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Monastery of Saint Peter of Ferreira 
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  • Name: Monastery of Saint Peter of Ferreira
  • Typology: Monastery
  • Classification: National Monument, by Decree 14 985, DG 28 of 3rd February 1928
  • Municipality: Paços de Ferreira
  • Patron Saint´s Day: Saint Peter - 29th June   
  • Worship Hours: Wednesday, Friday and Saturday - 8 pm and Sunday 10.30 am    
  • Visiting Hours: By appointment   
  • Support Services:

    Tourist Information Centre of the Route of the Romanesque
    Centro Cívico de Ferreira, Avenida do Mosteiro de Ferreira, Ferreira, Paços de Ferreira
    Opening Hours: winter – Friday to Sunday (9am - 1pm / 2pm - 5pm); summer – Wednesday to Sunday (10am - 1pm / 2pm - 6pm)

  • Telephone : +351 255 810 706 / +351 918 116 488 
  • Fax: +351 255 810 709 
  • E-Mail:  
  • Web: 
  • Location:
    Avenida do Mosteiro de Ferreira, Ferreira, Paços de Ferreira, Porto.
  • How to Get Here:


  • Geographic Coordinates: 41° 15' 53.388" N / 8° 20' 37.661" W 

Monastery of Saint Peter of FerreiraThe origin of the church of the Monastery of Saint Peter of Ferreira dates back to the 10th century, based on the reference made to it in the will of Mumadona Dias, in 959.

The construction works of the temple began in 1182 and the elements of a first Romanesque church, which would have been built between the late 11th century and the beginning of the 12th century, may be identified.

The Monastery was part of the Order of Clerics Regular in the 13th century, between 1258 and 1293, which was extinguished in the 15th century when it ceased to belong to the Clerics and became part of the House of the Bishop of Oporto, including the "couto" [place of privileges] and adjacent properties.

This monument constitutes a unique case in the Portuguese Romanesque by being preceded by a narthex surrounded by a wall, a double spanned belfry and a gabled epistyle. This structure would correspond to the funerary exonarthex.

Historical Figures

Mumadona Dias
Imagem de Mumadona Dias
Countess of Portugal in the 10th century, during the first Condado Portucalense (County of Portugal), she was the daughter of Diogo Fernandes and Countess Onega Lucides, aunt of King Ramiro II of León and granddaughter of Vímara Peres.

Famous, rich and one of the most powerful women in the Northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, Mumadona Dias is now recognized in several Portuguese cities due to her activity.

While married to Count Hermenegildo Gonçalves, she governed the County alone after the death of her husband (c. 928), leaving her with the possession of land that, subsequently, integrated the counties of Portucale and Coimbra.

In 950, the property is divided by their children, and the Portucalense County is left in the hands of Gonçalo Mendes.  It is upon this time that she founds a monastery in the estate of Vimaranes, under the invocation of Saint Mammes, and determines the construction of a castle for its protection.  It's the Castle of Guimarães, which later became the court of the Counts of Portucale, that stood as a protection against the Norman invasions.

Legends and Curiosities
The tomb of the nobleman D.  João Vasques da Granja is one of only two funeral pieces remaining from the history of the Monastery.  Curiously, and quite contrary to what was customary at that time, the figuration outside the tomb represents the nobleman in the garments and posture of a pilgrim holding a staff.  This is, thus, one of the few grave cover that features the noble in a penitent position rather than another more in accordance with his social status.  The tomb would date back to the mid-fourteenth century.

10th century – Foundation;

11th century – First Romanesque edification (now gone);

 12th-13th century – Second Romanesque construction (in place);

18th century – Extension of the crevices in the nave;

1930 – Repair works in the roofing structure, removal of the floor, grave guides, excavating and tiling of the nave and chancel, laying of interior steps in the portico, lateral doors and sacristy, disassembling of the wooden altars, excavation of the churchyard including the narthex, and demolition of the belfry staircase;

1932 – Conclusion of the chancel’s crevice, rebuilding two lateral windows in the central apse in masonry similar to the one existing in the axis of the same chapel;

1933 – Construction of the main altar in stone, and repairs to the roof;

1934 – Rebuilding of the nave’s windows in masonry, partially rebuilding of interior colonnettes, and rebuilding the chancel’s roof;

1940 – Excavation and removal of dirt around the church, building and laying of exterior chestnut doors, demolition of the annex attached to the North façade and building of the sacristy, repairs to the steps in the axial door, placement of the corbels and tympanum, and demolition of part of the narthex walls;

