Ruins of the Sahagún Monastery


In the year 936, Villafáfila already appears, with its own name, in the sale made by some “pressors” to the Monastery of Sahagún.

“Et ego Alarico et uxor mea Fradegundia vendo bobis IIª pausetas in Lamprea cun suis puteis es suos eiratos cun suos terms 1st pauseta an Lucuna Maiore an terminun de Abiza est de Pinniolo et Villa Fafila et termino de Atanarico” [1 ] . (And I Alarico and my wife Fradegundia sell to you II salt mines, in Lamprea, with its wells and threshing floors, with its terms: Iª Salina to the Greater Lagoon, at the end of Abiza and Piniolo and Villa Fáfila and the end of Atanarico ).

The previous document is of great importance because it not only mentions Villafáfila, but also the Laguna Mayor (the current Laguna Salina Grande) and something as important as the form of exploitation of the “ pausatas” : “wells and eras” , as We currently see it in any salt mine.

In addition to this sale of “pausatas” the aforementioned monastery takes place, between 930-937, other purchases. They are all found:

“in Lampreana in locum quem dictum Lacuna Moiore” (in Lampreana in the place that says Laguna Mayor).

Grande Salina Lagoon “Lucuna Maiore”



Since the 10th century, the royal ownership of some salt mines has been documented. In the year 945, King Ramiro II donated the villas of San Martín and Villa Travessa and twelve pausetas “cum suis adiacenzis ” to the monastery of Sahagún, that is, with all their accessories. , in exchange for three mills in Olivares. Although the document appears to be false, these villas must have been donated at some time to the Cea monastery.

Shortly thereafter, in 951, Ordoño III granted the Leonese monastery the mountains of Montenegro that should have been the crown's heritage, so that they could use them to obtain firewood for their Lampreana breaks.

Ordoño III, according to a medieval miniature from the Cathedral of León


Almost a century later, Ferdinand I granted Villa Travessa, along with a meadow, a salt mine, “ipsa salina ruviosella” , and a mountain range, so the old donation must not have taken effect or had been revoked. We know that in 1073 Lampreana belonged to Alfonso VI:

“que ad partem regis pertinent, tam de portatico quam de salinis ipsius ipsa uilla de nostro regali”, that is, the town that was royal, and the king also owned the salt port, in addition to its salt mines own: “quod antecessores mei possederunt in uilla que dicitur Lampreana .” Within the town his neighbors were subject to the feudal rents that belonged to the king, in addition to owning houses and estates, since in the donation he added “unum hominem quem decimus excusatum... cum suo solare e sua hereditate” [ 2] .



The Sahagún monastery, founded at the end of the 9th century on the banks of the Cea, experienced rapid territorial expansion in the 10th century.

In the Lampreana area there is a systematic policy of almost serial acquisitions of land and salt mines.

Thus in the year 930 we have news of the first donation and in the period 930-937 it acquired 17 and a half inns, 2 and 1/2 vineyards, 1 land and a court with three houses, land and herreñal and previously they had a term called “ de Frates”, next to which they bought several possessions, which included the church of Santo Martino. (Possibly the church of Otero de Sariegos).

Ruins of the Sahagún Monastery



It appears for the first time in 1155 as one of the limits of Villafáfila:

“Habet enim iacencian supranominata uilla inter Oter de Frades et Fortunola et Terrones” ,

We know that he is different from Otero de Sariegos because that same year he is mentioned with the nickname Serigo.

In 1183 it was inhabited, since a Domnus Perugius capellanus of Oter de Frades confirms a document of distribution of Maguetes between the monasteries of Moreruela and Sahagún.

In 1201 we know that it belonged to the monastery of Sahagún, hence its name, and that it was in the process of depopulation or already depopulated, since in the lease that the abbot made that year he made it a condition for the tenant to rebuild the church and make the houses: " “you must, insuper, ecclesiam reedificare, domos facere…” , probably due to the transfer of its population to Villafáfila during the process of organizing the town to settle in the collation of the church of San Miguel that belonged to Sahagún.

