OF SANTIAGO 1229 - 1541



Villafáfila was a stately town from the end of the 12th century to the beginning of the 19th century, when the feudal system was abolished. First, it was an ecclesiastical lordship, whose lords were the Commanders of Castrotorafe, belonging to the Military Order of the Knights of Santiago. Later, a layman, whose lords were the Marquises of Távara.

Before delving into the subject, it will be convenient to set ourselves in the socio-cultural context of the Middle Ages and, therefore, to know what the Lordships were and what the Order of Santiago was.


Within the national framework of the Middle Ages we find two social organizations. One, in which the towns or places have not been segregated from the crown and where the inhabitants are not subject to any other domain than that of the king, whose vassals are and we know by the land of Realengo. The other is the town that by a royal donation has been segregated from the crown, where the peasant is subject to the domain, not of the king, but of the feudal lord, of whom he is a vassal: they are designated with the name of Señorío lands.

The causes of these donations made by the kings, in favor of the church or the nobility, must be sought, firstly, in the repopulation of the lands conquered from the Arabs in that historical process, and secondly, in the compensation for aid or services rendered to the king.

The monarch, therefore, while granting a Lordship, breaks the direct king/vassal relationship, or any other that existed, introducing the new and unique one of lord/vassal. Relation of dominion that is imposed and binds all the residents of the town under the social condition of vassals. Vassalage expressly accepted by the neighbors in the taking of possession of the Lord. "... That they will obey and obey him, they will respect and respect, they will have and have as their lord... in everything that he would like to command and order..." .

It was, then, to accept a humiliating personal dependence of a man on another man.

The vassalage carried even more expressive gestures of that personal submission, such as:

"... kneel down and ask for her hand to kiss it."

Reminiscent of these vassal gestures have remained in the gesture of kneeling and kissing the ring of the ecclesiastical hierarchs, until recently, kissing the foot of the supreme ecclesiastical hierarch.

Symbolic expressions were also the acts that the lord carried out in the inauguration. Here is a curious takeover:

"... he walked through the streets, and from the ground and soil he took soil or grass, he cut branches from an oak tree, he separated stones and threw them to one side and the other... he sat on the ground, entered the church and the hermitage... and he went to tile, and walked through the threshing floors…, and stood on the oven…, doing other acts of possession…”. Symbolic expressions indicating that everything, sub sole, that was in the town was under his stately domain. Domain, which according to a common formula in donation documents, went "from the leaf of the mountain to the stone of the river" .

The seigneurial dominion over the land extended to the right to use the firewood from the mountains, the construction wood, the use of pastures, cutting down trees, the right to hunt, etc... To this was added the dominion that corresponded to him over all the waters "currents, shelves and springs"; and, as a consequence, the right to exploit the passage through the river from one bank to the other (boats), to exploit the driving force of the waters (aceñas), and the products (cañales). They did not, however, have control over salt, highly valued at the time due to its scarcity, and which remained under royal control.


The condition of vassal would be reflected in fulfilling certain works or services for the lord and in giving him tributes, by various chapters, in recognition of lordship.


Among the services, that of going hunting on certain days for the lord, carrying firewood to the castle, taking wheat to grind, patrolling and watching over the fortress, working certain days a year on the lord's land, giving lodging to his lordship and his servants when they came to the place, etc. Not all the listed services were common to each and every one of the manors.




It was a kind of direct tax that the inhabitants of the lordship paid annually, it seems, for the lands they occupied, and which is sometimes said "by recognition of lordship and vassalage" .

It was paid in maravedís, generally indicating the amount of 6 maravedís per vassal. He used to be designated by the name of Martiniega, because he was paid on Saint Martin's day. It was the most important of the seigniorial rights, not because it provided more income, but because it was a more secure source of income and also monetary.


It was paid for each open house, that is, for each home fire. It was paid with products from the land or with animals, generally chickens.


Tax for traveling on roads, bridges or boats with their territory with animals, victuals (wine, cereals etc.) cloths and all marketable objects.


Tax for grazing the mountains, for firewood and hunting.


It can be said that it was the most burdensome tax that weighed on the peasant who worked the land, whether it was his own or leased. It was perceived by the Crown or by the lords, by the bishops as such and with less quantitative significance by different participants, such as the churches and the priests of the place itself.


For him they were awarded to the lord

“all the lost things that did not seem to be the owner, within a year and a day”.


As if to cite examples, the Law of wheat and branch, required of each neighbor who threshed, the Law of lambs, which forced the neighbors who had three sheep, given birth for San Martín, to deliver one. In some manors this extended behind classes of cattle, as was the case in Vidayanes whose neighbors, vassals of the Military Order of San Juan, had to pay "for each offspring that the three classes of cattle, mule and donkey cattle" had. Another tribute that was given in some manors was that of "LA LUCTUOSA" consisting of having to pay the lord the best head of cattle, or any other kind of property owned by the neighbor, when he died.


Sometimes the services, which were mentioned before, were replaced by a tribute. Of these, the most important was the YANTAR and the YUADAS or YERAS. The first was the substitute tax for the obligation that, as we said, the vassals had to give food and lodging to the lord and his servants, to the people that he sent to the town in his place on certain days of the year. The second came to replace that obligation that the vassals had to work days a year on the lands of the lord.


That the lords used to possess ordinarily. Like bread ovens, tiles, mills, shops, butchers, etc.


Another of the powers that fell within the scope of the manorial domain was to administer justice in its territory, having "civil and criminal jurisdiction, high and low, and mixed rule." They were, therefore, lords of gallows, knife and pillory”; instruments that were raised, or could be raised, in all the stately villas, as well as the means of punishment for criminals (stocks, chains, scourge for whipping, etc. …), which were found inside the house of the villa, released for jail. However, on some occasions the King reserved jurisdiction over certain crimes. This power carried with it the right to be able to elect the ordinary mayors and mayors, aldermen, bailiffs and other offices that used to be appointed for the use and exercise of said jurisdiction.

Stately justice, in the first degree, corresponded to the ordinary mayors, residents of each town. The appointment of the same (two in the Military Orders) was made by proposal, in bins, of the town council. In the second degree, or appeal, it corresponded to the Mayor, who was always directly elected by the Lord. Not all the towns had a Mayor.

As a consequence of this jurisdictional power, the income from said administration of justice, such as notary fees, fines, etc., corresponded to the lord.


The lord of the town had to lead his militias to war and this, too, meant income for him. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the typical campaign against the Moors was not the pitched battle or the siege of the city, but the FONSADO, that is, a rapid expedition of horsemen, who attacked a town to take booty (captives, cattle, valuables), and returned to their base before the Moorish army could surprise them. The lord, as a general rule, received a fifth of the fonsado's loot. In the 13th century, peons were generally excused from going to the fonsado, although they had to provide other services, such as guarding the fortresses. Those who didn't had to pay the FONSADERA, which was a commutation of the Fonsado.


It was one of the many Military Orders that, in Christianity, were founded in the Middle Ages to fight on the Spanish border against the Moors (such as those of Calatrava, Alcántara, Avís), or against the infidels of the East (such as the Templars, those of Saint John, Saint Mary of the Teutonic).

The Order of Santiago was founded in the time of King D. Fernando II of León who had reconquered Cáceres . On 1-VIII-1170 he founded a Brotherhood called “Los Fraires de Cáceres” , to which he gave custody of that city. This brotherhood, led by a Knight named D. Pedro Fernández, was formed to defend the new conquests of the king in Extremadura, and to help him in future conquests against the Moors., according to some authors, the people of Santiago were initially called the Knights of Cáceres, because this Extremaduran city, then part of the kingdom of León, was the place where the foundations were laid. Others believe that they bore the name of Knights of Santa María del Castillo y de la Espada. The truth is that, after the bull of confirmation and approval, given in Ferentino, near Rome during the pontificate of Pope Alexander III, who approved it on July 5, 1175 [1] , they were always known by the name of Knights of Santiago, since that of Knights or freires of Uclés, which appears in some old documents, hardly prevailed

From its earliest days it was a religious society; therefore its first acquisitions are given:

"Deo ete universis fratrimbus de Castes" .

King Ferdinand II of Leon

Medieval miniature from Tumbo de Toxooutos, and belonging to the Monastery that bears the same name


From the beginning these friars had the protection of various prelates in January 1171 the Brotherhood was already called ORDER OF SANTIAGO, probably because of an agreement made with D. Pedro, Archbishop of Santiago, who entered the Order as an honorary friar, What:

“unu vestrun” [2]

in return he received the Master as canon of Santiago and the friars as:

“uasallso es in milites beatissimi Jocobi apostoli sub Christo militaturos in uexillos sancti Jocobi in honoren eius ecclesie et fedei amplifictione” .

For this reason, the Order took the Apostle Santiago as its patron and its shield bears the Cross of his name, in red on a white banner . He assigned them half of the income from the votes of Santiago in Zamora, Salamanca and Ciudad Rodrigo (31-1-1171). The Archbishops of Toledo, Santiago and Braga, and the Bishops of León, Astorga and Zamora approved their decision and the Papal Legate, Cardinal Jacinto, received them as sons of the Roman Church in 1173. On July 5, 1175, Rome promulgated the first official confirmation and approved its Rule by Bull of Alexander III.

The Order arose to expel Muslims from Spain and even reach Morocco and Jerusalem, although this did not happen, but not to defend Compostela pilgrims. Some of their houses were located on the Jacobean Route, for example, San Marcos de León, which were hospitals for pilgrims. This is deduced from the work of J. Uría on pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela [3] .

Although founded in the Kingdom of León, it soon spread to other kingdoms, under the protection of kings. For this they had houses, in addition to León in Castile, Aragon, Portugal and even in France and Italy.


Shield of the Order of Santiago


His rule was based on San Agustín, since probably some of his knights came from the Monastery of Santa María de Loyo Puerto Martín - Lugo). In the Prologue of said Rule we are told how the founders of the Order, a group of Hispanic nobles, touched by the grace of the Holy Spirit, abandoned their vices and took the cross and the standard of Santiago to defend the church and defeat the Moors. They resolved to no longer fight against Christians, abandon the vanities of the world, live according to the Gospel and fight for God against the infidels. For the Order the war against the Moors is the perfect Christian life. Those who die in the battle for the faith die as martyrs. The concept of holy war permeates the Rule:

“There is no normal or better thing before God than to end uida by sword or by fire or by water for captivity or for non-recountable voyages” [4] .

It was the most secular of the military religious orders. His militarism, marriage, wealth and encomienda system weakened his religious spirit and brought his friars closer to the lay society in which they lived. Instead, because of that contact, secular society seemed to become more religious.

