CILLORIGO DE LIÉBANA
The following population entities form this municipality: Ojedo, Tama, Castro-Cillorigo, Pendes, Cabañes, Lebeña, Bejes, Cobeña, Trillayo, Pumareña, Esanos, San Pedro de Bedoya, Salarzón, Armaño -in this town lived Concepción Arenal-, Colio and Viñon (with its corresponding districts is the entry way into Liébana´s valley, through the impressive and narrow gorge called La Hermida).
The villages which form the current municipality of Cillorigo de Liébana
appear documented since the beginning of the Middle Ages; ie, Viñón
is quoted in 828; Colio, in 952; Pumareña, in 964; Armaño,
in 831, by mentioning the church of San Juan; Tama, in the year 1204;
Bejes, in 1286; the neighbourhood of Casillas, in Ojedo, in 950; Pendes,
in the year 1206 and, Lebeña, in 826.
The valley was first dominated by Santo Toribio de Liébana´s Monastery, which was, with no doubt, important in the whole territory, and then, in the low Middle Ages, this gave way to the local lineages, and with singular importance that of the count Don Tello, son of Alfonso XI. Colio, Cabañes, Bejes and Pendes, where a solariego (*1) domain; Viñón, Castro-Cillorigo and San Pedro de Bedoya, abadengo (*2), Lebeña and the town council of San Sebastián, abadengo (*2) and solariego (*1) and finally, Armaño, solariego (*1), abadengo (*2) and behetría (*3).
During the Modern Ages, the municipality´s villages were domains, belonging to the Duke of the Infantry, who administered justice in these places, excepting for Viñón, Castro-Cillorigo and the Valley of Bedoya, which were abadengos (*2) to the bishop of Palencia. Since 1836 and, as the municipalities were being formed, the valley of Cillorigo remained constituted within the municipality of Castro-Cillorigo, until recent dates, when it has changed names to Cillorigo de Liébana.
THE HERMIDA GORGE
The municipality of Cillorigo de Liébana is the entry door to the region of Picos de Europa and it is accessed to, from the coast, through the impressive gorge of La Hermida. After being shocked with so much natural beauty, while the river Deva continues its journey towards sea and watching how the evergreen oaks are incredibly grabbed to the rock along the gorge, we arrive to the village also called La Hermida, at the centre of the pass, and belonging to the municipality of Peñarrubia. From here, a continuously ascending road takes us to the village of Bejes, the first forming the municipalitiy. Bejes has got two neighbourhoods or districts; La Quintana and La Aldea, separated by a parochial church, and known through documents since 846. In 1286, this church´s patronage, San Andres, fell on the monastery of Piasca. In the nearby caves to Bejes, the famous blue cheese "Picón Bejes-Tresviso" matures with its origin designation. From La Aldea, one of the best mountain access routes towards the eastern massif (or so called Andara) starts through a track, opened half way through last century to carry the mineral from the Andara mines, in carts, down to La Hermida. After that, the mineral continued to be transported in flat boats on the river Deva up to Tina Mayor, in Unquera, where it used to set sail towards Amberes. All of this happened before the Hermida´s gorge road, was built.
We then come back to the Hermida gorge to arrive at the village of Lebeña, where there´s a compulsory visit to the parochial church; one of the Mozarabic art jewels, and declared national monument in 1893.
At the village of Lebeña, with very old buildings, there is a Romanesque tombstone on the council house´s wall, which was found among the remains of thevery ancient hermitage of "San Román" with the following inscription: "Elio Albino, 75 years old, Elio´s father". The count Don Alfonso and the countess Dña Justa; personages bonded to Santa Mª de Lebeña´s church, had a palace on the X century at the place presently occupied by the winter sheds of Pardueles, quite near the village. On the other side of the road is the neighbouring village El Allende, at the foot of the Agero mountain, classic climbing wall. Here there´s a hermitage on the name of Santa Eulalia. We then continue crossing through the Hermida gorge and soon after getting to the end of it we arrive to a village called Castro-Cillorigo, with the oriental massif of Picos de Europa as a beautiful background, as well as other villages also belonging to the municipality of Cillorigo de Liébana. Inside the village we can see a gateway with the coat of arms from Otero´s house, descending house for Don Francisco de Otero y Cossío, archbishop in Santa Fé de Bogotá and benefactor to the Lignum Crucis Chapel, in Santo Toribio de Liébana´s monastery.
