'In this 21st century, the negative attitude toward that plot of knowledge, on the part of those who are supposed to be the "guardians" of history, leaves the "amateurs" the responsibility of collecting that treasure of popular memory again to save it from the I forget. And it is not an easy job, because our society, like every culture in crisis, suffers a continuous contradiction.
[Rafael Alarcón Herrera (1)]


Precisely, keeping in mind at all times, these wise words of Rafael Alarcón, my last visit to Campisábalos gave me the immense pleasure of meeting Don Severino Simón, nice and long-lived gentleman, who had no problem in leaving his daily chores for, bundle of keys in hand, franchise access to the interior of the church of San Bartolomé first, and that fascinating addition that is the denominated chapel of Caballero Galindo or Caballero San Galindo, later; chapel and character, of which I will comment in a future post.

There was still a lot of snow in Campisábalos and the surroundings; more than enough snow to give the town the typical look of those intimate Pyrenean villages, which are kept adorned as a bride during most of winter, a picture that makes us dream nostalgic with grandfather tales in the heat of home fire .

And this feeling is not banal, of course, if we take into account that Campisábalos, as Somolinos or as Albendiego, are located on the verge of a place with mysterious connotations that have been perpetuated throughout the millenary pages of that unfinished puzzle What is History: the Sierra de Pela.

Historians locate the origin of the church of San Bartolomé, in the thirteenth century. Some, including Antonio Herrera Casado (2), see in the development of the church, the Mudejar hand that also acted in the nearby church of Santa Coloma de Albendiego, by some similarities.

Its plant, in the shape of a cross, has the addition, as I mentioned above, of an additional chapel. It also corresponds to this period, and in its main façade, as the most representative and relevant detail, it shows a formidable agricultural calendar whose aesthetics and development, according to Herrera Casado, represents the same motives and the same order, as those that can be seen on the main cover of the church of the town of Beleña. I imagine it refers to Beleña de Sorbe, whose church also has an excellent porticoed gallery.

The presence of the Temple in Campisbalos seems confirmed, at least, as some researchers suppose, in the few remains of what, apparently, was a small hermitage. They are located at the entrance of the town, and are constituted by a small cover that allows access to the municipal cemetery. In it, perfectly visible, two crosses are noticed kicked.

The cover, needless to say, also belongs to the same period as the church of San Bartolomé and its added chapel of San Galindo. And, of course, its presence is also present in the oral tradition, which relates them, in a legendary way, with Tiermes and with Pedro. In Tiermes, with the curious sleeping ephebe (3) -confused with a Baby Jesus- who for a long time was at the foot of the Romanesque image of the Virgin of Tiermes -day, in the cathedral of El Burgo de Osma- and also with the theft or attempted theft of the Virgin del Val, which is located in the church of San Juan Bautista, in the small town of Pedro.

But it is again back to the church of San Bartolomé-holy of unequivocal Templar veneration, on the other hand-where, perhaps, there is also some indication related to the Order. As in many cases, here too the existence of elements alien to the original church is verified, added in later, even modern times.

This is the case, for example, of the porch that extends over the main portico of entrance, under whose shelter, and anchored in a stone block similar to the one that serves as the base for the columns that support the roof, are located some funeral stelae . Steles that were part of the medieval cemetery, located at the foot of the church, and that were found, exactly, as Don Severino Simón told me, in the place where the base is raised, which, as I said, serves as the base for the columns that support the porch.

Its conservation status, of course, is not very good; nevertheless, and except in the highest stela, the original symbols can still be glimpsed. Apart from crosses and some solar symbol, a Star of David or Seal of Solomon with a point in its center, and a five-pointed star or pentalfa, attract a lot of attention.

Pentalfa which, by the way, is similar, if not equal, to the one that is located on the obverse of one of the three funeral steles that survive in the Soriano monastery of San Polo, today, private property.

From the inside, recently restored - hence the benches are still piled on one side of the nave - it is worth noting the Christ that hangs in the apse, behind the altar, which curiously, in the light, displays two shadows, to the right and left, which resemble the two thieves with whom, according to the Tradition, he was crucified.

At the bottom of the nave, below the choir, some objects attract attention. Apart from the pile - which Don Severino dates as very old, from the Visigothic period and to me it seems later, and therefore, Romanesque - the remains of some capitals are piled against the wall. They have phrases painted in black, but neither are they original, but from the Renaissance or later period. And this is a detail that intrigues me, before which I can not, if not, ask me what was of the original Romanesque capitals and what they represented.

In the sacristy, where some furniture removed in the reform is also stored, remains of some primitive construction can still be seen on the left wall; perhaps a wall, as Don Severino seems to think, although its purpose, for the moment, is ignored. Although of smaller dimensions, it has the same form of chest or ark, that the chapel of the Knight San Galindo, of which I will speak in the following entry.

Notes, References and Bibliography:

(1) Rafael Alarcón Herrera: 'The Templar's Footprint: Rites and Myths of the Order of the Temple', Editions Robinbook, S.L., 2004, page 13.
(2) Antonio Herrera Casado: 'Romanesque in Guadalajara', Aache Ediciones, S.L., 2nd edition, 2003, page 53.
(3) The last reference I have about this mysterious piece, found in the Termestino site, is that it was in the Museo Numantino. I was there, I remember that in January 2009 and, curiously, they did not know how to tell me exactly what their destination had been: whether it was under restoration or had been assigned to the exhibition The Ages of Man.

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/2011/02/el-enigma-templario-de-campisabalos.html

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