'Leaving the council of Piloña one enters Parres', very hilly and not so fertile or populated with trees like the one where the plots of the two old families of Nevares and Corderos are located, which pride themselves on descending from the paladins of Pelayo : we passed by the place of Llames de Parres or Collado del Otero, located in the parish of Biabaño, not far from the Piloña, and by several others, and at 3 leagues and a half of the Infiesto, we sighted on the left of the road where we were going, and to the banks of the Sella River, the historic monastery of San Pedro de Villanueva, which rises at the foot of the very high mountain called in the old Olicio chronicles, and today Osuna ... '(1).
Llames de Parres, is just eight kilometers from Arriondas and little more than twice Cangas de Onís and the legendary surroundings of Covadonga. As the fortunate traveler Francisco de Paula said, mountainous and sparsely populated by trees, we have to situate this Camín or Camino de la Reina, which, starting from the coast and the ports of Llanes, was used ancestrally by travelers and pilgrims on their way to Oviedo and its splendid cathedral dedicated to San Salvador.
Surrounded by rural roads that delimit large areas of pasture, it should not be strange to lose the way, and end up taking several rounds around.
However, looking at the positive side of the matter, it would not be bad to look at the details of the small villages that we find on our way, because in them, or rather, on the lintels of their doors and windows, you can locate some surviving pieces of an ancestral enigma: the probable existence of a monastery or a convent, of which already, at present, all traces and references have been lost.
In itself quite common in Asturias, whose background can also be located, for example, in the small villages near the Monsacro and that Asturian spine, which is the imposing Sierra del Aramo (2).
It is very probable, that the only appreciable rest that survives of this supposed and unlocalizable convent, is precisely the church, with a rough aspect of strength, of San Martín de Scoto.
A church, which some researchers mistakenly refer to as San Martín de Soto (3). It has two small covers, of late period, probably Baroque or Renaissance, which replace the original and Romanesque that must have had in its origins, which, presumably, would have included some keys inappreciable.
The south cover, hardly matters. Curiosity, then, must motivate us to fix our attention, on the west cover and to consider the signs that, still barely and in some cases imperceptible by the action of time, survive to warn onlookers and researchers.
The presence, among these, of a formidable jug from which well flowers sprout, well water jets - usually is also considered as a Marian symbol and is representative of numerous Cistercian monasteries - makes it equate with the mythical theme of the Grail, symbolizing , among other aspects, the invaluable concept of the inexhaustible source of life (4), detail by which numerous researchers, include Parres among the different Asturian places where the subject of the Grail is located, being a curious list of traditional sources, between which it is possible to emphasize, of course, the impressive paintings of the church of San Vicente de Serrapio, in the council of Aller.
Apart from the griar jar, the symbolic set that complements this cover on the west side - and in fact, all the ornamentation, at least exterior of the church - consists of a shield and two angels carrying a curious cross.
The shield is divided into four squares or fields, each containing a specific symbol. Unfortunately, and probably motivated by the erosive action, only two such symbols are appreciated, both on the right side: a fleur-de-lis on top and a cross on the bottom.
The angels, with a rather coarse appearance, carry a cross, in whose details the characteristics of several small horizontal crossbars can be glimpsed, which resemble it with that special type of crosses, the patriarchal ones, considered, together with those others in the form of Tau, of the most esoteric of all those used by the Order of the Temple.
Be that as it may, what is evident is that, due to its location, located within one of the principal pilgrim routes of the Principality, as well as its proximity to transcendent places -in which there are no prehistoric sanctuaries of the first order- such as the own Cangas de Onis, the Picos de Europa and the surroundings of Covadonga, and given the special predilection that such places aroused in the Templar area, I would not rule out, a priori, its possible presence in times, as the formidable custodians of the Sacred, that they really were too.
Notes, References and Bibliography:
(1) Francisco de Paula Mellado: 'Memories of a trip through Spain', Ediciones de Arte y Costumbres, S.A., 1985, Volume I, page 123.
(2) There is still the memory, although very deteriorated, of a convent that was located in the vicinity of Busloñe, a village located behind the Monsacro and in front of the Sierra del Aramo and the Angliru. Of some remains that are located in the houses of the town -cruces paté included- the inhabitants do not finish agreeing, except in the mentioned detail that there was a convent, which some place in a place called El Pumar, and others, in another site whose name is Molín la Puente. On the other hand, in Llavandera, a village near La Piñera, the San Xuan meadow is located, where in the past there was a church, probably Romanesque and with this dedication, some of whose stones -this is, free of details or construction- make up currently the parish of La Piñera, a town famous for the malicious coplilla of the priest and the mill.
(3) It would be the case, for example, of Xavier Musquera, who, in his magnificent work The Adventure of the Templars in Spain - the original title, is The Sword and the Cross - makes such a reference, although it may be a question of typographic error. Several kilometers further on, on the road between Arriondas and Oviedo - known as the Autovía Minera - it is crossed by a town called Soto de Dueñas. On the other hand, another circumstance to add, is that the term scoto, referred to the people coming, not from Scotland, as one might think a priori, but from Ireland.
(4) In this regard, it could be an interesting added fact to comment on the existence in Asturias of sources or springs that, given their characteristics of incessant flow, are denominated, since time immemorial, prial sources.
NOTICE: Originally published in my blog LA ESPAÑA DE LOS TEMPLARIOS. Both the text and the accompanying photographs are my exclusive intellectual property. The original entry, where you can check the authorship of juancar347, can be found at the following address: https://juancarlosmenendez.blogspot.com/2012/06/llames-de-parres-san-martin-de-scoto.html
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