Built during the 13th-15th centuries, the castle of San Vicente de Argueso represents the most outstanding and ancient example of the Roqueno Castle of Cantabria, being the only interior castle that exists in the Community.
The castle was one of the strengths of Senorio de la Vega from which they defended their interests in Campoo de Suso. In the fifteenth century, he is the owner of the same Don Leonor de la Vega, wife of the Admiral of Castile, Don Diego Hurtado de Mendoza and mother of Inigo Lopez de Mendoza, the illustrious Marques de Santillana, one of the key players in the Castilian politics of that era. He is more known perhaps for the quality of his poetic work. On the death of the Marquis, in 1458, his first born son, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, succeeded him, and thanks to the fidelity shown to the Catholic Monarchs, he was appointed in 1475 Duke of the Infantado, Marques de Argueso and Campoo. From then on, the castle became the seat of the Marquesado de Argueso, which was organized under an administration that was independent in some respects from that of the Merindad de Campo. Don Mariano Tellez Giron, Duke of Osuna and the last Marques owner of the castle, sold the castle in 1873. Ever since then passing through different hands. The last owner of the castle, Dona Teresa Rabago, donated the castle to the City Council of the Brotherhood of Campoo de Suso in 1962 with the 'only' condition is that the castle would be renovated. They are still the owners of the fortress until this day.
Declared a Cultural Interest Property in 1983, the castle was restored by the Town Council of the Brotherhood of Campoo de Suso and the Regional Government.
On the occasion of this restoration in 1988, highlighting the great artisanal work done on the noble wood by the Sobaler family and their team of local craftsmen (artisans). They found in the basement of the south tower and the walls of the old chapel of the martyr San Vicente, around which a necropolis was still visible in the courtyard of the castle.
In August of 1999, the Castle opened its doors to the public, functioning as a cultural centre, hosting both temporary exhibitions, as well as other festivities.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.