Palacio de Prelo - Asturias - Spain
Palacio de Prelo
The earliest parts of the Palacio de Prelo (central tower with pinnacle) date back to the 16th century while the chapel and some additions to the manor house were built in the 18th century. It was declared a Protected Historical Monument in 1982 and was extensive and carefully restored over a 5-year period between 2000 and 2005. Standing at 1,200 feet Prelo Manor enjoys privileged and exceptional views over the Navia Valley.
History of Palacio de Prelo
Built in the 16th century, the pinnacled tower had a defensive character in its early period as an arrow-slit window on the ground floor clearly indicates. Both the pinnacle and the painted frieze under the roof cornice are quite unusual elements for northern Spanish architecture. The tower was erected by the González de Prelo y Castrillón, a family of noble lineage from Western Asturias, as it is mentioned on the impressive coat of arms above the front door. During the 18th century a “palacio” or manor house with a chapel were built encircling the tower.
The chapel, erected in 1776, has two baroque painted altarpieces and a stunning collection of wood polychrome figures from the 17th-18th centuries including an “earthly Trinity” composed of Jesus, St Mary and St Joseph as well as a St Benedict of Palermo, among other saints. This most unusual Trinity depicts Jesus as a young boy standing hand in hand with his parents. San Benedetto il Nero was the saint of slaves and was also declared the patron saint of African Americans. His presence in the chapel of Prelo remains a mystery, not only because he occupies a recess in the second altar under a carved reproduction of the coat of arms of a noble family, but most important because no slave labour force has ever been recorded in northern Spain.
Owner: Professor Antonio Gómez-Mendoza
Professor of Economic History at Universidad Complutense of Madrid (DPhil, St Antony´s College, Oxford University, 1981) is the author of several books on (1) the contribution of railways to economic growth (“Ferrocarriles y cambio económico en España, Madrid 1982); (2) the sale of the Rio Tinto Mines (“The Economic Gibraltar. Franco and Riotinto, 1936/54”, Madrid 1994) and (3) Industrial History in Francoist Spain (“Electra y el Estado”, Madrid, 2008).