The sun worship, ancient rites of fertility, the story of a hermit eager to depart from worldly life and the first echoes of the extension to Fisterra of the pilgrimage route to Compostela coexist in a place full of charm and mystery. At the top of Monte do Facho, in the middle of Cabo Fisterra and with magnificent views of the Corcubion estuary and the Monte Pindo are the remains of the hermitage of Saint Guillerme.
It has been over two centuries since the old building was demolished so its history is intermingled with the legend inviting the visitor to try to discern where the first one ends and the second begins. The walls guides us to the large stone that closes one of the sides of the enclosure and where you can see an anthropomorphic tomb and a large horizontal slab of stone that was the object of the sun worship (as shown by his engravings) and which also served as a stage for a fertility rite. According to tradition, sterile couples wishing to have children had to sleep there to achieve their dream.
As with many other spaces related to similar rites, the place was later Christianized, although there is no complete consensus on who was the hermit who settled there and gave it the name. Some people argue that it was William X, Duke of Aquitaine, a French nobleman who pilgrimed in the twelfth century to Compostela, the city where he died.
But there are also those who relate Guillerme of Fisterra to Saint Guillermo of Gellone, a gentleman who lived several centuries before and who, having participated in numerous military campaigns, changed his weapons for the monastic robes. According to an ancient song, during the conquest of Nimes by the Franks to the Saracens Guillermo of Gellone entered the city disguised as a merchant and with his men hidden in barrels. This story also links him with Fisterra, since in the town there is another legend about a wine barrel. That story collected in the sixteenth century by a Polish pilgrim in his daily travels through several European countries explains that a group of French gave the hermit of Fisterra a wine barrel, but that when he was ready to raise it to the mountain he was deceived by a demon and spilled the valued liquid.
What seems to be more agreement is that another hermit who later inhabited the hermitage was George Crissaphan. This Hungarian pilgrim arrived in Santiago in the 14th century and made his way to Fisterra after asking at the Compostela Cathedral for a solitary and secluded place. Although he would soon take its course after noticing that the influx of people was increasing.
Other testimonies collected over the centuries also prove the importance of the place. In some of them it is even said that there was not a single hermitage there, but three, and in others that the corpse of Saint William was buried there, but that during a Breton raid all the relics were removed.
Perhaps the answer to some of these unknowns is still hidden among the stones of a place that deserves to be visited. Do you sign up?