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Monuments

VEGA
DE LIÉBANA

LA CASONA DE LOS COLMENARES DE VALMEO

MEDIEVAL TOWERS OF CAMPO

ROMANESQUE INSCRIPTIONS OF VILLAVERDE´S CHURCH

MOZARABIC WINDOW OF ENTERRÍAS

REINASSANCE MURAL PAINTINGS OF LEDANTES´S CHURCH

ROMANESQUE ESPADAÑA OF VEGA DE LIÉBANA

ANCIENT HOUSE-TOWER OF OREJON DE LA LLAMA

FILLING MILL OF LEDANTES

 

LA CASONA DE LOS COLMENARES DE VALMEO

This is a singular large house-fort which has been the centre of Valmeo´s history; since some important characters, who had a preponderant and singular role in Spanish history, were born in it. The manor house of the Colmenares family must have had an eminently defensive role, from mediaeval times, as it can still be appreciated from the loopholes which are now part of the building structure.

The first important character born in this house was Eugenio Francisco de Colmenares, in 1694, who entered the "Compañía de Jesus" (a religious group) at the age of twenty. He was a great preacher in charge of the following school rectories: León, Valladolid, Salamanca and Orense.

Another character linked to this large house was Sebastián de Colmenares; diplomat and marine, who was born in 1620, and by 1647 was designated secretary of the Viceroyalty in Peru. After that, he was captain of one of the Southern Armada Companies.

But, without any doubt, the crucial character of this house in Valmeo was Manuel de Colmenares y Prellezo, who will pass into the region´s history as a rebellion leader, who fought against the Constitutional Government in 1823. Manuel Colmenares wrote a proclaim in Valmeo, inviting the people from Liébana to join his cause. It was named "The Royal Assembly of Armament and Defenders of Liébana´s Party", and one of their roles was to enlist the Realistic Volunteers of Liébana. Manuel had 1,597 men from Liébana under his control, making up four battalion group and an independent company.

Liébana didn't send any troops to substitute the National Army, and the first armed confrontation was against constitutional troops who arrived at the village of Potes, forcing the Realistic "Lebaniegos" to leave the district. The popularity of the volunteers, made them carry out some incursions into Lamasón, Herrerías and Cabrales, forcing the constitutionals to abandon the mountain pass of Robriguero. From then onwards, peace came along, but the figure of Manuel de Colmenares has remained recorded in Liébana´s and Spanish history.

 

MEDIEVAL TOWERS
OF CAMPO

Very near the village of Bores is the place called Santa Olalla, where the old parochial church was built and the remains of some mediaeval graves can still be observed. From here, we take the path towards the place caled Campo (Bores), where we will immediately come across two mediaeval towers.

It appears that the Marquis of Santillana, Don Iñigo López de Mendoza, ordered their building in the XV century.

Later, we know the towers used to belong to the Mendoza family and were also property of Don García Sánchez de Campo de la Llama, in 1624.

The first mediaeval tower is found on the right hand side of the path; it has no corners left and has its door facing north. It is square, with a mountain ash in the middle and two junipers growing on top of the south wall. It was a three-floor building, defended by battlements, mainly in the south facing wall.

The other tower is just following the track, only 100 m from the first, and better preserved. They are similar in size, although this one has thicker walls and less room inside. It has a Romanesque arch made of "toba" (a very light building material) on the east facing wall, with a two-leaf door, which, the same as the main door, was closed from the inside for security reasons. The tower has also got battlements, and over the main door, whose arch is also made of "toba", two inside holes can be seen.

 

ROMAN INSCRIPTION IN THE CHURCH OF VILLAVERDE

Inside the church of Villaverde the victorious arch is supported and founded by a huge flagstone: 3 metres long, 0.5 metres width, and 20 centimetres in thickness; at the end of which both bases are found. The left base presents a very interesting inscription, as well as the figures carved in its surface. On the bottom it has three carved symmetrical arches, next to the inscription, which literally read says the following: "DM/ ANTESTIO PATRUINO/ ANTESITUS AEMILIUS/ FILIO SUO ANNORUM XXV/ MEMORIA POSUIT/ ERA CONS CCCXCII" and whose translation is: "To the gods Manes. To Antestius Patruinus. Antestius Emilius to his 25 year old son put this memory in the Consular Era. CCCXCII". Above this inscription there´s a figure of a chivalry horseman in a warring attitude, and above a six-leaved rosette, framed at the same time, in a four-pick star inside a bigger square. The inscription, dedicated to the gods Manes, indicates that, within the religious beliefs of the time, the cult to the deceased spirits was still ingrained. The stone has a length of approximately 1.30 meters, finely carved, which is part of the victorious arch´s base in the chapel.

Also in the village of Bores there is an interesting inscription. When the stone was taken, in order to build the new village church, since the previous one was in the place of Santa Olalla, a stella fragment appeared, which is now in the church´s western wall, under the way up to the bell tower. Althoug part of it is missing one can know that the deceased was 25 years old and that it was made of sandstone in 389 of the Consular Era, which corresponds to 351 D.C. Its dimensions are: 60 centimetres long by 25 centimetres width.

 

MOZARABIC WINDOW OF ENTERRIAS

The most important and valuable element preserved in the church of Enterrías is a Mozarabic window in calcareous white stone; which served as a step way to get into the choir until restoration works were finished in the church. It was then, when, they moved it to the main altar´s frontal, where can be contemplated nowadays. The window, is placed sidelong and presents an eight-tip star in the centre with eight triangles elsewhere, separated by different carvings and lines converging in the central star. It could have belonged to the Monastery of San Pedro de Montero, which appears mentioned in the "Cartulario", of Santo Toribio since 1284, located near the village and where the neighbours remember having seen the remains of the hermitage of San Pedro, with the fields and river of Monterón.

