|Batalha History King Fernando I, the son of king Peter I and Constanza, married Leonor Teles, a married noble |
woman. (Her marriage with her husband was cancelled, so she could marry the king). Later she betrayed king Fernando
with the count of Andeiros. She had from the king only one daughter called Beatríz. She arranged her daughter?s
wedding with another Fernando, son of John I of Castile (Spain). But when John I of Castile became widower, he
decided that he, and not his son, would marry Beatríz. And John I of Castile married Beatríz. Leonor Teles was a very
malicious woman. Her sister, Maria Teles, was married to John, son of king Peter and Inez and that worried Leonor,
because that would enable her sister to get the throne instead of her. So, she told John that if he would married her
daughter, Beatríz, he would become the heir of the crown, but, for that, he would have to kill her wife María Teles.
John killed her wife but obviously got nothing from Leonor. He took refuge in Coimbra, waiting Leonor's promises
that never arrived. She still had to get rid of another rival, the illegitimate son of king Peter I with a concubine: John
(who would become king John I of Portugal). She was able to order his arrest and to condemn him to death, but she
was not so lucky: she was discovered on time and her husband king Fernando ordered his liberation. -She had a
lover, the count of Andeiro. Her husband, king Ferdinand I, died in grief. She became the regent of Portugal till her
daughter ended underage and married to the king of Castile (Spain) - would reach full legal age to become Queen.
-John killed the count of Andeiro. He was supported by English troops and by a part of the citizens of Portugal, but
the other part supported Leonor who asked help from the Castilian king. So, there was Aljubarrota battle, in August
14, 1385, a civil war among the defenders of John (who was also the master of the religious order of Avis.
|They were also knights) and the defenders of Leonor Teles. The Castilian army helped her and English archers helped John. John made the promise of |
making the Monastery if he would win the battle, as a symbol of peace among men. He won the battle and the Monastery of Batalha (Battle) was made.
He had been elected king of Portugal (John I of Portugal) 4 months before the battle.
The Monastery Dedicated to Our Lady of the Victory. Donated to the Dominicans. John I confirmed the alliance made with England by Fernando I and
John of Gaunt (son of Edward III of England) in 1373, signing the treaty of Windsor (a treaty of perpetual friendship, peace and cooperation) and
marrying John of Gaunt?s daughter, Felipa of Lancaster.
The place of Aljubarrota wasn't so good for the construction and for that reason they chose this plain, where there are sources of water, 15 Km. away
from Aljubarrota. Made in the typical limestone of this region, which turns golden with the sun and time. The project is the same of the Cistercian
The main part (the first part) was made from 1387 to 1436 (in 49 years: the founder's chapel, church, royal cloister). But they have continued with works
during more than one hundred years (cloister Alphonse V, manueline decoration, unfinished chapels).
The first architect was the Lisboan Alphonse Domingues (he also fought in the battle side by side with the king) who worked from 1386 to 1404, to
whom we owe the plans (the plan of the church has the shape of a key, the key that opens the door of the sky) in an advanced primitive Gothic that turns
more ornamental with the mysterious: Huget (very few is known about him: he worked here from 1402 to 1438), responsible for the perpendicular style
introduced here, the founder's chapel and the unfinished chapels. Then came Vasques (1438-48), Fernão of Evora (he made Alphonse V's cloister:
1448-1477), Mateus Fernandes (1480 to 1515. He worked in the unfinished chapels), Juan de Castillo (he made the lodge of the unfinished chapels),
Boytac (up to 1533: manueline decoration of the royal cloister).
Artists of the stained glass windows: Guillerme (1446-77: artist of Flanders), Luis (1446-50: German), João Rodrigues (1455: Portuguese), John
(1489-1528: flamenco), Antonio Taquas I, II and III (Portuguese).