Regarding its location, there are two possibilities: that it was located in the place name Torrefrades in the municipality of Revellinos, but there are no traces of settlement, or in the Teso de los Plateros, next to the San Fagunde meadow in Villafáfila, where there are remains of a medieval necropolis, in addition, until the 16th century, the municipality of San Fagunde was located in that area, integrated into those of Villafáfila, but with its own boundaries that even gave its name to the part of the Salina Grande located in its surroundings, which was called San Fagunde Saltworks. In this term, known as termino de frates since the 10th century, was where the monastery had its salt mines and possessions.

Medieval map of the surroundings of the Villafáfila Lagoons, location of Oter de Frates nº 28 and Sancto Martín (Santo Martino – Otero de Sariegos) nº3



It appears documented in the year 930 and 934 and in the apocryphal document of 945. It was located in Lampreana, near Villa Travessa, with which it was joined by a carrale and next to the “termino vestro de frates” of the monks of Sahagún, which From other documents we know that it was near the Salina Grande. This village could correspond to Otero de Sariegos, whose church is dedicated to San Martín, in the same way the only church located within the medieval fence of Villafáfila had this dedication. We could also place it in one of the plots, bordering the San Fagunde meadow, where medieval remains appear.

The church already belonged to the Sahagún monastery in 934:

“vestra church of Sancto Martino in Lampreana” ,

that perhaps they had built it at their expense in the previous years or we could venture as a hypothesis that the origin of the hagiotoponym must have been a monastic establishment or an ancient church, perhaps to which the Mozarabic or better late Visigoth capital that serves as a baptismal font in the current church of Otero de Sariegos.

Mozarabic capital of the church of Otero de Sariegos


7 donations are documented, three of them real (although one possibly falsified). Also eight purchases and a donation of pauses or vineyards within whose limits the “ term de frates ” appears, so the policy of concentration of properties around La Salina Grande and Villa Travessa is clearly seen. This village, along with that of San Martín, appears in a donation that Ramiro II, together with 12 pauses, makes to them, although it seems that the document is a forgery made around the year 1100:

“concederemus ibiden deserbiendum Sancti Martini et Villa Travessa et duodezi posatas cum suis adiacenzis unde nobis ex inde portatico non deincep omnis ipse populus qui in ipsa villa avitant” .

Mínguez maintains that these villas could have been donated to the monastery at some time; But the truth is that these acts have been completely redone in order to expand the privileges and aggravate the subjection of the inhabitants of these towns [3] , and the number of twelve pausetas that they receive from the king seems to correspond to the number of them. which appears in the title that appears on the calf of the acquisitions they made between 930-937:

“sale of Lampreana pauses of duodecim homines” , which could have served as a reference for the forger.

Reviewing the previous and subsequent documentation we see that at least the church of San Martino already belonged to the monastery since 934 “iuxta eclesia vestra de Sancto Martino in Lampreana” [4] , however, Villa Travessa seems to have been donated by Ferdinand I, in a context of restitution of the “honores et portaticos de sale” assets of Sahagún that had been taken by Count Fernando Muñiz, lieutenant of Campo de Toro and Zamora. In the preamble of this letter or “ testamentum ” it is related that, when the king was in the monastery of Sahagún to pray, they showed him and made him read the friars “testament” made by his predecessors, kings Alfonso V and Bermudo III, and of the “princeps domnus Ranimirus” , and he knew that the letters were true and legitimate, so he wrote them a restoration document, so that from now on they would not harm his property and he added Villa Travessa to their service:

“inquietationem in omnes vestras pausetas, neque in vestras cabannas, uel in omnes uillas de Lampredana seu de Campos…et adhuc adicimus ad seruiendum ibi Uilla Trauessa…et prato et serna”,

adding the exemption from own jurisdiction that already appeared in the document of 945:

“Et non permittimus qui uobis ibidem disturbanceacionem faciat nec inmodice, non episcopus, non come, neque rex qui post nos sucesserint in regno . ”

The possession of Villa Travessa did not last long for the monastery because in 1060 it was exchanged again to King Ferdinand II in exchange for Villela, which was closer to Sahagún.


