A Portuguese nobleman, João José Xavier de Carvalhal Esmeraldo Vasconcelos de Atouguia Bettencourt Machado, was known as the 1st Count de Carvalhal da Lombada.
One wonders if he had a nickname?
He was born on 7 March 1778 and died aged 59 on 11 November 1837.
In spite of his great wealth, the Count, who owned much land on the island, lived without luxury or ostentation and was a man of generous and liberal principles. History relates that he did much to alleviate the suffering of the poor during periods of economic crises.
During the Miguelite Wars (1828-1834) the Count whose sympathies leaned strongly towards the liberal side of the conflict, had to leave Madeira to seek refuge in England and boarded the English corvette Alligator on 22 August 1828 for British shores.
He returned to the island in 1834, was given the title of Conde de Carvalhal da Lombada on 5 September 1834 and became Civil Governor of Funchal on 13 September 1835.
His principal town residence was the Palácio de São Pedro, today occupied by the Funchal Natural History Museum. If you should visit the museum, glance above the entrance and you will see his coat of arms.
During the summer months, balls and picnics were hosted at the quinta at Palheiro, the Count's summer residence. One distinguished guest was the Archduchess Leopoldina of Austria, who was entertained at Palheiro in 1817 while she was passing through Madeira on route to Brazil to marry Dom Pedro 1.
Many of the ancient trees seen today at Casa Velha do Palheiro like the huge metrosideros (Christmas Day Tree), til, plane and oak are attributed to the 1st Count of Carvalhal, who had many other different specimens imported to the gardens on the estate.
Dying unmarried in 1837, he had no direct descendant so the title and estate were passed to his nephew, the 2nd Count, who was only 6 years old at the time.
He was buried in the chapel on the estate and 40 years later, his nephew the 2nd Count had his mortal remains removed to the Angustias Cemetery in Funchal.
To learn more about the history of the Palheiro Estate choose a link below: