General Information
Memorial of Ermida 
See Map
  • Name: Memorial of Ermida
  • Typology: Memorial Tombstone
  • Classification: National Monument, by Decree 16-06-1910, DG 136 of 23rd June 1910
  • Municipality: Penafiel
  • Visiting Hours: Free 
  • Entrance Fee: Free 
  • Support Services:
  • Telephone : +351 255 810 706 / +351 918 116 488 
  • Fax: +351 255 810 709 
  • E-Mail:  
  • Web: 
  • Location:
    Lugar da Ermida, Irivo, Penafiel, Porto.
  • How to Get Here:


  • Geographic Coordinates: 41° 10' 10.360" N / 8° 19' 48.594" W 

Memorial of ErmidaThe characteristics of the decorative style used in the construction of this monument suggest a mid-thirteenth century building.

The bevel carved leaves, according to the technique used by the mason’s workshop that, at that time, worked in the yard of the Monastery of the Saviour of Paço de Sousa, seems to indicate so.

Historical Figures

D. Mafalda
D. Mafalda
Princess D. Mafalda (1195-1256) was the daughter of King D. Sancho I and of D. Dulce de Aragão and granddaughter of King D. Afonso Henriques. Offered in marriage to
Henrique I of Castile, who would die two years later, she returns to Portugal to settle in the Monastery of Arouca. Her uncorrupted corpse remains there still.

The connection of Princess D. Mafalda to the region of the Tâmega and Sousa comes from the trust that King D. Sancho had in the Ribadouro family, putting the education of his legitimate daughter in the hands of Urraca Viegas, a daughter of Egas Moniz.

D. Sancho I
D. Sancho I
Sancho I (Coimbra, 11th November 1154 - Coimbra, 26th March 1211), was nicknamed o Povoador [the Populator], by the way he promoted the settlement of people in the territory, namely through the creation of the cities of Guarda (1199), Gouveia (1186), Covilhã (1186), Viseu (1187) e Bragança (1187), resorting to immigrants from Flanders and Burgundy.

Knighted by his father, King D. Afonso Henriques, he takes on the throne at 18 years of age, in 1172, after an accident which impaired the king during the Battle of Badajoz, in 1169.

He was the leader, while Prince, of an offensive military campaign in Andalusia (1178), that earned him the support of his father and of the Portuguese population. In a counter offensive, the Almohads made several incursions between 1179 and 1184, while the kingdom of Leon also resumed its hostilities against Portugal.

Proclaimed king on 9th December 1185, King D. Sancho takes advantage of the death of the king of Leon, the absence of the sultan of Morocco in Africa and the support of an army of Crusades to plan a new attack against the Almohads. Once the Algarve was conquered, he takes on the title of King of Portugal and of the Algarve.

The Portuguese king was responsible for the restoration of the finances of the Kingdom and the promotion of the culture in Portugal and abroad.

Urraca Viegas
She was born around 1130, and was a daughter of Egas Moniz and Teresa Afonso, of the family of the Ribadouros.  Patron of the Monastery of Saint Saviour of Tuías, in Marco de Canaveses, she was a maid of Princess D. Mafalda, daughter of King  Sancho I and granddaughter of King  Afonso Henriques, who raised her as his own daughter, leaving her, in 1199, a considerable portion of his property.

Legends and Curiosities

Legend has it that the memorials of Ermida, Sobrado, Arouca, Alpendorada and Lordelo have been erected to mark the stopping point of the funeral procession of Princess D. Mafalda, daughter of King Sancho I and granddaughter of King Afonso Henriques, who died on her way back from a pilgrimage to the image of Our Lady of the Silva, in the See of Porto, of whom she was a fervent devotee. 

The death would have occurred in Rio Tinto, on May 1st, 1257. The transfer of her body ended at the Monastery of Arouca, which she helped to reform and where she was buried.

Monastery of Arouca

Across the national territory, there are only six items of this type of funeral monument that, according to some experts, is a Portuguese exclusive.