It is documented for the first time in 930 and its last known mention is from 1060. Its name may be due, like many others from Tierra de Campos, to the anthroponym Travessa, or to having a specific location or its term being “across” , or well has the meaning of mischievous:

“stopping of boards or stones and earth to divert or contain irrigation water.”

Between 930 and 937 the Sahagún monastery acquired two and a half vineyards there. One road connected it with Sancto Martino and another with Lacuna Maiore.

In 945 Ramiro II donated this town to the Sahagún monastery and it is said that “it is located in the territory of Lampreana” . Mínguez affirms that this donation document is a forgery from the 11th century, and considers that this villa could have been donated to the monastery at some point.

It was in 1049 when Ferdinand I donated Villa Travessa to the aforementioned monastery with express mention of its terms:

“Et adhuc adicimus ad seruiendum ibi Uilla Trauessa, in loco Salina, in Lampreana et prado et serna per suis terminis: de termino de Recesco; of Coressis et de illas Fontes et figen in posteros in termino of Domnos Sanctos” .

From what it can be deduced that it was near the Salina, it bordered the village of Coreses and was close to the area that the friars of Sahagún already owned (Domnos Sanctos refers to San Facundo and San Primitivo, dedication to the Leonese monastery).

Eleven years later in 1060 he returned to the royal estate through an exchange with the same monarch in exchange for Uillela, close to the monastery.

In addition to the above, there is another document from 962 that probably refers to this village with a variation in nomenclature. This is the delimitation of a property that Fortunio García donates to Sahagún:

 “terra in Lampreana territory, partly orientis termini of illas salinas and partly northern terminum of frates of Sancto Facundo and partly western termini of homines of Villa Abtracies…” ,

which could well be a variant or incorrect transcription of Villa ab Travies.

From these data we can assume that Villa Travessa was located near Salina Grande, San Martín and Coreses, possibly to the west of the salt flats. In my opinion it would be located near the Raya between Villarrín and Villafáfila, to the west of the road that connects these towns and could correspond to the minor place name “La Tabla” (different from the old railway station), where medieval ceramic remains are found. .

Medieval map of the surroundings of the Villafáfila Lagoons, location of Villa Traviesa nº2 and Sancto Martino (Otero de Sariegos) nº3


At the end of the century in 1084 they received from Flonilde Gutiérrez:

 “in Lampreana in villa que vocitant VillaRegi meam porcionem cum suas salinas” donation confirmed by his grandson Pelayo Vermúdez in 1104.

In 1106 Martín Froílaz donated:

“in terra de Lampredana, Molldes, meam porcionem” [5] .

Other properties outside the territory of Lampreana, but in close relationship with those who owned it, were those acquired by the monastery on the banks of the Esla between Bretó and Moreruela. Thus the donation of Matilla, Montenegro and the Juan Corva pelago by King Ordoño III in 951 is linked to the Lampreana pauses “Simili moda adicimus vobis ibidem deserviendum ad illas vestras pausetas of Lampreana illo monte Megro y amnis Estula cum suo Pelago which was said by Joanes Curbo” and Matilla, probably to use the firewood from these mountains in the manufacture of salt, since in addition to these mountains, he added the donation of the Magretes mountain, which he specifies is for grazing his flocks. or any other use they want to give it “ad pastum pecoribus vestris vel ad operandum quidquid vobis necessarium fuerit”. Twenty years later they bought another mountain in the same place of Magretes, in the current area of ​​Bretó (Las Maragatas) and “Zacarias confirmed abidante in Lampriana conparavi illum montem” . In the confirmation of a donation of land in Villaveza, “frate Belit in Lanpreana avitante” appears [6] .

The mention of these friars who lived in Lampreana may lead us to think that they would be in charge of the administration of the Sahagún estate in the region, which, in addition to the real estate: churches, vineyards, land, salt mines, would be made up of herds of cattle settled in Lampreana, to take advantage of those pastures, since it was more difficult to bring them from the vicinity of the monastery to graze in the mountains next to the Esla, unless there were nearby administrators.





