Mateo de Nuevas House

Mateo de Nuevas (Logroño, 1687 – † ¿?) was honorary secretary of the Inquisition in Logroño and his home is located in the Camino de Santiago in Logroño old town center. The old building, inherited from his father Juan Mateo de Nuevas, was his residence.

Everything indicates that Mateo was a merchant, opening a store with Fernando de Gradi in Mexico, where he lived in 1728. In 1740 Mateo used one of the two houses he owned on Calle Mayor de Logroño for selling of wines. In 1733, three years after returning from Mexico, he began the procedures to enter as an officer of the Court of the Inquisition of Logroño. After his admission to this institution, on December 16, 1739, he obtained the title of honorary secretary, without pay. With this position, which did not bring him any financial retribution, Mateo achieved not only distinction in the society of his time, but also increased the list of relatives belonging to the Inquisition.

The old house, due to its state of ruin, had to be completely rebuilt, integrating the most remarkable remains in the new building.

Architectural elements

In the house facade we can see decorations widely used at the end of the 17th century and during the 18th century. The building has architectural elements that were common in Logroño at the end of the 19th century to improve health, increasing luminosity and ventilation.

On the ground floor, there are three pillars of square section with octagonal corners, made of sandstone. Various architectural elements show us what the civil architecture of the time could have been like.

Winepress and winery

The Mateo de Nuevas House holds the remains of an oldwinemaking facility discovered during the archaeological works. It is made up of two ‘lagares’ (where the grape was deposited), two entremis (or bases of the baskets where the grapes were pressed) and two wine tanks (where the grape-juice was poured from the press), made of sandstone. A vertical wooden wine press did the job of turning the grapes into must. The spindles were moved manually with a metal lever, also preserved. This type of press was used during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The wine cellar of this house is documented as early as 1681, being its owner Juan Mateo de Nuevas, Mateo’s father. From this date until 1761 it housed between six and eight wine vats, some of which were sometimes rented to other neighbors. The production of wine varied throughout these eighty years between the 969 ‘cántaras’ (15,504 liters approx.) of white wine registered in 1681 and the 1,500 (24,000 liters approx.) declared in 1751 in the Cadastre of the Marqués de la Ensenada.

In the access passage to the stairwell there is the shaft of a Tuscan column supported by a dice decorated with moldings and rosettes on three of its fronts. These types of pieces can be seen in buildings from the 16th century. Both rest on a square recessed piece, which could be a reused stair’s step and are a clear example of the reuse of old elements in the construction of buildings.

The remains of mural painting of the old house were rebuild n the new stairwell after being restored. The larger group of the old house architectural elements is preserved in the vault that closes the stairs and in the walls that support it. The vault is decorated with a circular shield of the Inquisition, framed by geometric decorations. It represents a cross of knots (allegory of the tree of life and the salvation of man), an olive branch (symbol of the redemption of repentant heretics) and a sword (representation of the treatment that persistent heretics would receive).

Under the shield stand out a fleur-de-lis-cut cross in black and white tones, colors of the Dominican Order, originally known as the Order of Preachers. It is not strange to see the shield of the Inquisition next to the insignia of the Dominicans, due to the relations they maintained by the time. The vault and the walls are decorated with flowers and vases with bouquets of flowers, most of them carnations and tulips. Several vegetable edgings complete the decoration. Other fragments of geometric motifs are located in the plinths of the staircase. This pictorial decoration dates from 1734, according to an inscription next to the vase with flowers preserved in one of the walls. That was the year in which Mateo de Nuevas became part of the Court of the Inquisition of Logroño.

To the north of the house you can see a part of the city wall built in the 16th century. The exterior is made of irregular ashlar masonry, while the interior combines ashlars with masonry, pebbles and bricks. Windows and doors of the new building were opened next to a narrow gunhole that allowed the defender to shoot while protecting himself. These works were common as the old city wall lost its defensive role over time.

The building was rehabilitated between 2009 and 2010. The exterior of the house was decorated in 2013 with theartistic mural titled “Sello Tattoo” (Tattoo Stamp) made by Globartia, as a signaling element of the Camino de Santiago as it passes through Logroño.

Since 2012 it holds the headquarters of the Dialnet Foundation by University of La Rioja.

Calle Barriocepo, 10. 26001 Logroño.



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