The Order of Santiago was divided, fundamentally, into clerics and laymen, the latter being married. This Order was unique in allowing friars to marry. Until her, not only was marriage and religious life considered incompatible, but the action of the Holy See since Gregory VII was directed at the prohibition of marriage of clerics in the Western Church. The delay suffered by papal approval is not surprising. The founders were aware of this; That is why they defended it with these arguments: such a marriage imitates the fathers of the church, it is better to marry than to burn, the friars could not be better than their fathers, and it would be presumptuous to try what they could not. Alexander III in the Bull of approval 1175 stated that, while some members of the Order had chosen celibacy according to the advice of Saint Paul, others married to beget children, observe matrimonial continence and obtain mutual help towards salvation, these, he warned, acted less well than the celibate, but they fought for the same King. (Both the reasons and the Pope's words are found in the Prologue to the Rule). There must have been a lot of married people. These lived outside the convent with their wives and family, but inside the convent during Lent, they were forbidden to have contact with their wives on fast days and the feasts of the Virgin, St. John the Baptist, the Apostles and other great feasts. and their vigils. but they fought for the King himself. (Both the reasons and the Pope's words are found in the Prologue to the Rule). There must have been a lot of married people. These lived outside the convent with their wives and family, but inside the convent during Lent, they were forbidden to have contact with their wives on fast days and the feasts of the Virgin, St. John the Baptist, the Apostles and other great feasts. and their vigils. but they fought for the King himself. (Both the reasons and the Pope's words are found in the Prologue to the Rule). There must have been a lot of married people. These lived outside the convent with their wives and family, but inside the convent during Lent, they were forbidden to have contact with their wives on fast days and the feasts of the Virgin, St. John the Baptist, the Apostles and other great feasts. and their vigils.

The members of this were Freires Clérigos and Freires Caballeros:

· Freires Clérigos: they lived under the authority of the prior, they had the mission of attending to the spiritual services of the knights, they were obliged to the Order by vows of poverty, obedience and chastity and if they were married by marital fidelity.

· Freires gentlemen: the latter being able to be married or single, they lived under the authority of the commander, they had the mission of fighting against the Muslims.

These lay freires were divided, (although the division is not clearly shown in the documents) into Knights: the most important members of the Order. Squires, who could become knights, but meanwhile, attended the Master, the Major Commanders and the Prior of the Order, not Knights, but who perhaps fought as pawns, who could have encomiendas and castles and perhaps become of the Council of Thirteen; and Sergeants, who appear to have been the personal retainers of the Freires, employed primarily as squires and described in documents as "sergeants" or "servants . "

Master: he was at the head of the Order, he was Major Superior , he had to be a layman, not a cleric, a wealthy man or from a chivalric family and who would generally have held the position of Major or Local Commander, who was elected and assisted by the General Council of the Order constituted by the 13 friars . He also had commanders and priors appointed by the master.

Apostos Santiago patron saint of the Order, known as Santiago Matamoros


This received the votes of the friars, administered the assets of the Order and led it to the fight against the Moor. Likewise, they granted the abandonment of the Order, if requested, his authority was not absolute, since his decisions depended on the thirteen friars, who could admonish him and even depose him. He represented the Order before medieval society and the Court.

Prior: had a preferably spiritual mission. Upon the master's death, he took his place and summoned the thirteen friars to elect a new master. There were priories in Uclés, San Marcos de León and Palmesa respectively from the Kingdoms of Castile, León and Portugal.

Commander: had administrative powers. He received the income from the house that he managed and distributed it fairly among the friars. In practice he bought, sold and exchanged the estates of the Order.

The General Chapter of the Order took place on All Saints' Day each year, in the Casa Mayor, which in some cases was San Marcos de León and in others, especially from the 12th century, in Uclés. met at San Marco in 1199.

In it, the affairs of the Order were dealt with, appointing the visitors, who were to inspect the houses throughout the year. These were formed by Encomiendas corresponding to the different peninsular rivers. Portugal, Leon, Castile, Aragon and Gascony. At the head of which was a Major Commander. The one from León resided in San Marcos, while the one from Castile did so in Uclés. At the beginning of the 12th century, the Major Commander of León was Alfonso Martínez.

During the first fifty years of the life of the Order, the Major Commanders and the Chapters of the kingdoms had an important role in it. Among the Major Commanders, the Master used to be appointed when he died.


All the performance of the Order was made possible by the possession of very large revenues from the peninsular and foreign lands, acquired by conquest of the Moors and by royal or private donations. Patriotism and religious motives induced rich people to give them estates and castles, and poor people, to give them some alms in money or in kind: “ob remedium anime mee et animarun patris mei...” , it is said in the documents of such donations. The Popes encouraged them in exchange for indulgences, moreover, and above all, the Order was the holder of numerous lordships. Among those that interest us, was that of Castrotorafe.


Villafáfila was integrated into the Encomienda de Castrotorafe since the end of the 14th century, the encomiendas of Castrotorafe and Villafáfila, which were very close, are provided by the same person, and since then a single commander has been in charge of both, it depended on the encomienda of Castrotorafe , which was where the Commander lived and was lord of the town . However, the town also had its own . It can be said that Villafáfila was linked to the Military Order of Santiago from the beginning of its existence until the Order lost its stately rights.


Castle-fortress, located on the banks of the Esla, close to the current Zamora-Benavente road, a little after passing the town of Fontanillas in the direction of Zamora and of which part of the walled enclosure and the Castle are still preserved.

In 1165 Fernando II of León married Urraca Alfonsa Infanta de Portugal, and gave her several villas as a deposit, including Castrotorafe, recently repopulated by the King. On August 15, 1171, in Zamora, Dª Urraca gives birth to her first-born son Alfonso of hers. Although D. Fernando and Dª Urraca were relatives in the 5th degree (so a dispensation was needed until the 7th) they married without a dispensation required. In 1172 Cardinal Jacinto came to Spain as a legate of Pope Alexander III, who, having fallen ill in Zamora, the king and queen visited him in his chamber on July 9 of that year, D. Fernando donated to the church of San Pedro in Rome the Castle of Castro Toraf. The kinship dispensation issue was resolved in June 1175, with the dispensation being denied. Therefore, in that same month, Dª Urraca said goodbye to her family and“sibi cross imposuit”the cross of the Order of S. Juan of which he became freira, In February 1176, from Astorga, he donated to the Order of Santiago the already famous castle of Castro Toraf with its terms, the same one that he had previously donated to the Pope, possibly to obtain a successful dispensation, and which the pope had leased to the Order of Santiago for an annual gold mark. Ferdinand II is succeeded by his son Alfonso IX, who around 1215 seems that his mother's donation had no effect, he confiscated the castle from the Pope and despite the excommunications, he refused to restore it until 1220, when he gave it to the Order of Santiago, the one who paid the pope the customary rent. Upon his death, he left the kingdom of León to his daughters Sancha and Dulce, but his brother Fernando III, the saint, took over the kingdom, compensating his sisters with numerous estates, including the papal castle of Castrotorafe. Pope Gregory IX was furious at losing Castrotorafe, excommunicated the Master and forced him to ask the king to return the castle. Ferdinand adamantly refused, and the matter only came to an end when, after lengthy negotiations, the pope was persuaded that alienation was necessary for the peace of the kingdom.

Castrotorafe Castle


Indeed, as we have seen, the Order of Santiago was founded in 1171, it is by papal bull of Pope Alexander III in 1175, and in 1181 Fernando II donated the Villa de Villa Fafila to it.

The reason for said royal donation was as follows: The Bull of approval ordered the friars to establish a Major Convent for the entire Order, in which the Master would have a General Chapter every year and the Prior of the Convent would govern the clergy friars and he would receive the tithes from the friars, he would summon and control the election of the Master. Said convent was established in Uclés (Cuenca) belonging to the kingdom of Castile, but Fernando wanted it to be established in his kingdom, and for Master Pedro Fernández to fulfill his promise that had made him establish such a convent in the kingdom of León, he made him donation of the Villa de Villafáfila and Valduerna, although by right the Major Convent was that of Uclés, in fact, for the kingdom of León it was the Convent of San Marcos de León.


The Order of Santiago soon acquired great importance in the Christian kingdoms, under the protection of the kings, not only in the Leon kingdom but also in Castile and Portugal. The question was due to the thrust that the Almohads carried out on the Christian kingdoms. The Military Orders were the first to lend themselves to their defense.

After losing the city of Cáceres, which was where the Order of Santiago had its residence, King Ferdinand II of León granted them, in 1181, the places of Villafáfila and Valduerna so that they could build their Main House, where they would hold their Chapters.

Here is the donation document:

“Pro Christo Jesu Domino nostro. Amen. Amoris est proprium Catholicos reges et Sanctos venerentur: quod logares religious populum, ad ditandum et magna dedit illis quae lana fine sit et benefice mea, et dans able bona temporalia acquirendi, in aeternae retributionis awards effectum. Quam ob rem ego et filius meus rex D. Ferdinandi Regis D. Alfonsi, quia quod scimus Atrum Ordinis D. Iacobi, quem creatus est in specie de superbia ad nihilum inimicos crucis Christi: et ad viam Ampliare contenderemus gloriam nominis Hispaniae regnum nasci habebat, utpote Petri Fernandez you magister militiae et formaliter constitute pollicentur fratres nostri ordinis principalis locus est in caput tuum oportet vos sedatos esse et dignum celebramus Capitulum Generale igitur hoc donum factum est regnum domus nostra constitute capitis tui sicut Ordinis, quae valet in perpetuum vos Maestre Petrus Fernández fratribus vestris et omnibus suis successoribus et Valduerna Villafáfila, et regnum establiss caput nostrum, id est, pelagus Ordinis domum tuam; hereditary iure regali munificentia et hoc dabimus ut Valduerna amiserunt Doña Sanciam infantis mortem patris fuerit in eadem valle Imperatorem Ferdinandum regem facto et temporis; et Villafáfila, non pertinet ad regem omne quod est Imperatore mortem, hoc est, cum omnibus hominibus in locis supra, cum domibus et in agris, pratis, pascuis et cava flumina siccis, montibus, fontium etiam locis cultis virgulta carpunt ab incultis notaret et alia iura et possessiones, et omnes fines ejus novissima, et antiqua: tu vel tui, ut ubicumque inveniret in ea posse. Haec quoque dabo tibi hæreditatem de universis independens regiis judiciaria et justitia, si potes ex omnibus regionibus eius, non habere, ventare, et commutationem dispongéis cogitas quod utile est domum tuam, sicut aliis bonis poséis tibi. De cetero nemo mihi det ut ipsa auctoritatis, aut alia potentia vel regiis intraveritis et non liques placet, partim vi, aut vendere, aut aliquid removere, et ad hec donacio et Valley, Orniae Villafáfila, ut ante dixi dabo quantum valet nos tibi semper et simul Pedro Fernandez tem fratrum Ordinis tui, et omnes successores nostros ut huic nasci animarum et consilium et sententia nostra et paraverunt duces multitudinis in atrio; Debet obligationis observantia in regno semper honos ita quod sicut supra dictum est, praecipue construyéis regnum nostrum, id est, ut totum caput et posuit Deum testis curam defende, et ponene custodiam omnium bonorum semper habetis vobiscum in unum iam in regnum perveniret splendor huius domus. Si nihil, quia tam maioribus meis aliena stirpe conatus omnino hominum liceat hanc nostrae opus cadit in ira Dei omnipotentis regiis, et indignatio, et Iudas qui tradebat Domino, Dathan et Abiron animantibus terrae biberent, ignem aeternum duplicia pro temeritate factum quod mehercule, poenas solvant pondo coronam ex auro purissimo scripturam hanc firmitatem servare in perpetuum.Factum est scriptor incidísset in May IV, 1181. regnare was D. Ferdinandus Rex in Legionis, Galiciae, et Asturias Extremadura. Et Regis D. Alfonsi regis Ferdinandi apud eundem filium meum factum ex epistula mea signature, qui misit me ut faciam.

