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Baronía de Escriche. Corbalán



The barony of Escriche is located on the site where a village once stood, and was incorporated into the municipality of Corbalán in the 1970s.

The place was a small village owned by the Baron of Escriche, comprising a total of fourteen farmhouses. The building was inhabited until the 1980s by the masoveros who looked after the livestock kept there. Before falling into decadence, the complex had moments of splendour and more than 50 people lived there.

The most outstanding of these farmhouses is the Casa Grande, where the capital of the town was exercised and where the palace of the Baron of Escriche is located.

The architectural complex is made up of the palace, the church of San Bartolomé, two small single-storey houses for auxiliary services (which corresponded to the house of the forester and the staff in charge of the care of the road), various corrals and barns and the cemetery. All of this is located around a rectangular square in the centre of which stand three majestic poplar trees.

It was the seat of the Baron of Escriche, who was said to have so much power that he had full jurisdiction over his territory and could even sentence people to death.

Legend has it that he gained his rank by defeating a beast that terrorised the inhabitants of this territory, and that had defeated the most daring knights. When he came face to face with the monster, the first thing he did was to place a mirror in front of it, so that the beast saw its reflection, a moment he took advantage of to thrust his sword into its mouth, the only vulnerable point it had, and which until then no one had been able to access. That was how he managed to kill it, and the place could be repopulated. The king, grateful for such bravery, granted him a barony of all the land he was able to cover in a day on his horse, thus giving birth to the Barony of Escriche.

That feat is the origin of the following “jota”:

“No one is afraid of the wild beast

That the beast has already died

When she turned a corner,

A brave man killed it”.

The Renaissance palace that stands in the Barony dates from the 16th century. It consists of a three-storey rectangular building located on the side of a large hill. The ground floor housed the servants’ quarters, the prison, the stables and the gallows. The first floor was the noble floor: it was accessed by a monumental staircase and was divided into two wings: the Lord of Escriche’s wing and the servants’ wing. The most outstanding features of these rooms are the mural paintings that cover them with different motifs and which have been the subject of several studies and a doctoral thesis. However, it seems that there are also murals in the servants’ quarters and underneath the lime with which they are painted. Finally, the third floor was used as a granary.

The church of San Bartolomé is located next to the palace. It is a Baroque work from the second half of the 17th century, with masonry construction, three naves inside, the central one covered by a half-barrel vault with lunettes, and the lateral ones with groin vaults. Only the original part of the church is still standing, and it is not in a very good state of preservation, as the chancel is in ruins, apparently because at the end of the civil war the owners sold the roof, which some believe to be in Italy.        

At present it belongs to the Provincial Council of Teruel and there are plans to build a tourist complex that contemplates the possible construction of a hotel with a spa, an 18-hole golf course, a network of lakes and ponds and facilities for football and archery.

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