San Bartolome de la Torre
San Bartolome de la Torre
San Bartolomé de la Torre is a town belonging to the Andévalo, located on plains near the capital, with meadow lands, and land devoted to cereal crops, olive trees, and eucalyptus trees. Within its boundaries is a Dolmen and monoliths from the thrid or fourth century BC.
The first recorded historical traces reflect the existence of human settlements from very early times, who based their survival on agriculture, crafts, and trade. In this context it also lacks megalithic burials such as “Dolmen”, or domed tombs, from the Bronze Age, discovered in the first half of the twentieth century by D. Enrique Pérez Núñez, which have now disappeared after various spoilages and destruction. It was possible, however, thanks to the work of Pérez Núñez, to conserve the important archaeological pieces that currently make up the works of the Archaeological Museum of Huelva Province.
It also has records of the Roman presence in the locality. These note the finding of archaeological remains of Roman origin that were deposited at the Provincial Museum by D. Galindo Agustín Moreno. Perhaps the most significant pieces in this collection are a stone funerary inscription, found in “La Nava”, and a large bronze of Hadrian, found in the Tower which gives its name to the locality. Later we will focus more on this tower, which came to be the distinctive, emblematic monument of San Bartolomé.
We must also mention equally important discoveries such as as a large pillar of concrete, and some coins. All this testifies to the cultural implications of the Roman world in the area.
There is however a statement, subsequently dismissed, which shows the existence of a roman building underneath the medieval tower mentioned above. But according to the archaeological survey made during the restoration of the Tower in 1986, this theory should be discarded.
What is quite clear is that we can trace its construction to a period between the mid-and late thirteenth century, as this was a time that the present territory of Huelva province was immersed in major upheavals such as riots, border problems with neighbouring Portugal, and the desire of the kingdom of Seville to maintain its power.
This tower is a clear example of a “watchtower”, which controlled the points of communication with the mountainous mining area and the coastline, up to the border with Portugal.
The building is located just 700 m. from the urban centre, on a small hill that stands over 128 m. high. From the work done on it, we can deduce that it had three floors:
* One for horses
* A mid-level where the guards stayed
* A third for keeping watch
The restoration work in 1986 was done as an emergency, although the monument, according to the local population, lost its former charm and appearance, with the disappearance of the two windows, said to resemble two large eyes which seemed to look toward the town.
Returning to the historical development of the town, we should mention that the territory was conquered in 1257 by Alfonso X, after beating the King of the Taifa of Niebla, Ibn Mahfuz. Following this conquest came a territorial reorganization, which would leave the town under the Council of Gibraleón. This is why for centuries the history of this andevaleña town was meddled in by its neighbor, Gibraleón, which is a distance of about 14 Km.
We must wait until 1589 to find a document which clearly refers to the settlement in San Bartolome de la Torre. We refer here to the Town Charter, or Foundation, granted by the Marqués de Gibraleón to the town of San Bartolomé in order to restock and reorganise the territory.
For the rest of the sixteenth century, the town went from strength to strength. However, the economy and health of the town suffered because of the war with neighbouring Portugal between 1640 and 1710.
The gradual recovery after this time of crisis was to be affected by adverse circumstances between 1778 and 1818, when the town was hit by a plague of locusts that eradicated their crops. Furthermore, the scourges of plague and yellow fever struck the population.
This, coupled with the wars that ravaged the country, which was invaded by Napoleonic France, seriously affected the population. These population fluctuations brought us to the end of the century, from when we find greater stability and growth as a result of the Disentailment measures, and the abolition of the feudal system in 1836.
As mentioned previously, San Bartolomé de la Torre is linked to the estate of the Marquess of Gibraleón, which also included the towns of Cartaya, Villanueva de los Castillejos, El Almendro, Sanlucar de Guadiana and El Granado. Dissolving the estate of the Marquess was not an easy process. The problems in carrying out the territorial division after the abolition of the feudal system was perpetuated well into the twentieth century, as there were frequent disputes between San Bartolome and its immediate neighbors over how to determine their respective territories.
The economic activities at which the town excels have always been agriculture and livestock, followed by hunting. The main crops were wheat, rye, vegetables and fruit, with other products being wax and honey. Olive trees and oaks shape the characteristic andevaleño landscape of current times.
We mentioned earlier the existence of some problems with the distribution of the Common Lands of the Marquess of Gibraleón; however it may seem a paradox, that at present all municipalities that are members of the Marquis, with the exception of the title holder Gibraleón, constitute a Commonwealth of development called “Beturia”, of which the towns of San Silvestre de Guzmán and Villablanca are members.
San Bartolomé de la Torre Monuments
Church of the Apostol San Bartolomé
Dolmen Corridor of Cabezo de las Palmas.
It has a polygonal hall. It was an important funerary site.
Monoliths, third or fourth century BC
The ttower consists of four stone monoliths with a single door lintel.
San Bartolomé de la Torre Gastronomy
The secondary sector concentrates on an important activity: the production of breads and pastries, famous all over the province. The attention to detail of the flour “artisans” captivates the traveller when they first satisfy their hunger in San Bartolome de la Torre.
These wonderful ovens also offer the popular “pan serrano” (mountain bread), the traditional “tortas de chicharrones”, “los roscos de manteca”, “los hornazos” and endless dishes that are so famous within the locality.
The strawberry is another product which can be enjoyed for much of the year, not to mention a typical wine made from local grapes.
Highly prized are dishes prepared with game meat. In particular the stew, the roasted rabbit, and the delicious rabbit salmorejo, prepared with the first game killed on hunting trips.
Another specialty is the “tunantas” sausage. In bars and restaurants you will find good meats, and traditional dishes from the area, all seasoned with the good oil that is produced in the town mill.
From Huelva take the N-431 to Gibraleón, joining with the A495, which runs through the town, bound for Alosno and Rosal de la Frontera.
From Seville take the A49, turn off for Gibraleón, and then join the A495.
From Portugal, go from Ayamonte onto the N431, from where you have two options; either to head to Gibraleón, or before Cartaya, take the turning for Tariquejos and use the tarmac road that connects it with San Bartolomé de la Torre.
Distances from San Bartolomé de la Torre
Lepe 28 km
Alosno 14 km
Huelva 30 km
Sevilla 110 km
Cartaya 21 km
Ayamonte 42 km
Villablanca 34 km
San Silvestre de Guzmán 32 km
Villanueva de los Castillejos 17 km