The 1st Count of Carvalhal created the Palheiro estate around 1801 and built the Casa Velha and chapel a few years later. He used the Casa Velha, which was a much smaller property in those days, as a country retreat and hunting lodge.
The nobleman was believed to be a friend of the King of Portugal Dom João VI and travelled to Brazil with his court during the Peninsular War (1808-1814). This could explain how he subsequently owned a considerable amount of land in Madeira and was able to import specimen trees from many parts of the world in the holds of sailing ships. These trees can be seen at Casa Velha today.
During the Miguelite Wars (1828-1834) he was forced to leave Madeira since his sympathies were strongly on the liberal side and the island was occupied by the Miguelite troops.
He boarded the English corvette Alligator on 22 August 1828, took refuge in England and only returned in 1834.
He lived in Funchal, his dwellings the Palácio de São Pedro, now the Natural History Museum. He became civil governor of Funchal in 1835 and died unmarried on the 11 November 1837. The title of Count then passed to his nephew, but that is a completely new chapter in the history of Palheiro Estate
It should be noted that Elucidário Madeirense informs us that despite his great wealth, the 1st Count of Carvalhal lived without luxury or ostentation and did much to alleviate hardship among the peasant farmers and poorer people during times of economic crisis.
Return to 'Palheiro Stories'