General Information
Igreja do Salvador de Fervença  
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  • Name: Church of the Saviour of Fervença
  • Typology: Church
  • Classification: Submitted to classification
  • Municipality: Celorico de Basto
  • Patron Saint´s Day: Divine Saviour - 6th August 
  • Worship Hours: Saturday - 4 pm; sunday - 8 am 
  • Visiting Hours: By appointment   
  • Support Services:
  • Telephone : 255 810 706 / 918 116 488   
  • Fax: 255 810 709   
  • E-Mail:    
  • Web:   
  • Location:
    Lugar do Assento, Fervença, Celorico de Basto, Braga.
  • Geographic Coordinates: 41° 21' 27.73" N / 8° 5' 17.65" O 

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

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

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

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

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

Historical Figures

Afonso Sanches (1288-1329)
The bastard son (later legitimized) of King D. Dinis and Aldonsa Rodrigues Telha. He was the founder of the Monastery of Saint Claire, in Vila do Conde, where he is buried together with his wife, D. Teresa Martins.

Afonso Sanches came to be the favourite son of the Portuguese monarch, who even conferred him the position of royal chamberlain. As the story goes, King D. Dinis intended to go even further by trying to leave the Portuguese kingdom to this son in his will, to the detriment of the rightful heir to the throne, Prince D. Afonso.

The latter's reaction against his father was violent, and this issue was solved with the intervention of the Holy Queen Isabel and the exile of Afonso Sanches in Castile.


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

1258 - Fernando Pais testified before the royal "inquiridores" [inquisitors] that he was aware of certain irregularities regarding the Church's ownership;

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

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

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

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

1970 - Reconstruction of the Church's nave;

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


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

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

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

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

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

Restoration and Enhancement

Of its medieval structure, the Church of Fervença preserves, nowadays, only the chevet, as its remaining body underwent changes during the modern and contemporary periods.

An analysis of the nave's external north side face shows us the presence of ashlars with different cuts; the transition between them seems to be revealed by a scar that appears close to the large rectangular window and which may be the result of a possible refurbishment carried out in the 18th century.

Recently, in the 1970's, the Church was subject of profound building works, which are mainly visible in the reconstruction of the primitive nave that gave it a more contemporary look.

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Know More

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ALMEIDA, Carlos Alberto Ferreira de - História da arte em Portugal: o românico. Lisboa: Publicações Alfa, 1986.

ALMEIDA, Fortunato; PERES, Damião, dir. - História da Igreja em Portugal. Porto: Livaria Civilização, 1971.

BOTELHO, Maria Leonor; RESENDE, Nuno - Igreja do salvador de Fervença: Celorico de Basto. In ROSAS, Lúcia, coord. cient. – Rota do Românico. Lousada: Centro de Estudos do Românico e do Território, 2014. Vol. 1, p. 231-242.

BOTELHO, Maria Leonor - A historiografia da arquitectura da época românica em Portugal. Porto: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto, 2010. Tese de doutoramento em história da arte portuguesa apresentada à Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto, 2010. Texto policopiado.

COSTA, A. Carvalho da - Corografia portugueza e descripçam topografica do famoso reyno de Portugal... Lisboa: Off. de Valentim da Costa Deslandes, 1706.

CRAESBEECK, Francisco Xavier da Serra - Memórias ressuscitadas da província de Entre-Douro-e-Minho no ano de 1726. Ponte de Lima: Carval

LOPES, Eduardo Teixeira - A terra de Celorico de Basto na Idade Média: inquirições régias. [S.l.: edição de autor], 2008.

LOPES, Eduardo Teixeira - O século XVIII nas freguesias do concelho de Celorico de Basto: memórias paroquiais. Celorico de Basto: [edição do autor], 2005.

NIZA, Paulo Dias de - Portugal sacro-profano... Lisboa: na Officina de Miguel Manescal da Costa, 1767.

ROSAS, Lúcia Maria Cardoso - A escultura românica das igrejas da margem esquerda do Rio Minho. Porto: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto, 1987.

SAMPAIO, Jorge D., coord. - Carta arqueológica do concelho de Celorico de Basto: inventário: volume I. Abril de 2005.