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Ecclesiastics and political state building in the Iberian monarchies, 13th-15th centuries

 | 
Hermínia Vasconcelos Vilar
, 
Maria João Branco

Part II - A Power among Powers

The clergymen of Oporto in some documents of the registry of the cathedral chapter

Ricardo Seabra

Note de l’auteur

This paper was supported by FEDER through the COMPETE Programme and by National Funds through the FCT in the scope project “DEGRUPE – The European Dimension of a Group of Power: Ecclesiastics and the Political State Building of the Iberian Monarchies (13th-15th centuries)”, with the FCT reference “PTDC/EPH-HIS/4964/2012”

Texte intégral

1This communication aims to present some brief notes about clergymen based on documentation in the registry of the cathedral chapter of Oporto, mainly from its members’ viewpoint. This ongoing work is part of the project DEGRUPE: The European Dimension of a Group of Power: Ecclesiastics and the political State Building of the Iberian Monarchies (13th-15th centuries), (PTDC/EPH-HIS/4964/2012), which is composed by a larger number of researchers. Since the aim of this project is to reassess the role and the importance of the ecclesiastics in the construction of a space for its social mobility and for the circulation of cultural and political models, it wishes to study the contribution of such an elite of power for the affirmation of the Iberian Monarchies in Portugal, Castile and Aragon for the centuries above mentioned.

2The study aims particularly the members of the secular clergy and their relationship with the king, thus, we started by an exhaustive survey of the cathedral chapter sources that we hoped would enable us with a better understanding of these individuals. Therefore, we are exclusively using primary sources, either published or unpublished, namely the so called Livros dos Originais, which are in deposit at Arquivo Distrital do Porto, as well as some information from the royal chanceries. It involves about three hundred documents that correspond to around 11% of the documents studied till now on this project.

3Our chronological approach is similar to that proposed by the project, although focusing at the turn of the XIV to the XV centuries. The relevance given to this period derives from the city’s own history: namely, its growth, caused by its strong commercial and maritime role, as well as the transition of its jurisdiction from the bishop to the king.

1. Oporto’s history

  • 1 Sousa, Armindo - “Os tempos medievais”. História do Porto, Ramos, Luís Oliveira (dir.). Porto: Por (...)

4From the small and colorless wall at the top of Penaventosa, in XII century, to the need to build a city wall that would enlarge the city’s size by a factor of 12 or 13, at the first quarter of the XIV century, the history of the city of Oporto is marked by quarrels and fights between bourgeois and Episcopal power1. It occurs almost constantly between the XIII and the XIV centuries, even causing the city interdiction and excommunication. The worsening of the climate of tension allowed the King to intrude successively on legal and administrative affairs of the city. The combination of these conditions led to the city being more and more released from Episcopal power and to the growth of the influence of the King, the latter through the city council.

  • 2 Gonçalves, Iria – Um Olhar sobre a Cidade Medieval. Cascais: Patrimonia Historica, 1996, p. 145.

5Nevertheless, the town was always used for the commercialization of surplus production, as well as an arrival/departing center for Portuguese and foreigner goods, congregating several commercial opportunities that supported fishing, shipbuilding, and crafts2.

  • 3 Cruz, António – "Os bispos senhores da cidade: II - De D. Pedro Salvadores a D. Vasco Martins". In (...)
  • 4 Cunha, Maria Cristina Almeida e Silva, Maria João Oliveira e – "Il clero della diocesi di Porto nel (...)
  • 5 Arquivo distrital do Porto [ADP], Cartório do Cabido, Livro dos Originais, L. 1662, fl. 2.
  • 6 Censual do Cabido da Sé do Porto. Porto: Porto Imprensa Portuguesa, 1924, pp. 418-424.
  • 7 Vilar, Hermínia Vasconcelos; Branco, Marta Castelo – "Servir, governer et leguer: L’évêque Geraldo (...)
  • 8 ADP, Cartório do Cabido, Livro dos Originais, L. 1683, fl. 9.
  • 9 ADP, Cartório do Cabido, Livro dos Originais, L. 1664, fl. 41.

