the connection with the system of cattle gullies that cross the northwest of the Land of Trujillo. This system of canyons has in turn other bridges of interest, some of ends of century XV like the Mocha Bridge on the river Tamuja, and the Bridge La Lavadera over the Tozo, that we study each one in its respective chapter. To the great work of the Archdeacon of Plasencia, Don Francisco of Carvajal, who personally promoted these bridges over the confluence of the Tamuja – Almonte rivers, we also associate other works implanted in the same road, such as the nearby Guadiloba Bridge of Cáceres and another in the vicinity of Talaván, near this town.
But the study of bridges does not end here. We have included many more bridges, implanted in the main channels that cross the region of Trujillo, which served other secondary roads, meadows and places of its territory, which has been necessary to relate them with a certain order, in this case upstream downstream of the reference channel, from its source to the mouth. In this way we complete the study with a perfect identification of all works of interest.
This work ends with a Chapter called “Other bridges”, where we include the Bridge of Ramacastañas, in which the great artist Sancho de Cabrera, hired by the Mesta, took part. We have also included several works studied in the region of the Jara Cacereña and the Ibores, bridges of the Mesta, of the period between the XIV-XV centuries as the Bridges of the Veredas (Bohonal / Mesas de Ibor), the Morcillo (Villar del Pedroso) or of the Owl (Peraleda de San Román / Bohonal de Ibor). Other unique bridges such as La Moheda and Molino del Pedroso (both in Villar del Pedroso), Gualija (Peraleda de San Román), Florida (Valdelacasa de Tajo). Finally, we include a last bridge from the 14th-15th century in Magacela, where we will tell a unique related story between this town and the City of Trujillo, as well as clarifying that it is not attributable to Roman chronology.
By the autor, Antonio Jiménez