 

REINASSANCE MURAL PAINTINGS IN THE CHURCH OF LEDANTES

Inside the parochial church of Ledantes some Renaissance paintings were discovered, finished during the XVI century. The central scene, behind the main altarpiece, represents San Jorge on horseback lancing the dragon, and several figures, within which are those of Santa Agueda and San Pedro. An inscription tells us: "This chapel was made in 1533, being Juan José de la Vega a steward, and was painted in 1562 by Andrés of the Founte, steward of Don Pedro Fernando, priest". There are other important paintings in the church, an image of the Virgin with Child.

In the parochial church of Villaverde, some popular paintings also appeared in the chapel of the main altar, standing out: a Calvary, Crucified Christ, the Virgin, and San Juan with a bishop in the upper right, who, according to the inscription behind his head, corresponds to Santo Toribio. In the church there were more paintings which remain hidden by the altar-piece of the main chapel, as well as on the vault, and the victorious arch. Outside, an inscription, which can hardly be seen today, was erased at the time the church was being restored.

 

 

 

 

ROMANESQUE BELL TOWER IN VEGA DE LIEBANA

The old parish of Vega de Liébana was called San Vicente de Pujayo and the parochial church was in the vicinity of the current village parochial cemetery, in the place occupied today by a camping site. Between the church and the road leading to Dobres a path takes us to the cemetery, where a Romanesque Bell tower stands with 2 spans, where one can still appreciate where the bells used to be. The place is called Campanario (steeple). Without any doubt, the bell tower had the mission of announcing those religious celebrations which were part of the town council. Next to the tower´s wall, the remains of some flagstone sepulchres of a medieval necropolis can still be observed.

Three Romanesque "canecillos" roughly carved, part of the old church of San Vicente de Pujayo, can be contemplated in the outside wall of the parochial church´s entrance in Vega de Liébana.

 

ANCIENT HOUSE-TOWER IN OREJON DE LA LAMA

ANCIENT HOUSE -TOWER IN OREJON DE LA LAMA

The remains of the house-tower of Orejón de la Lama can be seen after passing Vega de Liébana, on the left - hand - side of the road leading to Soberado, Bárago and Dobres. Here used to be the district of La Lama, already disappeared.

The place, La Lama, is mentioned by the Marquis of Santillana in his "Serranillas": "Moçuela de Bores, allá do La Lama, pusome en amores". The traveller arriving at this house meets the remains of a manor house, still with its original construction pieces, as well as a bread firewood oven. Over these remains, an east facing wall has a plaque with some verses of Gerardo Diego, allusive to the original Marquis de Santillana´s "serranilla": "Ya he visto las flores, de cabe Espinama, que lindos olores el prado derrama. A aquel que bien ama, laureles, favores y a entrambos pastores de Frama, la fama. Mozuela de Bores, mordí aquí una rama, de espino y retama, los encobridores".

A famous character who lived in this place and fought against the troops of the Marquis de Santillana, was García González Orejón de la Lama who, in times of the "comuneros", fought against the army of the Marquis of Santillana, favouring the emperor Carlos V, and defeating them completely in the place of Tama, whose bridge was the centre of the bloody battle. After this victory, together with the "comuneros": Padilla, Bravo and Maldonado, he fought against the imperials in Villalar, where they were defeated and returned to Liébana, where he lived. He was betrayed by Mequinés, one of his servants, and was executed. Without any doubt, he was another of the big characters born in the district of Liébana.

 

FULLING MILL OF LEDANTES

Without any doubt this is one of the most singular devices that popular crafting has manufactured, to make the most of the forces of torrents and streams and the push of their water currents. In Liébana, two fulling mills are still preserved: One in Aniezo (Cabezón de Liébana); built some years ago over the place occupied by the older one, and the one of Ledantes (Vega de Liébana); without any doubt the greatest ethnographic relic preserved in the district of Liébana.

The construction process of these artifacts was the following: The main mill piece is the wheel, directly receiving the water and transmitting the turn to the component pieces of the whole structure. This wheel consists of a thick axis, which has some iron "bujes" on both ends, on which it spins. On the axis four radios called sails were installed and joined to the "cambones", making a circumference on which the "álabes" were inserted (kind of palettes that, when receiving directly the force of water, rotated the wheel). Within the "álabes", some wooden pots picked up the stream water and communicate, by means of a small channel, with the "peju" or box, where the fabric was placed, ready to be fulled, and which needed to be constantly wet. Apart from the wheel on the axis there were two wooden pieces placed in the shape of a cross, called "mazorgas", and as they rotated, lifted the heavy mallets alternatively, falling over the fabric in the box, and hitting it in a rhythmic and monotonous way.

The assembly of the mill was made by four posts, with four beams called "keys" on top. These supported another two traverse pieces called "cargaderos", which had a slot in the middle, in which, and on top of an axis denominated "yugueto", the braces leaned on, where the thick mallets are suspended.

The water, deviated by a channel, was retained by a rustic floodgate called "aguatoju", from where the water entree to the mill was regulated. The material to be fulled was the hand-spun wool fabric, knitted in old and rustic looms, which worked manually. Such material was called "sayal" and had little consistency; for this reason, to be able to take out the cotton, these devices were used. Once it was fulled it was used to elaborate saddle-bags, sacks, blankets, "escarpines" (traditional feet wear), "monteras" (traditional hats), etc. The knitted piece was placed in the box, folded. Then the mallets hit it, and every six hours it was unfolded and placed back again. The fulling used to last between one and three days.

This activity had great popularity at the beginning of century and finished in the last third, due to the introduction of new techniques. The presence of the fulling mill of Ledantes is an ethnographic legacy preserved for the enjoyment of the new generations.

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

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