Origins of the Estate

1<sup>st</sup> Marquês da Praia e Monforte 1st Marquês da Praia e Monforte

Quinta do Bom Despacho can be translated as “Farm of good tidings”, and so we like to think of ourselves as the bearers of good news. Aside from that, there is actually an Historic reason for the name (funny that!), which dates back to the days of our ancestor Gaspar Dias. Our family ancestors between those days and ours make up a long lineage that we know little about, but that was eventually to achieve a very high social standing and the title of Visconde, and lately of Marquês da Praia e Monforte: our great-great-grandfather was the second of those, and he was the last to carry the title as nobility ceased to be after the Portuguese Republican revolution in 1910.

So, to go back to the start, Gaspar Dias lived in this house from the start of the 17th century. At that time, the Holy Inquisition persecuted large sects of society, including anyone who was thought to be of Jewish descent. Gaspar and his family were repeatedly accused of being of Jewish lineage and were as such considered to be "New Christians" - not such a flattering term during those days, and a connotation which rendered their integration in the Azorean society of the time rather difficult. During the days of the Inquisition, the best way one could be freed from the grasp of the Inquisitors was to receive testimonies certifying one's "clean blood", which could then lead to a royal letter issued in favour of the family. Gaspar Dias relentlessly sought after this priviledge, and pledged to erect a church, and to call it the "Eremida do Bom Despacho" (literally the chapel of good tidings, or of the good dispatch - meaning the royal seal of approval), if and when he and his family obtained such favour from the King.

After many years of struggling, Gaspar Dias and his family were finally declared free of Jewish blood and he fulfilled his promise by building the Church of Bom Despacho. As of then, their home also became known as Bom Despacho1. Sadly the church has gone since the mid 19th century, but the place name remained and when our family moved back into the house in the 1980 ́s it was immediately adopted as the favourite designation for the farm, the place and the address.

...We love good tidings - don ́t you?

1 “Foi dado cumprimento ao voto feito de mandar erigir, no caso da obtenção da limpeza de sangue, uma ermida invocativa do bom despacho, passando o local onde viviam a ser designado por Bom Despacho”  (IN: Maria Ana Marques Guedes, Cristãos-novos nos Açores - o caso de Gaspar Dias, Separata do Boletim do Instituto Histórico da Ilha Terceira, Vol. XLV – 1987, Angra do Heroísmo 1988).