It is the most modern of all those that existed, is about two hundred years old and is the only one that remains in good condition and in good working order.
Nuestra Señora de las Angustias Chapel
From the research work carried out by Don Lorenzo Rodríguez Amores on Madrigalejo and its history, we have obtained many interesting facts. A lifetime of collecting historical information and living the reality of his time can be seen in the profusion of details that he contributes to the collective memory.
He tells how in Madrigalejo there were up to five hermitages: Hermitage of the Holy Martyrs that was in Hondonada Street, the Hermitage of San Gregorio in Gallego Fortuna Street, the Hermitage of San Sebastián in the suburb of Barrios Altos, Hermitage of Santiago that was in the countryside and this one: the Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de las Angustias.
It is the most modern of them all, about two hundred years old and the only one that remains in good condition and in operation, with regular worship. For its construction, the materials of the Ermita de San Gregorio, by then totally dismantled due to its ruinous state, were recycled. In addition, granite ashlars were brought from the berrocales of Zorita. The mayor of that time, 1791, affirmed that it would be “of beautiful appearance and construction, and would undoubtedly attract the attention of the people”.
The truth is that she has a nice figure. Even though it is almost hidden by the adjoining houses, a good general taste can be appreciated in its conception and execution. Its façade is baroque in style and has a simple but sturdy entrance, above it is a niche that houses a sculpture of the Virgin and Child. It has a rectangular floor plan, with small spaces for the sacristy and the chapel. The vaults are dome-shaped in the chevet and groin vaults in the rest. It is very nice to see, because the decoration is very well cared for, the colors match and details are in every corner.
The tradition tells how the image of Ntra. Sra. de las Angustias, the oldest of the town. It is a baroque image, of small dimensions, polychrome. There are also other carvings, such as the Virgin of the Rosary, of a later style, known as dressed virgins. His face is tan with colored cheeks. It was brought in 1789, three years before the construction of the hermitage and in the welcome celebrations rockets were launched and fireworks were burned for the first time in the town. They call her “La Carrerita”.
La Carrerita is the last procession of Holy Week, that of Easter Sunday. At dawn, the Virgin of the Rosary, which is carried by men, and the Risen Christ, which is carried by women, meet at dawn. This meeting takes place, as its name says, at the race, which is a widespread custom in the towns of the Guadiana. These are very exciting moments because they bring together many motivations ranging from the death and resurrection of Christ to the dawn of a new spring that is already being caressed. The two figures run to the encounter in a wild way, the wobbling of the sculptures is incessant, at times it seems that they are going to fall. Some years it happened that the Virgin fell from her throne, other years there was a certain amount of fighting between boys and girls, but there was always a lot of expectation and joy. The ritual has been changing and adapting to the new times, however, there are still interesting features to recover in the old rituals.
It was opened for worship in the eighteenth century according to the minutes that are preserved and says: “I the rector priest Don Vicente Joachin de Avila, with the license of the Most Illustrious … Bishop of Plasencia, I bless the Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de las Angustias, located at the exit of San Juan street and made at the expense of the debocion of this parish, on June 17th, 1792”.
In our walk through Madrigalejo, it is a must. It is a fairly accessible place and we may find it open.