Fernando Fernández de Carrión

Courtyard of San Zoilo in Carrión de los Condes, where Fernando was buried and after which he is called "de Carrión".

Fernando Fernández or Fernán Fernándiz de Carrión (fl. 1107–1125) was a count in the Kingdom of León during the reign of Queen Urraca.[1]

Fernando's origins are obscure. Though his patronymic indicates that his father was also named Fernando, his father has not been identified. He may have been related to Pedro Ansúrez.[2] He probably hailed from the region of León, where he is known to have held properties and where he appears in some local documents.[3]

Fernando married into the royal family when he wed a certain Elvira Alfonso, a daughter of Alfonso VI. Unfortunately, Alfonso had two daughters of this name and scholars differ as to which one Fernando married. One Elvira was the daughter of a concubine, Jimena Muñoz, and the sister of Theresa of Portugal. She was the elder and was married to Raymond IV of Toulouse. Either she returned to Spain shortly after her husband's death in 1105[4] or she did not return to Spain before Urraca's death in 1126 and could not have been the wife of Fernando.[5] The other Elvira was a legitimate daughter, but by which queen is disputed. Her mother was a certain Isabel (Elizabeth), reputedly the daughter of Louis VI of France, but this chronologically difficult. It is more likely that she was merely from France or Burgundy. It is also possible that Alfonso married his mistress Zaida, who was thereupon baptised under the Christian name Isabel. This Elvira married by 1120 to Roger I of Sicily, and since the wife of Fernando was still in Castile as late as 1133, most historians have concluded that she was the widow of the Count of Toulouse and daughter of Alfonso by Jimena.[6]

Whichever Elvira was Fernando's wife had married by 8 July 1117, when together the couple made a private donation of the monastery of San Salvador de Ferreira to the abbey of Cluny.[7] As this was in Galicia it probably represented a portion of his wife's inheritance. The marriage does not appear to have been a happy one. On 17 December 1120 Elvira sold the estate at Fuentes de los Oteros which she had received as arras (a bridal gift). The couple had separated by 1121, when Fernando married again, to Sancha González.[8] His children were Diego, García, and Teresa. Elvira was still living as late as 16 April 1157.

Fernando was in the service of Henry, Count of Portugal, from 1108 until Henry's death in 1112. From 1111 he ruled Lamego. After Count Henry he no longer appears in Portuguese documents. Outside of Portugal at different times he held the tenencias of Salnellas (1113), Toro (1116–17), Bolaños (1117), and Tierra de Campos (1119). He held the tenencia of Malgrat (Malgrado), modern Benavente, from 1117 to 1124.[9] The spurious acta of a synod supposed to have taken place in Oviedo in 1115 record the presence of Fernando, calling him ex campi Zamorae, et campi Tauri ("out of the field of Zamora and the field of Toro", that is, coming from those tenencias).[10] A similar description of territories occurs in a document of 1117: in tauro et in camorus mandante ("in Toro and in Zamora commanding").[11]

In 1121, when the royal court wintered in León, Fernando was in attendance. He had two documents drawn up by royal notaries Pedro Vicéntez and Juan Rodríguez, both dated to the joint reign of Urraca and her son, the future Alfonso VII.[12] The following spring Urraca campaigned in Galicia, perhaps with Fernando accompanying. Fernando's death probably occurred towards the end of Urraca's reign, as he does not appear in any charters of Alfonso VII and the Chronica Adefonsi imperatoris does not list him among the nobles who did homage to the new king in 1126.[13] He was buried in San Zoilo de Carrión and the inscription on his tomb was recorded by Prudencio de Sandoval:

("[There is] dust in this tomb and likewise are buried the bones /
of the illustrious consul Ferdinand of Malgrado")


  1. He is first recorded with the title of count in a document of 26 September 1119. He appears in documents between 8 May 1107 and 20 June 1124. Cf. Simon Barton (1997), The Aristocracy in Twelfth-century León and Castile (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 236–37, which contain a brief curriculum vitae. Bernard F. Reilly (1982) The Kingdom of León-Castilla under Queen Urraca, 11091126 (Princeton: Princeton University Press), 219, states that though Fernando was "a person of considerable influence in the realm, [he] seems not to have been a regular member of the court. Only nine of the queen's charters bear his confirmation."
  2. 1 2 José M. Canal Sánchez-Pagín (1984), "Don Pedro Fernández, primer maestre de la Orden Militar de Santiago: su familia, su vida", Anuario de estudios medievales, 14, 47–48.
  3. The arras he granted to his first wife, Elvira, were located in León, as was a property which he granted to a supporter in 1121, cf. Reilly, 218–19.
  4. Charles Julian Bishko (1965), "The Cluniac Priories of Galicia and Portugal: Their Acquisition and Administration, 1075–c. 1230", Studia Monastica, 7, 324–25.
  5. Reilly, 218–19.
  6. Canal Sánchez-Pagín, "La Infanta Dona Elvira"; Canal Sánchez-Pagín, "El Conde Osorio Martinez"; Quintana Prieto, [which gives the husband the incorrect patronymic]; Salazar y Acha; Barton
  7. According to Barton, 236–37, and Reilly, 218–19, who speculates that they were married early in Urraca's reign.
  8. He granted arras to his second wife on 16 April 1121, cf. Barton, 236–37.
  9. He is referred to as consul Malgratense in a suspect document from Astorga dated 1130. The 1140 charter of Alfonso VII that refers to a Fernando comite tenente Maiorica et Ualadolid ("Ferdinand, count holding Mayorga and Valladolid") is probably a forgery. Cf. Barton, 236–37.
  10. Quoted in Barton, 237n.
  11. In this case the name of the ruler is given as Fernandus Melendiz (Fernando Meléndez or Menéndez), but Reilly, 297–98, believes it may be an error for Fernando Fernández.
  12. Reilly, 154–55.
  13. Barton, 236n.

Further reading

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