6Since the XII century, from around D. Fernando Martins episcopate (1176-1185), the city’s relationship with the King was often turbulent and tense. Several quarrels between the bishop and the king, not only on economic and religious matters, but mostly about political and administrative issues, led to a growth of the production of documents, mainly on property rights, inquiries, judge appointments, and the definition of patronage rights3. However, we came across some signs of pacific and friendly relations, for example, the donation by D. Afonso III (1245-1278) to D. Vicente Mendes (1260-96)4 of the churches of São Cristóvão de Cabanões and of Santa Maria do Lamegal5. In 1296, the above mentioned bishop asked king D. Dinis (1279-1325) to protect the executors of his will, sending the king a ruby ring as a sign of friendship6, which could indicate a greater closeness between them. We recall the government policy of royal centralization that this king implemented, that found in D. Geraldo Domingues (1300-1308)7, bishop of Oporto, and later bishop of Évora (1314-1321), a staunch supporter. That support has been rewarded with the donation of Monastery of Canedo8 and the royal order that forbade the usurpation of Episcopal rents9, among other examples.

  • 10 Coelho, Maria Helena da Cruz; Saraiva, Anísio Miguel de Sousa – "D. Vasco Martins,vescovo di Oporto (...)
  • 11 The relationship between the king and the bishop was marked by constant confrontation and political (...)
  • 12 Chancelarias portuguesas D. Afonso IV. Lisboa: Instituto Nacional de Investigação Científica, Centr (...)
  • 13 ADP, Cartório do Cabido, Livro dos Originais, L. 1659, fl. 66-77.

7However, most of the documents present a confrontational tone and reveal lack of political understanding. D. Vasco Martins10, nephew of D. Geraldo Domingues, a clergyman of the king between 1317 and 1320, and later bishop of Oporto (1327-1342), goes through a very troubled relationship with king D. Afonso IV11 (1325-1357), and it was just after taking part in the Battle of Salado (1339) that his farms in the terms of Santarém and Lisbon12, and the cautum of Crestuma, in Feira, and Paranhos, in Maia13, were confirmed.

  • 14 Pimenta, Maria Cristina – D. Pedro I. Mem Martins: Círculo de Leitores, 2006, p.127.

8In the second half of the XIVth century the Church had no relevant friction, neither with D. Pedro I (1357-1367), nor with D. Fernando (1367-1383). Actually, one can find examples in their governments of unequivocal benefit to clergy, this is also another process to guarantee fidelity and, thus, another approach to govern while keeping the lines of action that the king had decided to set 14.

2. The documents

9The documentation used for this work was produced both by the Episcopal chancery and by the Crown. Therefore, we are looking at several agents of writing which, although under different requests, have the same objective: The production of written documents. Among them are episcopus tabellio, notarius, scriptor iurati episcopi and publicus tabellio.

  • 15 Silva, Maria João Oliveira e – Scriptores et Notatores: A Produção Documental da Sé do Porto 1113- (...)
  • 16 IdemA Escrita na Catedral: A Chancelaria Episcopal do Porto na Idade Média (Estudo Diplomático e (...)

10During all the XII century and the first half of the XIII century, the notaries of the Episcopal chancery were clergymen (notarius clericus) and most of them had larger orders, mostly the diaconate or the presbyterate15. The expressions tabellio episcopi or tabellio in curia episcopi are found just till 1265, when they are replaced by the designation “notary”, and later by “scribe”, which becomes the most usual one. During D. Vicente Mendes episcopate (1260-96) one can find a greater concentration of notarii publicii, both at the curia and at the city, that extend their action range to the town. This is related to the ambition of the above mentioned bishop to reaffirm the title of ecclesiastical and civil lord of the city, through the entitlement of his scribes16. At the Episcopal Curia of Oporto, between 1300 and 1320, the terminology used by the scribes of the chancery gradually loses the adjective “publicus”, and “iuratus” becomes more and more usual.

