A brief resume of the most notable events in the history of the village was found in documentation which places its origins in 972. These documents referred to an Alou (an estate free of feudal duties) sited in the parish of Sancti Laurentti de Sambuca. Mention of which is made in various documents of the 11th century.
From 1160 the village was part of the estates of the noble Arnau de Llers; it remained in the hands of this line until 1225, when Bernat de Llers sold the castle with its land and dependencies to King Jaume 1st.
King Jaume 1st retained possession of the castle and village for about fifty years, certainly until 1272 when his son Prince Pere, later known as Pere el Gran, bartered the village of St Llorenç for the village of Torreolla de Montgri, with Dalmau son of the Viscount Jofre de Rocaberti.
From then until 1900, when the last Countess of Perelada, Joana Adelaide de Rocaberti died, the village of St. Llorenç de la Muga belonged to the family of the Rocabertis, Counts of Perelada.
There is a shield of the Rocabertis engraved in the lintel of the entrance to the Perelada mill, in Carrer del Pont de St Llorenç de la Muga.
During the long years in which St Llorenç was part of the estates of the Rocabertis it is obvious that the village demography changed considerably, due to the wars and battles that were fought, and the changes in agriculture, forestry and craftsmanship.
From the 15th to the 18th centuries the village gradually grew; most of the households being employed in agriculture and stock breeding, which enabled them to develop into production of textiles & cloth, which were then sold in Figueres, Girona & even as far as Barcelona.
In these years the exhaustive exploitation of the forests also grew rapidly as did the village.
In the 2nd half of the 18th century the ‘Reial Foneria (Royal Foundry) de Sant Sebastià de la Muga’ (1771-1794) was built and began to manufacture ammunition and shot for cannon. However the over exploitation of the oak forests for the production of charcoal to fuel the factory brought about a radical change in the countryside near St Llorenç de la Muga.
The end of the ‘Reial Foneria’ was the result of its high strategic importance, as during its productive life it was as important to the monarchy of Spain as it was to the French Republic.
Certainly in 1794, during the ‘Great War’ St Llorenç was the first part of Catalunya to be occupied by the French troops; it was also the site of the two ‘Battles of St Llorenç’, which were intended to recapture the Foneria for the Spanish troops.
The story of the first battle depends on the teller, according to the Spanish it was typical bad luck that the Spaniards lost control of the village, but according to the French it was bad strategy.
The fact of the matter is that the Spanish side had the most casualties and besides, the French not only kept the Foneria but also managed to occupy Terrades.
In the 2nd battle of St Llorenç, three months later, the Spanish troops went to St Llorenç by different rural routes for each battalion. Some got lost, others arrived late and those who arrived first didn’t know what to do on their own. The French counter-attacked and shattered the Spanish attack. Once settled, the French troops were not comfortable in the middle of enemy territory so the chiefs in Paris ordered their return, after they had destroyed the Foneria and the three bridges.
From the beginning of the 20th century we have to emphasize the task which the Camps Armet family in St Llorenç achieved. It was a well to do family; Albert Camps Armet (Figueres 1849- Barcelona 1923) was a senator in Madrid, with influence which he used to plan the construction of the road from Albanyà to Figueres. He was also the instigator of a community of nuns which had responsibility for the village school.
On his death with no descendants he left everything to his brother Carles Camps Armet (Figueres 1857-St Llorenç de la Muga 1939) on condition that if he also died without heirs he would leave his estate for the benefit of others….and so it was. Carles left the current Ajuntament (Village Council) building to be used as a school, later to become the council offices; the rest of his estate was left to the hospital in Figueres.
Because of the gratitude felt by the village, and to keep the family memory alive, in 1925 they placed a plaque over the door on the side façade of the Ajuntament building and named two streets, one after his Mother, ‘Paula Armet’ and the other ‘Albert Camps’, and the main square ‘Plaça Carles Camps’, the centre of social & cultural life in the village.
BAIG, Maria “Sant Llorenç de la Muga” Col.lecció Quaderns de la Revista de Girona. No. 130. Girona (2007)