Et subscriptione confirm; Comes Urgelli, pincerna regis Petrus archiepiscopus Compostellam; Manrique, qui fuet electus episcopus Legionis, Juan Eusebio episcopo habebo; Roderici, Ouetensi Episcopi, Vita; Pontifical intercession granted by lapsus, Alfonsus, Episcopi Orense; Beltran; Episcopus Tuy; Rabbinate; Episcopus Mondonedo; William, Episcopi Zamorensis, Petri, Episcopi and Ciudad Rodrigo; Ferdinandus, Episcopi Asturicensis, Arnoldus, Coria episcopus; Ferdinandus, etc." [5] .

“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. It is typical of Catholic kings to love and venerate holy places and religious people, enrich them with great gifts and magnify them with abundant benefits, so that, by giving temporal goods, prizes of eternal retribution are achieved. Therefore, I, King D. Fernando, together with my son King D. Alfonso, because we know that the Order of the Militia of Santiago, which was created especially to annihilate the arrogance of the enemies of the Cross of Christ and to extend the glory of the Christian name of Spain, had its birth in our kingdom, taking into account that you Pedro Fernández, Master of this militia, and your brothers solemnly promise to establish in our kingdom a place that will be the head of your order and main house, in which you must meet and celebrate the General Chapter, for this reason, we make a deed of donation to the house that you constitute in our kingdom as the head of your Order, which is permanently valid, to You Master Pedro Fernández and to all your brothers and his successors, of Valduerna and Villafáfila, so that our kingdom may establish the head, that is, the main house of your Order; and for this reason we give you this with hereditary right and with royal generosity, in such a way that in Valduerna you possess everything that the Infanta Dª Sancha had there at the death of my father the Emperor and how much I, the King Fernando, wrote from that weather; and of Villafáfila, all that there belongs to the king and as it was at the death of the Emperor, that is, with all the men of the aforementioned places, with estates and houses, with meadows, grasslands and streams, mountains, springs, cultivated and uncultivated land, with the other rights and belongings and in all their newest and oldest limits, wherever you and your successors can find them. I also give you these inheritances independent of all judicial power and royal justice, so that you can always have, possess, sell, exchange them, and with all their dependencies, and dispose of them as you consider useful for your house, as well as of the other goods that posses. I guarantee it in such a way that from now on I ask no one with royal authority, powerful or otherwise, whether of royal lineage or not, to enter them violently, or to take or sell something from them and this donation from the Ornia Valley and of Villafafila, As I said before, we give it as valid forever to you Pedro Fernández and in the same way to the brothers of your Order and to all the successors for the remedy of our souls, with the consultation and opinion of the nobles of our court; you must out of obligation and respect always keep in our kingdom for your honor, with the condition that for this, as we said before, you build in our kingdom the main house, that is, the head of your entire Order, and us, putting God for Witness, we will take care to defend, maintain and always keep all the goods that you have in our kingdom together with those that we now grant you for the splendor of this house. If anyone, then, both from my lineage and from another's lineage, tries to infringe this work of ours, may the wrath of Almighty God and royal indignation fall upon him, and with Judas who delivered to the Lord, Dathan and Abiron whom the earth swallowed alive, suffer eternal fire, for his reckless audacity return twice what he took, accursed, pay to the crown in punishment a thousand pounds of purest gold; This writing stands forever. Made this deed in Salamanca on May 4, 1181. King D. Fernando reigned in León, Galicia, Asturias and Extremadura. I, King D. Fernando, together with my son King D. Alfonso, authorize with my own signature this document that I had made. King D. Fernando reigned in León, Galicia, Asturias and Extremadura. I, King D. Fernando, together with my son King D. Alfonso, authorize with my own signature this document that I had made. King D. Fernando reigned in León, Galicia, Asturias and Extremadura. I, King D. Fernando, together with my son King D. Alfonso, authorize with my own signature this document that I had made.

And he confirms it with his signature; the Count of Urgel, butler of the king, Pedro, Archbishop of Compostela; Manrique, Bishop-elect of León, Juan, Bishop of Lugo; Rodrigo, Bishop of Oviedo, Vital; Bishop of Salamanca, Alfonso, Bishop of Orense; Beltran; Bishop of Tuy; Rabbinate; Bishop of Mondoñedo; William, Bishop of Zamora; Pedro, Bishop of Ciudad Rodrigo; Ferdinand, Bishop of Astorga; Arnold; Bishop of Coria; Ferdinand etc."

In 1181 Pope Lucius III confirmed this donation to the Order:

“ea propter vestris precibus clemente inducti Villan Phafilan cum perrinentiis suis Valdorrnian cum pertinentiis suis, Corel cum pertinentiis suit et alias herditares quas de largitione Karissinmi en Chisto filii nostri F. illustirs Hispaniarum regis estis edepti sicut rationabiliter et sine cointroversia possidetis vobis es domui vestre auctoritate apostolic confirmation

"Therefore, clemently attending to your pleas, Villafáfila with his belongings, Valduerna with his belongings, Corel with his belongings and other estates that you have obtained by donation from the dearest in Christ, son of our Fernando, illustrious king of Hispania reasonably and without controversy possess you and your house, with apostolic authority we confirm” [6] .

Pope Lucius III


From this it can be concluded that the importance of Villafáfila went back many years before, since it is what the king of the Order expected, it was of such importance to him, it is logical that the compensation given was also important, moreover, in Villafáfila it is It is probable that the king made a stop along the way to rest in his incessant travels. We know that on August 19, 1159 (22 years before the donation), the king signs, in this town, a document by which he donates the estate of San Román de Sahamonde "pro bono servitio" to a certain Gonzalo Muñoz .

Due to this donation, Villafáfila was the place of the lordship of the Military Order of Santiago and therefore the residents ceased to be vassals of the king to become vassals of the order.

The Order did not install its main house in the kingdom of León, but in Castile, in the donation of Uclés, which in 1174 King D. Alfonso VIII made [7] . What was the reason for this change? There is a set of opinions about the cause of it.

Main house of the order of Santiago in Uclés


Some maintain that the Order fell out with D. Fernando II de León, due to the possession of Castrotorafe, because this, through the Roman Church, passed to the Order against the will of the king, others believe that the reason was the loss of Cáceres, reconquered by the Almohads, and others are inclined to the fact that there was never enmity between the Leonese king and the Order, but rather that the former always protected the latter [8] .

But the truth is that the Order established its main house in Uclés, where the Master lived, being Villafáfila and Valduerna, henceforth, one of the many possessions that the Order had in the kingdom of León. However, it must be admitted that the prior of San Marco de León, as far as this kingdom was concerned, always had a certain independence from the main house of Uclés.

Possessions of the Order of Santiago (in yellow) including Villafáfila and Castrotorafe


This first donation of Fernando II in 1181 was frustrated.

D. Fernando II was succeeded in the kingdom of León by his son D. Alfonso IX, who on May 4, 1188 confirmed his possessions in the Leonese kingdom to the Order of Santiago.

King Alfonso IX of León

Tumbo A. Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela


On April 23, 1229 D. Alfonso granted jurisdiction to the city of Cáceres, which since its reconquest in 1227 had been a royal heritage. This did not please the Order, which had possessed it by donation from D. Fernando II, being, as we have seen, its cradle.


The town of Villafáfila belonged to the Military Order of Santiago since the definitive donation made by Alfonso IX in 1229.

In order to ingratiate himself with the Order, the king, with the consent of the infantas Dª Sancha and Dª Dulce, gave him in 1229 certain rights in Villafáfila and Castrotorafe and 2000 msr. in exchange for an oath to make peace or war for him and his daughters. He also promised, if necessary, not to hand over Cáceres to another Order other than that of Santiago. Master Pedro González accepted the will of the king and he continued to protect the Order.

It confirms the Agreement between Alfonso IX, son of the previous Fernando II, and the Master of the Order Pedro González:

 "... all the inhabitants and their heirs of Villafáfila and Castrotorafe and their alfoces are your vassals and not of another" . However, he excepts hidalgos.

And as a consequence of said vassalage, the well-known manorial rights will correspond to the Order. 1º Tributary rights: Portazgo or castellage, Tithe, Martiniega and Maestral Table, Yanteres, Notary. As stated in the archive of the Bishopric of Astorga, the income of the Order of Santiago in this town in the year 1497, for the previous concepts and for those from the Order's own assets in this term.

“Ab illa expulsa peganarum gente et reintegrrata chistianourm societate, memoratus rex dedit in Cambio fratribus Spata que demanabant Caceres pro sua hereditary Villafáfila, Castrotorafe et duos mille marebetinos pro ista villa Caceres” [9] .

The pagan people expelled from them and the Christian society reintegrated, the memorandum king gave in exchange to the knights of Espata, who demanded Cáceres, for their inheritance Villafáfila, Castrotorafe and two thousand Morabetinos for this town of Cáceres".

1229, May. Galisteo

Alfonso IX gives the Order of Santiago the towns of Villafáfila and Castrotorafe, in compensation for the town of Cáceres, and establishes various privileged rules for the government of those:

“Notum sit omnibus hominibus presentem paginam inspecturis quod cum orta esset contencio inter me dominum Aldefonsum, Dei gratia regem Legionis et Gallecie, ex una parte, et nos domnum Petrum Gonzalui, magistrum et fratres Ordinis milicie Sancti Jacobi, ex alter, super uilla de Canceres et terminis suis, quam nos ad ius nostrum ex donatione bone memorie illustris regis domini Fernandi Legionis credebamus de iure spectare, tandem contencio ipsa de beneplacito parcium est sub hac forma sedata. Ego siquidem predictus vex domnus Aldefonsus, cum consensu filiarum mearum infancium domine Sancie et domine Dulcie, do et iure hereditary in perpettum concedo uobis predictis magistro et fratribus uestrisque successoribus et ordini uestro Villam fafilam cum omnibus directuris et pertinenciis suis, tam habitis quam habendis, et cum fazendaria[10] , pecto [11] , petito [12] , et fonsadaria [13] , et cum omni alio iure regali preter monetam.