  • 17 Nogueira, Bernardo de Sá – Tabelionado e Instrumento Público em Portugal: Génese e Implantação: (12 (...)

11Concerning the creation of publicus tabellio at the city of Oporto, it is not yet known whether it was an Episcopal initiative, supported by the letter of cautum of 1120 that was given by countess D. Teresa to bishop D. Hugo, or if it was a Royal initiative, created ex novo by the king, although the bishop was responsible for the provision of office as the lord of the civil jurisdiction of the city17. The first reference to a notary public of Oporto is from 1242.

12What concerns the typology of the 300 documents that were used in this research, the ones which stand out are the public forms, donations mortis causa (both from canons and from particulars to the cathedral chapter), and sales (from particulars to the cathedral chapter).

  • 18 “Emprazamentos” are tenancy/emphyteusis contracts. These type of contracts of transfer and usufruct (...)

13It is during D. João I reign (1385-1433) that a turn on the politics and administration of the town occurs, when the ownership of the city moves from the bishop to the king, in 1406. We studied about one hundred and fifty documents for this period, among which stand out the “emprazamentos”18 and donations, not only relating to the bishop and some private people, but mainly to canons.

  • 19 The exact same thing happens at other chapter institutions. For exemple the case of Braga, Maciel, (...)
  • 20 Censual do Cabido da Sé do Porto, pp. 215-216.
  • 21 Ibidem, pp. 218-220.

14Naturally, the registry of the cathedral chapter of Oporto is rich in information about Oporto cannons, not only on property matters but also on security and on the insistence with which they claim their rights, devoting careful attention to the defense and safeguarding of their privileges and property, namely to their land assets and to church patronage19. With a deep knowledge of the legal roles, and thus well prepared to defend their rights, they usually appeal to the King whenever they don’t get a favorable sentence in the first instance. It is mainly in this role that we come across information about them and their relationship with the king, although circumstantially we find them performing judicial functions, as Abril Pires, canon of Porto and abbot of Cedofeita, to whom D. Dinis gives power to act as judge in a demand between a private person and the abbot of Sanfins20, or Mestre Domingues, treasurer of the See and ouvidor dos feitos of the bishop of Oporto, who asks the same monarch to draw a sentence on the patronage right of this exact same church21.

  • 22 Such as in the city of Braga, where the abuse of assets and rents of the church or monastery kept g (...)
  • 23 ADP, Cartório do Cabido, Livro dos Originais, L. 1685, fl. 9-9v e 10-10v.

15Since the right of patronage stood for the successors of the founder, the number of benefiters grew, and that sometimes caused problems in the choice of the priest to present to the bishop. References to this sort of rights22 are repeatedly found in the documentation, usually donations mortis causa to the Churches of Santa Maria de Campanhã, Santo André de Canidelo, and São Cosme de Gondomar, not only to the bishop but also to the cathedral chapter, and a barter between D. João da Azambuja, bishop of Oporto (1391-1398), and Afonso Martins, dean, and the cathedral chapter of the see of Oporto concerning the patronage of Santiago de Lobão in exchange of that of Santo Tirso de Meinedo, among other properties23.

  • 24 ADP, Cartório do Cabido, Livro dos Originais, L. 1678, fl. 28.
  • 25 ADP, Cartório do Cabido, Livro dos Originais, L. 1686, fl. 6.
  • 26 Morujão, Maria do Rosário - Testamenta Ecclesiae Portugaliae: 1071-1325. Lisboa: Centro de Estudos (...)
  • 27 idem, ibidem, pp. 568-574.

