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The will left by Lorenzo Suarez de Longoria provides the general location of the homeland of the Longorias. In his will, Lorenzo declares that he was born in Oviedo, in Asturias, the legitimate son of Alonso de la Pontiga and Ines de Valdes, citizens of that municipality. The reference to Oviedo probably included not only the city itself but also the surrounding areas, which in that era were controlled by the city.

Another reference to the Longoria ancestral homelands can be found in the Diccionario Heraldico y Genealogico by Alberto and Arturo Garcia Carraffa, which states that the great-grandfather of the two Longorias who became knights was a native of the parish of San Bartolome in the Council of Tineo and Lord of “casa de la Pontiga” in the Council of Miranda.

Oviedo is located on the north side of the Cantabrian mountain range and is only about 15 miles from the coast (map of Asturias). Flag - Belmonte de Miranda About 18 miles west of Oviedo is the little village of Longoria (photo), in the extreme northeastern corner of the Concejo de Belmonte de Miranda. The town of Belmonte is about 5 miles south from the village of Longoria and is the seat of government for the Council of Belmonte de Miranda. Another 11 miles or so due west of the village of Longoria is Tineo, the principal city for the Council of Tineo. The Council of  Valdes is located immediately to the north of the Council of Tineo and has Luarca as its capital city. Luarca is on the coast about 15 miles north of Tineo.

Our Longoria ancestors in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries probably confined most of their travels to the area between Oviedo, Belmonte, Tineo and Luarca. For comparison, that area is similar in size to present day Brooks County, Texas, where I was born and raised.

Flag - Concejo de TineoJust northwest of the town of Tineo is a small stream of water called the Arroyo de la Pontiga. It is not known whether the Arroyo was named before Casa de la Pontiga, or vice versa.  However, there is little doubt in my mind that "de la Pontiga" was a unique and common name applied to both the Arroyo and the Casa, probably because there were granaries and grain fields in both areas.

Flag - Concejo de ValdesAlonso's wife Inez was “de Valdes”, probably referring to some place within the Council of Valdes, which would be immediately to the north. I have yet to determine the location of the San Bartolome parish in the Council of Tineo, or to determine whether it even existed (as noted in the previous section it may be that the reference by Garcia Carraffa should have been to the parish of San Bartolome in the Concejo de Belmonte de Miranda).

Regardless, it is certain that Alonso de la Pontiga and his wife Inez resided in the general area described here, and quite likely they resided near the village of Pumarada where the Casa de la Pontiga is located. 

A 3-mile section of the Rio Narcea is an important historical site for the Longorias, as it contains three Longoria solariegas, or ancestral homes.  All three of these solariegas date from the sixteenth century and were owned by Longorias at one time, but I have yet to determine which of the three was the casa principal, or the first to be established.  The original solariega was probably Casa de la Pontiga but I shall discuss the three solariegas not in order of their age but in order of their location along the Rio Narcea, starting from the village of Longoria.

The village of Longoria (map) is located near the confluence of the Rio Narcea and the Rio Pigueña (which today are prime salmon and trout fishing rivers). One of the solariegas is located in this small village and is known locally as the Palacio de Longoria (photo) (palacio translates into ancestral mansion). Of this solariega we know that it and some additional lands near San Martin de Lodon were apparently inherited by Francisca Menendez upon the death of her husband Pedro de Longoria. Francisca Menendez would have been the step-mother of Alonso de la Pontiga and the oidor Pedro Suarez de Longoria. Upon Francisca's death the properties were inherited by her brother Alvaro Menendez de Miranda. Documents in the Archivo de la Casa de Cienfuegos de Aguerina reveal that in a series of complicated transactions finally completed on April 21, 1619, Alvaro Menendez ending up selling these properties to Alonso de Bello, a native Asturian from the village of Bello near Belmonte de Miranda who had returned home after 29 years in Peru, where he had made his fortune as a merchant. This solariega was eventually inherited by the Cienfuegos family, descendants of a grand-nephew of Alonso de Bello.[source: Alonso de Bello (1552-1632) by Juan Uria Maqua, Universidad de Oviedo, 2005]

Going about one mile down river from Longoria is the village of San Bartolome, location of a small chapel named San Roque, which served the locals as well as pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of St. James. San Roque was built in the memory of the oidor Pedro Suarez de Longoria. The debt for the construction of San Roque was paid by the oidor's son Francisco Suarez de Longoria in 1630.

Another half mile or so past San Bartolome is another village named Pumarada (map). Here can be found another solariega, known locally as Casa de la Pontiga (photo1). Sadly, vandals sacked the Casa de la Pontiga in 1990, stealing many things, including the coat of arms that was in an interior patio. Today, Casa de la Pontiga lies roofless and in a state of ruin (photo2). The Longoria family no longer owns Casa de la Pontiga, the owners in the year 2000 being the Catalineo family.

Another mile or so downstream from Pumarada, after crossing into the Concejo de Salas, is an aldea (hamlet) named Laneo (map), the site of a third solariega known as Casa de Longoria (photo1). The original Casa de Longoria at Laneo burned down in 1850, but a new one was constructed in 1861 and remains in fine condition today (photo2). Owned long ago by Lorenzo Longoria Rivera, who in 1775 commissioned the making of the Longoria coat of arms (photo) adorning one of the walls of the Casa de Longoria, the home is now owned by some of Lorenzo's descendants, the family of Luis Arias Argüelles-Meres (more about Luis).

For more photos of these solariegas, all courtesy of Luis Arias Argüelles-Meres, please go to Photo Gallery 1.

Come along on a Photo and History    Tour of the Longoria Ancestral Homelands in Asturias   with me as your personal guide.

All three of these solariegas were adorned with a coat of arms, indicating that at least some of their owners were members of the Knighthood. It is tempting then to assume that every Longoria is entitled to display that coat of arms. The next section addresses that assumption of nobility.

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Copyright © 2001.  Raul N. Longoria.  All rights reserved.