Let it be known to all men, this page, that, when it originated, a conflict arose between the self fixed for Mr. Alfonso, the grace of God, king of León and Galicia, on the one hand, and us, for preserve Petra Gonzales, the teacher and the brothers of the order of the knights of the Saint of Jacob, on the other, in the town of Cáceres and its coast, as a gift, as a good memory of us that we to the right of the Legion of Ferdinand, the illustrious king of the Lord, who believes that by looking to the right, he finally managed to calm a dispute arises by virtue of this method, it is the same truth of the goodwill of the parties. I am in favor of the aforementioned regulations, Mr. Alfonso, with the consent of the daughters of my hands, infancium, Sir, it is established and provided, Sir, Dulce,

1.- Item do uobis uestrisque successoribus iure hereditary in perpetuum illam medietatem petiti quam annuatim de Castro toraf et de suo alfoz percipiebam siue percipere debenbam, concedens nichilominus uobis et ordini uestro et confirmans Castro toraf cum omnibus directuris et pertinenciis, et cum fazendaria, pecto , petito et fonsadaria, et cum omni alio iure et uoce regia.

In addition, I give you to yours, the requests of the successors of the right half of the hereditary right in perpetuity to which they realized each year or alfoz de Castrotorafe perceive of their own, and that they should, they granted it and, without However, you and the Castrotorafe Order, with all the directuris on your sides, and with the order, confirming, and accessories, and with the facendera, cards, that you will seek, and fonsadera, when both the voice and the palace real, and all of a different rule.

2.- Item do uobis uestrisque successoribus iure hereditary in perpetuum illam medietatem de bestiis quas percipere consueui de Castro toraf et de suo alfoz percepturus eram ab hodie in antea de Villafafila et de suo alfoz, cum debenrem exercitum congregare.

It will also be given more favorably to his successors by permanently hereditary they realize that half of the animals that Castrotorafe and its alfoz were consueui to receive from today about the Villafáfila and its alfoz, with the obligation to welcome the same.

3.- I must autem in eiusdem villi iusticiam exercere, if forte uos uel uicarius qui ad hoc a uobis fuerit deputatus fueritis negligent in iusticia facienda.

I need to do justice to practice in the same city, if by any chance you, or the vicar, have been appointed to the fact that you have been neglecting the rights of way.

4.- Ad has tamen quatuor uoces et non ad alias debeno ego intrare in ipsis uillis per me uel per hominem meum, conuocato prius uicario uestro, ad aleyuosum, et latronem scriptum, ad eum qui mulieren forciauerit, et ad illum qui stratam publicam siue caminum fregerit.

To change these, however, to enter the four expressions, and I have not come to another need to be done in them, through my man, for me or through the nearby peoples, who summoned the first in a vicar please, to the aleyuosum, and a thief, it is written, to the one who forciauerit mulieren, or from the public, and to love's street that oven broke.

5.- Et de mobilibus que pro predictis uocibus data fuerint, percipiat uicarius uester medietatem et ego aliam medietatem uel vox; hereditas autem iusticiati deben uobis et ordini uestro remanere integre.

The mobile that pays for the voices of the data detects that the vicar will also have half and the other half or the voice; inheritance justice to you and your order must remain intact.

6.- De bonis uero aliorum quos ego propter negligentiam uestram et uicarii uestri iusticiauero, nichil debeno accipere, set omnia debent uobis integre remanere.

Of the goods of others to whom I can due to the negligence of his life with his iusticiauero uicarii, nothing to say, but all that must remain intact.

7.- Habitatores autem et heredes Villefafile et Castro toraf et de Suisal foris sint uassalli uestri et non alterius, exceptis filiis de algo et benefacturiis de mare ad mare, et faciant uobis illud forum quod mihi facere tenebantur, et habeant hereditates et possesiones suas dum there non iuerint habitare; si enim ad allium locum habitaturi accesserint, amitant et possessiones et hereditates quas in illis villis habuerint, et uos ad uoluntatem uestram de eis disponatis.

But the inhabitants of the street, and heirs of Villafáfila de Castrotorafe are their father's vassal, and not the other, and from the Suisal, with the exception of the children of the sea, to that of something, and benefactors outside the sea, and they were forced to do for you, the forum in which you were going to do, and they must have their inheritances and possessions, while others do not consider these questions and that they inhabit; if they had a place to live they can add to the other, in those of the villages, they had the Amitai and they sold their properties and inheritances, and they will bring the will of their to the person among them fit.

8.- Si forte tamen aliquis propter homicidium ab aliqua ipsarum uillarum eiectus fuerit, moretur ubi potuerint et habeat hereditatem suam, making uobis de ea debitum forum.

If there is one to act on any of the farms, they are expelled, more so when they are able to have their assets, causing them to stop in the debt market.

9.- Promitto etiam uobis pro me et succesoribus meis quod non sufferaus alicui ut habeat uassallum in Villafafila uel in Castrotoraf aut in suis alfoces contra nostram uoluntatem.

I promise you that in my name and successors they will not have to support another vassal in Villafáfila or on their own or in Castrotorafe alfoces against our will.

Ad hec obligo me et successores meos uobis quod uillam de Canceres non demus alicui ordini, et si ego uel aliquis successorum meorum ipsam dare uoluerimus Ordini, teneamur ex covenant et non alii eam dare. Item obligo me et successores meos quod, si Deus aliquo tempore nobis dederit castrum de Turgello uel de Sancta Cruz aut de Montanches aut de Medelin, quod demus ipsum uobis et ordini our hereditary iure in perpetuum possidendum, et benefaciamus uobis cum eo tauter quod possitïs ipsum I will have

The volatile city of the Cáceres that unites myself and my successors will not be able to give another order, we are obliged to give it to you due to my pact, and not others. Also join myself and my successors that God gives us any time or from Santa Cruz Castillo de Montánchez Turgello or from any of Medellín, which I will give to you and to the Order itself, by right of inheritance, which you will possess: and your own, and those who have done well to you to do with the fact of taliter You would be able to observe.

We are magister et fratres iam dicti milicie Sancti Jacobi renuntiamus presenti scripto omni iuri omnique petitioni et omni actioni quam contra uos dominum Aldefonsum, illustrem regem Legionensem, our successors habebamus tam super uilla de Canceres et suo term quam super aliis omnibus rebus pro omnibus suradictis que a nobis pro inde spontanea recipimus.

We, however, a teacher, and his brothers of the aforesaid of the knights of the Holy of Jacob hereby waive the whole law, and for every request, and for every action there are those who are against him, the Señor de Alfonso, illustrious king of León, and his successors, the successors of those we had far above the people of Cancers, is his own, with the term that in other forms of in all senses, will be effected for all suradictis which we have to admit that there is spontaneous.

10.- Promittimus etiam uobis et obligamus et successores nostros omagio fidelitatis quod de Castrotoraf et Villafafila et de earum aldeis faciamus pacem, guerram et treugas pro uobis et pro filiabus uestris, infantibus dona Sancia et dona Dulcia, uel earum alter si aliam morte aut alio casu a regno Legionis abesse contigerit, post uos et pro successoribus earum post ipsas in perpetuum.

Joining ourselves and our successors, I promise you, too, that out of the omagio of fidelity and of the members of your Castrotorafe village, let us make peace, and Villafáfila agreed to a war truce and the destruction of the daughters of his own on his behalf and on behalf of the girls distributing the gifts of the gifts of the holy and sweet, the other of death or any other, or if one of these curves will happen to be absent from the kingdom of León, for chance, after the season is yours and you have them in reference to their successors forever.

11.- Do inquam Adefonsus predictus rex uobis prefatis magistro et fratribus et ordini uestro uestrisque successoribus iure hereditary possidenda omnia supradicta, ut de eis disponatis et ordinetis ad uestram uoluntatem sicut de eo quod melius habetis et liberius possidetis.

How to say King Alfonso said before mentioned Master and brothers and his favorable order to his successors by hereditary right all of the above; so that the will of one of them from that adjust what is best, and that they have her children in their own order more freely, and that they possess.

Si quis igitur hanc nostre compositionis cartam uenire temere temptauerit, iram Dei omnipotentis incurrat, et quantum inuaserit dupplatum restituat, et pro ausu mille marches argenti in penam exoluat, carta nichilominus robur perpetuum obtinente. Facta carta apud Galisteum, mense maii, era Má CCª LX' VII°.Who was present was: Domnus Nunnio Froilaz conf. Domnus Fernandus Petri conf. Fratres ordinis militia Sancti Jacobi conf. Domnus Martinus Goncaluez conf. Domnus Enricus conf. Petrus Petri quondam commendator conf. Dompnus Martinus Lupi qui erat tunc commendator conf. Infans dompnus Petrus conf. Domnus Rodericus, frater de Valle ornie conf. Domnus Petrus Fernandi Mangion conf. Gonzaluus Iohannis de Ceruera conf. Petrus Iohannis de Ceruera conf. Domnus Ramirus Froylaz conf. Domnus Didacus Froilaz conf. Domnus Petrus Ponz conf. Ego Alfonsus, domini regis scriptor, ad rogatum et mandatum parcium scripsi et confirmo .

If any, therefore, to reach this page of our composition, the letter of the attempt to dispute, incurs the wrath of God Almighty, and to the extent that he took possession of dupplatum restore property, and a thousand marks of silver to be in favor of the penalty of exoluat a daring adventure, Carta, however, the strength of the increasingly stronger. There is letter in Galisteo, in May, the era Má CCª 60 '7 °. They were present: Dom -forcibly Froilaz conf. Dom Fernando Peter conf. The brothers of the Order of the Knights of the Holy of Jacob conf. Goncaluez of great conf Martin. conf Dom Enricus. Peter Peter once conf recommends. Wolves Dom Martin, who was then recommended to conf. Infante Dom Pierre conf. Roderick Lives the Lord, my brother, of the Valley conf ornie. conf chevreuse Fernando Mangione. conf Gonzaluus Giovanni Ceruera. Peter John de Ceruera conf. conf Dom Ramiro Froylaz. conf Dom Diego Froilaz. conf chevreuse Ponz. I JEC, the king, in the order requested by both parties wrote to confirm.

It is possibly this document of Villafáfila, which we have considered, is the most important that it had in the entire Middle Ages, since the donation was of territorial dominion (domain of the terrazzo) and jurisdictional or government of justice, pretensions, etc., of the same . It is a jurisdiction.

This donation was confirmed by D. Alfonso X in 1253 [14] and by Pope Innocent IV.

