Maderuelo in Segovia (Spain) is famous because everywhere there are signs that attract attention, attributed to the Templars that would naively point to the place where the Constable of Castile hid his great treasures, and which would be hidden, either in nearby Ayllón, or somewhere along the road that joins both places.
Once a border bastion between Castile and the Muslim kingdoms, Maderuelo is one of the oldest towns in the province of Segovia, where time seems to have stood still. The Castilian-Leonese town stretches along a hill over a meander of the river Riaza and its streets still retain the charm of their medieval origins.
Walking through the streets and squares of the town of Maderuelo, you can enjoy a medieval town, with charming corners, cobbled streets, emblazoned houses, entrance gates, arches, remains of walls and even an ancient castle, of which only a wall remains standing. At first glance it is already known that this is a municipality full of history, but also of legends that follow each other around what happened centuries ago in the municipality.
The less elaborate ones speak of the existence of a golden calf or bull buried in one of the caves surrounding the municipality, which was hidden during an attack by the Moors.
However, among all the tales, stories and legends, whether true or not, it is worth mentioning the so-called 'dead maiden', which arose after a mummy of a girl was found in the church of Santa María in the municipality, which appeared uncorrupted, in her medieval clothes.
The legend takes us back to the 15th century, when a noble knight lived in Maderuelo, whose daughter, María, was known throughout the place as a good young woman. According to oral tradition, she wrote, embroidered and painted.
At this point, some versions narrate how María died during her father's absence, while others affirm that it was due to the plague. Both things could have happened to the young María, who was buried in her best clothes in the chapel of the Chávez family in the church of Santa María. Centuries later, in the 19th century, the slab was opened when work was carried out on the church and it was discovered that the body of the young Mary was incorrupt. In fact, oral tradition has it that she was still with her long hair and her eyes closed, as if she were asleep.
Today it is one of the main tourist attractions of the church of Santa Maria and, although it can be visited, it is in a niche covered with glass and is not allowed to be photographed. These measures were taken years ago, as the mummy suffered for some time from a great deal of looting, especially of its clothing and other items of interest.
Following the legendary walk through Maderuelo, the visitor moves to the other side of the river Riaza, where the Vera Cruz hermitage is located, dating from the late 11th and early 12th centuries.
The Holy Cross
Legend has it that a Templar Master was taken prisoner by the King of Alexandria. After a dinner at which the king tried to desecrate a 'lignum crucis' (a fragment of the Holy Cross) and a chalice, the Templar and several soldiers who were holding it disappeared from the dinner and suddenly appeared at the foot of the church of Nuestra Señora del Temple, in Maderuelo, which would later be called the church of the Vera Cruz.
After what happened, the Holy Relic was venerated in the temple for years, during which, according to legend, it also worked numerous miracles, such as that of a craftsman of little faith who was unable to make a copy of the Lignum Crucis, because, to punish his doubts, the cross constantly changed size.
It is also said that while the relic remained in the church of Maderuelo, the most famous images of the area were brought there. According to tradition, among them was the head of San Frutos, from the Templars of Sepúlveda, who used it for rituals in search of rain, such as putting it in a fountain and not taking it out until it started to rain.
Tradition goes on to explain that on the occasion of this visit, a sacred representation of the legend, known as 'The Moor's Supper', was held, in which the event that the Templar experienced and which led to the arrival of the 'lignum crucis' was recalled. Afterwards, the cross was immersed in water or wine if the harvest had been good.