16The wills are other documents that can have information, not only about property, but also on economic and financial power of these people. About ten wills refer to property left by canons from Oporto to several churches (aiming the salvation of their souls and the remission of their sins), to their family and to other members of the cathedral chapter of the see. Just the existence of the will is an indication of their economic capacity, often referring their homesteads, houses, farms or vineyards, and their more or less exact location. The will of Pedro Eanes, abbot of Ferreira and canon of the See, is an exception since it only refers to money in currency, with no reference to any owned property24. On the other hand, the will of D. Pedro Peres, canon of Oporto, is rich on this kind of information: some houses in Oporto, others at Estrebaria, a vineyard at Cedofeita, and a rural property at Barrho [sic], all left to Afonso Miguéis, his executor, with the obligation to recover the money his nephews João and Gil Eanes owed to him, respectively 855 and 300 pounds25. Abril Pires, who has already been mentioned, also owned homesteads at Fajozes, Ávidos and at Santa Maria de Abade, in Vermoim, and he orders that his houses are sold to pay for his debts, although he doesn’t specify their location26. D. Vicente Domingues, chanter of the See of Oporto, bequeaths a house at Ribeira, another at Fonte Taurina, a land in Luzezares, at Devessa, and a hut27.

17We hope this research adds to a better understanding of the clergymen of Oporto between the XIII and the XV centuries. The majority of the documents point to the cathedral chapter acting in group, taking sides sometimes with the bishop, other times taking sides with the King. The references in the documents of individual action by the canons of Oporto are rare. The documents kept at the Registry of the cathedral chapter don’t demonstrate its power or proximity to the king, but they reveal the management capacity of these men dealing with rents, problems caused by ownership of property, conflicts with other lords, agreements or quarrels with the bishop.

Notes

1 Sousa, Armindo - “Os tempos medievais”. História do Porto, Ramos, Luís Oliveira (dir.). Porto: Porto Editora, 2000, pp. 124 e 239.

2 Gonçalves, Iria – Um Olhar sobre a Cidade Medieval. Cascais: Patrimonia Historica, 1996, p. 145.

3 Cruz, António – "Os bispos senhores da cidade: II - De D. Pedro Salvadores a D. Vasco Martins". In Basto, Artur de Magalhães (dir.), História da Cidade do Porto, vol. I. s.l.: Portucalense Editora, s.d. p. 230.

4 Cunha, Maria Cristina Almeida e Silva, Maria João Oliveira e – "Il clero della diocesi di Porto nell’Europa del Medioevo". In A Igreja e o Clero Português no Contexto Europeu. Lisboa: Centro de Estudos de História Religiosa, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, 2005, pp.47-65.

5 Arquivo distrital do Porto [ADP], Cartório do Cabido, Livro dos Originais, L. 1662, fl. 2.

6 Censual do Cabido da Sé do Porto. Porto: Porto Imprensa Portuguesa, 1924, pp. 418-424.

7 Vilar, Hermínia Vasconcelos; Branco, Marta Castelo – "Servir, governer et leguer: L’évêque Geraldo Domingues (1285-1321)". In A Igreja e o Clero Português..., pp. 95-119.

8 ADP, Cartório do Cabido, Livro dos Originais, L. 1683, fl. 9.

9 ADP, Cartório do Cabido, Livro dos Originais, L. 1664, fl. 41.

10 Coelho, Maria Helena da Cruz; Saraiva, Anísio Miguel de Sousa – "D. Vasco Martins,vescovo di Oporto e di Lisbona: una carriera tra Portogallo ed Avignone durante la prima metà del trecento". In A Igreja e o Clero Português ..., pp.119-139.

