The tower, from its height, watches over its
surroundings and the access to
the walled grounds, which is through an ogival arch situated under the
main facade. So, mount and tower form part of the walls, creating a
fortified space of almost circular appearance. The walls are provided
with arrow slits and still conserve part of the crenellated
battlements. To the north east and outside the walls there are still
vestiges of a moat dug in rock and earth. In the angle opposed to that
of the tower, taking advantage of another mount and forming part of
the wall, there is a small fortified chapel.
This chapel, at present without a roof, has in its presbytery a
pointed vault. The access to the chapel is up a stone stair through a
pointed arch, over which one can see two small coats of arms: One of
Estrada and the other of the Ceballos lineage (this is mistaken, as the other
one is of the Duque surname, not Ceballos). The walls of the temple
have numerous embrasures for canon, giving a military function to the
sacred building, a paradigm of the medieval symbiosis of the sword and
the cross. The walls are topped by moldings of romanic traces and a
The presence of romanic traces in design, united with the
preponderance of pointed arches as well as the pointed vaults, date
the construction of the chapel in the XIV Century, in relation to the
rest of the fortified compound.
The House of Estrada had frecuent litigation and even bloody battles
against the expansion of a new feudal power: The Council of San
Vicente de la Barquera.
Property and visits
The Tower and the lands surrounding it remain the property of the
Count of the Vega de Sella, a member of the Duque de Estrada family.
However, as the tower was declared a site of cultural interest in
1992, a temporary grant of the Tower and the walled compound to the
Municipality of San Vicente de la Barquera, for 100 years, has been
decreed by court order.
Calderón de la Vara, V.: "Towers of Cantabria. Some towers of
the valleys of Valdáliga, Rionasa and Val de San Vicente".
Altamira, vol. I, 1968-71, pp. 221-232. Muñoz Jimenez, J.M.:
"Towers and castles of medieval Cantabria". Santander 1993,
Other places of interest in the vicinity
In San Vicente de la Barquera: Old Convent of Saint Louis; Church of
Our Lady of the Angels; XVII Century church in Gandarilla. In
Herrerías: Cades ironworks; Tower of Cabanzón.
Access and location
From N-634, Santander to Oviedo, take local route from San Vicente
de la Barquera through La Acebosa and Hortigal. After 7 Kms. you'll
arrive at Estrada. As the place is in a process of restoration, you
will easily see the Tower.
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