Previous owner             





Saint Martin 

Lupi pbs

pro remedy anime mee



1/2 vineyard

Villa Travessa

Senda and two children

pro animas nostras



2 breaks

Lacuna M. Campo


5 solids and 6 modios of wheat



1 cut

Saint Martino

Sesnando and his prb son

1 lambskin and 3 f. sumacs



3 breaks

Lacuna and Field

Gudesteo and Teton 

Saia carmez and mat



1 pause



20 silver



2 breaks

Lacuna M. Campo

Alarigo et Fredegundia

3 silver solids



3 breaks

Laguna, Campo and Coreses


15 solids and 2 silvers



1 pause

Lacuna Maiore

Piniolus et uxor Sesildi

20 silver



1/2 pause



11 argenteos 1/2



2 breaks

Lacuna Maiore

Sando et uxor Gontilli

1 donkey and 5 silver earrings



1 vineyard

Villa Travessa

Funny and two children

2 solids



1 vineyard

Villa Travessa

Maria and two daughters

4 silver solids



2 breaks

Lacuna, Field


6 solids and 1/2



1 pause

Lacuna Maiore

Almundar et Auria,

5 silver solids



2 villages and 12 pauses


Ramiro II

donation (Falsified)





Ordoño III




1 land


Fortunio Garcia






Maria and Basilia

20 solid silver



Village, mountain range and meadow

Villa Travessa

Ferdinand I






Flonilde and Pelayo Vermudez






Martin Froilaz Ovequiz




From Sahagún's heritage is the Madornil pause in 964, in which the abbot sold it to Ansur, butler, for the price of a silver solid, a price that seems symbolic due to its smallness compared to its real value, and that would serve to compensate other favors.

Map of land concentration of Villafáfila, polygon 9, plot 841


Perhaps in ancient times this lagoon was called Matronille, based on the following reference:


It is cited in 964 as the name of a salt mine in Lacuna Maiore next to:

“career that ran from Breto ad Aratoi” .

It is documented again in 1050:

“pausata in Kalvello Matronil” [8] .

In the 12th century it appeared several times as Matronil's pause or saline, and a dispute arose over its possession.

Currently there is a payment in the municipality of Villafáfila, northeast of the Salina Grande, known as Madorniz or Madornil, very close to the depopulated area of ​​Villarigo, in whose terms it was included in the 16th century, in which some medieval ceramics are found. The etymology of Matonille seems to be of Mozarabic origin [9] .

Today the lagoon that was called Matronil is named Laguna Honda, located approximately southeast of Villafáfila. At 2.12 km, it is located in the Madorniz payment, which is to the east of Laguna Salina Grande, it is connected to Laguna Grande through an isthmus, appearing completely part of it [10] .

Location of Laguna de Madornil today Laguna Honda


Starting in the 12th century, the Sahagún monastery, which had consolidated its heritage in the area, which had been increased with the assets of the subsidiary monastery of San Salvador de Villacet, must have had difficulties in its exploitation and maintenance, and proceeded to a policy of detachment of inheritances, either with donations, exchanges or leases that would allow him to receive fixed income that would ensure the annual supply of salt or grain, better than proceeding with direct administration. Already in 1108 he donated the Villarrín estate to Jimena Fernández, but with the aim of obtaining a donation from her upon his death [11] .

Rest of the San Salvador de Villacet subsidiary Monastery in Belver de los Montes


In 1182, due to differences with the monastery of Moreruela, they were forced to divide between both monasteries the Magretes mountain, which the Cluniacs had bought in 971, and which was close to the Cistercian preserve. Four residents of Villafáfila acted as dividers, possibly the four mayors [12] .

Ruins of the Monastery of Santa María de Moreruela


In 1197, the abbot of Sahagún, together with the prior of Val de Villacet, handed over to Lupo, (a rich neighbor of Villafáfila) all the property they owned in Muélledes, which would include salt mines, in exchange for 16 ochavas of salt. , a ram, twenty loaves of bread, two jugs of wine and with the charge of receiving the abbot or some monk in his house when they came to Villafáfila; Furthermore, upon his death Lupo has to give the monastery a third of his own property [13] .

