S. Maria de Vallbona
Community ID
Alternate Names
Vallbona de les Monges
Lérida (Lleida) (one source says Urgell)
Corporate Status
Date Founded
Date Terminated
Still active
Religious Order
Foundation Information

The hermit Ramon de Vallbona fused nuns of two local communities.

Notable Heads

Abbesses (note: final year is not necessarily the year of each abbess' death): 1177-1190: Oria Ramirez // 1190-1209: Ermessendis de Rubio // 1211-1230: Eldiardis d'Ager // 1230-1247: Ermessendis de Fontova // 1249-1259: Eldiardis d'Anglesola // 1259-1267: Arnalda d'Altarriba // 1267-1270: Jeromina de Cardona // 1270-1273: Elisendis de Timor // 1273-1282: Jeromina de Cardona (second term) // 1282-1294: Jeronima de Queralt // 1294-1328: Blanca d'Anglesola // 1328-1340: Alamanda d'Avinyo // 1340-1348: Elisenda de Copons // 1348-1377: Berenguera d'Anglesola // 1377-1379: Sibilia d'Anglesola // 1379-1392: Saurina d'Anglesola // 1392-1401: Constanca de Cabra

Population Counts

Early 14th century: approximately 75


Protected by the kings nobles and popes, became the most powerful of the cistercian monasteries in Catalonia. Enjoyed the patronage of many of the noble families of Catalonia (who sent their daughters there), as well as the kings and queens of Aragon. Queen Violant of Hungary (second wife of Jaume the Conqueror) is buried there, as was her daughter Sanca.

Social Characteristics

Daughters of the nobility

Relative Wealth

Extremely wealthy


After buying several juristictions from King Pere III in 1380, the community's territories included the districts of Vallbona, Llorenc, Rocallaura, Vilamanyar, Montesquiu, Eixaders, Preixana, La Quadra de Masdeu, Valerna, Els Obells de Na Gaia, and Rocafort.

Art & Artifacts

Santissima trinitat i corpus christi (Holy Trinity and body of Christ). Monastery maintians a good museum, archive, and some works of art.

Architecture & Archaeology

Both romanesque and gothic styles are visible in the cloister, as it was constructed over the course of several centuries (begun in the 13th century and completed in the 16th). The church is cistercian gothic, and is the oldest of the buildings. Latin cross, with triple apse. Much of the architecture typifies the transition between romanesque and gothic, or is a combination of the two.

State Of Medieval Structure

Walls surrounded the community beginning in the 14th c., but these were destroyed in the 16th to construct a town, according to Tridentine decrees.The Brotherhood of S. Maria de Vallbona was created in 1957, and is dedicated to maintaining and restoring the community's buildings.

Manuscript Sources

Maintains its own archive (see below). In addition: Archivo de la Corona de Aragon / Arxiu de la Corona de Aragó, Cancelleria, Registros, nos. 436, 264 r. - v.. (1330, feb), no. 354, 132 r. (1315), no. 363, fols. 37 r. & 38 r. (1318), no. 364, 66 r. (1319/20), no. 369, 224 r-v (1321), no. 376, 20 r-21 r. (1325), no. 388, 32 v. (1323, March 6), no. 429, 154 r. - 155 r. (1328, Feb), no. 429, 216 r. (1328, Apr), no. 431, 84 r. - v. (1328, June 15), no. 432, 293 r. - v. (1328, Sept. 25), and others. Hill Monastic Manuscript Library has also microfilmed the entire collection of the community's own library, comprising 27 medieval codices (notably musical manuscripts), plus various fragments. For a complete listing, see Checklist of manuscripts microfilmed for the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library, vol. II, pp. 233-34.

Published Primary Sources

España sagrada, Vol. 44, appendix, no. 28 (1328)

Miscellaneous Information

Although the monastery is currently located in the center of the town of Vallbona, it was alone in the valley until the 16th century, when the Tridentine council of that century decreed that women's communities should not be in isolated locations. It is a testimony to the power of S. Maria de Vallbona and its abbesses that this decree provoked the construction of a town, rather than the closure of the community.

Marie Kelleher
Date Started