The Death of the Knight Nuño Alvear: A Spanish Templar Legend From Toledo
Spain is a vibrant and rich country when it comes to history and culture.
Thousands of years of varied ethnicities and languages co-existing together have given rise to compelling lore with many different myths and legends.
One of those legends comes to us from the city of Toledo, in the province (or region) of Castilla–La Mancha. An old Medieval Templar tale of fear, sorrow, death and, of course, a castle.
The Curse of Nuño Alvear
It is said that King Alfonso VIII (1155-1214) handed over the castle of San Servando to the Knight Templars so that they could watch over and defend the Alcántar Bridge and the city from there.
On a cold winter night, the Templars who inhabited the castle were guarding the walls and doors of the fortress. One of the Templars was named Nuño Alvear, and he had a bad reputation in the city of Toledo for the atrocities he had committed not only among his companions but also among the rest of the neighbours. He was making his nightly rounds when he decided to rest for a while and warm his body up in the living room, next to the fireplace.
He began to drift off sitting by the fireplace. All the while he experienced a bad omen and he kept hearing whispers in his ear until finally, a loud knock on the main door of the castle startled the guards and woke him up from his slumber.
He ran downstairs to see what the noise was all about. A Templar had already opened the door. An old woman was standing in the doorway. Clad in black she was, with black robes and a black scarf covering her head. She was a thin pilgrim who used a cane to walk with her bare feet.
When she entered the castle, the woman said she was looking for Nuño Alvear. The Templar looked at her with eyes wide open trying to recognize her face, but he didn’t know her at all. When she was left alone with Nuño, she asked him if he didn’t remember her. Nuño did not understand what he was referring to. How could he know who this old woman was?
The woman introduced herself and told Nuño that he would have to answer for all the wrong acts and misdeeds he had done throughout his life. And if he didn’t remember them, all he had to do was look into the fire. As Nuño turned his head towards the fireplace, he began to see images in the flames of his many misdeeds. As if by dark magic, the flames transformed into the Muslim man he had crucified. Then they changed to form another vision, that of a beautiful young woman he had raped. One by one in the flames he saw all the innocents he had slaughtered in battle. Pilgrims to whom he denied shelter…
Slowly as the images passed before his eyes with the movement of smoke from the fire, the Templar began to feel ill. He gasped for breath and his heart stopped little by little as he stared with horrified eyes at his own death…
The next morning the body of Nuño Alvear was found lying on the floor in front of the fireplace, dead. His companions found him with all his hair white and on his face a look of horror.
It is said that, since that day, the spirit of Nuño Alvear continues to wander through the castle, crying out for revenge for that unexpected visit that showed up at the castle and caused his doom.
The mysterious old woman was never seen or heard of again. She was Death.