Close by there is a large ancient house from the XVII century, with
the coat of arms of Morante and Salceda; where a good "lebaniego"
(local person) , tradition´s lover called, Eduardo García
Llorente, already dead, dedicated several rooms in the house to make
an etnographic museum. In the village there is a very old construction,
called the Convent; it is where Santo Toribio´s monks used to
stay during very hard winters. Next to Castro-Cillorigo, in an
evergreen oak grove, the remains from Castro-Peña´s
hermitage, documented in 1316 can be contemplated. Also, along a
sidewalk route to the Deva river, we can see the old hermitage of
San Francisco de Tresvega, recently restored.
Before arriving to Tama, capital of the municipality, we get a road on the left which drives us between vineyards to the old Valle de Honor de Bedoya. The first village we find then is Trillayo; here, at the parochial cemetery there is a chapel which was part of the old parochial church´s presbytery. On the main arch and the central voussoir there´s a very deteriorated shield and the inscription "Coal". In Trillayo the name Cuevas settled since 1654. Cobeña is at the foot of the mountain Peña Ventosa, and has a modern construction church, built in 1980, although one can still see the old one, at the village center, on the name of Santa Eulalia. Pumareña conserves the ancient hermitage of San Miguel, with rough Romanesque "canecillos" (*1) outside the mayor chapel. This village preserves most of its typical buildings and the ancient house, with the coat of arms of Celis and Salceda, stands out. On the other side of the road and on the top of a hill stands the hermitage Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.
From Pumareña, we get to Esanos, with a hermitage on the name of Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles, a place where, the valley councils used to take place since immemorial times. San Pedro de Bedoya, one more village in the valley, preserves the house-tower, with its chapel, belonging to the Bedoya family. It was declared of Cultural Interest and it keeps the Bedoya and Soberón´s coats of arms. The vineyards in Bedoya have been looked after with supreme care since old times; this is why this place conserves more vineyards than any other in Liébana.
From San Pedro de Bedoya a track leaves, leading to the hermitage of San Pedro de Toja, greatly venerated within the valley neighbours, who sometimes take the saint´s image down to the church of San Pedro, when there´s a drought, in order to pray. The last town on the journey is Salarzón, where the counts of Cortina, valley´s benefactors, ordered the construction of a Neoclassical church and a palace; both conserved in the village. The first count was Don José Gómez de Cortina, born in Cosgaya (Camaleño) in 1719. Don Vicente Gómez de la Cortina ordered the building of the Neoclassical church, with a family vault inside, in 1812. The external facade is decorated with Toscann columns. The inside cover is a dome with vault ribs in the center. The house-palace, near the church, has a magnificent coat with the arms of Gómez de la Cortina, Salceda and Morante. Bedoya is famous for their vegetable gardens, and specially their onions as well as other vegetables have acquired great popularity in the Monday market of Potes.
Tama, is the municipality´s capital and the place where the great house and property called Sotama stands; in fact, it is in this house´s dependences where the town council of Cillorigo de Liébana is found.
Over the Deva river there is a magnificent bridge with a nearby monument explaining all about its construction in 1792, at the expenses of the Cane of Laredo. Near this place, in 1520, there was bloody battle between the troops of Orejón de la Lama and those of the Infantry Duke. In Tama, there are large houses with their emblazoned shields, specially standing out the one in the neighbourhood village of Villa, built in the XVII century, with the coat of arms of Calderón, Celis and Bedoya. From Tama, one could visit the villages of Aliezo and Llayo, picturesque villages of the municipality. Crossing the bridge over the Deva river and again from Tama, one can go up to Armaño and see the great house of the Arenal family, from where the famous writer Concepción Arenal descended.
In this village we know of the existence of a church since 940, located near the current cemetery. Through a path under centenarian chestnut trees one can arrive to the hermitage of Santa Lucía, which preserves rough Romanesque "canecillos" (*4) on the outside, and the image of Santa Lucía, greatly worshipped by the neighbours of Armaño. From Tama you arrive to Otero, on the road, where there´s a private but magnificent chapel, preserving a beautiful carving of La Dolorosa on the altarpiece. The chapel was built in 1882. Close by, there´s a splendid huge evergreen, three meters in diameter, classified in the Spanish list of singular trees.