Its role, though not completely clear, relates to the placement of graves, the evoking of the memory of the deceased or the passage of funeral processions.

The Memorial of Ermida was initially located along the old road that stretched from Porto, crossing the village of Paço de Sousa.

The transformations of the road network, which took place in the early 20th century, entailed the transference of the monument.


13th century – Original edification;

1940s – Restoration works;

1960 – Restricting the private area surrounding the monument under the owner’s initiative, thus preventing the access and transgressing the Memorial’s protected area;

1998 – The Memorial of Ermida is included in the Route of the Romanesque of Vale do Sousa;

2005 – Works of general preservation and enhancement of the property and its surroundings in the scope of the Route of the Romanesque of the Vale do Sousa;

2012-2013 – Installation of an automatic irrigation system on the surrounding area of the Memorial and minimization of architectural barriers, under the scope of the Route of the Romanesque.


This monument is a fine example of the funerary architecture of the Romanesque, comprised of a squared Memorial plinth with four rows of granite ashlars, with shoe, the upper decorated with a groove that edges the platform, on which a wall torn by a broken arch raises with a torus edge and decoration in bolame.

The whole set is surmounted by a cornice with phytomorphic decorated frieze, bevelled with prismatic trim in the edges. Under the arch there is a tombstone, devoid of all decoration, only a raised torus that surrounds it, as well as in its apex, and which is based on two blocks with carved collonnettes, which present capitals with human faces crudely modelled. The monument is surrounded by a basis of granite slabs.

There are only six known examples of this type of construction in a funeral monument. It sits on a rectangular stone base, in which the tomb cavity was opened, and that, according to experts, was anthropomorphic.

A frieze, in which the bevelled leaves were carved, according to the techniques of the masons' workshop that, in the middle of the thirteenth century, worked in the Monastery of the Saviour of Paço de Sousa in Penafiel, finishes the highest part of the monument. The characteristics of the Memorial of Ermida suggest that it may have been built mid-13th century.


In the scope of the Study for the Enhancement and Protection of the Monuments of the  Route of the Romanesque of the Vale do Sousa, in which the guidelines and framework of the subsequent development of technical projects for implementation and respective works for the enhancement and protection of the surroundings were defined, the conditions considered most relevant for the preservation and requalification of the surroundings were described.

The aim of this Study is to preserve the context in which these are integrated, namely the integration of constraints on legal provisions - such as Special Protection Areas - restricting urban interventions that may endanger the integrity of the surroundings.

Surroundings of the Memorial of Ermida

We also proceeded to the definition of areas and interventions of general nature to take into account in the surroundings, in order to extend the planning to a wider area and allow better circulation of tourists in the region.

Finally, the Study defined the priority interventions to be carried out in the surroundings, to allow the stabilization of the territories and, simultaneously, correct and/or create structures and supporting infrastructures.

The Study suggests that the creation of a roundabout, planned for the intersection of the road N106-3 with the Municipal road 593, should be properly integrated in the project foreseen for the property, namely through the implementation of sidewalks along these paths, the standardisation of bus stops and the review of the positioning and efficiency of public lighting.

The electrical substation is considered a negative element, with an aggressive presence, so the Study suggests it to be removed or to be subject of a profound intervention.

In the premises of the Memorial, the small forest nuclei should be safeguarded and preserved, as the potential impact of the emerging urbanization along the road N106-3 and a transition lane to the monument should be considered.

The Study also suggests that agricultural lands around the property should also be protected for the promotion and consolidation of this positive landscape unit.

The petrol station next to the property shall be subject to reformulation and cosmetic correction. 

Restoration and Enhancement

The monument underwent a treatment in order to cease the activity of the biological colonies and vegetation, by applying a solution at two or three percent of a biocide based on quaternary ammonium, thoroughly sprayed on surfaces and in three coats.

Restoration and Enhancement of the Memorial of Ermida

The most vulnerable areas, or those with signs of active granular breakdown, received a pre-consolidation treatment, through the impregnation with consolidant constituted by organic composites based on silicon and with low molecular weight. 

