He stands proudly on a hill on the right bank of the river Ebro, a tireless guard of the lands of Sonsierra and La Rioja Alta. Its historical journey seems to begin between the end of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th century, during the reign of Alfonso VIII. Its task could not be other than, like Briones, to be the defensive and protective bastion of Castile against the attacks of the Navarrese in their eagerness to recover lands that had been from their crown and that they lost in favour of the Castilians during the reign of Alfonso VII. But the first appointment on the Castle of Davalillo dates from the year 1367 when Enrique de Trastámara, in his fratricidal fights with Pedro I the Cruel, agreed with the king of Navarre Carlos II that he ceded him the castles of Buradon, La Guardia, San Vicente and Davalillo to change that he did not let his brother Pedro pass through his kingdom. From the end of the 14th century, Davalillo Castle was linked to the Manrique family, Dukes of Nájera, although it was royal property.
This feudal possession of the castle by this family lasted until the death of the eighth Duke of Nájera in the 17th century, although the continuous disagreements between the Manrique family, lords of the castle, and the Velasco family, lords of the town of Davalillo and Santa Asensio, as it was known during the San Asensio period, led to the continuous depopulation of Davalillo in favour of San Asensio from the 15th century until the total abandonment of the former.
In Romanesque style is one of the few castles of the time that remain standing in Spain. Its floor plan is polygonal, elongated, seven-sided and all of it is built in ashlar stone. Nothing remains of the battlements of the walls but you can see the cylindrical cubes in the center and corners of the walls. It has two access doors, the main one, which originally had a pointed arch and faces south, was protected by two strong cubes with defensive elements. The homage tower, at the eastern end of the wall, has a square floor plan and had four floors, on the ground floor was the chapel whose semicircular head forms the main cube of the castle. The second door, smaller and facing north, gave access to the second floor and the rest of the floors. The existence of corbels, grooves and mechinales within the wall give the impression that there were also rooms and rooms for the use of the guard, stables, warehouses... Outside the castle you can see remains of what could have been the wall that surrounded and protected the old town of Davalillo.
San Asensio, which has always been linked to the castle and to the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de Davalillo, whose enclave it belongs to, celebrates two pilgrimages a year to this place. One of them, according to tradition, has been celebrated for centuries on the second Sunday after Easter and in it the Virgin is carried in the company of dancers to protect the fields during the rest of spring and summer until the harvest of the fruits.
Next to the hill on which the castle is located is the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de Davalillo, which although completely reformed, there are indications that it must have been the parish church of the now defunct village of Davalillo.
Legend has it that it was a plague of scorpions that caused the inhabitants of the town of Davalillo to leave.
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You can get to San Asensio by following the N-232 between Logroño and Haro. You can also get there from the A-12, the Camino de Santiago dual carriageway, taking the LR-208 which, in the vicinity of Nájera, connects this town with San Asensio, passing through Hormilleja before.
The access road to Davalillo Castle is in the middle of the national road, the entrance coincides with the track that leads to the train stop. We will have to be attentive since it is very easy to skip the access. Having left behind the road that leads to San Asensio and as we go towards Haro we will find on our right the junction with the road to take. This crossing is signposted both by the station sign and by the signposts of the routes that pass through here, including the one that leads to the castle. We will also be able to identify it by the solitary building that is located just in that point. Once the national road has been abandoned, we must continue a few metres next to it, leaving behind the road that goes down to the station. The route separates us from the national and takes us along a track in good condition, which we should not leave in any of the crosses that we find. With the castle always to our right hand, we will pass on the railroad tracks to direct us towards the hill that lodges the castle where a narrow concrete way waits for us that finishes in the parking where we will be able to leave our vehicle. From here we will follow the path that leaves to the right side of the hermitage and that takes us definitively up to the door of the castle.
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