Collegiate of Sant Pere d'Àger
The complex of the collegiate castle of Sant Pere d’Àger consists of a series of Romanesque and Gothic buildings of great interest and monumental character, built between the 11th and 16th centuries. The most important preserved remains correspond to a Lombard-style Romanesque church with Gothic reforms, a residential tower and the main tower of the castle, created during the 11th-12th centuries, an international Gothic-style cloister, a Gothic chapel attached to the church and, finally, a Renaissance chapter house.
Most of the Romanesque buildings were promoted by Arnau Mir de Tost from the second and final conquest of the valley of Àger in 1048.
The canonry founded by Arnau Mir was detached from the bishoprics thanks to an episcopal exemption by means of two papal bulls (1060 and 1065), so that the monastery was directly subject to the Holy See and therefore became a canon vere nullius. Arnau Mir and his descendants, who, from the 12th century onwards, held the title of Viscounts of Àger, made large donations to him until the 12th century, when he reached the maximum number of 38 parishes and 16 annexes as jurisdictional lord.
The canonry functioned until it was secularized in 1592; later it became a collegiate church and archpriesthood. In 1851, Pope Pius IX annulled the collegiate churches and an interregnum took place in which, by decision of the canons, Àger became an exempt archpriest depending on the bishopric of Lleida. It retained the exempt jurisdiction until 1874, when it was united to the diocese of Lleida.
Its uses over time
The complex originally housed the two main feudal estates, spread over different areas of the enclosure: the main tower and outbuildings for the count’s garrison and the keep for the lord and his family. There was the church and outbuildings for the twelve canons of the abbey, while the castilian inhabited the tower of the Redoubt, outside the enclosure.
The viscounts used the residence until the 14th century. After the fall of the Comtat d’Urgell, the complex was in the hands of the canonry.
Finally, from 1829 it was reinforced by Ros d’Eroles and used as a fort for the Carlist forces of General Joan Castell, and later by the government until the end of the 19th century, when the abandonment was final.
The importance of the complex
Arnau Mir’s political virtues are evident in the definitive organization of his conquests in the valley of Àger. He built the center of his power and built a powerful castle, where he established his residence, crowned by an imposing tower, the largest in Catalonia. A tower that over time changed its primal uses but was still a clear military objective in the 16th and 17th centuries.