Sunday, 22 October 2017

Alameda (Convento) do Beato

Quanto à possível origem deste antigo topónimo, a justificação para tal é-nos dada por Norberto Araújo nas suas «Peregrinações» quando afirma que neste local existia no comêço do século XV uma Ermida de S. Bento, dos frades de Alcobaça. A Rainha D. Izabel, mulher de D. Afonso V adianta o mesmo autorpensou em erguer aqui um Convento, mas só depois da sua morte se realizou aquêle propósito, havendo o Rei viúvo adquirido aos frades de Alcobaça a Ermida, e levantado (1461) um pequeno Convento que entregou aos frades chamados Bons Homens de Vilar (de Frades), da Ordem de S. João Evangelista. A nova Igreja ficou-se chamando de S. Bento de Xabregas [vd. 2ª imagem], sem que os religiosos tivessem que ver com a Ordem dos benedictinos. Mais tarde o Padre António da Conceição, muito do Rei D. Sebastião, fêz erguer, sôbre o primitivo, um magestoso Convento e nova Igreja; os frades passaram a ser cónegos e o seu prelado gozava do título de Dom Reitor e de honras de bispo. António Conceição foi beatificado, e o Convento passou a chamar-se, como o sítio, do Beato António. O Terramoto não causou prejuizos ao Convento. 
 
Alameda do Beato [1934]
Antiga Alameda do Beato António; Rua do Beato
Fotógrafo não identificado, in Arquivo do Jornal O Século

Em 1834, extintas as Ordens, os frades sairam, e a Casa converteu-se em Hospital; ardeu quási totalmente pouco tempo depois [c. 1840]. (...) Foi então, cêrca de 1844, que o industrial e comerciante João de Brito adquiriu tudo quanto restava do antigo Convento e Igreja, incluindo o claustro, principiando por montar um armazém de vinhos, (...) e, em 1849, obteve o alvará para fábrica de moagem [de cereais, futura Nacional] (...)
(ARAÚJO, Norberto de, Peregrinações em Lisboa, vol. XV, pp. 71-72)

 Convento do Beato António, fachada principal (ao fundo) [s.d.]
Alameda do Beato
Reza a história que Frei António da Conceição, com apenas 7 tostões que recebera de esmolas, conseguiu dar início à construção do esplendoroso Convento. Esta obra milagrosa veio aumentar a sua fama e em 1602 o povo eleva-o a santo (tendo sido reconhecido como tal pela Igreja apenas no séc. XVIII), passando a tratá-lo por Beato António e a sua magnífica obra como Convento do Beato. Cedo toda a freguesia onde fora edificado o Convento, passa a ser conhecida como freguesia do Beato
Henrique Cayolla, in AML
 
Em 1849, D. Maria II deu autorização para que o industrial João de Brito utilizasse a marca «Nacional» nos produtos da sua empresa; o espaço mantém-se ligado a este nome até hoje.
Nos últimos anos do século XX, o espaço do convento começou a ser utilizado para a organização de eventos de índole cultural e social. No entanto, um novo incêndio em 2004 provocou danos no antigo cenóbio; depois de realizadas obras de reabilitação pela empresa proprietária — a Cerealis —, o Convento do Beato foi reaberto ao público em 2005. [IGCP]

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