Corporate Body - Colegiata de Santa María de Arbas del Puerto (Villamanín, León, España)

Colegiata de Santa María de Arbas del Puerto (Villamanín, León, España)



Corporate Body

Preferred form:

Colegiata de Santa María de Arbas del Puerto (Villamanín, León, España)Other forms

Fechas de Existencia:

from 1116 to 1835


The collegiate church of Santa María de Arbas del Puerto (Villamanín, León, Spain) was created by means of the Count Fruela Díaz and his wife Estefanía. They both had many properties all over the region. Around 1116, they wanted to found a refuge or hospital for the migrants that travelled from the Meseta to Oviedo to visit its Cathedral, whose Holy Chamber was full of relics. Thus, they could rest as well as be sheltered and protected during their trip. These travelers very often continued the Camino de Santiago (St. James' Way) from Oviedo. This type of shelter-refuge proliferated where the walkers needed to be sheltered in isolated and remote places. The hospital and the little chapel were built near a natural spring of the Bernesga river. In the locality of Arbás del Puerto, there was a monastic community of Canons Regular of St. Augustine that already had their little church. The Counts wanted these figures to create a hospital, which was much needed. Thus, they gave to the abbot Sancho the closest hill, which belonged to them. The abbey had always had the privilege of being independent from the Archbishopric of Oviedo. This was the main reason of their arguments until the 19th century, when the parish priests of Casares and Cubillas declared themselves in rebellion and stopped recognizing the abbot's authorization. Despite being a poor and rough building and basically used to keep the community's cattle, it was important because it gave lodging not only to the travelers but also to the poor. It was also known as the "Casa de los pobres" (House of the poor); Alfonso IX of Leon, who lodged in Arbás during his many trips to Asturias, gave money to the abbey. In 1216, he ordered the construction of the new church of Nuestra Señora de Santa María de Arbás near the shelter. In 1419, the abbey's canonical secularization took place as a consequence of the general relaxation of St. Augustine's rule. In 1582, the King Philip II relieved the abbey of the jurisdictional rights, which were sold to the Council. Some time later, the abbot recovered them. The monastic decline started; it increased with the appearance of the Absenteeism (the abbots did not sleep in the enclosed monasteries and governed them from other places) and the awful administration of benefits. In 1693, the tower's construction ended. It was connected to the church's floor, where the choir was placed, and it was created to be used as a portico. In 1723, the "Casa del Abad" (House of the Abbot), which matches with the current residence of the officiating priests in the zone. Medizábal's disentailment of 1835 ended with canonical's life.


Durante la guerra civil española, la iglesia fue saqueada, siendo la imagen original de la Virgen pasto de las llamas en el año 1936, y siendo sustituida por una copia. La imagen original forma parte de las reliquias de San Isidoro de León.


(Function) He/She carries out/ perform:

Administración del patrimonio monástico


(Function) He/She carries out/ perform:

Administración del patrimonio monástico

Mandates/Legal Sources


Real Decreto de 11 de octubre de 1835 suprimiendo los monacales. Gaceta de Madrid núm. 292, de 14 de octubre de 1835, página 1157.


RODRÍGUEZ MONTAÑÉS, José Manuel. Enciclopedia del Románico en Castilla y León. León. Aguilar de Campoo: Fundación de Santa María la Real. Centro de Estudios del Románico. 2002.

Código PARES: ES.28079.AHN/

ENRÍQUEZ DE SALAMANCA, Cayetano. Rutas del románico en la provincia de León. El autor, Las Rozas, Madrid. 1990

Related Authorities

Canónigos Regulares de San Agustín  ( He/She is a member of )

Associative relations :