Pope Innocent IV


The Order of Santiago corresponded to the favors given by the Leonese kings, lending support to D. Fernando II in his fight against Portugal 1179, Castile 1180 and against the Muslims of Cáceres 1184, as D. Alfonso IX, in the first moments of his reign, against his stepmother Doña Urraca López.

Also in pursuit of these kings they attended the councils held in Salamanca 1178, Benavente 1181 and Carrión 1188.


In Villafáfila , an encomienda was established in charge of a commander. At the end of the 14th century, the Castrotorafe and Villafáfila encomiendas, which were very close, were provided by the same person, and since then a single commander has been in charge of both. it depended on the encomienda of Castrotorafe, which was where the Commander resided. However, the town also had its own. Next, we indicate some of them that are known to us. 




Peter Gundisalvo


Nuño Petri [15]

Rodrigo Yanez


Gomez Gonzalez [16]

Pelayo Perez Correa


Stones [17]

Gonzalo Mejia


Vasco Gomez de Sejas [18]

Pedro Muniz de Godoy


Gonzalo Sanchez de Ulloa

Infante D. Enrique


Pedro Gomez Torres [19]


In 1235 the knights in the Villafáfila convent were the following: Guterio Gundisauí milite, Dommo Tamariz milite, Martino Cidiz milite, Pedro Rupérez milite, Fernando Johanis milite, Guterio Johanis milite, Johann Martín milite, Domno Viviano milite, Garcia Sancii milite , donmo Juanes de Montamarta milite, domno Durante milite, domno Villano milite, Roderico Pelagii milite [20] .

Saint Mark of Leon



D. Fernando III, King of Castilla y León, protected the Order of Santiago, which he used in the war against the Muslims. His donations followed in her footsteps: Montiel, Montánchez, Trujillo, Mérida, Martos, Jaén, Córdoba, Seville, Ayamonte, etc. they were places of his possessions donated from him.

D. Ferdinand III also protected the Order in another sense: he confirmed his father's mandate, exempting its vassals from paying tribute [21] and received encomienda what the Order had in the kingdom of León.

“Know that I receive in my guada and in my comenda all that the Order of Chivalry of Saint Iago has in the entire kingdom of León and command and defend ferment that no one is daring to force or one-eyed, nor others in their estates, neither are you won, nor are your houses diminished” [22] .

King Ferdinand III of Castile and León

Tumbo ao index of the Royal Privileges of Santiago de Compostela


And such was the protection that he ordered that the Merino Mayor de Castilla not put merino in the towns of the Order, but that they would be his own collazos.

“mando etiam quod nullus maior merinus Castelle instuat merinum in aliquibus villis hereditatum fratum de Ucles de suis propiis collaciis eorum fratrum sed de aliis instituat quos voluerit” [23] .

"I also command that no Merino Mayor of Castile institute merino in some villages of the estates of the brothers of Uclés from their own collazos, it is about the taxes of the brothers, but if it is about others, institute them".

These favors granted by D. Fernando III to the Order meant that the daily prayers of the friars were for his soul. In the General Chapter of the Order of 1259, it was established to continue offering masses for King D. Fernando [24] .

D. Alfonso X confirmed (1256) to the Order the privileges that his predecessors had granted him. He granted that they could buy, in the kingdom up to 15,000 mrs.; that their cattle grazed all over it without paying portage and montazgo. That their shepherds and henchmen [25] were free to pay taxes and that no one asked them for mrs. beasts and vassals, those who had in their possessions.

Alfonso X

Alfonso X the Wise in the book of games


The Order of Santiago continued to support the kings of Castile and León in the war against the Muslims. D. Fernando III used him in the reconquest of Andalusia, as did D. Alfonso X, as an infant, in that of Murcia.


In the Middle Ages, in addition to the royal towns and cities, there were others subject to the authority of the “lord”. The set of these constituted the "lordship", which enjoyed "honor" or "immunity" by transfer of some faculties, of public power, by the king. The "maestrazgo" was the lordship corresponding to the Military Orders. The "encomienda" was the lordship in which its base was the idea of ​​protection and defense of the individuals and lands of the "maestrazgo".

The Lord, the master, had territorial and jurisdictional power over the entire mastership, from the men who inhabited it to the ground of it:

1º Administering justice.

2º He received certain taxes.

3º Appointed the agents of the manorial authority: judges, mayors, merinos, etc., with the intervention of the council.

4º It granted privileges.

5º He demanded military services from the residents of the manor.

Villafáfila was a lordship of the Order of Santiago and its neighboring vassals, by donation from King D. Alfonso IX.

“Inhabitatores autem et herdes Vilafaile et Castrotoraf et de suis alfocis sint vassalli vestri et non alterius” .

"As for its inhabitants and heirs of Villafáfila and Castrotorafe, and their alfoces, they are your vassals and not others'."

“I promise etian vobis pro me et successoribus aut in suis alfoces contra nostran voluntatem” .

"I also promise you for myself and for my successors that we will not allow anyone to have vassals in Villafáfila or in Castrotorafe or in their alfoces against your will" [26] .

The entry of a free man depending on another free man, his lord, superior to him (the Order of Santiago in our case), was of extraordinary importance in the Middle Ages. The former accepted the vassalage of the latter: he paid homage to him (hominium) and swore allegiance to him. Villafáfila was a collective lordship, as it affected the entire town.

Dalgo sons and men of "behetría de mar a mar" were excepted from this vassalage.

“exceptis fillis de algo et benefacturiis de mare an mare” “except the children of dalgo and the benefactors from sea to sea” [27] .


Although the Lord, as we said, had a judicial preserve, some cases were reserved for royal justice. Thus, in Villafáfila, royal justice reserved jurisdiction for serious crimes, especially treason, rape, the destruction of highways and notorious theft.

Limits of the alfoz de Villafáfila, which included the current towns of Villafáfila, San Agustín and Revellinos


Justice was exercised by the Lord, the supreme symbol of his authority. It was a source of income for him. The maestre or commander was the lord of Villafáfila. His peasants could have useful control of the land, but he was dependent on him.

The Order of Santiago had royal jurisdiction in Villafáfila, exercising justice by judges and mayors, on behalf of the king, unless he exercised it directly.

 This justice corresponded to the ordinary mayors, residents in the same. The appointment of them was made by the Commander, from a proposal presented by the council, as he understood that the best conditions to exercise the positions were present in those proposed.

“the officers that are in each place are two mayors in each of them, who are elected by the council” [28] .

This was done in Peñausende, encomienda of the Order of Santiago, in Zamora and belonging to Castrotorafe. (Peñausende was an independent encomienda of Castrotorafe).

During the time that the town had remained in the order of Santiago, ordinary justice was exercised by the mayors,

“The said council, being in possession and using the lawsuits that occur among them, ansy ceviles as cremynales, as in any other way by the ordinary mayors of the said billa, to be judged”

and appeals were brought before the maestre,

Ea that their appeals are to the mercy of the said master or to those who in his place are willing to free him ",

that extraordinarily appointed special judges to resolve cases that exceeded the powers of ordinary mayors, or lawsuits arose between various jurisdictions; or periodically he sent the visitors who resolved the issues between the councils and the commanders, and the requests for justice that the council or the neighbors made of them. In addition, we have news of the existence of a maestre mayor at the beginning of the 15th century or the end of the 14th:

"and that a mayor of the said master master who put it in the alcacer of the said billa ",

as well as the presence of a corregidor in Villafáfila in 1428:

“before Alfonso Fernández de Medina, bachelor of laws, corregidor in Villafáfila for our lord the ynfante don Enrique maestre de Santiago ”,

he would have the function of major justice, since he is qualified in law, and we find him seated in front of the doors of the houses of Andrés Fernández, waging [29] . This figure of the corregidor is the antecedent of the future mayors, and we do not know if it was a sporadic or permanent position, since it is not traced again in the documentation handled [30] .

Not all the towns had an “appeal judge”, the Mayor Mayor, if Villafáfila had one , he was appointed directly by the Comendador, he did it among those most suitable people, inside or outside the town, which was not only for appeals against the sentences dictated by the Ordinary Mayors of the Villa and alfoz, This had certain independence, with respect to the vassals and was located in some of the towns of the Order and for all of them. In 1541, its mayor was the bachelor Antonio Ortiz de Chaves, who was from Villafáfila.

“The commander has it and provides it in certain towns” [31] .

List of Major Mayors in Villafáfila [32] .



Lieutenant - Substitute


Diego Lopez de Yanguas



Christopher of Avila



Diego Ramirez de la Rua



Rodrigo deFigueroa



Louis of the Cave

Antonio Olea


Alonso de Mexia



Rodrigo Figueroa



John Ruiz



Garcia de Dam



Diego of Luzon



Garcia Dam



Francis of Zaynos



Garcia Dam



Francisco Ruiz



Hernando Arias



Garcia Dam



John of the Ford



Francisco de la Mata



Garcia Dam



Ruiz Sarmiento



Francisco Ruiz



Antonio Ortiz de Chavez



In our case it was in Villafáfila

The existing documentation of Villafáfila tells us nothing about the crimes and penalties applied by the Order to the vassals who committed them.

“I must autem in eiusden villis iustician exercere si forte vos vel vicarius qui ad hoc a vobis fuertit deputatus fueritis negligentes in austicia facienda, ad has tamen quatour voz et non ad alias I must ego intrare in ipsis villis per me vel hominen meun convocato prius vicar vestro ad aleyvosum et letronem scptum ad eum qui mulierem forciaverit et ad illium qui stratam publicam sevi caminun fregerit, et nobilibus que por predictis vocibus data fuerint percipiat vicarius vester through m et ego aliam medietatem vel vox; hereditas autem insticiati deben vobis et ordini vestro remanere integre; bovi vero aliorum quos ego proter negligentiam vestran et vicarii vestri iusticia vero nichill debeno accipere, set omnia debent vobis integre remanere”.

“I must exercise justice in said towns in case you or the vicar to whom you delegate were negligent in doing justice. However, in four sentences and not in others, I must enter these towns by my name or by my man, previously summoning your vicar: When treachery, red-handed thief, forcing a woman, and breaking a public highway or road. And of the movable property that by said sentence were, your vicar perceives half and the other half. The inheritance of one who has been judged owes you and your Order to think entirely, of assets of those that I, through your negligence or your vicar have applied, I must receive nothing, all must pass entirely to you” [33] .

He also forced all those who lived in Villafáfila to build their homes, in accordance with his vassal status.

We have seen the jurisdiction – the custom – as a source of law, but the Visigothic law ( Liber Iudiciorum ) was also applied, although with a predominance of the former, during the 9th and 10th centuries and following.

While society remained in a certain isolation, which characterized the Middle Ages, local customs govern its life. As contacts increase and society becomes more dynamic, local law loses its reason for being: because it is insufficient, because it does not provide for different and even opposing rights, and because it maintains privileges from previous situations, unjustifiable at a later time.