Location of San Juan de Muélledes, nº 20


In 1201, Abbot Pedro granted another neighboring landowner, Fernando Gutiérrez, all the inheritances of Villafáfila and Bretó “totam illam nostram hereditatem quam habemus in Otero de Fradres scilicet ecclesiam Sancti Facundi, cum suis terris et uinies et salinis” , coming from the ancient purchases and donations from the 10th century; “et ecclesiam Sacti Michaelis de Villafafila” , which they would have built in the town after the organization as Villa Real in the middle of the 12th century; “et hereditatem de Magretes” , the half that remained after its distribution with Moreruela; “et hereditatem de La Pedrera et hereditatem de Matiela que est in Breto cum sua molinera” from the old donation of Ordoño III. In exchange, he undertakes to give the monastery fifteen loads of salt and thirty gold coins every year and the obligation to rebuild the church, repopulate the village, and farm on his own account and deliver half of the movable and semi-movable property to the monastery. that he has in those estates at the time of his death. Fernando Gutiérrez undertakes to give the abbot a good supply of food every year and to receive the friars who are in transit through Villafáfila in his house, giving them good treatment [14] .


The first news is from 936 when the Sahagún monastery bought a salt mine there:

“pausata in Caureres iuxta carrale that ran to Zamora” .

It is worth highlighting the correspondence between this pause that the Sahagún monastery acquired in 936 with one of the lands owned by the Pía Memoria de San Juan de Villafáfila, a pious foundation of 1523, which was made on the old properties of Sahagún and the Monastery. from Vega:

“a land on the Zamora road, on the right, boundaries, to the west Cureses lagoon, midday meadows of the council, north pradico of San Fagunde, council” [15] .

Coreses Lagoon today Small Lagoon, aerial view


In 1049, in the delimitation of Villa Travessa and a meadow that Sahagún received from Fernando I, it is mentioned:

 “from there part of Coressis” [16] .

Although this minor toponym is not currently used, still in the 18th century, it was called Laguna de Cureses, both in the surveying of the church of San Juan from 1763 [17] , and in the rehabilitation file of the Villafáfila salt flats in 1776 [18] to a lagoon located southwest of the Salina Grande, which is known as Laguna Salada or Los Secadales or Salina Pequena, on whose shores ceramics from the 11th-13th centuries are found.

The place name refers to a name of Mozarabs from Coria, who would participate in the repopulation of the Leonese lands in the 9th and 10th centuries.

Municipal district: Villafáfila.

Located south of Villafáfila approx. 1.85 km, in the San Fagúndez payment, next to the Prado de San Fagúndez, next to the road that leads from Villafáfila to Otero de Sariegos. To the east of Laguna Grande and approx. 1km from Otero de Sariegos.

Province of Zamora.

Hydrographic Basin: Duero.

Hydrographic Subbasin: Río Salado.

Map 1:50,000:0340.

Latitude : 41 ° 49'34.57 " N .

Length: 05º37´10.02´´W.

Altitude: 680 m.



Contour: Irregular.

Approximate area: 15 ha .

Dimensions approx. It measures 675 m long x 400 m wide.

Parcel concentration plan, polygon 9, plot 810


Estates of Villafáfila


In 1254 the abbot proceeded to exchange all the assets of the monastery in Montenegro and the estates of Muélledes, surely at the request of Moreruela and due to the little use he would make of them, since the cattle of Villafáfila grazed in the mountains and his neighbors cut the firewood, for other estates that Moreruela owned in Prado, Quintanilla and Villalpando [19] .

Regarding the fate of Sahagún's properties in Villafáfila we know that in 1332 it still presented the priest of the church of San Miguel de Villafáfila [20] .

