The Barcelona Holy Cross Hospital (16th-17th centuries) at a particularly intricate jurisdictional crossroads

Event date
19 May 2022
Event time
13:00 - 14:00
Oxford week
TT 4
Faculty Members
Members of the University
Online & IECL Seminar Room
Professor Josep Capdeferro

Notes & Changes

We hope to run this event in person and online. However, seating in the IECL Seminar Room is limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please complete the registration form below to indicate how you would like to attend.


In 1607, a commoner named Paula Gassona was publicly flogged and humiliated in a “colourful ceremony” around the courtyard and several rooms of the Barcelona Holy Cross Hospital. Immediately afterwards, she was ejected naked from the establishment, where she had lived and cooked broth presumably since she was widowed. Without any legitimate trial, she had been charged for a prank she had probably not committed: throwing some coloquintida (a purgative) into the soup of the hospital’s prior. As part of this case-study, many questions arise: Were the hospital administrators (two canons of the cathedral and two town councillors) officially exercising any sort of jurisdiction on patients and workers (even visitors)? Was it practised in terms of justice or mere discipline? Was it a usurpative jurisdiction, at the expense either of the royal, the diocesan and/or the City Council courts? Did Paula Gassona have any chance to claim for her honour and other rights of which she had been deprived? These questions are fascinating, especially since the Principality of Catalonia is usually considered to be an early modern model for high “rule of law” standards within the Hispanic monarchy... 

This event is open only to members of Oxford University. To register for it please complete the form below using your SSO credentials. Registration will close at 10am on the morning of the seminar after which a Teams link will be sent to those who have registered to attend online.

Registration form

Found within

Legal History