If we approach the village of Viñón we will pass close to some well-looked-after vineyards, and will see the villages of Cohorco, Olalle, and to the other side of the valley, Yes. Then we will find the parochial church, on the road, before arriving to Viñón and, very near also, the remains of the place where the Monastery of San Pedro de Viñón used to be in 828. From Viñón, we can pass over to Colio, famous for its "diablillos" (imps), and because, in this village, there used to be a Chivalry Academy during the Independence war, of which general Díaz Porlier was the head. Here, we can only see a magnificent entrance door with the coat of arms from Cuevas. Traditionally, the villagers talk about the "Imps", when there are big storms and great amounts of stone descend through the river an the "Canchorral de Hormas", above the village, under the Picos de Europa mountains, making impressive roars.
On the opposite hillside, are the villages of Pendes and Cabañes. Pendes is surrounded by magnificent and centenarian chestnut trees, especially on a place called El Habario. Pendes was nominated in the old days, council of Noval; because there´s a carving of Nuestra Señora de Noval in the church. Inside the village there is an elegant lordly house which was a defensive tower in the Middle Ages. It is also worthwhile approaching the place called Corral de los Moros, with the remains of a possible Cantabrian fort-hill settlement, from where you can see great part of the municipality and the narrow pass of La Hermida.
Cabañes is close to the rocky mountain base and separated from the village of Bejes by the pass of Pelea, by means of a forest track. In Pelea there are some Megalithic remains and in the district of Trescoba a good coat of arms belonging to Obeso.
Returning to the general road, Ojedo is the last village in the municipality of Cillorigo, that is, if we have entered Liébana and Picos de Europa through the gorge of La Hermida. Ojedo is part, since very old times, of San Sebastián´s council, together with the following entities; Tama, Aliezo and, Llayo. The old church, mentioned in 1206 documents, was in the place occupied today by the parochial cemetery, conserving the apse with a victorious pointed arch, resting on capitals decorated with geometric shapes. It has an eight cross springered vault leaning on wall irons in the shape of human heads. To the left of the apse there is a chapel with a pointed arch door, a diamond shaped archivolt and on eight cross springered vault. There is also a double window and the remains of some mural paintings. The Romanesque door was transfered in 1958 to the new church, built at the foot of the main road leading to Potes.
In Ojedo, San Tirso is commemorated in August, at the hermitage of the same name, privileged place from where there´s a spectacular panoramic of the whole municipality and the Eastern Massif of Picos de Europa. The hermitage is situated on a meadow 730 meters high, mentioned in documents from the year 1654.
The building is made up of a nave in three sections; in the greater chapel there is an inscription where the date 1689 can be read, which is when the altar-piece was made. It contains on the central niche a popular and polychromated carving of San Tirso. Annexed to the hermitage, there´s a refuge with a chimney, in order to be used by shepherds and excursionists.
Concepción Arenal, one of the most excellent women in the XIX century, was born in "El Ferrol", in 1820. Her father, Angel José Aniceto del Arenal y de la Cuesta was from Armaño, from an ancient and large house which used to belong to the Arenal family, and her mother, Concepción Ponte, was from Galicia.
Because of her father´s death, who was imprisoned due to his liberal ideas, Concepción travels with her mother and two sisters to Armaño, in Liébana, when she was nine years old. She then begins to get in contact with the landscape in Liébana and Picos de Europa, which will be, afterwards, decisive for her vocation as a writer. It is here, in Armaño, where she discovers, in the houses´ old trunks, the world of antique books.
From 1829 to 1834 she lives in Armaño, and when she´s eighteen, exposes the idea of going to University to her mother, to which she assisted in Madrid, disguised as a boy; otherwise she wouldn´t be admitted, between 1841 and 1845. She then gets married, but the death of one of her children and her husband will mean very hard moments for the writer. Later, she returns to Liébana and lives in the house of the violinist Jesus del Monasterio where she begins to write great pieces of work like: "The Charity", "The Philanthropy and the Charity" and "The visitor of the poor". She is then named prisons´ visitor and writes "Letter to the criminals" and "Letters to a worker". She lives in Gijón for four years, from 1875, concluding here the book, "Penitentiary Studies" and continuing then with the direction of the newspaper "The voice of charity", being in charge of some charity institutions.
With the book "The woman of the future" she exalts the political and social rights of women. She dies in Vigo, on the 4th of February of 1893, and over her grave the inscription: "To virtue; to a life; to science."
a territory dominated by a lord or someone from the mobility.
2. Abadengo: a territory dominated by an abbey or a monastery.
3. Behetría: a territory dominated by a lord chosen among some villages.
4. Canecillos: the ends of the beans sticking out on the facade of a building
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