Travanca Monastery, Portugal (Romanesque, 12th century).

Tradition says that Garcia Moniz, son of Moninho Viegas, “O Gasco”, was the founder of this monastery in the second half of the 11th century.

The church itself was built in the 12th century, standing out within the context of the Portuguese Romanesque heritage by its eccentric dimensions and the importance of its sculptural ornamentation in the capitals.

Also noteworthy is the fortified tower right next to the church, as it was then seen as a symbol of safety and, in the absence of castles, churches represented the best fortresses.
Regardless of the function it was intended to, the religious nature and an alleged military willingness are, in these cases, inseparable. It is also for this reason that the tower of Travanca must be understood as an element of manorial assertion, i.e., the family power over a region.


Matilda II of Dammartin (1202-1259), Countess of Boulogne and Queen of Portugal.

Text by Pedro Alves

Also known as Mathilde, Maud or Mahaut, she was Countess of Boulogne, Mortain, Aumale and Dammartin in her own right since 1216 and Queen of Portugal by marriage to King Afonso III from 1248 until their divorce in 1253. She was the daughter of Ida, Countess of Boulogne and her husband and co-ruler Renaud, Count of Dammartin and was great-granddaughter of Stephen of England.

Married in 1238 to Infante Afonso, second in line to the Portuguese throne, younger brother of King Sancho II. He became King Afonso III of Portugal on 4 January 1248. At that time he renounced Boulogne.

In 1258, Matilda charged Afonso with bigamy, following his marriage to Beatriz of Castile. Pope Alexander in response, imposed interdict upon any place the couple stayed. At the time of Matilda’s death, Afonso and Beatriz were still together, despite the Pope’s protests.
She had no surviving issue with Afonso III and Matilda’s then apparent barrenness was the true reason for their divorce. According to reports, Queen Matilda remained in Boulogne and was not allowed to follow her husband to Portugal.