Document about the Occupation of Romangordo, Spain by the French and about the Damage that They Did to Houses and Farms
By Pedro Prieto Translated by: Francisco Nieto
Origin of the Document
The present document is a photocopy of the first pages of “Book of Becerro”, from the parish church of Romangordo (Caceres) in whose municipal territory the French had built the Fort Napoleon, Fort Ragusa and the pontoon bridge over the Tagus River, which were attacked and destroyed by General Hill on 19 May 1812.Nature of the Document
The document is a certificate in which the notary public of the Ecclesisastical Court of Plasencia certifies the existence of a dossier made by the request of the parish priest of Romangordo and in which he includes a copy of the writ submitted by the Court, guaranteeing that the copy of the writ is true to the original that is under his own custody.Reason for This Document
The parish priest of Romangordo was the administrator of the properties of a Chaplaincy, which consisted of houses and farms. With the money coming from this he had to fullfil the obligations imposed by the statutes of the Chaplaincy. The French that occupied the village since 1809, destroyed two houses of the Chaplaincy and several farms, which caused a great reduction of income. The parish priest of Romangordo requested from the Ecclesiastical Court to modify the obligations of this Chaplaincy.
Prominent Personages Mentioned in the Document
Parts of the Document
The document consists of three parts:
The first part certifies the existence of a dossier carried out by request of Don Manuel Rosado Rivero and summarises the facts.
The second part is the most important. It starts at the end of page one, where the word “Writ” appears, and it ends on line three, page four. It contains in full the writ issued by the church Court of the Bishopric of Plasencia with reference to the aforementioned dossier. The writ has two parts: the first one is an account of the events and the second one includes the decisions taken by Doctor Don Rafael Aznar, President of the Court, as the Bishop’s Vicar.
The third and last part certifies that the writ is a legally validated copy and declares that such a copy is made in order to carry out one of the provisions of the writ, which states that one copy should be kept in the “Book of Becerro” in the church of Romangordo
Paper of the Document
The paper used in the document is an official paper, where official documents are written. On the first and last pages there are the coat of arms of the Bourbon Kings, though besides the Toison de Oro there is a second ornament surrounding the coat of arms. Around the coat of arms there is the following caption: “Regional Office of Plasencia”, which means that it is a State paper.
Traslation of document
I, Francisco Serrano Alvarez Rodriguez, one of the four high Notary publics of number and seat in the Episcopal and Ecclesiastical Court of the city of Plasencia and its Bishopric, certify and bear witness of the authenticity that there came before me and the Court a process by request of Don Manuel Rosado Ribero, priest of the parish church of Romangordo and therefore the administrator of the Chaplaincy founded by Don Pedro Martinez de Masa, concerning the following matter: that -because the rents of this Chaplaincy had been drastically reduced to a small amount owing to the damage in some farms that the French had destroyed during the long time they had occupied this village and others near to it, and no one could work the lands that were left nor rent them for fear of the French and the price of the rent could not be paid because those who paid them have abandoned their villages and no one knows their whereabouts - the allowance of 20 ducats ordered by the founder to be given every two years to a relative maiden of his have to be suspended, and the high charge for the masses celebrated each year praying for him have to be reduced, besides other items included in the process in more detail, according to what was stated by the Ecclesiastical Attorney General of this Bishopric who was let into the Court by the Governor, the Church Judge and the General Vicar of this city and Bishopric, [and I certify that] the following writ was made before me:
In the city of Plasencia on 20th April 1812 Doctor Don Rafael Aznar, Priest, Lawyer of the Royal Councils, Governor, Church Judge and Vicar General of Plasencia and its Bishopric____________
