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Santa María de Villamayor
Piloña (Eastern Asturias)
Contact Address
33583 Villamayor
Period

Romanesque

Remarks

To visit, request the key at the town hall.

  • Ecclesiastical
The monastery became a cemetery, a school and even a jail.

The founding of this monastery of Benedictine nuns can be dated between the 12th and 13th centuries, a time period during which Late Roman aesthetic canons prevailed. Villamayor nunnery was dissolved in the 14th century by Bishop Gutierre de Toledo, and definitively annexed to San Pelayo in Oviedo in 1530.

It was later reduced to a priory and a church, which was unused, and was to serve a variety of purposes, being a cemetery up until its expropriation. Subsequently, a re-construction was carried out on the area occupied by the nave, used first as a jail and in 1910 as a school.

Of the original Roman building, it still conserves the apse and the beginning of the nave with the south-facing portal of the church. The ground plan consists of a rectangular nave with a chancel composed of a straight section and semi-circular apse. The nave is covered with a barrel vault, as is the straight section of the chevet, with cul-de-four being employed in the semi-circular apse.

The apse has two columns attached to the outside topped by plant capitals, a chequered cornice with corbels and metopes, a central window with columns and plant motif capitals and two chequered bands around the perimeter. The interior has a blind arcade of eight arches running around it and preserves the triumphal arch with a chequered canopy and plant motif capitals.

Only the south portal remains, opening onto the square and the new parish church. It consists of three archivolts lacking in decoration protected by a cornice with corbels and metopes. The capitals are decorated with plant or historiated motifs, noteworthy among which is the capital on the right jamb which shows the Knight's Farewell, a historiated scene of a lady and knight with a hawk.

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Santa María de Villamayor
GPS:43.359592,-5.30599