The Legend of the Clock at the Compañía in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán

The Compañía is located next to the Jesuit Cultural Center (“ex colegio”), at the top of the hill of the intersection of Enseñanza and Portugal streets, just a couple blocks from Mansión Iturbe.
This temple was built between 1540 and 1546.  It served as the interim Cathedral from 1546 and 1565, when it passed into the hands of the Jesuits.
Clock at The Compañía Church in Patzcuaro
Clock at The Compañía Church in Patzcuaro

According to the city chronicler, Enrique Soto González, in his "Legends of Patzcuaro,” this legend begins in 16th-century Spain.  King Felipe II had imprisoned the Duke of Ávila, who was confined in a dungeon, accused of high treason.  His execution was to take place in the town square at the stroke of midnight.  All the preparations were made.  But the next day the clock only struck eleven, and the defendant was sent back to prison. The same happened the following day, and the execution was postponed once again.
Clock a the Compañia Church in Pátzcuaro
Clock a the Compañia Church in Pátzcuaro

People pondered the significance of the event, and when the news reached the King, he went himself to the square to investigate.  Sure enough, the clock only struck eleven.  Witnessing this, the monarch saw it as a sign to grant clemency to the Duke of Ávila.  The Duke was exiled instead of being executed.  The clock itself was also was banished to Mexico (specifically, to Pátzcuaro).
Clock at the Compañía Church in Pátzcuaro
Clock at the Compañía Church in Pátzcuaro

Sometime later, the Duke of Ávila arrived in Mexico and, as he had seen death so close, he vowed to refurbish the clock in gold and silver, and place it in a cantera showcase. When the Duke learned that the clock was heading for Pátzcuaro, he too made that his destination.  However, en route, he was robbed and put in chains.  In a second stroke of luck, he was able to escape – only to fall into a nearby river.  He drowned at the stroke of twelve, without fulfilling his promise to renovate the clock that saved his life.
Tower of the Compañia Church in Pátzcuaro
Tower of the Compañia Church in Pátzcuaro

It was said that, when midnight struck, a man in chains could be seen wandering through the streets of Pátzcuaro, and then rushing into an underground river.
This and many other legends of Pátzcuaro, can be found in the book "Leyendas de Pátzcuaro."

Come to our Pueblo Mágico and stroll our streets full of legends!

*Text and pictures property of Hotel Mansión Iturbe.

We also invite you to check more post in our blog, you will find information about Pátzcuaro and its surroundings, that we hope will be useful for your next trip to our colonial town in Mexico.
Here are some post that we suggest you:

Pátzcuaro Legends: Saint Michael’s Font

Mexican Traditions: The Moors of Tejaro in Patzcuaro

Hotel Mansión Iturbe
Portal Morelos 59
Plaza Vasco de Quiroga
61600 Pátzcuaro, Michoacán.

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