Patones de Arriba (Madrid - Spain), gives you the opportunity to travel in time because less than an hour away from the capital Madrid, we will be in a town where it seems that nothing has changed for centuries. Surely its remote and hidden enclave has allowed its traditions, architecture and way of life to endure over time. Not in vain, until not long ago it was only possible to get there on horseback or mule.
The most picturesque thing and why Patones de Arriba has always attracted attention has been the singularity of the construction of its houses known as "black architecture". It is a type of popular architecture that uses slate as the main construction element. It is a technique traditionally used in some Spanish areas such as the Sierra de Ayllón, between Guadalajara, Segovia and Madrid, and the Sierra de Alto Rey, in Guadalajara. The use of this material is mainly due to the fact that many of the municipalities that used it were very poorly communicated (some still are) and bringing other types of materials to them was very complicated. It is probably because of this unique charm that some bohemians have moved to live here.
Source: Patones de Arriba, el pequeño reino de Madrid - Hanway
Here's a little bit of its history
The name Patones comes from the surname that its founders had, which was Patón. Until last century the town was called Los Patones in allusion to its first inhabitants.
The news of those first founders of Patones is given in Uceda in a census of 1527 in which the neighbors are listed who contributed to the repair of a bridge over the Jarama River and who had the name Patón.
Later, in 1555 there is a new census that is preserved in the Archive of Simancas that mentions the farmhouse of Hoz de los Patones (today Patones de Arriba) composed of 7 residents.
At the same time, it mentions the farmhouse of Los Pradales that until almost our days was considered by the legend as the origin of the present Patones, which is false, because both towns were inhabited at the same time.
The inhabitants of the Pradales went down to Patones on unknown dates that some place in the 18th century.
It can be said then that Patones was born between 1527-1555.
In 1687 the existence of the King of Patones appears.
This is the visit that the King made to Cardinal Moscoso on his way (1653) to Torrelaguan to ask him to build a chapel in the village.
The King was a kind of mayor or justice of the peace, and as the classic documents say, he would be an old man who administered justice among the neighbours.
It is said that when King Carlos III addressed these characters he was referring to the King of Patones.
Patones from its origin belonged to the Villa of Uceda and was under its jurisdiction until 1769 when it achieves the independence of the place, reigning Carlos III.
At that time, Patones was treated by Uceda as a distant neighborhood forgotten for everything except collecting taxes.
Around 1769, a memorial was sent to Charles III in which they explained their situation of oblivion and asked for the title of place or village, which included having a municipal district of their own.
On August 3, 1769 they were granted the title of place or village independent from the Villa de Uceda.
Once the independence of the Villa de Uceda was achieved and they could have their own mayor, some of the mayors still belonged to the Prieto family.
The Prieto family had the prerogative of administering justice and governing by inheritance, with the eldest male of the family being chosen for this purpose and called king.
In the 19th century, the War of Independence, which according to legend had not affected the people, was also important.
It was thought that due to its situation it had remained hidden and had not been seen by the French.
This is not only false, but there are documents in the municipal archive that give an account of the taxes paid to the nearby French detachments: in particular there is a file that shows the payment of a cow and the allocation of 50 pounds of meat to the French detachment of Torrelaguna.
However, one of the most important events affecting patones during this 19th century is the first works to channel water to Madrid from then on, called Canal de Isabel II. The dam of the Pontón de la Oliva was built and some of the pipes and aqueducts that can be seen today in the Patones, Torremocha and Torrelaguna ravines were constructed.
In the 20th century the inhabitants of Patones gradually descended from Patones de Arriba to the plain where the new town was built.
The transfer was generalized in the 60's.
The declaration of Cultural Interest Property (BIC) for Patones de Arriba grants it the maximum protection contemplated by the Spanish Historical Heritage Law.