Faced with this localism, which made coexistence between people belonging to the same kingdom difficult, the king tried to generalize, in a first phase, applying the privileges of a rabbit or region to others. This is the case of the jurisdiction of Benavente, which came to be applied to areas as far away as Galicia, Asturias el Bierzo, etc. [34] .

In a second phase, when the king has sufficient power, he creates a new law, valid for the entire kingdom. This right the Roman imposes D. Alfonso X with the implantation of the Real Law and the Partidas, that redice or annuls the local right, of the tradition or custom.

It will be defended by those who believe themselves harmed, which gives rise to noble revolts or the creation of brotherhoods of councils that support the infant, later king, D Sancho IV, against his father Alfonso X, for his policy of legal unification.

The Royal Charter is the work of jurists, of experts, among whom the judges choose, for whom the Speculum could have been written between 1253-1260.

The jurists review the local charters and take from them.

“what is most valuable is the best... also from the Fuero de Castilla, as well as from León, as from other places” .

The Alcalá Ordinance of 1348 legally represented a triumph of the king's right.

“to the king belongs the power to make laws and to interpret and to declare and order what he wants to comply with” .

Legislative and judicial power corresponds to the king. Chancelleries or Superior Courts of Justice of the Castilian kingdom are created. From now on, justice will be applied to the Alcalá Ordinance and later, when it does not comply, to the municipal jurisdictions.


What signs of vassalage did the inhabitants of Villafáfila have?

We have seen how King D. Alfonso IX, in the concord of 1229, donated to the Order of Santiago, with perpetual hereditary right, the “petiti” that he received annually from Villafáfila and its alfoz, in addition to the “fazendaria, pecto, petito et fondasaria ” and the remaining real rights that he had in it. He also half of what he received from the beasts of the village and his alfoz.

“item do bovis vestrique succesiribus iure hederitario in perpetuum illan medietatem de bestriquas percipere consuevi de Castrotoraf et de su alfoz percepturus eram ab hodie in antea de Villafáfila es suo alfoz cum debenrem exercitum comgregrare”

“Likewise I give to you and your successors in hereditary right permanently half of what I customarily received from the beasts of Castrotorafe and its alfoz and of what I had to receive from Villafáfila and its alfoz from today backwards with what corresponds to me of the right to recruit an army” [35] .

It refers to the toll that the animals had to pay as they passed through the alfoz and also the most important donation, granted to the Commander of the Order.

"cum debreren exercitum congregare" .

The power to recruit their retinues among the vassals of Villafáfila (fonsado).

Added to this was the obligation they had to prowl and guard ( anubda ) the fence and "castelaria" or repair it, given its weakness.


In the kingdom of León there were, since ancient times, lordships of behetría of the nominees from “sea to sea” . There were in Villafáfila, Castrotorafe, and Villavicencio [37] .

The inhabitants of Villafáfila and Castrotorafe were vassals of the Order of Santiago.

“ exceptis filiis de algo et benefacturiis de mare ad mare” (bene facere = do) well) “except sonsdalgos and benefactors from sea to sea” [38] .

"There are some who are called from sea to sea, which means that the neighbors or dwellers in such places can take lord whoever they serve and take in them whomever they want of any lineage that is: for this they are called Behetrías of sea ​​to sea, which means, that they take a lord if they want from Seville, if they want from Vizcaya or from another part” [39] .

“behetrías from sea to sea, villages that having originally been free to take protection lord at will or having achieved these concession rights from the king or having achieved these concession rights from the king or from the lords, if they had previously been villages of family, managed to remain independent and thus endure in the tragic moments in which many others had to submit to the pressure of the nobility and choose a lord within one or several lineages” [40] .

The behetría was halfway between the realengo and the manor.

The man of behetría or benefactory paid a census – nature – on Saint John's day the ownership of all his land was preserved, lending to his lord:

“obedientin et didelem servitium”.

The duration of the pact, between the two, could be for life or heraldry. From the 13th and 14th centuries, the behetría became collective throughout the town. They could choose the lord they liked.

The jurisdiction of León recognized absolute freedom of man of behetría.

“We also prescribe that the man of benefactory go freely where he wishes with all his goods” [41] .

The socio-economic condition of the welfare man deteriorated until it resembled the settler. The ordinance of Alcalá 1348 equates the ancestral with the men of behetría.

In the behavior of the administration of justice, it is the responsibility of the Merino Real.


The tribute of Fonsadera was given, granted by Alfonso IX in the Lordship of Villafáfila in the Year 1229, although it was not given for other Lordships of the Order. Watch and prowl obligation that disappears in the sixteenth century. In the deed of sale in favor of the Marquis of Tábara.

“...what the sails and the round of the fortress mount you are not going to cut or put... understand that the residents of Villafáfila were not obliged to watch over the fortress...” .

Why are you exempt from this obligation? Perhaps, because the fortress was in very poor condition, since in the List of Revenues of the aforementioned Order, it is said that:

"There is an almost demolished fortress that would be worth about 50,000 maravedís plus 3 thousand" .

Map of Villafáfila from the 18th century, marked with the letter "b" where the Castle was located, highlighting what was the perimeter of the fence or wall


We therefore fear the certainty that in Villafáfila there was a fortress-castle, just as it was close by. But where was it located? We incline you think that the place that, since time immemorial, has been called "El Castillo" and where some remains of the rammed earth wall still survive to this day. There is no other referential memory of a fortress or castle in Villafáfila.


Old ruins of the castle of Villafáfila that arrived until the end of the 20th century


The house of the Order or of the Commander and its chapel, although perhaps at first it could have been in the fortress, was in the Plaza de San Marcos. This is deduced from the Survey of assets of the parish of San Pedro [42] , from the year 1670, in which a house is inventoried, near San Miguel, which adjoins the Chapel of the Convent of San Marcos, that is to say of the Knights of Santiago. In front of her there was, naturally, a local Commander. They bought the estates at the beginning of the 16th century.

It is expressly mentioned in the following document [43] :

“In Dei et eius gratia.It is a known thing to all the omnes that this letter comes as we do, Mr. Rodrigo Xeniguez, by the grace of God, Master of the Order of the Knighthood of Santiago, with the award of the Commander of Montánchez Mr. Gómez Fernández et from us friars, may we give all our estate, how much we used and owed each other, with entrances and exits and with all their belongings, in the village called Malua, village of Toro, the abbot Don Esteban II of Moreilola is honored by C et L marauedies , of which marauedies us, said Maestre et nostra company, we are well paid. Et because this nostra is more ualadera for all times, we will seal this letter of the nostro, seal et of the seal of the commander of Montánchez, which letter is dated in Villa Fafila, Sunday XVIII two days of the month of March, I, It was M CC LXXX. Mr Gomez Gonzaluez, Commander of Villafáfila, fierint testis. D. Diego (Fenan) Forese testis, Don Malen Frolaz freire, Don Minio García frere testis, Don Pedro Esteban Chaplain del Maestre frere, Don Johan Fernandez Commander of Penna Grosendo frere testis, Don Lope Esteuanez Commander of Asturias frere testis, Don Martin Gonzaluez ... frere testis. Don Rodrígu de Çarmona testis.”

“The God and his grace. Know this thing to all those who were Carta Viren, since Mr. Rodrigo Xeniguez, by the Grace of God Master of the Order of Chivalry of Santiago, with the granting of the Commander of Montánchez Mr. Gómez Fernández and us freires, evidence of I tie all of our inheritance, since we left Lauer, with entrances outside with exidas and with all his belongings, in the Village that owes Malua, Aldea de Toro El Abad Don Esteban II de Moreilola art of his interview for 100 and 50 maravedies , of those who marvel like cho depressed, and our company, we are well paid. This is because our sea is more ualadera for all time, we seal our Letter with the seal of the seal of the Comendador de Montánchez, the Letter whatever its date in Villafáfila, monks walked 18 days of the month of Mazo, I, it was MCCLXXX. Don Gómez González, Commander of Villafáfila, friere witness. D. Diego (Fenan) witness Bosque Don Malen Frolaz Freire Don Minho García freiré witness, don Pedro, Esteban freiré Chaplain del Maestre, Don Johan Fernández commander the wing Grosendo witness freiré, don Lope Esteuanez Commander of Asturias freiré witness, don Martín Gonzaluez. .. I will fry witness. Witness Mr. Rodrigo de Carmona”.

The seigneurial jurisdictions, generally, were constituted by a town, but sometimes, the town manifested itself as the head of a seignorial jurisdiction that included other places or villages, with which it constitutes its land or Alfoz. Such is the case of Villafáfila, which had as land or Alfoz the places of San Agustín and Revellinos.


All the property of the Order was distributed in economic units, called Encomiendas, each of them administered by a Commander appointed by the Master. There was a Major Commander in each Kingdom and local Commanders where they had properties and there were more than three friars, where they had their home and an oratory or chapel for themselves and their families.

While the master and the knights lived in the convent, there was only one heritage. As of 1280, being master D. Juan González, the goods of the Order were distributed by half among those. The master's table was called "Maestral Table" and the other half gave rise to the "encomiendas". The first, after the Catholic Monarchs, due to its disappearance, became the possession of the King and Queen of Spain.

We consider in the economic aspect of the Order of Santiago, from now on, some remnants of the same, which directly affected their possessions in Villafáfila, dispensing with what we could call "general economy of the Order".

The agricultural aspect was not of primary interest to it, in those medieval times, so that its properties, rather than directly exploiting them, were leased to the villains, who paid annually the manor income for the exploitation of the terrazzo. This is what happened in 1177 when they leased the Muélledes estate to Gonzalo and his wife Eulalia, who gave him a third of what they had and also in August of each year a morabetino [44] .

In 1197 the Commander Pedro Melgar, from Benavente, changed what he had in possession, in Cerecinos and Villafáfila, for what in Villalobos the marriage of Fernández Gutiérrez and his wife Dª. Marina Petriz [45] .

In 1277 the Canon of León D. Gonzalo Gil, from the lineage of the Ossorios de Villalobos, received 800 mvs. annual revenues that the Order had in Villafáfila [46] . 

Also in 1277, the latter established an agreement with Sancha Rodríguez de la Valduerna, whereby the usufruct of Villafáfila was handed over to her with the condition that upon his death it reverted to the Order together with his assets (donation in prestige). Meanwhile she granted that 3,000 mvs. reports on the toll gates of Castrotorafe and Zamora [47] .

D. Juan de Benavides Lord of Villafáfila.

Between the reigns of D. Alfonso XI and D. Pedro I, D. Juan Alfonso de Benavides, from our Zamora area, distinguished himself by royal favor.

In 1283, the Master of the Order, with the authorization of the Commander of Villafáfila, gave Pedro Fernández and his wife Teresa Fernández de Cerecinos the estate of Pobladura, in Villafáfila, two salt pans – one of them in Santa Marina – and some houses [ 48] .

