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
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). 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.
Just 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.
Alonso'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
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).