In the intervening years, the Grupo Siro Foundation has succeeded in revitalising and restoring dignity to the ruins of the San Pelayo de Cerrato Monastery, while also contributing to the development of the local community.
Today, the Monastery is a unique monument, and is the headquarters of the Grupo Siro Foundation, a building which exudes over a thousand years of history while revelling in the modernity of a structure that is fully-networked and has state-of-the-art installations.
Generating value in the Community
With the love and attention of people who know the territory well, the San Pelayo Monastery has been restored by local businesses that include experts in masonry, carpentry and metalwork: all traditional trades which have at their core a profound interest in protecting our heritage.
Rafael Manzano Martos
An architect, academic and lecturer in the History of Architecture, he has devoted his life to Classicism, both in the West and in the Islamic world. He has restored a large number of monuments in Spain, using an architectural style which adheres to the modernity that is a hallmark of our times while remaining true to the values of classical themes.
For his role in upholding these values, Rafael Manzano Martos won the Eighth Richard H. Driehaus Prize for Classical Architecture. This was awarded in 2010 in the United States and sponsored by the great American philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus, and was presented by the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture in Indiana. This prize is regarded as one of the world’s greatest acknowledgements of a professional career that is rooted in both Traditional and Classical Architecture, as well as Restoration.
At the same time as the prize was being awarded in the United States, Richard H. Driehaus announced a new prize to reward the protection of Spanish urban heritage and Spanish architectural traditions. In 2017 it is to be extended to cover Portugal as well: the Rafael Manzano Prize for New Traditional Architecture.
He has been a Professor at the Seville Superior Technical School of Architecture, where he was also Dean from 1974 to 1978. He has given lectures at many national and international universities.
Antonio Conejero Urbán
An architect specialising in urbanism and owner of the CONUR ARQUITECTOS Architecture Studio. He has worked on a wide range of projects, including residential properties, restoration programmes, industrial installations, private houses and town planning.
In his capacity as expert in Real Estate Business Management, with an MBA from the IESE Business School at the University of Navarra, he has given lectures, seminars and conferences both nationally and internationally, in countries such as Italy, Finland, the United States, Spain, Germany and India.
Among the projects he has completed are: the i+dea building, which is one of the leading private centres for research and development in Europe, the Grupo Siro central offices building in Venta de Baños, Palencia, and other industrial buildings connected to the Group’s business. He has also planned and developed housing programmes in Madrid, Palencia, Valencia and Valladolid, as well as numerous restoration projects such as that of the Palace of the Counts of Buendía and the Complete Restoration of the Plaza del Mercado, both of which are in Dueñas, Palencia.
In addition, Antonio is a Board Member of the Family Business Network and Chair of the FBN Executive Committee and of the Family Forum at the Instituto de la Empresa Familar (IEF).
The origins of the San Pelayo Monastery:
The oldest written record relating to the Monastery of San Pelayo de Cerrato is a testamentory letter belonging to the Monastery’s archive. It attests that, in 934 A.D., under the reign of Prince Ramiro II and with Fernán González as the Count of Castile, the noble Oveco Díaz and his wife Gutina and family, paid for their sins by donating to the Monastery’s abbot, Pedro, and his monks the Valdeavellano estate, which extended to Cevico.
In 1145, under the protection of Alfonso VII, the Monastery passed over to the regular canons of St Augustine, and in 1156 or 1159 to the Premonstratensians. It later became a subsidiary of the Monastery of La Vid (Burgos).
If San Pelayo himself died in around 920, and the San Pelayo Monastery was already being referred to during the reign of Ramiro II, then clearly a very short time elapsed between his martyrdom and the founding of the Monastery.
Its more recent history reflects its use as a training centre. In 1568, the Provincial Chapter of the Premonstratensians founded a college of Humanities there; in the 18th century, philosophy was taught there; currently, it is one of the headquarters of the San Pelayo Business School, the training centre for employees of Cerealto and Grupo Siro.