The text of a lost consecrating inscription dates this act in year 921. On this occasion, the building must have already been finished or just about to be finished. It is therefore a building of notable importance, witness of the survival of 9th century techniques and projects well into the 10th century. According to copies with the text of lost inscriptions, we know its altars were dedicated to the Saviour, San Juan Bautista and Santiago, as was the neighbouring temple of Valdediós.
Its floor plan responds perfectly to the Asturian basilica model: three naves, with three sections over pillars, a triple header framed in a straight head wall, a supraapsidal chamber over the central chapel, western three-part front part and, supposedly, two lateral rooms, to the North and South, open to the eastern section of the respective aisles. Different reforms, probably occurring between the 17th and 18th centuries, have deeply modified the western space, in whose Northern quarters we find the original baptismal font. Nowadays, a wooden tribune can be seen over the central space, accessed via the stairs located in the southerly quarters. The demolition of the northerly room and the reconstruction of the southerly room, nowadays used as sacristy, can be attributed to the same historic period. The portico or chapterhouse attached to the Southern façade is probably from the 19th century.
The roofing is out of wooden carpentry throughout the entire building, except in the three header chapels, where barrel roofs were built. The external masonry of the building is made up of a perimeter baseboard out of stonework and ashlar, on which the walls rest, with the same bond and with rows that are not very regular. The ashlar beams join the faces, toothed in the wall. Ashlar was used in the corners, up to 50 cm thick in the walls and 75 cm thick in the baseboard.
The lighting is guaranteed by five rectangular openings on the Northern wall of the central nave, and another four on the Southern wall. The chapel head wall walls are provided with rectangular openings, the one corresponding to the Northern chapel preserving the original latticework.
The blind supraapsidal chamber opens up externally via the double opening, with a central mullion made up by a pillar and small arches, it creation being very similar to that of Santo Adriano de Tuñón.
The capitals of the central chapel perimeter arcade constitute the best proof of creative vitality in Asturian territory at the beginning of the 10th century.
The pictorial wealth preserved is very scarce. It is reduced to weak indications on the walls of the central nave and aisles and in the apses. Except for minimum and insignificant decorative details, that preserved of the Priesca paintings reproduces the design and themes of the tradition appearing one century earlier in Santullano. In spite of the scarce surface preserved, it can be stated that there was a certain lack of understanding when reproducing the models, together with a notable loss in technical quality.
Contact and more information: Tel: Tourism Office (985 891 75), Parish (985 976 712).
Timetables: July and August, Tuesdays and Fridays, from 17:00 to 19:00 h.