Seen from a distance, the Monastery gives us the impression of horizontality, in contrast with the uprightness in the interior, similar to Nordic
architecture with stalagmite aspect. It was Gothic style apogee period, during which, each city in Europe tried to build its church as high as possible, to
compete with the neighbouring city. But Portugal was a country of earthquakes and here the churches developed horizontally. Nevertheless, the interior
gives us an uprightness impression.
In front of the Monastery, there is the equestrian statue of N. A. Pereira (commander of the troops in Aljubarrota battle).
He was 25 years old in Aljubarrota. His father had 32 children. Nuno was one of the illegitimate sons, like John I and one of the poorest and youngest.
Main facade Turned toward west, as it was fashionable in the middle Ages. Some consider it the best in Portugal.
The main door is of French influence and very rich in decoration. Of the 78 statues many are primitive but not all. The statues of angels, prophets, kings,
apostles, saints, Virgins, martyrs and outstanding confessors, etc, are disposed according to the biblical hierarchy and they were supposed to converge
toward the Redeemer's figure (Jesus Christ) as propagandist of its doctrine; but, instead of Christ there?s the Eternal Father's figure (the first person of
the Sacred Trinity) with the globe in the hand instead of the book, among the 4 evangelists (Saint John with the eagle, Saint Mathew with a man, Saint
Lucas with the ox, Saint Mark with a lion). Above, the Virgin's coronation and John I and Felipa of Lancaster's shields.
Church Begun in 1388 by Afonso Domingues and possibly finished by Huget (foreigner: English?, French?).
Of sober and elegant lines, with an impressive height of its central nave (32 meters high. The highest in Portugal). 22 m wide. 79,3 m long. 16 columns.
On the entrance floor is buried Mathew Fernandes, the great architect of the manueline in Batalha. Near the founder's chapel, there are the tombs of M. G.
Maçada (saved John's life I in the battle of Aljubarrota) and of Gonçalves Travassos.
The stained glass windows of the choir, restored in 1936 represent: the Visitation (the visit the Virgin paid to her cousin Saint Elizabeth), The Adoration
of the three Wise Kings, the escape to Egypt, Christ's Resurrection.
In the south wall there is a majestic piazza in the summit of which there is the statue of Our Lady of the Victory, patron of the Monastery.
Founder's chapel Made to be the pantheon of John I and his descendants, in 1426. Octagonal ceiling. In the ceiling, there is the star of 8 tips (because the
number eight is Christ's symbol, the symbol of infinite, with 8 stars of eight tips each. It is very beautiful.
John and Felipa's tomb with Gothic statues with both giving hands, symbol of eternal love. John I is dressed in armour. They are both in the same tomb.
It is English costume. In the head of the tomb there is the symbol of the order of Garter (military order created by Edward III of England (grandfather of
Felipa) and granted to John I, Felipa and Henry. John I has been the first foreign king to receive this homage. The baldachins on the heads indicate that the
three belonged to that order (they were the only ones in Portugal). In this tomb there are also the shields of Avis and Lancaster.
John I: illegitimate son of Peter I and Teresa Lourenço, noble Galician woman, concubine of king Peter I.
Felipa of Lancaster: the duke of Lancaster's daughter, John of Gaunt (son of Edward III of England), pretender to the crown of Castile, marries John I, in
1387. She introduced in the court a moralization of the matrimonial customs, since she finished with the characteristic sexual abuses in that time,
punishing them severely. She had the following children (by order): Edward (Duarte), Peter, Henry, Elisabeth (Isabel), John, Ferdinand.
In the West side (from right to left) there is a grandson, a great-grandson and a great great grandson:
Alphonse V: Son of Duarte and Leonor. He fought his uncle, Peter, to win the crown. He was a great conqueror: he conquered in North Africa:
Alcacer-Ceguer, Arzila and Tanger. Ceuta was already Portuguese, conquered by Henry.
John II: excellent king. He wanted the lands discovered by Columbus but the Spanish Pope, Alexander, made a law (Tordesillas Treaty) in May 4 1493,
conferring that part to Spain. This Treaty gave Portugal the best piece, that is to say Brazil, which was only officially discovered later.
