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Cabezarrubias, cortijo

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  • Private (1866 - d.)
  • Carlos Villa Landa (1921 - 2012)
  • Rubén Landa Vaz (1890 - 1978)
    Modesto Miguel Rangel Mayoral 2006 Ruben Landa Vaz, un pedagogo extremeño de la Institucion Libre de Enseñanza en México, Editra Regional de Extremadura isbn 84 7671 879 9en el acta nacimiento ruben, n...
  • Ruben Landa Coronado (1849 - 1923)
    Mason Logia Pax Augusta de BadajozParticipó en El pronunciamiento republicano del 5 de agosto de 1883 DesterradoAmigo o conocido de SalmerónEs en el exilio, en Portugal, que conoce a la que sería su es...
  • Aida Landa Vaz (1887 - 1966)

Fotos del cortijo Cabezarrubias!/group.php?gid=118419353501

Mi abuela [Jacinta Landa Vaz] tenía recuerdos del Fresnal/Cabezarrubias muy bonitos. De las encinas, de comer con los pastores (algo de cuchara y paso atrás), de cuentos que le contaba la casera de Cabezarrubias. Los cuentos están grabados. Jacinta Palerm Viqueira

The Cortijo

The family cortijo (country estate) was at Talavera la Real. The whole family went out to the cortijo 3 or 4 times a year, at Easter, early summer for the harvest, often for Christmas and New Year, and occasionally at other times, usually for about two weeks at a time. They did not go there in the high summer; it was too hot. They would travel out by train from Badajoz to Talavera la Real. The station was about 5 kilometres from El Fresnal on the boundary of the estate, so they were met by carts pulled by mules. When they were at the cortijo Don Florencio used to commute back to Badajoz by train to continue his work, riding to the station on a horse. Horses were bred on the estate but they were used only for riding, not pulling carts. The cortijo belonged to the Landa Coronado* family. There were four main houses on the cortijo of approximately 70,000 hectares: El Fresnal, which the family from Badajoz used, Cabeza Rubia del Madroño, Casablanca, and Torrebaja. The other houses were used by other members of the Landa Coronado family. None of the family lived there permanently.

Only the estate staff lived there all the year round. My father remembers the estate managers as Luis, who seemed to be permanently on horseback, riding around the estate, and Doroteo, who was guarda jurado, or security guard. The cortijo maintained 500 pigs which lived and fed on the open land covered with encina (Spanish or evergreen oaks), and 5000 sheep and goats. There were mixed flocks of goats and sheep. One shepherd with five dogs would be responsible for 500 animals. A shepherd earned 7 pesetas a month but also had a very large loaf of bread, 2 kilos of salt, and 2/3 litres of olive oil and vinegar each week. (When I spent three months in Madrid with Doña Aida and my uncle Alberto and Aunt Elena in 1964-5, we went to Extremadura to visit some relatives of Elena and by chance met one of the shepherds from the cortijo who sent his greetings to my father and asked me to remind him of the days they spent in the country together cooking migas over an open fire.) The sheep and goats provided meat and cheese for the family. There was also an artificial rabbit warren near the house where rabbits could be trapped for the pot.

The water supply at El Fresnal came from a well. This water was used for washing and cleaning. Drinking water came from a river or spring. The drinking water was kept in two big clay pots, one on top of the other with a filter between them. The slow evaporation of the water through the thick unglazed clay kept the water cool. Keeping drinking water cold in clay jars (botijas) continued until very recently when refrigerators became widespread.

Each year they killed three pigs from the cortijo and made them into hams and sausages at home. A lot of produce was given to poor people who Don Florencio thought needed food more than medicine. Don Florencio treated a lot of working people who tended to pay him in goods rather than money. Live animals given in payment were sent out to the cortijo. The animals went out by train from Badajoz to Talavera la Real. The last year that my father remembers going to the cortijo, in 1935, he remembers that his father was given given 35 turkeys in payment, which had to be taken on the train. This was not an easy task and the incident has stayed in his mind!

When there were a lot of the family out at the cortijo they used to have picnics. They would take a live lamb with them which the children would play with on the way to the chosen spot. Then the lamb would be killed and roasted over an open fire.

For the wheat harvest in the early summer 40-50 extra workers were taken on. They were usually Portuguese and were employed for 3-4 weeks. They lived in the outbuildings of the cortijo and worked from sunrise to sunset. They were given their food and 15 pesetas for the month.

The family found the remains of a Roman tomb (?) at El Fresnal. They called it the tomb of Biriaco (?Viriacus?) because he was a Roman general who had lived in that area, but my father doesn't think it was ever officially recorded or investigated.

Recuerdos de Carlos Villa Landa, recopilados por su hija Celia Villa-Landa

My father [Carlos Villa Landa]has very happy memories of his life on the cortijo as a child. His elder brother Florencio was ten years older and was more aware of the social conditions.

He [Florencio Villa Landa] writes: 

“Our house at El Fresnal was surrounded by large fields growing cereals, and with flocks of merino sheep which were moved in the winter, herds of pigs and a breeding stables, on the right-hand side of the Guadiana. In the summer the sheep were pastured on the Serranias of Soria, where the shepherd left their families, in their native villages.

During my stays at El Fresnal we used to go and visit the shepherds, swine-herds and ploughmen often. The poverty and way of life of all these farm-workers was pitiful and shameful. More than 90% of them were illiterate and accepted their situation in life as natural as they ‘had been born poor’. The least bad way of life was that of the ploughmen since they at least lived in the Cortijo, sleeping on bunks in the square or in the straw, and the wife of the security guard used to cook them migas for breakfast and a cocido for supper. They worked in the fields from sun-up to sun-down, winter and summer. Twice a month the ploughmen went to town to get their fortnight’s pay and spend a few hours with their families. The swineherds and the stablemen lived with their families in conical huts made of branches and reeds and the children took part in looking after the animals from the age of about 7 or 8. The most inhumane way of life was that of the shepherds of the flocks which took part in the transhumance. They also lived in huts near to the folds where the sheep were penned for the night, but in each hut there lived just two or three shepherds because their families had stayed in the villages in the mountains they came from.”

mi abuelo Felipe [Carazo Landa] llamó a mi padre [Juan Ferandez Castro]para que fuera a trabajar como abogado procurador que era, a la finca de Cabezarrubias en Badajoz,(eso fué a finales de los 50), ya lo estaba haciendo mi tio Felipe Carazo [Rodriguez] como períto agrícola, y fue cuando se mudaron de Asturias a Extremadura, bajaron con mis dos hermanos mayores, Claudio y Juan , el resto: Amparo.Carlos y yo, nacimos Extremeños. Alvaro Fernandez Carazo

En 1962 viaje de la abuela [Jacinta Landa Vaz]a España con Jacinto [Viquiera Landa], venta del cortijo de Cabezarrubias y El Fresnal. Tio Rubén [Landa Vaz]recibió algo de dinero de la venta de un cortijo y “el Fresnal” en Badajoz. Xan Palerm