Palma Palace is amongst the oldest buildings still in constant use in Portugal. Currently under research, the origins of the Palace and the village of Palma are lost in the mists of time, as two recently uncovered 5m (15ft) thick walls possibly built to protect the village’s first inhabitants, demonstrate.
By the 12th century these ancient walls were already utterly subterranean and, on top of them, was built the aforementioned chapel of the Holy Order of Santiago, now the main dining-hall of the Palace.
Under the patronage of Dom Pedro de Mascarenhas, St. Francis Xavier visited Palma prior to their expedition to India and the Far East, not only conducting mass in the chapel, but also blessing the Moorish fountain that even today supplies the village of Palma with fresh water.
The Palace was later refurbished around 1875 by my São Romão ancestors. It was another 50 years before it entered its succeeding incarnation, when in 1920 my great grandfather, José Maria Posser de Andrade refurbished it again. In the years preceding this renovation, the last Portuguese king Dom Carlos I, was a frequent guest, enjoying shooting and riding throughout our estate.
Having persevered since the times of Dom Pedro, Palma, our family’s estate, was legally registered in mid 20th century by my grandfather and his brothers, as a joint-stock company. The majority of the residents in Palma village are the descendants of the original workers in our family’s company, giving our farm and our house (Palma Palace), a unique atmosphere of continuity and history.