He killed and ordered to kill several noblemen that conspired against him (80 people have died), including Manuel?s brother. He improved the caravel
and began developing the trips towards south and also west (America).
Alphonse - Son of John II and Leonor. He married Isabel, the eldest daughter of the Catholic kings and would become the ruler of the whole Portuguese
and Spanish empires. -But in 12-7-1491, D. Alphonse fell from his horse and died.
The tombs in the south side have the shields of the princes and their badges (mottoes):
D. Peter and Isabel: " desir ". Peter is buried here together with his wife, Isabel of Aragon (daughter of Jaime, count of Urguel). He travelled a lot by
several continents, as gentleman and warrior and when he returned he got married. Then he became involved in internal politics and that was fatal to him.
He died fighting the political forces that supported his nephew Alphonse V.
Henry: Talant de bien fere." "Skill of doing things right." This was what was written in the sails of 70 caravels, in 1415, when he left to conquer Ceuta. He
was the leader of Christ's order. He was born in Oporto and died in Sagres 1460, virgin (they say) and single. -1437: the conquest of Tangier fails.
Henry waits 5 months in Ceuta, for his brother's liberation. Then he goes to Sagres, embarrassed of having left his brother prisoner.
D. John and Isabel: "Jeai bien resõ." Above the tomb there is a Crucified Christ's scene.
John married his niece, Mrs. Isabel, both in the same tomb. They were the parents of Isabel who married John II of Castile (parents of Isabel, the
Catholic, wife of Fernando).
D. Fernando: "Le bien me plet." In 1437 he went for the conquest of Tangier and he lost. D. Fernando surrendered as a prisoner so that the Arabs would
allow some Portuguese prisoners to leave. The Arabs would liberate Fernando in exchange of Ceuta. D. Fernando said that he would prefer death to the
change. The Arabs tortured him so much that the prince died before any change. They have sent him dead and Fernando was worshipped later as a saint.
Main Chapel (Sanctuary) The windows: of the 25 compositions 17 are of the XVI century and 8 of 1936. Next to the transept, in the oriental part,
there are 4 chapels (two on each side of the main chapel): chapel of Saint Barbara, chapel of Pity, of the paradise and of the Sousas. To the right, in black
and yellow Italian marble, there is the tomb of the 1º count of Miranda do Corvo (who accompanied Sebastian to north Africa, becoming prisoner of the
Moors) and his son, the 2º count of Miranda do Corvo.
Royal cloister In final gothic style. The plan was made by the first architect of the Monastery, Afonso Domingues. But it was decorated by Boytac.
Vegetable elements, rung columns, shells, etc and other eastern elements give an oriental aspect to this cloister. There are also symbols of Manuel:
armillary spheres, cross of Christ, etc. It is one of the most beautiful in the peninsula.
We can see outstanding buttresses bearing the weight of the walls (the buttresses are needed for the stability of the construction and they muffle the
pressure of the vaults).
Lavatory: fountain (imitating the one in Alcobaça) that's usually near the dining room and were used by the monks when they entered and left the dining
room. This fountain is where people make wishes; they throw a coin: if it falls on the upper part, 3 wishes are fulfilled. If it falls below, 2 wishes are
In the north part there is the former dormitories, which became room of temporary activities.
In the dining room there is now a museum dedicated to the soldiers of the First War.
On the wall, on the left side of the museum's entrance, there are still paintings - very damaged by time - of: Saint John the Baptist and Saint John
The room to the right of the museum was the kitchen. To the right of the kitchen were the barn and the cellar.
19,3 m long vault of a daring horizontality. It has a legend, represented by a small atlas (strong man who sustains a sphere) representing the architect, in
one of the corners of the south side (wall on the right side as one enters), under a console (outstanding ornament in a wall for support), with a triangle
(architectural instrument) in the left hand. They say that it represents Afonso Domingues, architect of the vault). Legend: When the vault was being
built by Afonso Domingues (the first architect, to whom the plan of the Monastery is owed and the one who fought with the king) he became blind and
the work was given to another architect, Huget (French? English?). He found that the plan of A. Domingues were wrong and made a plan of his own.
