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The small town of Potes is located in the centre of Liébana, on a north oriented hillside. The hill called La Viorna is dominating the town, with a great stone and concrete cross, right on the summit. To the north, a road leads towards the district of Rases, and to the south, a path takes us to the hermitage of Valmayor, whose image is much worshipped by the locals.

The population centres making the old town were two; one originated on the south bank of the river Quiviesa, near the current street of San Pedro, which appears documented since the X century; the other was formed on the left bank of the river Quiviesa, of great strategic interest for communications control. This last one originated the current district called, El Sol, and, later, the district of La Serna, where the old church of San Vicente was built.

The first written document making reference to the town of Potes is from the 28th of March, 847, quoting: "strata publica qui discurrit ad pautes ...". The old parochial church and the town appear in a document from the year 952. On the 12th of July of 990, the presbitery Vermundo and his mother donated to the church of san Vicente, in Potes, the hermitages of Santa María in Valmayor, San Cosme and San Damián, Santa Olalla, and San Pedro, built in the town neighbourhood.

It´s from 1000 when, among those belongings and donations, the vineyards are named as very important. They have been linked to the town´s terms from the Middle Ages. In the book, "Becerro de las Behetrías", from 1352, Potes is quoted as a placedominated by a lord saying that "a en el Fernán García Duke la ochaua parte y todo la al que es de la compra de Castanneda que tenie Don Tello". The king was paid in coins and services and not in "martiniga" and "fonsadera" other kind of payments. The neighbours paid their lord an annuall tax for each inhabited piece of land, from which they were vassals, eight coins on Easter Resurrection day and another eight on the day of San Miguel. The district of Rases belonged to the bishop of Palencia.

Potes history rotated around the Tower of the Infantado, place of confrontations and family fights for their dominions and territories. By the middle of the XV century the dominion of the Marquis of Santillana is consolidated. Diego Hurtado de Mendoza would be the first Duke of the Infantado, title granted by the Catholic Kings in 1475.

From Potes are the eldest Ordinances known in Cantabria, dated from the years 1436 and 1468, where wood exploitation, the protection of vineyards and crops and the regulation of fairs and markets, were all part of its interesting chapters.

By reading the "Catastro" of the Marquis of the Ensenada, carried out on January the 16th of 1753, we know the town was of dominion, belonging to the Duchess of the Infantado, who perceived ten hundred and eighty nine "reales" annually because of the Royal Right of the "Alcabalas". In the borough there were, wheat lands, grasslands and vineyards, vegetable gardens, orchards, irrigated land, pastures and the woods of Valmayor, Camarines and Arabedes. Potes used to have walnut, chestnut, pear, apple, plum and some fig trees and the following crops were harvested: wheat, barley, rye, chickpeas, white beans, carob beans, wine, fruit and grass. There were four flour mills, two over the river Deva and the remaining over the river Cereceda or Quiviesa. People had farming oxen, horses, young bulls, sheep, rams and, pigs for consumption. There weren´t any beehives at that time.

The town had 136 neighbours with 150 inhabitable houses. There was an oil store, a butcher and a weekly market on Mondays; a hospital for the poor is also quoted as well as a convent on the religious belief of Santo Domingo.

Within the numerous original characters from Potes, the figure of the musician Jesús del Monasterio (1836-1903), stands out. From 1906 the brilliant artist has a statue in the square taking his name, placed in front of the parochial church of the region´s capital.

In 1845 there were 130 houses, including those in the district of Rases; a school of first letters; former convent of the Dominicans of San Raimundo; hospital of San Rafael; parochial church of San Vicente; the Tower of the Infantado and three hermitages (Valmayor, Virgen del Camino and, San Cayetano); and two bridges, San Cayetano and the one of La Carcel. The population was composed by 148 neighbours and 759 inhabitants.

In 1900, Potes had a population of 1,173 inhabitants and 20 in the district of Rases. During the civil Spanish war it suffered the devastating effects of a fire. Later, many houses were rebuilt. The old part of town was declared historical-artistic group in 1983.



Jesus del Monasterio was born in the town of Potes on the 21st of March, 1836. His father, Jacinto del Monasterio, great music enthusiast, learnt how to play the violin, and upon watching his son getting moved by music, he bought him another violin on a trip to Valladolid. The child started to dominate the instrument and his first public concert was given in the Monastery of Santo Toribio, in front of his fellow-countrymen.

Monasterio, receives classes in Valladolid and Palencia; even, from the cathedral´s first violin, and, in 1843, with seven years of age, he is presented to the Court of Madrid as a prodigy in precocity and musical talent. He was Regente Espartero and played in front of the queen Isabel II. His popularity grows.

Don Jacinto wanted to take his son to the conservatory in Paris, but he died in 1845. Don Basilio Montoya, great friend of his father, becomes his violin tutor, and his interest is so that he continues his studies. From 1847 to 1851, Monasterio studies in Brussels and, in 1852, he writes a "Nocturno" dedicated to his mother, Isabel de Agüeros. In 1854, he will travel around England, letting people listen to his "Spanish Fantasy". That year, he is named honorary violinist of the Royal Spanish Chapel and on March the 9th, 1857, he is named violin teacher of the Royal Conservatory. On the previous year he was gifted with a stradivarius by Don Juan Gualverto González. Then, from 1856 to 1861, Monasterio is in Madrid and travels whenever he can to Potes, to visit his mother and two sisters. In 1861, visits Germany and plays in the cathedral of Colonia. The 4th of January, 1862, he plays "Concierto y Rondó Lebaniense" in Brussels, as well as "Adios a la Alhambra", one of his greater compositions. When he´s 33 years old he gets married to Doña Casilda de Rábago. He enters the "Academia de bellas artes" in 1875, and in 1887 creates the improvement cátedra of violin and instrumental camara music, finally being Director in the Conservatory of Madrid in 1893. From his friendship with the penologist Concepción Arenal remains a marvellous "Salve" written by Concepción and with the violinist music.

In 1903 he gives his last concert in El Sardinero (Santander), dying on the 28th of September that same year in his ancient house of Casar de Periedo.

On the 30th of September, 1906, a sculpture with his bust, is inaugurated in his native town, Potes, work of the Catalan Pedro Estany, in front of the parochial church on the square also taking his name. This is the recognition that Potes dedicated to this brilliant artist from Liébana.