The Spanish Church and the Gypsies

  • Richard J. Pym


The relationship between the Spanish Catholic Church and the gypsies was played out over the early modern period on two main and in some ways overlapping fronts. There were, of course, the strident condemnations of the gypsies’ way of life by clerics such as Melchor de Huélamo, Salazar de Mendoza, Sancho de Moncada, and others. These reflected, and not infrequently amplified the Church authorities’ serious concerns about the gypsies’ irreligión or notoriously tenuous or, as many thought, wholly feigned attachment to the faith. In 1601, even the Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of all Spain, Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas, Lerma’s uncle, echoing demands progressively enshrined in legislation from the time of the Catholic Monarchs, instructed both ecclesiastical judges and ordinary clergy to see to it that gypsies in their areas were baptized.1 They should also ensure, he added, that efforts were made to assimilate these wayward people to the manners and morals of mainstream society. In September the following year, in the Synodal Constitutions of his diocese of Cuenca, the bishop and future Inquisitor-General Andrés Pacheco expressed similar concerns about the spiritual welfare of both the area’s re-settled Granadine moriscos and its gypsies.


Corporal Punishment Spiritual Welfare Sexual Offence Public Prosecutor Early Modern Period 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. José Antonio Escudero, ‘The Origin of the Suprema’, in The Spanish Inquisition and the Inquisitorial Mind, ed. Ángel Alcalá (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987), pp. 89–131 (p. 90).Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    Henry Kamen, ‘Notes on Witchcraft, Sexuality, and the Inquisition’, in The Spanish Inquisition and the Inquisitorial Mind, ed. Ángel Alcalá (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987), pp. 237–47 (p. 244).Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Kamen, The Spanish Inquisition, p. 80. See also Stephen Haliczer, Inquisition and Society in the Kingdom of Valencia 1478–1834 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), pp. 4–5.Google Scholar
  4. 22.
    Reprobación de las supersticiones y hechicerías, ed. Alva V. Ebersole (Valencia: Albatros, 1950), p. 60.Google Scholar
  5. Helen Rawlings, The Spanish Inquisition (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), pp. 8–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 44.
    Gregorio Marañón, El Conde-Duque de Olivares (Madrid: Austral, 1990 [1939]), p. 162.Google Scholar
  7. 70.
    María Helena Sánchez Ortega, Los gitanos españoles (Barcelona: Castellote, 1977), p. 261.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Richard J. Pym 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J. Pym

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations