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Monuments

POTES

TOWER "LA TORRE DEL INFANTADO"

HERMITAGE OF VIRGEN DE VALMAYOR

OLD CHURCH OF SAN VICENTE

HERMITAGE OF VIRGEN DEL CAMINO

TOWER OF
OREJÓN DE LA LAMA

HERMITAGE OF
SAN CAYETANO

TOWERS OF CALSECO, SAN PEDRO AND THE OSORIO FAMILY

OLD CONVENT OF SAN RAIMUNDO

 

TOWER "LA TORRE DEL INFANTADO"

The most representative and outstanding work of civil architecture in the town of Potes is the tower called "La Torre del Infantado". It is a rubble-work medieval building, except for the corners and spans, made up of four bodies and a roof, with a cornice of cantilevers (modillones) which sustain a long embrasure, finished off with battlements. It preserves four small cubic battlement towers in each corner. The access to the building is through a long stairway, crossing a door with a pointed arch. Above the door there is a balcony whose sash-windows are framed by baystall. On the tower walls, one can see several spans with bridge like arch windows, of small dimension, characteristic in any defensive building.

The Tower´s foundation is attributed to the "Lama" family. In the XIV century it belonged to Don Tello, a lord from Liébana, brother to the king Enrique II and son of Alfonso XI, of whom he received the kingdoms of Liébana and Aguilar. Later on, his son, Juan Tellez, inherited the tower and also received lands of Liébana from Enrique II, in February the 18th of 1371, in donation by primogeniture, among many other possessions. He got married with Leonor de la Vega and had two children in their marriage; don Juan and doña Aldonza. Juan Téllez died in the battle of Aljubarrota. When he dyed, the inheritor is his son Juan, who also died very young without any offspring. His sister, Doña Aldonza, was married to García Fernández de Manrique, first count of Castañeda. As the donation made by Enrique II had been by primogeniture, when Juan died without any offspring, the dominion of Liébana passed again to the king´s hands, although, as it used to belong to Don Tello, it continued to be in family the line and returned later to Doña Aldonza.

When Leonor de la Vega became a widow, she got married again with Don Diego Hurtado de Mendoza "The Admiral," widower of Doña María de Castilla, daughter of Don Juan I. The last, was in turn son of Pedro González de Mendoza, Lord of Álava. By means of a privilege granted in 1395, Enrique III donates to Diego Hurtado de Mendoza: Liébana, Pernía and Campoo de Suso. When he dies in 1405, his son, Don Iñigo López de Mendoza, succeeds him, being the first Marquis of Santillana. He then got married with Doña Catalina Suarez de Figueroa, lady of Escamilla and, within the children they had, one of them was Don Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, first duke of the Infantado, title granted in 1475 by the Catholic Kings and also, second marquis of Santillana.

When Leonor de la Vega died, the confrontations began, as Don Iñigo, as well as Doña Aldonza, wanted the dominion of Liébana. The fights were very bloody between the two families and concluded in 1447. This continued until 1576 when Liébana was given to the Santillana family. The possession of the tower went to Don Diego, Don Iñigo, Doña Ana and Doña Luisa, married to Díaz de Vivar, the Silva family, and, finally, Doña Francisca de Beaufourt, married with Don Francisco Borja Téllez de Girón, until it passed onto the Osuna family, who gets rid of it, leaving it to Don Mariano Téllez de Girón, in 1868. During the Independence war, it was a fundamental haven of defense for the guerilla in Liébana, who won the French sixteen times whenever they tried to enter in the village, who deserved that the general Mahy sent a proclaim to the people in Liébana, and echo was made about their resistance and victories.

 

THE HERMITAGE OF THE VIRGEN DE VALMAYOR

The hermitage of the Virgin of Valmayor, is to the south of Potes. We get here after travelling for one kilometer, through a road to the left from the road going from Potes to Vega de Liébana.

We know about the existence of hermitage, "Virgen de Valmayor" since the end of the X century, when in July the 12th of 990, in the "Cartulario" of Santo Toribio de Liébana´s monastery, it is quoted as the priest Vermudo and his mother, Froilo. They donated San Vicente de Potes as much as they possessed. Within the churches the following are quoted: Santa María de Valmayor, San Cosme and San Damián, Santa Eulalia and, San Pedro, all of them in the town of Potes.

We don't have any news about this hermitage until 1272, again when the prior of Santo Toribio rents the church San Vicente de Potes with all its belongings to a clergyman. In April the 11th of 1333, there is a sentence letter dispute maintained by the monastery of Santo Toribio and the town council of Potes, about the church of san Vicente, its tithes and the hermitages of San Pedro and Santa María de Valmayor.

Because of the Ordinances from the town of Potes, dated in 1619, we know that a procession to the hermitage of Valmayor was celebrated, by the locals´ old customs, in January the 2nd, every year. There was also a litany, on the eve of Ascension Day, to the monastery of Santo Toribio or to Valmayor, or wherever the villagers decided. Still in 1704 the monks of Santo Toribio had to preach the sermon on the day of the Ascension in this hermitage. We know that in 1786 an altar-piece carving for the hermitage was started in yew-tree wood, financed by the Brotherhood of Nuestra Señora de Valmayor. In 1834, following tradition, Potes´ municipal corporation must go to Valmayor on the 2nd of January. The Virgin was also carried down to Potes when there were any big epidemics affecting the population.

The hermitage of Valmayor is a building of a single nave, with the main chapel covered by groined vaultings; a square section with a crossed vault of eight "plementos", and two equal sections covered by groined vaultings. The door is open to the south and there is a bell tower over it, with a porthole and bell. The image of the Virgin of Valmayor. Three very old carvings, representing; Santa Ana, the Virgin and Child; the "Immaculada" and; sitting Virgin with Child on the knee, were deposited for security reasons, in the Diocesan Museum of Santillana del Mar.

Valmayor´s fiesta of Valmayor is celebrated on the15th of August, but nine days before this, the image is carried down in procession to the church of Potes. Then, on this day, there is a procession to the hermitage, a mass and a popular fiesta. At dusk a picnic in the Tejera field takes place and later, "verbena" in the village of Potes.

 

OLD CHURCH OF
SAN VICENTE

Without any doubt the old church of San Vicente de Potes is the best religious architectural legacy in the town. It is near the current parochial church.

We know about the existence of the church since very old times, when quoted in 952, and Cesabo donates to the monastery of San Martín de Turieno all his possessions in Liébana and Asturias, mentioning the church of San Vicente in Potes. There are several donations during the XI and XII centuries, and in the XIII century a very important document was written, saying that, in April 1240, the abbot of Oña gives the monastery of San Vicente de Potes, for life, to Rodrigo Pérez, for the annual rent of 25 "modios" a grain measure of wheat.

The prior in Santo Toribio named a chaplain for the church. In 1272, such prior rented out the church with all its belongings to the clergyman Fernando Domínguez. From the XV century onwards, the problems between Santo Toribio and the church of San Vicente began, with several conflicts which lead, in 1333, to a sentence saying that the town council of Potes should leave the church of San Vicente, and the hermitages of San Pedro and Santa María de Valmayor, to the prior of Santo Toribio with their ownerships..

There was an old custom, since immemorial times, of carrying down the "Lignum Crucis" from the Monastery of Santo Toribio to the church of San Vicente, where a mass used to take place. We also know the monks didn't allow anybody to move the Relic until 1596 because of the bad state of the roads and the snow. Because of this monument we know that the parish of Potes used to take out an image of "Nuestra Señora", greatly XXXX to receive the Cross Relic, and a mass was said in front of the church, weather permitting. The abbot of Oña ordered that in 1596 people carried the Relic down again to San Vicente. From the XVII century it was taken down on Sacred Spirit Sunday, and as time passed, this date was changed to Tuesday Easter Day, until 1964; when they began to do it on Easter Pentecost Sunday, same as today.

