Penafreta, Pere de
Chronological frameworkDocumented between 1259 and 1286
Geographical FrameworkCatalonia (Lleida)
Profile and historiographical debate
[Petro de Pena Freyta; Petro de Penafreyta; Petrus de Pennafreita; Petro de Penafreta]
He was master builder of the cathedral of Lleida from an uncertain date (1250?) until 1286, the year of his death and the same of his burial in the cloister. His name is known from the tombstone which is preserved in the door of les Fonts of the cloister of the Seu Vella, where is noted that the master (magisteri operis) Pere de Penafreta let founded an anniversary and a chaplain in order to officiate for his soul. In 1259 he was granted by James I with the Besora’s tower, a defensive stronghold of la Suda and a few years later (1273), the same king gave him a stone quarry which was placed next to the tower above mentioned.
Historiography agrees on attributing to Penafreta the construction of the great dome that crowns the temple, the coverage of the naves (LLADONOSA 1970; FITÉ 2003), the finishing of the main facade as well as the beginning of the construction of the cloister (BERGÓS 1928; MACIÀ-RIBES 2003; ARGILÉS 1991). It is known that the cathedral was consecrated in 1278, when there were finished all the perimeter walls and perhaps the last sections of the vaults of the naves were also about to finish under his management and leadership. However, there is not consensus on the date of the beginning of Penafreta at the head of the works of the cathedral. In 1264 is documented master Mateu, who would be probably succeeded by Pere de Penafreta in the direction (ARGILÉS 1991; ALONSO 1983), whereas, on the other hand, other authors advance the beginning of his mastership until 1250 (MACIÀ-RIBES 2003).
Regarded as the introducer of the Gothic language in the work of La Seu, Penafreta was part of a family of builders and stonemasons who were in charge of the castle of the King: Ramon (documented in 1297), Pere (documented in 1312) and Domènec de Penafreta, son and grandchildren of the first Penafreta respectively. It is possible that his son Ramon and his grandson Pere became the designers of the new cloister (FITÉ 2003; ARGILÉS 1991), which was begun between the late XIIIth and the early XIVth. A second brother of Pere de Penafreta called Domènec was still master of the castle of the King in 1315, and perhaps he was also master of the work of La Seu.
Cathedral of Santa Maria de Lleida, la Seu Vella
Tombstone of Pere de Penafreta, 1286. Door of les Fonts, cloister of the Seu Vella de Lleida.
Stone –Vinaixa type-, with the letters engraved and polychromed in black and red (41 x 74 x 9 cm):
ANNO DOMINI M CC KXXXVI
XI KALENDAS OCTOBRIS OBIIT PETRUS DE PENNAFREITA
MAGISTER OPERIS HUIUS ECCLESIAE QUI CONSTITUIT SIBI
ANIVERSARIUM XV SOLIDORUM ET UNAM CAPELLANIAM
IN HAC SEDE ASIGNAVIT CXX SOLIDOS CENSUALES CUIUS
ANIMA REQUIESCAT IN PACE
On September 21th, 1286, died Pere de Penafreta, master builder of this church, who constituted for this an anniversary 15 salaries and a chaplaincy in this Cathedral, to whom he assigned 120 census salaries. His soul rest in peace.
- November 17th, 1259, Lleida - Documented as 'Petro de Pena Freyta':
King James I grants in frank freehold Besora’s tower placed next to la Suda to Pere de Penafreta, and he reserves for himself the existing stone quarry placed in the courtyard which is adjacent to the tower. ACA, Chancellery, Parchment 1586 (Edition: MIRET I SANS, 1918, p. 295)
- May 5 th, 1273, Lleida -Documented as 'Petro de Penafreta':
The king gives to Pere de Prenafeta the existing stone quarry placed in the courtyard which is adjacent to the tower of Besora and that he had reserved for himself in the previous donation that he made of the tower to the referred Pere de Penafreta. ACA, Chancellery, Parchment 2158 (Edition: MIRET I SANS, 1918, p. 481)
Text: Carles Sánchez
ROCA I FLOREJACHS 1911: 82; MIRET I SANS 1918: 295; BERGÓS 1928: 21; LACOSTE 1975: 276-277; ALONSO GARCÍA 1976: 20; MATEU IBARS 1976: 85-88; MATEU IBARS 1982: 231-234; TARRAGONA 1982: 267-268; ALONSO 1983: 164-169; DALMASES-PITARCH 1986: 110; ESPAÑOL 1991: 184-186; ESPAÑOL 1996: 442-453; TARRAGONA 1996: 312-313; MACIÀ 1997: 145; FRANKL 2002: 234; FITÉ 2003: 52; MACIÀ-RIBES 2003: 84.