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Home arrow Historical arrow Peninsular Notes arrow Local hero...

Local hero... Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
There are many accounts that prove that the population offered considerable resistance against the invaders during the peninsular war. For instance in Mafra the story of Jacinto Correia is well known: here in Serra do Socorro there is a place called “terra do Alferes” (“second lieutenant1 land”) in homage to a member of the local resistance who fought against the French. The Quinta do Vale Corvo, on the main road north out of Lisbon, served as a strategic retreat and logistic support for resistance groups during the first invasion, whereas Quinta da Póvoa was especially useful in the third invasion.
 Alferes sword

 Miguel takes up the story:-

"The Alferes, João de Miranda, was a cousin of my great great grand father who organised local farmers' resistance against the French. He had a strange and rather curious sword - the hilt and guard were old, belonging to the XVI century but the blade was (at that time) a "modern" infantry blade, from the XIX century. As the Alferes became more and more famous among the locals, he was persued by the French and one day did not survive an ambush at the foot of Monte Socorro, on Quinta do Vale do Corvo land. The Alferes as killed but neither his body nor the sword were found in the locality, and for a century it was believed that the French had taken his body and weapon.
After the Alferes' death my family didn´t know where he had died, and so errected as his memorial a stone cross at the junction of the Casal Barbas and Enxara dos Cavaleiros roads. But one day in 1904 my great grand father Eduardo Camarate de Barros e Vasconcellos was out supervising agricultural work in the fields at the foot of Mount Socorro  when his workers found a strange sword. Thanks to family records, Eduardo discovered easily that this sword belonged to a local hero - the Alferes."

"The stone cross was destroyed 100 years ago, when the main road was repaired, but the place is still called Terra da Cruz ("Cross land") Perhaps my great grand Father didn´t restore the cross because it was not the actual place where the Alferes died. The correct place was off the main road where the old sword was discovered and that place was given the name of "Alferes land". Today these places are still called by the locals 'Terra da Cruz' and 'Terra do Alferes'".

Quinta do Corvo and Socorro 

1 "Alferes" can be translated perhaps more appropriately here as "ensign" - the guardian of a flag or symbol to which fighters rally.


Last Updated ( Saturday, 19 December 2009 )
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