Chronological framework

Documented between 1174 and 1187 (d. before 1195)

Geographical Framework

Catalonia (Alt Urgell)



Profile and historiographical debate

[Raimundus Lambardus, Ramon de Nargó]

Ramon Lambard, or more exactly Ramon of Nargó el lambard, is the last architect of Santa Maria d'Urgell’s Cathedral. He is well-known thanks to the conservation of a contract signed by him in order to finish the building in 1175. In this contract, his simultaneous double role as a master builder and a cathedral operarius has been stated, acting as the financial manager of the opera or the chapter institution in charge of all the cathedral's remodelling and building projects. The terms of the contract also allow ensuring that the name lambard is used as a synonym of builder and not as an allusion to the foreign origin of the character. It is conclusive in this sense, an original document of 1187 in which Ramon acts as a witness to a grant and signs as Raimundi de Nargo lambard, inserting a geographic origin surname between the anthroponomy and professional qualification. This formula would confirm the master's provenance, his personal or familiar ancestry, which should be found in the village of Nargó (nowadays, Coll de Nargó), located a few kilometres south from Seu d'Urgell. The existence of a canon named Pere de Nargó, who could be his relative, in the Cathedral's Chapter House, should explain the exceptional characteristics of his hiring. It was probably influenced as well by the urgency required in finishing the Cathedral's building, which served important defensive functions in the long-lasting conflict between the episcopal see and the surrounding feudal nobility.

Even though the use of lambard term has been stated by different sources, mainly those from the xiii century (Gudiol, 1905), as a qualifying adjective related to the architectonic trade, Puig i Cadafalch proposed to consider Ramon a foreign master coming  from northern Italy, to justify the Italianate characteristics of Seu's Cathedral (Puig i Cadafalch, 1918). This hypothesis has not ended its supporters until the present (Castelnuovo, 2007; Lomartire 2010), even since the Italianate elements of the building are previous to Ramon's responsibility in the works. The interest in the character has increased recently: his local origin seems to be well established (Adell Adell et alt, 2000), as well as the familiar and social context, which are explained in the contract terms (Duran-Porta, 2005-2006). The precise function of the word lambard  is still an issue of controversy (Beseran 2010) as well as its derivation from the demonym given to the legendary “lombard masters” from the 11th century, whose existence is nowadays still been questioned (Duran-Porta, 2009).


  • Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Seu d'Urgell (upper part of the walls and vaults).

Documentary Sources

  • 14/5/1174 – Restitution to R. L. and to Urgell Cathedral's work of a vineyard: ACU, copy from the XIII century in Cartulari de l'obra de Santa Maria, II, f. 18v-19r, doc. 64 (edition: Baraut, 1990-1991, doc. 1683).
  • 1175 (o 1174) – Contract between R. L. and the bishop and chapter house of Seu d'Urgell regarding the termination of Santa Maria's Cathedral: ACU, copy from the XIII century in Liber Dotaliorum Ecclesiae Urgelensis, I, f. 250v., doc. 862. (edition: Villanueva, 1803-1852, IX, p. 298-300; and others).
  • 9/8/1177 – Ermengarda's will, with the donations to the Cathedral’s works and signature of R. L. as witness: ACU, copy from the XIII century in Cartulari de l'obra de Santa Maria, II, f. 18v-19r, doc. 64 (edition: Baraut, 1990-1991, doc. 1730).
  • 12/10/1187 – Donation of Arnau of Torroja to the canonic Cathedral, with R.L. signature as witness: ACU, original parchment, nº 1140 (edition: Baraut, 1990-1991, doc. 1822).
  • 21/6/1195 – Assets confirmation to Ramon of Boixadera by the abbot of Sant Miquel de la Seu d’Urgell; in the list of assets an orchard is mentioned as an old property owned by R. L., probably deceased: ACU, copy from the XIII century in Liber Dotaliorum Ecclesiae Urgelensis, I, f. 278r-v, doc. 975 (edition: Baraut, 1992-1993, doc. 1876).

Text: Joan Duran-Porta


VILLANUEVA 1803-1852: 191-192 I 298-300; GUDIOL I CUNILL 1906: 329-335; PUIG I CADAFALCH 1918: 44; YARZA J., ET ALT 1982:  90-92; CASTELLANO 1983: 13-56; VIDAL-VILASECA 1984: 132; BARAUT 1990-1991: 7-349; BARAUT 1992-1993: 7-160; DURLIAT: 1995: 9-25; FITÉ 1995: 119-148; BESERAN 1996: 49-73; VIDAL-VILASECA 1998: 118-127; FITÉ  1999: 211-238; ADELL 2000: 69-70; DURAN-PORTA 2005-2006: 19-28; CASTELNUOVO 2007: 33-45; DURAN-PORTA, 2009: 231-245; DURAN-PORTA, 2009B: 99-119; BESERAN 2010: 109-120; LOMARTIRE 2010: 9-31.