11 The relationship between the king and the bishop was marked by constant confrontation and political disagreement: the conflict over the election of judges for criminal and civil deeds plus the order of housing construction in Hortas that were destined to the Armazém régio and the inns that the bishop considered that were situated in the limits of his cautum. The monarc is also determinant for the granting of the weights and measures of the town to the city’s council, and orders the inquisition on the episcopal cautum’s limits. Vd. Cruz, António – "Os bispos senhores da cidade"; Marques, José – "D. Afonso IV e as jurisdições senhoriais". In Actas das II Jornadas Luso-Espanholas de História Medieval, 1.ª edição, IV vol. Porto: Instituto Nacional de Investigação Científica, 1990, pp.1526-1566; Miranda, Flávio – "A cidade dos mercadores. Da luta pelo poder civil às guerras fernandinas". In História do Porto, vol. III. Matosinhos: QuidNovi, 2010, pp. ; Sousa, Armindo - "Os tempos medievais…".

12 Chancelarias portuguesas D. Afonso IV. Lisboa: Instituto Nacional de Investigação Científica, Centro de Estudos Históricos da Universidade de Lisboa, 1990-1992. Vol II, pp.257-258

13 ADP, Cartório do Cabido, Livro dos Originais, L. 1659, fl. 66-77.

14 Pimenta, Maria Cristina – D. Pedro I. Mem Martins: Círculo de Leitores, 2006, p.127.

15 Silva, Maria João Oliveira e – Scriptores et Notatores: A Produção Documental da Sé do Porto 1113- 1247. Porto: Fio da Palavra, 2008, p.117.

16 IdemA Escrita na Catedral: A Chancelaria Episcopal do Porto na Idade Média (Estudo Diplomático e Paleográfico). Porto: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto, 2010, pp.101-102.

17 Nogueira, Bernardo de Sá – Tabelionado e Instrumento Público em Portugal: Génese e Implantação: (1212-1279). Lisboa: Imprensa Nacional Casa da Moeda, 2008, pp. 312-313.

18 “Emprazamentos” are tenancy/emphyteusis contracts. These type of contracts of transfer and usufruct of property can be taken on three forms: “emprazamento” (temporary concession contracts), “aforamento” (perpetual and hereditary concession contracts), and “arrendamento” (lease contacts for only a few years).

19 The exact same thing happens at other chapter institutions. For exemple the case of Braga, Maciel, Justiniana – O Cabido de Braga no Tempo de D. Dinis (1278-1325). Cascais: Patrimonia Historica, 2003, p.107.

20 Censual do Cabido da Sé do Porto, pp. 215-216.

21 Ibidem, pp. 218-220.

22 Such as in the city of Braga, where the abuse of assets and rents of the church or monastery kept growing, in the form of rights of “aposentadoria” and prandium. To be a patron of a church was attractive and rentable, which explains the increase in the number of churches of their patronage, as well as the appearance of disputes as consequence of abuses and usurpations. Maciel, Justiniana – O Cabido de Braga, p.135.

23 ADP, Cartório do Cabido, Livro dos Originais, L. 1685, fl. 9-9v e 10-10v.

24 ADP, Cartório do Cabido, Livro dos Originais, L. 1678, fl. 28.

25 ADP, Cartório do Cabido, Livro dos Originais, L. 1686, fl. 6.

26 Morujão, Maria do Rosário - Testamenta Ecclesiae Portugaliae: 1071-1325. Lisboa: Centro de Estudos de História Religiosa, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, 2010, pp. 548-552.

27 idem, ibidem, pp. 568-574.

Auteur

Has got his master degree in History from the Faculty of the University of Porto in 2010, and MA in Medieval and Renaissance the same institution (2012). It was fellow initiation research (FCT) in the project "Sources for the History of the Port: The Books of Original of Port Se Cabildo (Study and Edition).", During the academic year 2009/10 Between 2013 and 2015 was fellow of DEGRUPE project ("European dimensions of a group of power: the clergy in the political construction of the Peninsular monarchies (secs XIII-XV), the Interdisciplinary History Center, Cultures and Societies, University of Évora Researcher Transdisciplinary Research Centre Culture, Space and Memory, University of Porto since 2009, and currently is a PhD fellow, doing a thesis on the royal tabelionado in Oporto and its terms during the fifteenth century

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