A Centenary Story

Once upon a time there was a house, a farm and a family who dedicated themselves to preserving and revitalising a record of Portuguese life!

The History

During the time of the establishment of the Republic, around 1912, a certain “Paluão” (whose name was António Francisco da Silva), born in 1857 and the youngest of the 5 children of the couple who owned the estate where CASA VELHA also served as the main house, entered into matrimony with Margarida Martins, a servant in his father’s household. The extensive estate, with fertile and sunny lands, yielded abundant corn, wheat, and potatoes, as well as some of the finest broad beans, peas, and beans in the region.


Paluão passed away in 1917, leaving behind his widow (and wealthy!) Margarida Martins, with whom he had a daughter. It was during this period that the water mine, which still supplies the property today, was opened. The tunnel, it is said, “…more than 150 meters in length, required 5 years of pickaxe work by a laborer from the Village of Carvalhos…”. This marks the time of the division among the heirs of CASA VELHA.

In the 1930s, as the country grappled with the Constitution and Salazar was creating the Estado Novo regime, a man named José Mendes – still remembered today as “Zé Mendes da Sola” for his involvement in the sole and leather business – came to Escudeiros to court the daughter of Paluão and Margarida. At 20 years old, strong and prosperous, José set his sights on the property where the widow – rich in possessions and in need of pleasures – sternly stated, “…before you think about my daughter, you still have to deal with the mother!”

From this approach arose the marriage of José Mendes, not to the daughter as intended, but to the mother and widow, Margarida Martins. They had 5 children together, marking the start of a new chapter in CASA VELHA and the property. Before the 1930s had passed, Margarida Martins passed away, leaving José Mendes a widower once again.


Determined and shrewd, he doesn’t overlook a single unmarried woman living with her parents in Escudeiros. Her name is Amália, and in 1936, she marries the recently widowed man, moving to the estate.

“Zé Mendes da Sola” passes away in December 1960, and with him, the productive activity on the estate also slumbers. The inheritance is then divided between the couple’s two children and the widow, who will also pass away a few years later. With her passing and the estate’s inheritance divided once again, the estate’s portion remains the property of the son Gualdim until 1995 when it is sold, thus concluding a cycle of generational successions.

Casa-Velha-Original-Desenho1Casa Velha - Turismo rural

In 1999, CASA VELHA and the estate on which it proudly stands come under new ownership. Interestingly, this time it becomes the property of a family that includes a descendant of “Zé Mendes da Sola”.

The property resumes its agricultural and livestock activities, forging new paths, of which this Rural Tourism unit is a part.

Casa Velha - a historia
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