He married this in first nuptials with Dª. María Girón, called la Raposa, descendant of the house of osuna and in second 1332 with Dª. Mayor Vázquez de Minzo, who brought the town and castle of Villafáfila and the strong house of Barrueco Pardo (Salamanca), which belonged to the order of Santiago, to the marriage.

This type of donation, as we know, was common in the Middle Ages. It used to be done for the life of the acquirer so that upon his death he would return to the Order, increasing it with other possessions of the latter [49] .

Villafáfila returned to the Order of Santiago on the death of Benavides, ordered by order of Pedro I (the cruel), in 1364 [50] .

Being the tithes of the churches belonging to the Order a source of income for it, they also caused internal litigation. It happened that the commander of Villafáfila was reluctant to deliver these tithes to the prior of San Marcos de León. A lawsuit arose that the master D. Pedro de Godoy had to decide in 1384-85, in favor of the prior [51] .

During the reign of the Trastámaras, the Order had difficulties of all kinds. In the General Chapter of the same, in 1440, the master, who was the Infante D. Enrique, appointed in 1442, the knight D. Diego Fernández de León and D. Alfonso Yánez, who were friars of Uclés and vicar of Montiel respectively , visitors to inspect and reform the Order in Castilla la Vieja, León, Galicia and Asturias.

These visitors examined the financial aspect of the priory of San Marcos, deposed the prior D. Alfonso Fernández and the subprior D. Pedro Alonso. Convent

 “It was very dissipated and destroyed by the mismanagement that had existed” .

 The prior and the friars said:

"That they had a very bad time and could not live in the hours of serving the said church and convent for not giving them clothing and capes . "

There should have been: 6 friars of mass, 4 deacons, 2 subdeacons, 3 waiters for non-Catholics and 4 sergeants.

The visitors forced the prior to give each year, on San Miguel in September, to each friar of mass 600 mrs. for changing rooms and 300 for a cape, for deacons 500 mrs. and 200 ms, to the subdeacons, 400 ms. and 200 ms. respectively for clothing and cape and to the other freires 300mrs.

The cause of such deterioration was that the prior lived for a long time in Llanera, which was dependent on the convent of León. For this reason, the visitors forced him to reside in the León convent for 6 months, from April to September inclusive, and when he left he left a friar in charge, in León, of everything. They established the distribution of goods between the prior and the friars of the fruits and income of the Leonese convent in the following way:

The prior was to receive 50,000 mrs. and 150 loads of bread annually: those came from the income of the Puebla of the prior and the bread and wine of the Saints, 18,000, from the Encomienda Mayor 5,000, from that of Azuagua 5,000, from Guadalcanal 5,000, from the Maestral Table 17,000 mrs. Total 50,000

Of the bread: From Villafáfila 30 loads of wheat and 50 of barley, from Villalpando 30 loads of barley and from Villavidel 20 loads of wheat and 20 of barley. Total 150 loads [52] .

To correspond to the economic needs of the Castrotorafe and Villafáfila Order, in 1467, they paid the Maestral Table an order of 10,000 mrs.; except alcabalas [53] .

At the end of the Middle Ages, 1497, the annual fees received by the commander of Villafáfila were the following [54] :

A cabin

  9,500 maravedis


Writing desk

15,000 maravedis


7 tithes

10,000 maravedis


Some Vines

  4,000 maravedis


Castillaje and portage

7,000 maravedis


Martiniega and yanteras

4,000 maravedis


An orchard

     800 maravedis


Master Table

  6,000 maravedis


From farmland 48, loads of bread 


Several hens per year depending on the jurisdiction



It should not surprise us that certain incomes, such as those from Fumazgo, Montazgo, etc., do not appear. that were common in the manors. This is due to the fact that in the Lordships of the Order there was a strong tendency to replace all, or some of the taxes, with the Martiniega, paid by the Town Council. Thus they saved expenses of many collections.


Being Commander of Castrotorafe and Villafáfila Pedro de Ledesma, Montero Mayor of King Enrique IV, this town was forcibly occupied in 1467 by Don Juan Pimentel y Quiños on behalf of his brother Rodrigo Pimentel y Quiñones, IV Count of Benavente, who does with possession of it.

In 1470 the count established a concert with his brother Pedro Pimentel y Quiñones, (progenitor of the marquises of Távara) for which he received Villafáfila in exchange for giving the count his town of Almanza, in León. With the dispossession of the most productive part of his encomienda, Don Pedro de Ledesma renounced it and Don Enrique Enríquez de Guzmán, son of the first Count of Alba de Aliste, was appointed to the position of commander in 1468. The protests of the new Commander before the Catholic Monarchs, they managed to get the Count of Benavente to agree to give him an annual rent for the enjoyment of Villafáfila.

In 1497 the kings, counting on the information of the visitors of the Order of Santiago, who had known in Villafáfila, the tyranny to which the Pimentels had subjected their vassals, considered the restitution of the town to the commander of Castrotorafe. For this they send Commander Fernando de Pavia to take possession of Villafáfila on behalf of his Highnesses, and deliver it to its legitimate owner, Don Enrique Enríquez de Guzmán. [55] .

Inquiry that the Commander Alonso de Esquivel made by order of Queen Isabella I of Castile, of the residents of  Villafáfila , Revellinos and San Agustín, rent of the town and value of its fortress [56]


The reinstatement of the town and land of Villafáfila, including its fortress, as a symbol of lordship, to the Order of Santiago by the Catholic Monarchs, led to certain political changes, which were not limited to the appointment of the new mayor in the person of Francisco de Treslago, until then mayor of Castrotorafe, as a representative of the lordship of Commander Don Enrique, but certain families, who had settled in the town under the patronage of the Pimentels, and had occupied the regiment and obtained certain privileges, such as the exemption of breasts or favorable access to council lands, saw their privileges and influence in the town diminished. This caused some differences and conflicts between these neighbors with the commander and with his patronage in 1499, which the visitors of the Order had to resolve that year:

 “In the said Villafáfila we failed in certain debates and alterations between one another and between some fidalgos and the commander, and according to what seemed to everyone they wanted peace, if he were a mediator, and so it was manifested, because certain makers for the said commander Mr. Enrique and the mayors of the town and other certain fidalgos petitioned and testified to us with certain protests that, since we were going there with the power of your highnesses, we should take the cabsas in our hands and give the means that would serve God and concord with them, and , to greater abundance, they promised it in our hands and all, in this differentiated, we took to a place called San Cebrián where Don Enrique, commander, was, with whom we agreed and gave them the best means we could and left them in all harmony” [57] .

Coat of arms of the Barrios family, who were in the service of the Pimentel family in Villafáfila


There were also some changes in the institutional status of the town to adapt to the new situation of the realengo, as the kings were the administrators of the Order of Santiago. To prevent disputes between neighbors from causing conflicts, since they were judged by the ordinary mayors, who were sometimes relatives of the parties, and to facilitate a better exercise of justice by establishing an intermediate level of appeal and second instance, avoiding the having to appeal to the Order's council or to the Royal Chancery of Valladolid, the visitors recommended to the Catholic Monarchs the appointment of a mayor who would act in Villafáfila:

“Beyond that, we settled on other particular things, since [although] the powers of their highnesses prohibited us, because, seeing that it was their service, and because there was no person on earth for their highnesses who knew of such cabsas, and In order not to leave them in so much confusion, since they asked us and required it, we settled down to find out about it; It seems to us, if your highnesses are served, it would be good to send someone who understands justice, because ordinary mayors seldom determine, because things are between relatives” [58] .

 Since then, the Mayor of the Order of Santiago settled in Villafáfila for most of the year in the district of Castilla la Vieja and the kingdoms of León and Galicia, “aquende los Puertos” , that is, north of the Central System.



The Catholic kings had obtained from Pope Alexander VI, in 1493 , the concessions of Master of the administration of the Maestrazgos of the Military Orders, a right that his successors also enjoyed.

Ferdinand the Catholic

Elizabeth the Catholic


The fact was to link the royal power to some manors that, due to their size and strategic position, could endanger the security of the kingdom, as had happened during the reign of Enrique IV of Castile. In addition, he was interested in incorporating into the Royal Treasury the important heritage that the Masters of the Military Orders had accumulated over the centuries.

This, in the opinion of modern historians, constituted a true state operation, substituting a politically dispersed and medieval one for a modern and centralized one - Absolute Monarchy -, more in line with the needs of society at the time.

Pope Alexander VI


With the Reconquest concluded in 1492, military necessity, for which the Orders had been created, made them unnecessary. From then on they have come to us under a more or less noble sign.

The kings would directly dispose of the income of the Master Table.


In the reign of Carlos I there was a tremendous economic-political imbalance, derived from the Royal Treasury's lack of resources to meet the ever-increasing needs, especially due to the continuous struggles against the Muslims, enemies of the church.

To solve this lack of resources, the Emperor asked the Pope for authorization to dispose of the positions of the Military Orders (Maestro Table), monasteries, bishoprics and chapters to mitigate said deterioration. On the kingdom of Castile and the Castilians fell mainly the support of their foreign policy and with it the impoverishment of both.

Charles I of Spain


In 1523, Pope Alexander VI made perpetual incorporation to the Crown of Castile, the Master Table of the Military Orders.

“We are well aware of the things that our most beloved son Carlos in Christ, Catholic King of Castile and Leon, Emperor Elect (of Germany), following in the footsteps of his grandparents Fernando and Isabel... and those of their ancestors have done for the Universal Church... and we are confident that every day, with the favor of God, it will act more attentively to the devotion of the Faith and to the Apostolic See and to the entire Christian Republic...

If perhaps at some time, God forbid, he deviates from our obedience or that of the Roman Pontiff... or from the obedience and devotion of the Holy Church of Rome. or wage war against, or directly or indirectly the machinare... is deprived of this grace... and of course the said union is dissolved” [59] .

In 1529 Pope Clement VII, of the Medici by Bull, granted authorization to D. Carlos I to dispose of assets of the Military Orders of Santiago, Calatrava and Alcántara, as master of the same.

“pro fidey locorun regni Granate et Africe hui usmundi defensionen perpetuo assignati” (we perpetually assign for the defense of the Faith and of the places of the kingdom of Granada and Africa).

Up to the sum of 40,000 ducats of income of which he could dispose.

“as one's own thing, to make a donation or sale of the same, without the recipients of the goods being disturbed at any time” [60] .

Pope Clement VII


The emperor must order, therefore, to make an inquiry of:

“the said rents belonging to the said Order and Commendation of Castrotorafe, in the said town of Villafáfila and terms” ,

valuation that is made taking the basis for the inheritance oath "what the previous five years have meant", to set one fifth of that total as annual income. An amount that amounted to 111,041.5 (6,750 for the Master's Table and 104,291.5 mrs. for the commander), plus what corresponded to the proportion of the 5,000 ducats granted in favor of the Military Orders.

