Signed Letter by Manuel I.
. Dated on March 15, 1515. 1 page, signed letter on paper, in Portuguese. . Folio (215 × 287 mm). Folded. Tears at foldings, with small holes lightly affecting a few words. A tear at the lower half at the right edge with no effect to the text. Otherwise in fine condition.
Manuel I King of Portugal’s signed letter, to the Female Monastery of Santa Maria de Tarouquela. In his letter Manuel I, advising the monastery of Santa Maria of Tarouquela to obey better the Benedictine the rules. “In 1514 we see the first signs of the autophagy process in which this monastery had been involved since the very beginning — an autophagy that resulted from its physical isolation, from its size and its intrinsically family-related nature. The Benedictine habit was not even ruling the nuns’ habits anymore, as we may infer from the intervention of King Manuel I (1495–1521) who asks the abbess of Arouca (from the Cistercian order) to put an end to that situation of neglect. The connection to Arouca, despite the different rules, is probably a result of a geographical proximity that allowed surveillance and, after some time, the emergence of an almost filial status that was preserved in Tarouquela until its extinction. In fact, it is by mentioning the isolated nature of a place “where little was done to serve” God − a location and status that was similar to that of other female institutes (Vairão [Vila do Conde], Vila Cova [Vila Nova de Gaia], Tuías and Rio Tinto [Gon- domar]) − that the sale king ordered their fusion in a single monastic house to be built in Porto” (Machado, 2014). Eventually, the nuns of Tarouquela were transferred to the convent in Porto in 1536. Literature: Machado, R. (ed.): Route of the Romanesque [Rota do Românico]. Lousada: Centro de Estudos do Românico e do Território, 2014. p. 194.