The monastery was founded in 1171 by King Fernando II of León. The king assigned it to the monks of the Premonstratensian Order to reward them for their help in the Battle of La Paloma, fought against Muslim powers on the site of the property.

The only thing still left from the medieval era are the remains of a Mudéjar brick tower, given to the order by the Caballero Don Gonzalo de Coria, aguazil to King Fernando II.

Over time improvement after improvement was made, until in 1590 the façade of the church was built. This early façade still remains.

Donations such as those made by Doña María Adán (whose supine effigy lies at the door) consolidated this as one of the order’s richest monasteries in Spain.

During the 16th century, the order used to give sanctuary in what was called the Courtyard of the Chains, which still stands. There the needy used to sit to wait to be fed.
In 1755 the monastery was seriously damaged by the Great Lisbon Earthquake.

Its restoration was put in the hands of Sagarvinaga, the architect who created the magnificent semicircular arches, the transept and the main chapel.

In the Spanish War of Independence, the monastery was occupied by Napoleon’s army, intent on running the Duke of Wellington’s English troops out of the peninsula.

During the French siege of Ciudad Rodrigo in 1810, the monastery was the headquarters of two of Napoleon’s most decorated marshals, Marshal Ney, duke d’Elchingen, and the commander of the army, Marshal Masséna, prince d’Essling, duke de Rivoli.

In 1835 ownership of the monastery passed into private hands in the process known as “the Disentailment of Mendizábal”.

One hundred and forty abbots presided over the life of what was one of Salamanca’s most important convents.