1941 – Repair works motivated by the damage caused by 1941’s cyclone;

1945/46 – Repairs to the roof;

1950 – Restoring and repairing the roofing and doors;

1952 – General cleaning;

1966 – Conservation works, electrification and wiring, placement of furniture and pavement by the façade and tiling in the churchyard, several repairs and cleaning of the roofing;

1982 – Covering repairs;

1986 – General conservation and repair works;

1989 – Covering repairs;

1994-95 – Repairs in the covering of the chancel, maintenance of the roof of the nave, electrical installation and carpentry;

1998 – The Monastery of Saint Peter of Ferreira is included in the Route of the Romanesque of Vale do Sousa;

1999 – Conservation works;

2004-2005 – Works of general preservation of the property in the scope of the Route of the Romanesque of Vale do Sousa: roofing, interiors and exterior batters; conservation of exterior spans and belfry;

2009 – Opening of the Tourist Information Centre of the Route of the Romanesque;

2015 – Works for the general conservation of the Monastery, under the scope of the Route of the Romanesque.


The plan of the Monastery consists of a single nave with a vaulted chevet, organized in two flights, the first being wider and taller.  This is a very particular characteristic of the Romanesque of the Alto Minho.

The nave, whose height is impregnated with proto-Gothic spatiality, is covered in wood and the chevet, when observed from the inside, presents a polygonal configuration, however, while observed from the outside, it has a semicircular layout.  Its unusual height caused the placement of buttresses on the outside and adjacent columns on the inside.

The chancel, relatively high, consists of two levels, the first with blind-arcades, two of which in miter, and a second one with a façade with arcades alternating with crevices. 

Unusual in the Portuguese Romanesque style is the existence of a toral arch at the chevet supported by protruding pilasters adorned with socles.

The portal of the main façade is embedded in a pentagonal body, while the western portal, spacious and very well designed, shows four columns on each side, two of them prismatic.

The decor is executed by a thoral cut in the arcades’ extradorsum, accentuated by a wide opening. These decorative solutions resemble the patterns found in Saint Martin of Salamanca or in Seville, Spain.

The capitals of the lateral portals are of high quality, some showing ribbons and animals, others a botanic decoration.  The side façades are finished by a cornice formed by small arches sitting on corbels.

In front of the main portal, there are the ruins of a funerary exonarthex or galilee, from which two parts remain: a trapezoidal sarcophagus and the grave cover with a lying statue of João Vasques da Granja.


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 Monastery of Saint Peter of Ferreira

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.

According to this study, the rural units and agricultural land surrounding the monument must be safeguarded and maintained, for a correct integration of the estate within the predominantly agricultural landscape.

The access road to the centre of the parish of Ferreira should be enhanced and the works for the construction of the park should be properly completed.

The lighting of the church should be remodelled, namely through the burial of aerial cables.

Restoration and Enhancement

Before qualifying as a National Monument, the Monastery was subject to conservation works, as reported by the DGEMN – Direção Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais [General Directorate for Buildings and National Monuments].

A wooden vault was improvised along the nave, a 17th and 18th centuries choir was recovered, and for a secure fitting of its beams, the masonry of the walls and the upper part of the door were mutilated.

Restoration and Enhancement of the Monastery of Saint Peter of Ferreira

The walls and vault of the chancel were plastered, and, for display of an ancient image of the church's patron saint, Saint Peter, the apex of the gable overlooking the porch was demolished, the door under the arch of the wall south was covered, and the access ladder, with stone steps to the tower, was replaced by another, outside, along the south façade, up till the bell gable.

After the classification, the Monastery was subject to interventions, under the responsibility of DGEMN – Direção Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais [General Directorate for Buildings and National Monuments], the first of which consisted of the demolition of the choir that was blocking the nave and covered part of the main door.

In 1930 the main altar and all other four altars in the nave were dismantled, the portico was uncovered, the modern pulpit was disassembled, the exterior ladder improvised along the south façade was demolished and the primitive ladder and respective door were cleared. We then proceeded to the demotion and paving of the floor of the nave and chancel, including the construction of the steps that separate the two bodies of the building, and to the general lowering of the floor of the narthex and around the churchyard.

Restoration and Enhancement of the Monastery of Saint Peter of Ferreira

That same period marked the beginning of the dismantling and reconstruction works in the entire frame of the roof, then in ruins, and of the vaulted wooden ceiling that had been covering the nave. The new roof was built and sat and the vault and cornice of the chancel were consolidated, in addition to replacing the old cover with a new one, with a double national tile.

