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



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/Uviéu 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.

Santa María de Villamayor