The church belonged to the bishopric of León until 1956, when it was surrendered to the town council of Potes. This one; in order to finance the expenses of the new church´s construction, sold it in public auction, and converted then into a wine cellar and later into a construction materials´ storehouse. The bishopric is now the owner of the annexed housing, and the chapel of San Vicente Neri belongs to the Association for the Jubilee Year, who destines it to exhibitions, concerts and conferences. The town council of Potes has the Tourism Municipal Office in this chapel.

 

HERMITAGE of VIRGEN DEL CAMINO

It´s next to the track on the way to the cemetery. The chapel has a square nave and a starry vault, preserving an altar-piece from the XVIII century with churrigueresque columns. Above the main door the following inscription can be seen: "ANNO MDCCLXXVII". Inside there are two pictures; one, of the Beato Ludovicus Bertrand and another, of Santa Inés de Monte Policiano. It also preserves a blessed water pile which has an image of the Virgin.

 

TOWER OREJON DE LA LLAMA

Located in the district "El Sol", near the bridge of San Cayetano. It has three floors and on the second floor facade two pointed arch double windows are preserved. There are two shields in between some laurels growing cross to the wall, with the coats of arms of Celis and Bedoya. It is a construction from the XV-XVI centuries.

 

HERMITAGE OF
SAN CAYETANO

Near the mediaeval bridge of the same name and next to the manor house of the Bustamante Prellezo family, where, on a corner, a shield with the coat of arms of La Canal can be observed.

The hermitage is made up of a single nave, with a magnificent Baroque altar-piece from the XVIII century, decorated with Corinthian columns. There are shields of La Canal and Prellezo families, coloured on canvas, as well as another one from the Carmelo family. An image of San Cayetano, from the XVIII century, as well as some pictures representing the "Beato de Liébana" (famous local monk), San Ignacio de Loyola and San Francisco Javier, stand out in the altar-piece.

In the sacristy, there is a second altarpiece from the XVIII century with carvings of the Virgin Guadalupe and San Miguel Arcángel. The fiesta takes place in August the 7th.

 

TOWERS OF CALESCO, SAN PEDRO AND THE OSORIO FAMILY

Near the hermitage of San Cayetano and the Llano square is the Tower of Calseco, with double window and some shields. One of them saying: "This was made by Don Francisco de Salceda. Year 1741. Family and Notary to the Holy Service".

The tower of San Pedro is a four-floor-building in the district of the same name. It could have previously had battlements and some coats of arms.

Finally, the Tower of the Osorio family, in the street of San Marcial, has got three floors with the coat of arms of the Campillo family and an inscription saying: "This work was made by an order given by the excellent lord Don Jose del Campillo y Cossío; knight of the Santiago priesthood, vice-admiral of the S.S. Infant Don Felipe, in the State Council, and President and Secretary to the Finance, War and Marine Universal Office. Year 1743".

In the street San Roque there´s a beautiful gateway with the coat of arms of the Linares family and an inscription under the shield saying: "Porque en las morismas lides / un águila me guió / y despertó con sus alas / me la dieron por honor / ande la rueda alrededor / de las columnas que fuertes son".

 

OLD CONVENT OF
SAN RAIMUNDO

The building; previously occupied by the old convent of San Raimundo, is found by walking down along some stairways in the Street of san Roque, leading to the bridge, used as communication with the educational complex of town. From the old convent, only a very simple group is preserved. There are coats of arms on the inside facade, belonging to the families of La Canal, Agüeros and Mier, as well as a sepulchral headstone with a shield, from 1687.

The convent was founded at the beginning of the XVII century, precisely in 1603, by Fray Toribio Vélez de las Cuevas, who took possession of it in 1608. The convent chapels were built in 1643. Between 1836 and 1837 the Desamortisation of Mendizabal and the end of the religious congregation took place. The altarpieces were transferred later to the actual parish of San Vicente Mártir in Potes.

Monuments:
CABEZÓN | CAMALEÑO | CILLORIGO | PESAGUERO | POTES | VEGA

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