COMA, Mateu de
Chronological frameworkDocumented in 1264
Geographical FrameworkLleida (Catalonia)
Profile and historiographical debate
[Magister Mateus, operarius sedis ilerdensis]
Some scholars consider Mateu de Coma as the third master builder of La Seu Vella de Lleida between 1264 and Berenguer de Penafreta's management (See DE PENAFRETA, Berenguer). The document that notifies his relation with the cathedral is dated in 1264. This document mentions the donation from Mateu to Jaume de Claravalls and his descendants of some houses placed in the Almoina. This operation was greatly welcomed by the bishop of Lleida, Guillem de Montcada.
The direction of the construction works of the cathedral has been attributed to Mateu de Coma (ALONSO, 1983; FITÉ, 1991; TERÉS, 1991). This professional attribution could be related with the apparently connection between him and Pere de Coma’s lineage (See DE COMA, Pere and DE COMA, Berenguer). Pere de Coma was documented for the first time in a contract dated in 1193, when he offered his services to the bishop of Lleida, Gombau de Camporrells, and to the chapter, both responsible for the construction of the new building. His name also appears in the commemorative slab of the ceremony of the foundation stone, which is nowadays preserved in the north wall of the presbytery of the cathedral. Pere de Coma was considered the author of the project and some scholars stand that Berenguer de Coma was his successor in title (LLADONOSA, 1970; ALONSO, 1976; FITÉ, 1991; TERÉS, 1991). Mateu de Coma could be, perhaps, Pere and Berenguer’s relative. He could also descendent from a lineage of master builders and masons that participated in several construction projects in Lleida on the first half of the XIIIth Century (ALONSO, 1983).
Nevertheless, in the document above mentioned, the reference to the donor refers his condition as operarius. As builder manager, Mateu de Coma was responsible for the financial management of the construction operations (DURAN, 2005-2006) as well as for the administration of the rents related to the works. In addition, he was responsible for the allocation and supervision of the tasks that were entrusted to the people who were chosen by the chapter in order to offer their services to the cathedral. Some of the provisions referred in the contract cannot be well understood if we do not consider his duties as operarius. As an example, we should consider the duty of Jaume de Claravalls and his descendants to improve and preserve the houses they received under the supervision of the Dean and the Master builder of La Seu Vella (magistri operis). It is not possible to clarify even if this reference to the master builder of the cathedral was referred to Mateu de Coma. On the other hand, it seems to be reasonable that he could be paragoned with Raimon Lambard of La Seu d’Urgell. It is known that he was in charge for the settlement of the walls and the finishing of seven vaults at the Cathedral of La Seu d’Urgell when he was acting as “lambard”, even if he also was designed as operarius for the financial management of the works (See LAMBARD, Ramon).
Documentation mentions Magister Mateus, operarius sedis ilerdensis.
1264. Donation from Mateu to Jaume de Claravalls and his descendants of some houses placed in the Almoina. This donation was greatly welcomed by the bishop of Lleida, Guillem de Montcada. The houses were delivered to Jaume de Claravalls and his descedents in order to improve and preserve them:
"Notum sit cunctis. Quod nos, Magister Mateus, operarius sedis ilerdensis, de assensu et voluntate venerabilis patris Guillelmi, Dei gratia, episcopes et decani et capituli ilerdensis, damus et concedimus ad censum, vobis Jacobo de Clarisvallibus, porcionrius sedis ilerdensis et vestris in perpetuum de celo in abissum, domos eleemosine, exceptis tantum duobus cellariis contiguis ipsis domibus in parte superiorum et inferiorum. (...)".
"(...) Damus et traddimus ad censum vobis Jacobo de Clarisvallibus et vestris in perpetuum hoc modo quod ipsos melioretis et non deterioretis et quod mittatis in opere et meiloramento dictarum domorum usque ad quinque annos poximum et continue complexos quinquaginta mazas incipias ad cognicionem decani et magistri operis. (...)".
ACL. Carpeta de pergaminos (XII-XIII Centuries). perg. 912. Year 1264. (Edition: ALONSO, 1983, p. 164-165).
Text: Verónica Abenza
VILLANUEVA 1851, XVI: 99; PUIG I CADAFALCH 1918 (1983): 47; LLADONOSA 1970: 116-119; ALONSO 1976: 18-19; ALONSO 1983: 164-169; FITÉ 1991: 13-32; TERÉS 1991: 77-92; DURLIAT 1995: 9-25; ARGILÉS 1999: 17; BARRAL 2003: 590-592; DURAN 2005-2006: 19-28.