COMA, Berenguer de
Chronological frameworkDocumented in 1222
Geographical FrameworkLleida (Catalonia)
Profile and historiographical debate
[Berengario de Cumba]
Traditionally, he has been considered the second master builder of La Seu Vella de Lleida between 1222 and mid-thirteenth Century, just before Pere de Coma (See DE COMA, Pere). His name only appears in a document dated on 1 march 1222. This document notifies the donation from Berenguer Obició, -cathedral’s operarius-, to Berenguer de Coma and his descendants of a staticum domorum (a site of houses), which had formerly belonged to Pere de Coma, first master builder of the Cathedral.
In spite of the fact that there is not documentary evidence of Berenguer de Coma as being Pere de Coma’s successor in title, the historiography stands that he was the next master builder in charge. This hypothesis is based in some substantive evidence. A copy from the original slab with the inscription that commemorates the ceremony of the laying of the foundation stone is preserved in the north wall of the presbytery (See DE COMA, Pere). This inscription mentions Pere de Coma as fabricator and as it is been set by context, as the person who was in charge for the construction works (BANGO, 1991). It is known that he had a house placed near the walls of La Suda, in the so-called Costa de Sant Joan. He gave this main house to the chapter when he offered his services to the bishop and to the promoter of the cathedral in 1193. In addition, documentation allows us to identify some other men with the surname Coma or Çacoma and to locate them in the same place (LLADONOSA, 1970). Even if Pere de Coma is only connected to the building trades by the contract dated in 1193, his surname was used by the historiography in order to propose a lineage of masons and master builders. This family was supposed to be active in Lleida on the second half of the XIIIth Century and it has been attributed to them the construction of the churches of Sant Llorens, Sant Joan de Platea, Sant Andreu and Gardeny, as well as the rebuilding of La Suda (ALONSO, 1976). Other scholars have gone further in the establishment of their professional backgrounds and they have connected the surname with the Lombard region of Como. These theories were proposed in order to offer an explanation to the Italian influence of the cathedral’s carved works (RÀFOLS, 1951; LACOSTE, 1979). All of which is to suggest that the staticum domorum was considered as a workshop. This workshop was supposed to be leaded at first by Pere de Coma and to be inherited by his descendants after his death.
After being mentioned in the commemorative slab of 1203, Pere de Coma appears no longer in the documentation. This idea has suggested that he could be dead around 1220 (LLADONOSA, 1970). There is even another theory that proposes, without any significant justification, that he could be dead before 1222, -at the moment of the donation of the staticum domorum-, but not before 1220 (SERRATE, 1973).
Undoubtedly, between the first years of the XIIIth Century and the last decades of the same Century the constructive project of the cathedral seems to have been conceived and developed in a very unified way. These consistency and uniformity values contribute to emphasize the attribution of the design and the construction process to the same family. Nevertheless, the documentation proves that in the period between Pere de Coma’s intervention and 1278 (year of the consecration) it is only documented one master builder, Pere de Penafreta (See DE PENAFRETA, Pere). The donation of the staticum domorum to Berenguer de Coma by the canon, who was responsible for managing the construction, was greatly welcomed by the chapter and the bishop, Berenguer d’Erill. In the light of all this, it has been suggested that Berenguer de Coma was Pere de Coma’s relative (ALONSO, 1976; LLADONOSA, 1970; FITÉ, 1991; TERÉS, 1991), and the master builder responsible for the construction of the Portals of the Castle, the north wall of the cathedral, the Portal of the “Lavacrum” and the north cloister (today lost) as well as for the settlement of the apses and the lateral vaults (ALONSO, 1976).
- Portals of the King’s Castle- La Suda.
- North Wall of La Seu Vella de Lleida.
- Portal of the “Lavacrum” of La Seu Vella de Lleida.
- Apses of La Seu Vella de Lleida.
- Lateral vaults of La Seu Vella de Lleida.
- North cloister of La Seu Vella de Lleida, -today lost-.
Documental sources mention Berengario de Cumba.
1 march 1222. A staticum domorum that belonged to Pere de Coma was donated to Berenguer de Coma. It was donated by Berenguer Obició, canon of La Seu Vella de Lleida, and the chapter and the bishop of Lleida, Berenguer d’Erill, very great welcomed it. A census of 16 sous jaquesos was imposed on the staticum:
"Quod ego, Berengarius Opiz, Prior et Operarius Ilerdensis Sedis, cum consilio et voluntate domini Berengarii, Dei gratia Ilerdensis Sedis Episcopi et totius Capituli Ilerdensis, per me et per omnes successores meos, dono et trado et in perpetuum concedo vobis Berengario de Cumba et vestris et cuilibet quibus volueritis atque omni vestre proieniei, unam staticam domorum in villa Ylerde, in parrochia Sancti Johannis, quam Petrus de Cumba dimisit olim Operi Sedis Ilerde (...)".
ACL, Llibre Verd, f. 138. (Edition: LLADONOSA, 1970, doc. 19, p. 134).
Text: Verónica Abenza
VILLANUEVA 1851, VIII: 82; ROCA I FLOREJACHS 1911: 11 and note 1; PUIG I CADAFALCH et alii 1918 (1983), I: 65 and 494; BERGÓS 1926: 86-87; BERGÓS 1928: 17-23; LAMPÉREZ 1930: 241; RÀFOLS 1951, I: 277; LLADONOSA 1970: 116-119 and 134; LLADONOSA 1972: 250; SERRATE 1973 (1990): 23; ALONSO GARCÍA 1976: 18-19; LACOSTE 1979: 170 and 191; ALONSO 1983: 163-167; DALMASES I JOSÉ 1986: 143; BANGO 1991: 29-31; FITÉ 1991: 13-32; TERÉS 1991: 77-92; ARGILÉS 1999: 17.