Monastery of Saint Peter of Ferreira - Paços de Ferreira
The Church of the Monastery of Saint Peter of Ferreira is one of the most elaborate monuments of the Portuguese Romanesque.
The origins of this monastery are still surrounded in mystery, although it is prior to 1182, when the Church is explicitly referred and the current temple began to be built.
However, its origins are much older, presumably from the 10th century, as stated in the reference made to it in the will of Mumadona Dias, from 959.
Nothing remains from this period in the temple's construction, since the oldest elements are related to the original Romanesque church, built between the late 11th and early 12th century.
In the 13th century, between 1258 and 1293, the Monastery is integrated in the Order of the Clerics Regular, extinct in the 15th century, when it no longer belonged to the clergy and was transferred with the attached lands and property to the Chamber of the Bishop of Porto.
10th century – Foundation;
11th century – First Romanesque construction (lost);
12th-13th century – Second Romanesque construction (existing);
18 th century – Extending the nave’s crevices;
1930 – Repair works in the roofing structure, removing the floor, grave guides, excavating and tiling the nave and main chapel, laying interior steps in the portico, lateral doors and sacristy, disassembling the wood altars, excavating the parvis including the narthex, demolishing the belfry staircase;
1932 – Conclusion of the main chapel’s crevice, rebuilding two lateral windows in the central apse in masonry similar to the one existing in the axis of the same chapel;
1933 – Building the main altar in stone, repairing the roof;
1934 – Rebuilding the nave’s windows in masonry, partially rebuilding interior colonnettes, rebuilding the main chapel’s roof;
1940 – Excavating and removing dirt from
around the church, building and laying exterior chestnut doors, demolishing the annex attached to the North façade and building the sacristy, repairing the steps in the axial door, placing the corbels and tympanum, demolishing part of the narthex walls;
1941 – Repair works motivated by the damage caused by 1941’s cyclone;
1945/46 – Repairing the roof;
1950 – Restoring and repairing the roofing and doors;
1952 – General cleaning;
1966 – Conservation and electrifying procedures, placing furniture, placing pave ways by the façade and tiling in the parvis, several repairs and cleaning the roofing;
1982 – Covering repairs;
1986 – General conservation and repair works;
1989 – Covering repairs;
1994/95 – Repairing the main chapel covering, maintenance of the nave’s roof, electric installation and carpentry;
1999 – Conservation works;
2004/2005 – General conservation works within the Route of the Romanesque of the Sousa Valley project: covering, interior and exterior batters; conservation of the exterior spans and belfry.
Architecture and Furniture
Composed of a wood-covered nave, the Church of the Monastery has a vaulted transept organized in two flights; the first larger and higher, adopting a typical solution from the Romanesque of the High Minho.
Inside, Saint Peter of Ferreira's transept is polygonal, although semicircular on the outside.
It is two stories-high, the first featuring blind arcades and the second with an arcade projection alternated with crevices. Its main chapel is therefore relatively high and the body of the nave is even more so.
The transept's thoral arch is supported by projecting pilasters, embellished with socles, in an unusual solution in Portuguese Romanesque.
The main façade shows the portal inserted in a pentagonal body. The wide axial portal, with four columns on each side, is very well designed, showing a decorative treatment of great value.
Its decoration, extremely original in the panorama of Portuguese Romanesque, is made by a thoral cut in the arcades' extradorsum, accentuated by a wide opening.
This decoration, which has been compared to that of the Portal del Obispo of the Zamora Cathedral, displays visible differences.
The decorative pattern of Ferreira’s portal has another origin, much closer to the one in San Martín de Salamanca and closer still to the decorative solutions featured in the arcades of Seville's Almoad art from the second half of the 12th century.
There is a remarkable quality in the sculpture of the capitals in the lateral portals, some with lacing and animals and others with botanical decoration.
From the combination of these elements it is possible to state that this church, whose construction occurred between the early and the mid 13th century, simultaneously adopts models from the regional architecture of its time, from the Romanesque of the High Minho, Andalusia and even Castile.
This work’s architectonic unity and plastic rigor indicate that the temple was probably raised within a brief period of time, benefiting from exceptional technical, material and financial conditions in the context of the Romanesque work in Portugal – considering that the church's construction was carried out between 1180 and 1195.
In the Church of the Monastery there are traces of the presence of three masters: one from the Zamora, another from Coimbra and yet another with experience acquired in the workshops of the Sousa Valley.
The similarities with the Portal del Obispo of the Zamora Cathedral are striking, despite a few differences in the number of projections, in the decoration of the frames or in the hives cut (rope-like in that Spanish city whereas in Ferreira they are circular).
The portals from other churches in Zamora display circular hives as in Ferreira. This master demonstrates equally rigorous knowledge of the sculpture in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, prior to the work of Master Mateus.
The West portal’s capitals are seen as made according to rigorous Compostela design.
The transept should equally be attributed to the master from León, in spite of collaborations with artists from Coimbra.
In the final quarter of the 12th century, Master Soeiro Anes moved to Porto.
The nave is an element to be stressed for its unusual height. This is the reason why it was supported by buttresses on the outside and adjacent columns on the inside.
The lateral façades are topped by a cornice formed by small arches laid in corbels.
In front of the main façade, this Church preserves the ruins of an ante-church or galilee of burial purpose, an excellent and rare testimony of this type of construction, present in many Romanesque churches.
This element corresponds to a space reserved for burial and funerary rituals.
From the entire monastic complex of Saint Peter of Ferreira only the Church remains, since the monastic quarters disappeared or suffered deep transformation.
- Composed of a wood-covered nave, the Church of the Monastery has a vaulted transept organized in two flights; the first larger and higher, adopting a typical solution from the Romanesque of the High Minho.
Regular guided visits
Monastery of Saint Peter of Ferreira
Avenida Mosteiro de Ferreira
Paços de Ferreira
Celebrations: Sunday: 10.30 am; Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: 8 pm.
Monastery of Saint Peter of Ferreira - Paços de Ferreira