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Church of San Martín de Escoto (Soto de Dueñas)
Parres (Eastern Asturias)
  • Ecclesiastical
The church has undergone several renovations and additions.

Located in the vicinity of Soto de Dueñas, within the old hunting grounds of Llames, the Church of San Martín de Escoto was built in the mid-16th century using materials from the church of the convent of San Martín de Dueñas, dissolved the previous century due to the lassitude of the nuns.

The present-day church went through several renovations and additions, offering a heterogeneous appearance reminiscent of several periods. The church is historically associated with the Monastery of San Martín de Soto de Dueñas, occupied by Benedictine nuns who were moved to the nearby Monastery of Villamayor (Piloña). Subsequently, the monastery was occupied by Cistercian monks from Valdediós, and eventually became part of the feudal estate of the Monastery of San Pelayo de Oviedo in 1530.

This abandonment meant the monastery fell into ruin, but some of the remains of the building were used in the building of the Church of San Martín in the 16th century.

The ground plan is common to rural Romanesque churches: a rectangular nave covered by a wooden gable roof and a square apse, with pointed groin vaulting (vaulting that may correspond to a Gothic construction phase, 14th and 15th centuries). The decoration reflects the confluence of successive styles. The capitals of the triumphal arch are decorated in the classical Romanesque style of the 12th century, presenting a truncated pyramidal form with palm leaves arranged in separate bundles, resembling fluted arches.

The chancel has coarser decoration, despite having been built some two centuries later. The ribs of the vault rest on historiated corbels with anthropomorphic figures and animals.

The apse opens onto to the Chapel of St Lucia, with examples of paintings of everyday scenes. In the barrel vault covering the chapel, there is a rather archaic representation of Christ in Majesty. Two friezes with cherubs' heads separate this figure from the walls of the chapel; St Lucia is represented in the western frieze and St Martin, in the eastern frieze. These paintings are very poorly conserved.

The church walls are thick, made of masonry with ashlar in the corners and buttresses reinforcing the apse. It has few windows. The two semi-circular portals are decorated: an alfiz with mouldings resting on corbels and anthropomorphic figures.

The Church of San Martín de Escoto, in Llames de Parres, was restored by the Regional Ministry of Culture in 1985 and declared a Historic-Artistic Monument.

Church of San Martín de Escoto (Soto de Dueñas)