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IGLESIA RUPESTRE DE CAMPO DE EBRO

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Thanks

A nuestro colaborador Javier Pelaz Beci, socio de 4AeS, que nos ha proporcionado gran parte de la información y las fotografías que se utilizan es esta ficha.

Previous notes

  • It was declared Heritage of Cultural Interest (BIC) in 1985.
  • The hermitage was a parish, later a public school and finally a shelter for neighbours during the Civil War.

Historic environment

In the valley of Valderredible, -which translation would be “Valley of the Ebro riverbank”- the most southern region of Cantabria, bordering the provinces of Palencia to the west and Burgos to the east. Its geological composition -rich in sandstone and sinter -, was the main cause for the upspring in High Medieval Age of countless churches and cave hermitages in this area due to the malleability of the rocks.

There are discrepancies regarding its dating according to the scholars of these cave enclaves: some include them between the 6th and 7th centuries and others, between the 8th and 10th. According to P. Bertín Gutiérrez in his monography on the “Colegiata de San Martín de Eines”, “(…) if they were devoted to christianize, it would correspond to that period, still heathen, of the end of the 6th century; and if they were monks that rechristianized, then they would correspond to the 8th to the 10th centuries, once the Islamic enemy had been pushed down to the south”. 

Description

Semi cave hermitage built with ashlars in a blocked cave in part of one of its sides. It has a single plan formed by a rectangular nave and a quadrangular apse, separated by a semicircular arch, all of that carved on the rock.


The hermitage is located in the village of Campo del Ebro, behind the parish church of St. Miguel and at a side of a cemetery. It was declared  Heritage of Cultural Interest (BIC) in 1985.


It consists of a single nave, with rectangular plan, elongated with a protuberance in the middle of the roof that, according to Bohigas Roldán “they could be the remnants of a supresed central pillar”, giving way, in its origin, to two naves.

 

A triumphal semicircular irregular arch gives way by means of two steps to the quadrangular shaped chevet, covered by a semi-dome vault, imperfectly executed. The linteled door, located to the south, has been remodeled with ashlars. At both sides, two spans open: one it the structure with a lintel and the other one is excavated in the rock. The floor of the hermitage is porous with some parts with slabs. It can be seen that a part of the pavement was turned over with the intention of looking for “treasures”.


It aslo contains a carved continuous bench surrounding the walls of the nave. It is important to point out the presence of this kind of stone benches attached to some walls in religious High Medieval constructions in the east zone of the resettlement of Castile. In fact we find this sort of benches in churches so far away in time and space, as St. Miguel de Presillas, Sts. Céntola and Elena or St. Baudelio de Berlanga, among others, all of them located in a narrow vertical stripe that starts at the south west of Cantabria.



As an historical curiosity, the temple was a parish, later a public school and finally a shelter for neighbours during the Civil War. 

Other interesting information

Acceso: Take the road to Quintanilla de las Torres to Escalada or the other way round, 6 Km far from Ponientes we find the small village of Campo de Ebro. In that place, next to the parish church and the cemetery, open to a rock hummock, lies this cave shrine GPS Coordinates: 42°47’44″N 3°57’54″O.

 

Bibliography

BOHIGAS ROLDÁN, R. : Yacimientos arqueológicos medievales del sector central de la montaña cantábrica. Tomo. Monografías Arqueológicas de la ACDPS, nº 1. Santander 1986, pp 187-188.
MONREAL JIMENO, L.A.: Eremitorios rupestres altomedievales (el Valle del Ebro). Universidad de Deusto 1989, pp 46-47.
P. BERTÍN GUTIERREZ LÓPEZ: La Colegiata de San Martín de Elines. Colegiata-Parroquia de San Martín de Elines. 2005.

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