Born outdoors in San Salvador Square, it was later taken in as part of the municipal corporation, in great part by imperial pressure, into the neighboring church of San Salvador, where its meetings took place, in several areas, until the first of the 17th century.

In this time, the completion of Mayor Square, the widening of the narrowest parts of Mayor Street and the layout, yet clear of a royal route between the Fortress and Mayor Square, with the Palace of the Town Council in between, it carried to the Town Council to put up a new building, situated in the same square and whose design was made by Gómez de Mora.

This project was presented to the king for his approval in 1621, the new enthroned young Phillip IV and so that the regulations were started immediately.

The foundations were putting up, but immediately the building works and the materials for it started to scarce and going slow. The building woks weren't stop officially, but between 1621 and 1640 practically it didn't work.

In this last year, the municipal architect elaborated a new project, modernizing the previous one, and the works went with some speed, being finished the majority of this building in 1660. Later, and up to 1692, it was continued the works in minor parts.

So that, Madrid obtains in the 17th century, the prize for a communal building, the usually called Casa de la Villa (Town Hall).

King and Queen, specially Phillip IV, favoured consignment to reward the loyal silence of the Town Council of the city which was Court, chaired by the Chief Magistrate, named by the king, who presided the meetings and gave his approval to the affairs.

He was assisted by two lieutenants, named by him but had to be approved by the Royal Council, who were in charge of the vigilance of public establishments.

The town councillors were forty, generally with lifetime and inherited titles, following by more technical positions such as court clerks, the second lieutenant, lawyers, attorneys, bailiffs, butlers, and so on, in addition to plumbers, architects and builders belonging to the Town Council.

Besides the Town Council appointed the Justices or Mayors of the Town and villages that were part of it.

Apart from these two institutions - the Council and the Board of Police and Ornamentation - there was in Madrid a third organism which developed it functions with jurisdiction upon the Court, the Tribunal of Mayors of Home and Court, which domains were to maintain the order in the city that was home for the aristocrats and monarchy.

Frequently, the regulations and procedures that emanated from the Tribunal and the Town Council clashed them, having frequently conflicts between both organisms, though in some matters the understanding were obliged. This organization was overseen by a member of the Royal Council, along with justices, reporters, notaries and marshals.

The Mayors of Home and Court were in charge of administering justice in the city that was Court. Its origin came from the Middle Ages, and from always they had a very estimated influence in the Monarch.

At the beginning were eight, but later, king Phillip IV raised this number to twelve, and at the time that this organism was placed, in the 1630's, in the new palace that was to be the Tribunal, the well-known as the Court Prison, today Ministry of Foreign Affairs, close to Mayor Square.

This justice court, formed by the Mayor's of House and Court, constituted the fifth Courtroom of the Council of Castile, and one of the Mayors presided over the Courtroom, by way of Governor chosen by the King.

It could be said that these positions had a little bit of mixed condition of to be Magistrates and Constables, as their jurisdiction embraced, as much the Civil Right as the criminal one. In the last side, there was only an upper authority, the King.

The tribunal took care for the security, being present in all the public acts, walks, processions, patrols or comedy performances celebrated in the city. Another domain of the tribunal was the discharging fiscal duties in the provisioning of the Court.

In order to carry out all the assignments, they counted on the help of one hundred constables, which carried out the orders and made the vigilance patrols into the six barracks or districts in which was split the town. The chief constable was like the Chief of the Madrilenian police.

As well as the constables, there was with regard to the Tribunal of House and Court a series of subordinate authorities, such as public prosecutor, four scribes of the Chamber of Crime, two relaters, one poor people's attorney and several civil servants.

The Town Council or Tribunal met them daily, in the morning, reading the reports regarding to all that happened the day before, and proceeding to orders or procedures, working out finally a general report that it was elevated to the Royal Council.

The Mayors or Magistrates, indicated before, passed sentence in the Halls of Justice, fitting out also in the same building, where it was also confined the prisoners, in waiting for a judgment and sentence.

The pictures shows:

- Town Hall building of Madrid, well known as "Casa de la Villa". The design was finished by the architect Gómez de Mora and its building didn't start until 1621. During several years the building works were stoped and, until 1640, the building works weren't made hardly. In this last year, the municipal architect Gómez de Mora worked out a new project - modernization of the previous one - and the building works took a new way, remained the majority finished approximately in 1660. After this, and until the year 1692, the work continued in the minor details.

- Prison Court. In the decade of 1630, this Palace that it was useful as Justice Court, it was known as the Prison Court. Actually, is the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, close to Mayor Square.

- Division in the Madrid of the Austria's into districts, the distribution is very fortuitous, because of the lack of documentation and pay attention to the situation of Churches.

Copyright © 2001 by JLL & JRP

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