Restoration and Enhancement of the Memorial of Ermida

The procedures for cleaning the surface took place in two stages: the first stage, by dry brushing with collection of all deposits, and a second by applying sprayed water with brushing cycles. The joints were cleaned through the mechanical removal of deteriorated mortar or of inappropriate nature by removing roots and soil.

Restoration and Enhancement of the Memorial of Ermida

In the filling of the joints, a mortar substance based on a mixture of hydrated lime and a hydraulic binder, in equal proportions, were used. For areas with low mechanical strength or breakdown, we proceeded through the consolidation of organic compounds based on silicon and with low molecular weight. Finally, a water repellent that allows gas exchange was applied on all surfaces.

  • +Memorial of Ermida

    JPG - 161Kb

  • +Memorial of Ermida

    JPG - 138Kb

  • +Memorial of Ermida

    JPG - 101Kb

  • +Memorial of Ermida

    JPG - 98Kb

  • +Memorial of Ermida

    JPG - 210Kb

  • +Memorial of Ermida

    JPG - 365Kb

  • +Memorial of Ermida

    JPG - 477Kb

Know More

AGUIAR, J. Monteiro – “Penafiel antiga: o marmorial ou o Arco da Ermida”. Boletim da Câmara Municipal de Penafiel. Penafiel: Câmara Municipal de Penafiel. (1933).

BARROCA, Mário Jorge – Necrópoles e sepulturas medievais de Entre-Douro-e-Minho. Porto: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto, 1987.

BARROS, João de – Geografia d’Entre Douro e Minho e Trás-os-Montes. Porto: Biblioteca Pública Municipal do Porto, 1919. Manuscrito original de 1549.

BAYAM, José Pereira, Pe. – Portugal, glorioso e ilustrado com a vida, e virtudes das bem aventuradas rainhas santas Sancha, Teresa, Mafalda, Isabel e Joanna. Lisboa: Officina de Pedro Ferreyra, 1727.

FERNANDES, Almeida – “Toponímia taroucense”. Beira Alta. Viseu: Assembleia Distrital de Viseu. Vol. XLII, nº 1 (1983).

MIRANDA, Abílio – “Marmoiral”. In Boletim da Comissão Municipal de Cultura. Penafiel. (1947) p. 9-10.

MIRANDA, Abílio – Terras de Penafiel. Penafiel: [s. n.], 1937. Vol. I.

ROSAS, Lúcia (coord.) – Românico do Vale do Sousa. Lousada: Comunidade Urbana do Vale do Sousa, 2008.

SILVA, António Manuel dos Santos Pinto da – “O Memorial de Santo António (Santa Eulália, Arouca) e os Marmoirais medievais: revisão da sua problemática e propostas para uma análise globalizante”. In Actas das I Jornadas de História e Arqueologia do Concelho de Arouca. Arouca: Câmara Municipal de Arouca, 1987. p.77-100.

SILVA, António Manuel Santos Pinto da – “O Marmorial de Alpendurada (Marco de Canaveses): um tipo raro na tumulária medieval”. In Actas de Eventos Marcoenses. Marco de Canaveses: Câmara Municipal de Marco de Canaveses, 1988-1998.

SILVA, José Custódio Vieira da – “Memória e imagem: reflexões sobre a escultura tumular portuguesa: séculos XIII e XIV”. Revista de História da Arte. Lisboa: Instituto de História da Arte da Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Nº 1 (2005).

VASCONCELOS, Adriano M. Strecht de – Lendas e tradições de Castelo de Paiva: poemetos. Porto: Gráficos Reunidos, 1981.

VIEIRA, José Augusto – O Minho pittoresco. Lisboa: Livraria António Maria Pereira - Editor, 1886. Vol. II, III e IV.

VITORINO, Pedro – “Os Marmoriais”. Separata de Douro-Litoral. Boletim da Comissão Provincial de Etnografia e História. Porto. 1ª Série, nº 5 (1942).