In 1933 a compact stone altar was built, using the primitive elements found during construction, and in the chancel the two framed crevices, which had been widened for greater brightness, were reconstructed.  

In the following year we proceeded to the demolition of eight large windows, which were replaced by the primitive crevices, resorting to the elements found during the works.

In 1936, the annex that had been built in the north façade, near the apse, was demolished and replaced by another with a smaller plant, the mutilated stonework on the interior and exterior walls of the church were replaced, the exterior doors were built and settled, and the stained glass, with lead frame, was put in place.

Before covering the door, which had been opened on the main façade to access the choir, made in 1950, the primitive steps of the main door were repaired, while demolishing a part of the walls of the narthex, which concealed the abacus carved in the main, in which the tympanum and the corbels that support it were placed.

Between 1950 and 1952, the image of the patron Saint Peter was restored to its original place in the chancel. We then proceeded to the reconstruction of gable on the wall of the main portico. That year also saw the cleaning and repairing of the roofs.

In that same period the stone wall that covered the primitive portico of the north façade would have been demolished, its steps were rebuilt and the lower stone of the tympanum was replaced.

The sill and the door steps of the south façade, which had disappeared, were also reconstructed, and the rosette on the posterior wall of the nave was reconstructed, under the triumphal arch. We then proceeded to the general cleaning of the mortar that covered the stonework in the nave, on the walls and in the vault of the chancel.

The cleaning and minor repair of the roofs also took place in 1952.  Probably on an earlier date, a cross was constructed and settled on the end of the nave's posterior gable, after it had been dismantled and reconstituted.

A decade and a half later, the hardware in the exterior doors was repaired, the roofs were cleaned and the exterior wooden doors were painted with oil paint.  Works for the general cleaning of roofs were also carried out, with replacement of broken and missing tiles, as well as the repair of casings and fences.

The roofing was refurbished in 1986, and ditch was excavated along the wall to prevent water infiltration.  The covering was repaired in 1989 and the chancel was subject to an intervention, in 1996, alongside the review of the roof of the nave, the installation of electrical wiring and carpentry.

In 2000 the conservation works took place in the sacristy, including the execution of a new ceiling in chestnut wood, the designing and application of stained glass in the spans and the placing of a nozzle for water supply of the existing granite font.

Finally, in 2004, we preceded to the general preservation of the property, including the general revision of the roof of the nave, chancel and sacristy, exterior and interior batters, of the outer spans and the belfry, and the overhaul of the electrical wiring inside the church and bell tower.

  • +Triumphal arch of the Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +Crevice of the chevet of the Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +Nave of the Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +Nave of the Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +Tomb of D. Vasques da Granja at the Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +Epigraph of the tomb of D. Vasques da Granja at the Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +Image of Saint Peter at the Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +Capital of the triumphal arch of the Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +Capitals of the west portal of the Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +Galilee of the Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +Capitals of the west portal of the Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +North façade of the Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +Crevice of the Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +Capitals of the west portal of the Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +South façade of the Monastery of Ferreira

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  • +West portal of the Monastery of Ferreira

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Know More

ALMEIDA, Carlos Alberto Ferreira de – A arquitectura românica de Entre-Douro-e-Minho. Porto: [s.n.], 1978. Tese de Doutoramento, apresentada à Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto.

ALMEIDA, Carlos Alberto Ferreira de – História da Arte em Portugal: o Românico. Lisboa: Publicações Alfa, 1986.

ALMEIDA, Carlos Alberto Ferreira de – História da Arte em Portugal: o Românico. Lisboa: Editorial Presença, 2001.

BARROCA, Mário Jorge – Epigrafia medieval portuguesa: 862-1422: Corpus Epigráfico Medieval Português. Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, 2000. Vol. II, Tomo I.

DGEMN – Monumentos: Boletim da Direcção Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais: número 7. [CD-ROM]. Lisboa: DGEMN, 1998.

REAL, Manuel Luís – “A Igreja de S. Pedro de Ferreira: um invulgar exemplo de convergência estilística”. Separata Paços de Ferreira – Estudos Monográficos. Paços de Ferreira. (1986).

REAL, Manuel Luís – “O românico português na perspectiva das relações internacionais.” In Românico em Portugal e Galiza. Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian - Fundación Pedro Barrié de la Maza, 2001.

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

TOMÉ, Miguel – Património e restauro em Portugal. Porto: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto, 1998. Vol. I, II e III.