Plaza de San Miguel “el Corrillo” in Villafáfila, where the church of San Miguel was located


The estate must have continued to be rented and perhaps to descendants of Fernando Gutiérrez. We only know that, upon his death in 1523, the archpriest of Villafáfila, Fernando Fernández, founded a Pious Memory of daily mass in the church of San Juan, which he endows with various assets:

“the entire round district of San Fagundez and Monaster de Vega” ,

which gives us an idea of ​​the grouping of the properties, which formed a round term, as the neighbors assure in 1530, in addition a large boundary surrounded the terms of San Fagunde, testimony of its differentiation from the rest of the terms of Villafáfila and indicative that they formed the terminus of an ancient village. The year before the archpriest's death, a survey mentions "an inn of the archpriest that belongs to San Fagunde" , which confirms the fate of the properties of the Leonese monastery, including the salt mines.


Location of Prado San Fagúndez



Name: Prado San Fagúndez .

(It belonged to the Sahagún Monastery)

Municipal district: Villafáfila.

Plot: 820 .

Location: South of Villafáfila approx. At 1.65 km, it is in the payment called San Fagúndez, and borders the Villafáfila Otero de S ariegos road.

Prado San Fagúndez aerial view


Concentration map of Villafáfila, polygon 9, plot, 820, area of ​​San Fagúndez and Prado de San Fagúndez


As the memory persisted until 1806, when his properties were sold, as a consequence of the confiscation of Godoy in 1798, and there are surveys of them by which we can know that Sahagún's properties were around the Prado de San Fagúndez between the Laguna Salina Grande, Raya de Otero and Villafáfila.


Elias Rodríguez Rodríguez

José Luis Domínguez Martínez.

Monastery of San Benito de Sahagún in Villafáfila


Biography and texts:


Elías Rodríguez Rodríguez: History of salt exploitation in the Villafáfila lagoons. Pages 37, 40, 41, 42, 45, 50.




Maps of Parcel Concentration, Agriculture and Livestock of JCyL, of Villafáfila:


José Luis Domínguez Martínez: Prados y Tierras Concejiles de Villafáfila (unedited).

José Luis Domínguez Martínez: Small Lagoon (Coreses). -ña/laguna-pequeña.htm

José Luis Domínguez Martínez: Laguna Honda -



https-www-google-es-maps-41-845706-5-6135241-3a-59-2y-354-98h-88-8t-data-3m6-1e1-3m4-1setdizrcb8c8fnwaaugwltq-2e0-7i16384-8i8192. 2Cno-cache%2Cmust- revalidate&blobheadervalue4=0.

Mariano Rodríguez Alonso and Jesús Palacios Alberti, José Mª Díez Laplaza: Villafáfila Lagoons Natural Reserve. 2000. Page 36.

Villafáfila land concentration plan, polygon 9.

Elías Rodríguez Rodríguez.

José Luis Domínguez Martínez.


Transcription and assembly:

José Luis Domínguez Martínez.


All text, photographs, transcription and montage, the rights belong to their authors, any type of use is prohibited without authorization.


All text and photographs have been authorized for storage, treatment, work, transcription and assembly by José Luis Domínguez Martínez, their dissemination on, and any media deemed authorized.

[1] AHN. Calf of Sahagún fols. 45v-46r. José Mínguez Fernández. Diplomatic Collection of the Sahagún Monastery doc. 36.

[2] Ruiz Asensio 1989: Doc. 1190.

[3] Mínguez 1976: Doc.99 and page. 135.

[4] Mínguez 1976: Doc. 36.

[5] Herrero 1988: Doc. 534, 612 and 816.

[6] Mínguez 1976: doc. 132, 302, 264.

[7] Elías Rodríguez Rodríguez: History of salt exploitation in the Villafáfila lagoons. Page 45.

[8] Ruiz Asensio, 1989: Doc.1074.

[9] Cabero 1989.


[11] Herrero 1988: Doc. 1162.

[12] Alfonso Antón, 1986: Doc. 25.

[13] Fernández Flórez 1991: Doc. 1511.

[14] Fernández Flórez 1991: Doc. 1511 and 1544.

[15] AP Villafáfila.

[16] Herrero, 1988: doc. 534.

[17] AP Villafáfila.

[18] AGS Direc. General Revenue 1st Remittance No. 2355.

[19] Alfonso Antón 1986: Doc. 132.

[20] Álvarez Palenzuela 1997: Doc. 2130.