Pope Paul III, by Bull, confirmed in 1536 what Clement VII had established, expanding the power of dismemberment granted by him. Paul IV, in 1555 repeated authorization.

Pope Paul III


In application of the Papal Bulls, in 1541 the annexed places of San Agustín and Revellinos [61] were dismembered from the Encomienda de Castrotorafe to Villafáfila and its alfoz , this first step supposes a previous settlement by the Commander, in this case of Mr. Pedro Pimentel, Knight of Santiago and Commander of the Encomienda de Castrotorafe, noting that he does so:

"Of his own and agreeable will without being forced or induced to do so" .

That they definitively separate themselves from the Master Table of the Order of Santiago and the Encomienda de Castrotorafe, joining the Crown.

Pope Paul IV


Dismemberment includes:

"The town of Villafáfila and its places, with vassals and civil and criminal jurisdiction, high and low, mere and mixed empire, with mountains, pastures and chamber penalties, homicides, etc., with rents and rights or whatever things and pre-eminence of any quality… belongings in the said Order of Santiago and Master Table of it and the said Commendation of Castrotorafe, except what the Convent of San Marcos de León has, which was not dismembered from the said Order and must remain with the said convent… ” 

He was referring to the income and other things that the convent has in the said town and its land and that, as its own assets, it had to respect.

The crown undertakes to pay this amount by means of an inheritance oath, to “the aforementioned Master Table of Santiago and Encomienda de Castrotorafe” , said oath located for collection, “in the silk rent of the kingdom of Granada” [62] , with acceptance of the name of the Order by D. Juan Manrique, Attorney General of the same, and by D. Pedro Pimentel, commander, as has been said, of Castrotorafe.


Emperor Carlos I communicated to the town of Villafáfila on 3-XII-1541 his incorporation to the Crown:

"to the council, justice, aldermen, squires and good men of the said town of Villafáfila and places of San Agustín and Revellinos" ,

its dependency on the Crown, so that

“They were received, had and had by such gentleman owner of the said town and its terms and jurisdiction, rents, chests and rights of it and everything else that in them or in their annexes had and belonged to the Master Table and Encomienda of Castrotorafe and to the commander of it demanding, therefore, the obedience and fidelity that they owed and were obliged to give and lend, the payment of all those rents, chests and rights that the encomienda enjoyed " ,

and submission to the king and his justice. With the taking of possession in the name of the king, by the corregidor the phase that had supposed the dismemberment of the goods and their incorporation to the crown was closed.


Jose Luis Dominguez Martinez.

(Combination of referenced texts)


Some of the Latin translations may contain mistranslations in words or phrases, but are still published to give some knowledge of the Latin text .


Authors -Texts:

Manuel de la Granja Alonso:

History and current situation of a Castilian-Leonese town p. 79, 121-134 and 149-151.

Unedited notes.


Elias Rodriguez Rodriguez:

Major Mayors of the Order of Santiago in Villafáfila:

Yearbook of the Institute of Zamorano Studies Florián de Ocampo,  ISSN  0213-8212, Nº 16, 1999  pages. 283-346.

Interventions and interests of the Counts of Benavente in Villafáfila in the XV and XVI centuries:

Yearbook of the Institute of Zamorano Studies Florián de Ocampo,  ISSN  0213-8212, Nº 14, 1997, pages. 487-512.




Elijah Rodriguez Rodriguez.

Jose Luis Dominguez Martinez.


Transcription and montage:

Jose Luis Dominguez Martinez.


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[1] UHH. Ucles. carp. 1 document Four.

[2] AHN. TML. Book 4 d 32 pages. 254-257.

[3] Lacarra. J. Mª, Uría, J. and Vázquez de Praga, L.: The pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela. 1948.

[4] Clause 11 of the Rule.

[5] AHN. Ucles. carp. 88. doc. 5.

[6] AHN. Ucles. carp. 88. doc. 6.

[7] AHN. Ucles. carp. 338. doc. 1.

[8] Of the Farm Alonso, Manuel. Castrotorafe: History of a medieval town-fortress. Unpublished.

[9] Municipal Arch of Cáceres. No. 5. Julio González: Alfonso IX. Doc. 56.

[10] performed by the vassal in the estate of the Lord.

[11] real permanent for the enjoyment of the terrazzo.

[12] King's extraordinary tax. C. Sanchez Albornoz. Notes for the study of the "petitum": 1995.

[13] Tax paid by the vassal not to go to war.

[14] AHN. Ucles, carp. 88, doc. 23.

[15] Arch. Diocesan of Astorga carp. II doc. 46. ​​Consolation Cavero Dominguez. The Salinas de Lamprea in the Middle Ages . Doc IV. Astórica, nº 8. Astorga.

[16] Provincial Historical Arch of Zamora, carp. 6 docs 19. María Luisa Bueno Domínguez: The monastery of Santa María de Moreruela . Doc 70.

[17] Married Lobato, Mª. Concepción: Diplomatic Collection of the Monastery of Carrizo. Doc 289.

[18] AHN. Ucles, carp. 88, doc. 27.

[19] AHN. Calf of San Marcos de León, leg. 1 document 90-1360-C.

[20] Arch. Diocesan of Astorga, carp. II, Doc. 46.

[21] ANH. Ucles. chap. 179, doc. 19.

[22] BN. ms. 8582, fol. 64.

[23 ]A. HN. Stamps S.5. Julio Gonzalez. Reign and Diplomas of Ferdinand III. Doc. 512.

[24] ASML. R-53. Julio Gonzalez. Reign and Diplomas of Ferdinand III. Doc. 631.

[25] Servants of the lord who did not pay taxes.

[26] AHN. Ucles chap. 88 doc 18. Julio Gonzalez, Alfonso IX. Doc. 597. Justiniano Rodríguez Fernández: The local jurisdictions of the Province of Zamora. 1990.

[27] AHN. Ucles chap. 88 doc 18. Julio Gonzalez, Alfonso IX. Doc. 597. Justiniano Rodríguez Fernández: The local jurisdictions of the Province of Zamora . 1990.

[28] AGS. Various of Castile. Leg. 47, Atilana Moreno Sebastián:The Lords of the Church in the Land of Zamora. Page 95.

[29] ARCH.V. Perez Alonso f. 516.

[30] Elías Rodríguez Rodríguez: Mayors of the Order of Santiago in Villafáfila . Yearbook of the Institute of Zamorano Studies Florián de Ocampo,  ISSN  0213-8212, Nº 16, 1999pages. 283-346.

[31] AGS. Various of Castile. Leg. 47, Atilana Moreno Sebastián:The Lords of the Church in the Land of Zamora. Page 98.

[32] Elías Rodríguez Rodríguez: Mayors of the Order of Santiago in Villafáfila . Yearbook of the Institute of Zamorano Studies Florián de Ocampo,  ISSN  0213-8212, Nº 16, 1999pages. 283-346.

[33] AGS. Various of Castile. Leg. 47, Atilana Moreno Sebastián:The Lords of the Church in the Land of Zamora. Page 95.

[34] González, Julio: Jurisdiction of Benavente of 1167. Hispania. 1942. Justiniano Rodríguez Fernández : The local jurisdictions of the Province of Zamora . 1990.

[35] AHN. Ucles chap. 88 doc 18. Julio Gonzalez, Alfonso IX. Doc. 597. Justiniano Rodríguez Fernández: The local jurisdictions of the Province of Zamora . 1990.

[36] p. 324.

[37] The behetrías were of two kinds: from "sea to sea" the inhabitants of their places could freely choose the lord in the entire extension of the Castilian-Leonese kingdom, between the Cantabrian Sea and the Atlantic, and from "lineage" that they could only elect a lord among the descendants of a lineage. The men of behetría were obliged to pay taxes and benefits to the lord they chose.

[38] Sánchez Albornoz, Claudio: Behetrías: Yearbook of the History of Spanish Law. 1424. Julio González: Alfonso IX. T.I, p. 232.

[39] Ucles ch. 88 doc 18. E.

[40] Sánchez Albornoz, Claudio: Old and new studies on Spanish Medieval Institutions. IT Page 300.

[41] Law of Leon. Article. XIII.

[42] p. 324.

[43] Provincial Archive of Zamora. Folder 6. Doc. No. 10). Year 1242.

[44] AHN. Ucles, chap. 88, doc. 33.

[45] BN. ms. 714, fol. 130.Ángel Rodríguez, González:Tumbo del Monasterio de San Martín de Castañeda, Leoneses Archives nº 39 and 40. 1996.

[46] RAH Salazar Collection, M-8, fols. 45v-46r.

[47] RAH Salazar Collection, M-8, fols. 45v-46r.

[48] ​​AHN Military Orders. Ucles, Carp. 88 doc 27.

[49] RAH Salazar Collection. T. 23, fol. 43. Cesáreo Fernández Duro:Historical Memories of the city of Zamora, its province and bishopric. TI p. 565.

[50] Manuel de la Granja Alonso: History and current affairs of a Castilian-Leonese town,p79.

[51] Arch. San Marcos de León, doc. 474, 480, and 481. Dereck W. Lomax: A Visit to San Marcos de León in 1442 . Leon and his story Vol. I. 1969.

[52] AHN. Tumbo Becerro Tercero where all the instruments belonging to this Royal Convent of San Marcos de León were copied. 17, no. 133, 136-C.

[53] Ladero Quesada, M. Ángel: Some data for the economic history of the Military Orders of Santiago and Calatrava in the fifteenth century. Hispania. no. 116, 170.

[54] Archbishopric of Astorga Archive.

[55] The occupation of Villafáfila by the Count of Benavente was dealt with more extensively in an article published in the 1997 IEZFO Yearbook, p. 487-512: “Interventions and interests of the counts of Benavente in Villafáfila in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.”.

[56] General Archive of Simancas, CCA,DIV,41,42.

[57] AHN OO.MM. Book 1091.

[58] AHN OO.MM. Book 1091.

[59] Bull of Hadrian VI of the Incorporation of the Maestrazgos to the Crown of Castile. Military Orders in the Austrian Monarchy. History 16. nº 225 year XX.

[60] Moreno Sebastián, Atilina: The manors of the Church of Zamora. XVI-XIX centuries. The disentailment processes of manorial wealth. Page 115. Atilina Moreno Sebastián and José Cepeda Adán:Confiscation of lands of the Military Orders in the reign of CarlosI. Hispania, nº 146. 1980

[61] AGS. Mercedes and Privileges. Villafafila. leg. 349-10, 357-27 and 368-8.

[62] Documents authorized by the accountants of relations D. Diego de Santa Cruz and D. Pedro de la Peña with the Notary Public of Revenues. Don Fernando de Somonte of Valladolid (10-12-1549). Ramón Carande:Carlos V and his bankersFrom him. Page 479. IT 1977.