When the room was inaugurated, in the king's presence, the ceiling fell. The king ordered the project to be given back to A. Domingues and he completed
the work although he was blind. Nobody wanted to work in a roof that fell so often and much less with a blind architect and to work here they had to
search for men under sentence of death. A. Domingues completed the work without letting it fall and because of that he made the promise of staying there,
fasting for 3 days and 3 nights. The vault didn't fall but 3 days latter they have found A. Domingues dead because of the fast. When they made the hole
for the Unknown Soldier's tomb, in the middle of the room, they have discovered bones, probably those of Afonso Domingues. They put the Unknown
Soldier?s tomb in the left side of the room and the architect's bones have been left in the same place. A salient stone marks the place of the bones. In the
entrance, there are smiling faces and serious faces. You have to follow the smiling faces, because they are cursed those who follow the grim faces (both in
The stained glass windows here, date from 1514 and they were made by the monks of the Monastery. They represent scenes of Christ's passion (the
Crucifixion, Christ in the Cross and Descent).
The tom of the Unknown Soldier: he died in Flanders, in the First War. They are kept by two guards that don't move during one hour. The mutilated
statue of Christ above them was in a Flemish church bombed by German airplanes. It was a gift in 1962 of the French president Clémenceau. Further up
there is the flame of the Nation (the flame of Portugal) in a lamp and it burns permanently with the region's olive oil. Cloister Afonso V
Ordered by Afonso V and made by Fernão de Evora from 1448 to 1477. In the lock of the vaults there is the shield and motto of Afonso V. This Cloister,
made after the other one, was not decorated. It stayed this way, more appropriate to the monks' meditation.
It is the pantheon of king Duarte (son of John I and grandfather of John II), the king who ordered the construction of the chapel for him and his
It is octagonal. Huget began it in 1435. The work was finished around 1533 by John of Castillo. The manueline door Mateus Fernandes began here the
monumental door, in the place of the eighth door. It's 15 m high. Fairies' hands have worked to make this embroidery in stone with oriental influence. We
can see the motto of D. Duarte: "tant que serai" repeated 200 times in the trunks. In the summit of the door there is the first part of the motto: leauté I
faray" (in total it means: "I will be loyal as long as I live". More manueline elements: the oak, the thistle (cactus good to eat).
But this chapel was not finished. It has no roof. We don't know exactly why, but there are several explanations: 1- because the master, Boytac, died
(Boytac left the Jerónimos and came to work here, where he lived the last years of its life with his family). 2-that this was not finished because the artists
went to Jerónimos, in Lisbon; 3-they have not finished it to not deprive the main chapel of light (the main chapel is behind the manueline door); 4-it was
finished but the roof fell with the earthquake; 5-they have not finished because this would be the ring of the key (the church has the shape of an ancient
key); 6-others say that they have not finished because it would be impossible to make it without falling. But they have thought to make it because they
have also begun the giant pillars to sustain the main vault (or the vaults?). Separating the chapels there are triangular spaces without any communication
with the exterior except the windows (used as jails? no. they were private sacristies).
In the chapels there are symbols like royal heraldries, cross of Christ, the pelican, the shrimper (net to fish shrimps), the armillary sphere, indicating not
only the person to be buried as well as the chronological order. There are the tombs of the first monk of the Monastery here, of John (son of Afonso V)
and of Duarte and his wife - both in the same tomb.
In the dome of the chapel of king Duarte, there is his badge (motto): Léauté jaurais tant jaseray". He is buried here together with his wife, Leonor of
On the manueline door there is a balcony (tribune, lodge) in Renaissance style but with manueline elements, of 1533 (it was the last year they worked
here), ordered by John III and made by J. de Castillo. This balcony wasn't finished either.