Church of the Saviour of Fervença – Celorico de Basto

Located on one of the slopes of the valley of the Esporão brook, the Church of the Saviour of Fervença was, in the 13th century, the centre of an inheritance conflict between a certain clergyman and Gil Vasques, a nobleman from Fervença, in which the former claimed the possession of the Church. This Church’s extensive heritage largely contributed to this conflict.

This and other conflicts were only solved by regal intervention, despite the weak presence of the crown – except for some royal fields, farmhouses, windrows and leases, the remaining assets were held by local or regional lords.

In the following century and in order to assist the works of the Monastery of Saint Claire of Vila do Conde, King D. Dinis donates the patronage of the Church of Fervença to his bastard son Afonso Sanches, on May 30th, 1318, annexing the Church to the aforementioned Monastery, which remained under this condition until the late 18th century.

Consecrated to the Saviour of the World, nowadays the Church of Fervença only preserves the chevet from the Romanesque period, while the remaining space has been subject to later adaptations or alterations. For example, the rebuilding of the nave was carried out during the transition from the third to the fourth quarter of the 20th century.

Despite the transformations it underwent, which changed its medieval plan, we should highlight the Romanesque apse, where several influences intertwine, some coming from the sculpture developed in the buildings erected during the same period along the left bank of the river Minho and others deriving from the Romanesque built along the Braga – Rates axis.

History

1220 – The abbot Mendo Dias and other witnesses stated before the “inquiridores” [inquisitors] that the Church of Fervença was not of royal patronage;

1258 – Fernando Pais testified before the royal “inquiridores” [inquisitors] that he was aware of certain irregularities regarding the Church’s ownership;

1320 – The Catalogue of Churches taxed to aid the Crusades refers Fervença as being patronaged by Saint Claire of Vila do Conde, paying a contribution of 80 Portuguese libras;

16th century – It is referred to as Sam Salvador dAbadesa of Fervença, with 70 residents;

1706 – Referred to as a vicarage, which yielded 120,000 réis [former Portuguese currency unit];

1758 – The parish of Fervença counted 338 dwellings and 995 inhabitants;

1970 – Reconstruction of the Church’s nave;

2010 – Integration of the Church of the Saviour of Fervença in the Route of the Romanesque.

Architecture and Furniture

Church of Romanesque origin, with a single nave, from which period and style only the two-flight rectangular chancel and the terminal crosses of the back wall gables of the apse and the main façade remain.

Outside, it is possible to observe the buttresses that support the load generated by the chevet’s barrel vault, which was already pointed. On the back wall, a narrow crevice is visible, much to the Romanesque taste. Still in the chevet, on the lateral façades, the cornices are sustained by corbels with geometric decorations, from which we highlight a cask, rolls or a composition made with volutes.

The current nave results from the reconstruction carried out in the 1970’s, which may have used part of the primitive Romanesque nave. In this space, the preponderance was given to the openings for lighting.

On the north side, adjoining the main façade, there is a bell tower, which was subject to an intervention in the 20th century, considering the reinforced concrete found in its crowning.

Inside, we highlight the vaulted chancel, with decorations that show an unusual plastic quality in the region: the triumphal arch’s capitals are decorated with vegetal and phytomorphic motifs, similar to the ones found in the Church of Saint Peter of Ferreira (Paços de Ferreira); the carpet-type tile that skirts the entire nave, recreating a characteristic 17th century typology and, finally, the composition related to the Ascension of Christ placed over the triumphal arch, in a clear allusion to the patron saint of the Church.

Regular guided visits

By appointment.

Opening times

Celebrations: Saturday – 4pm; Sunday – 8 am.

Building

Church of the Saviour of Fervença
Lugar do Assento, Fervença
Celorico de Basto
Portugal