by his grace Bishop Don Lorenzo Igual de Soria, of the Council of His Majesty and “Señor de la Villa de Jaraicejo”, having seen this process caused by request of Don Manuel Rosado Ribero, priest of the parish church of Romangordo and therefore the administrator of the Chaplaincy founded by the Lawyer Don Pedro Martinez de Masa, concerning the following matter: that –because the low rents that this Chaplaincy has been reduced to, due to the fact that the enemies had destroyed the farms and properties during the long time they have occupied this village and others nearby in order to keep clear the pontoon bridge placed over the Tagus River and Almaraz bridge, -he (the priest) must be exonerated from paying every two years the allowance of 20 ducats to a woman relative of the founder and that the high number of masses that the Chaplaincy has to celebrate each and every year must be reduced; and also requesting that –because two large houses owned by the Chaplaincy in Romangordo have been destroyed as well as many others by the Enemies and because the Chaplaincy lacks the means to have them rebuilt and there will be no one to buy the lands, due to the abundance of them in the village, and its inhabitants are wretched and ruined,- he (the priest) asks to be allowed to sell wood and tiles, if the Enemies do not carry it with them and to invest its worth in masses and all this must be considered since the year 1809 onwards, the period which the village has been occupied by the Enemies, (and having seen) the rest of the process which the Church Attorney General of this Bishopric has expressed, according to it and in my presence, the Notary public, His Grace (Don Rafael Aznar) affirmed that, considering the short rent to which the Chaplaincy has been reduced, and (considering) the preference of the masses to the payment of the allowance destined to the women relatives and that, on the other hand, the Chaplain must be paid an annual allowance to support himself and to fulfil the obligations he has, without forgetting that the lack of essencial goods has never been so acute__________________
and that the decency all church ministers must have, in the right use of his power and the Ecclesiastical jurisdiction, as it was his obligation, he ordered to stop paying the allowance of 20 ducats to the founder’s women relatives, who won’t have any right to ask for it unless they prove before this Court that the farms of this Chaplaincy produce the same rent as when it was founded and set up: And in relation to the obligation of celebrating the masses His Grace ordered the above said Don Manuel Rosado Ribero current administrator of the Chaplaincy as well as his successors to fulfil his obligations by celebrating or asking to celebrate every year only the masses for 11 reales each that can be celebrated according to the rent after deducting the expenses, farming and all the necessary things, which is the pri ce fixed by His Grace to the Chaplain until a new writ has been submitted by the court, since the rights and obligations of this Chaplaincy must be regulated by distributive justice; and when the bishop or his delegate visits the parish he will check the account book according to this writ –which must be applied to the above mentioned Don Manuel Rosado Ribero since 1809, this year included, when the rents of the Chaplaincy started to be reduced due to the invasion of our Enemies; and His Grace gave him the right to sell the wood and tiles if they do not carry it with them and to invest its worth in masses for the amount of 11 reales each in the memory of the Founder; and likewise, if there happens to be someone who wants to buy some of the lands of the two houses of the Chaplaincy destroyed by the Enemies, after its valuation by experts, His Grace authorises the Chaplain in charge of the Chaplaincy at that moment to sell it, without modifying the rest of the stipulated clauses of the Foundation which do not contravene this writ about which His Grace ordered me, the Notary, to give testimony in order that the corresponding notification be written in the Book of Becerro in the aforesaid church of Romangordo and always be there: this writ according to the law___________________________________________________
was submitted and signed by His Grace and I, the Notary Public certify this. Doctor Don Rafael Aznar. Before me Francisco Serrano Alvarez Rodriguez:
Since all that has been written in detail so far comes from the above-mentioned process, and the writ here included is literally true to the original and is a part of the process and at present is in my hands and I refer to it and certify its authenticity, carrying out the order that a Notary or a Secretary must write the corresponding notification in the Book of Becerro of the parish church of Romangordo so that it serves as a voucher to the above-mentioned Don Manuel Rosado Ribero and also that both he and his successors in the Chaplaincy must let the Bishop or his delegate know in his visits to the parish, I extend the present (certificate) in a “pliego” of fourth high stamp of 40 “maravedís”, which I sign and stamp in the city of Plasencia on 20th of April 1812
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