A Brotherhood to break free from the archbishop’s rule

The continuous abuse by feudal lords led to alliances between towns and knights.

The increase in lordly crimes, perpetrated by people like the castellan of A Rocha, coincided with a growing awareness by people of the need for justice against lords. This led citizens to create in 1458, a brotherhood (Irmandade) to break the city of Santiago and others under the domain away from the authority of Archbishop Rodrigo de Luna. 

The alliances between cities and knights resulted in a war during which the castle was besieged and attacked and which came to be known as the Great Irmandiño War. The uprising had been simmering for some time. The Irmandiños were a community bearing grievances that set up siege camps before the lord’s fortress and whose ideological motivations were based on two fundamental principles: 

The lord was not a guarantor of justice.
The lord was a criminal and a protector of criminals: «they were against the knights and lords of the said Kingdom as they brought with them and housed thieves and criminals and persons of ill-repute against the knights and lords of the said Kingdom causing great oppression».

Studies conducted on the crimes perpetrated from these fortresses at this stage show the radical situation in rural areas. These studies also suggest that the peasantry is the social group most affected by this abuse and it is precisely because of this that they played a remarkable leading role in the change of strategy of the Irmandades towards a more radical, approach that resulted in the bringing down of the castles.

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