Vila do Conde: St Clare's Convent

The original Convent was founded in 1318 by D. Teresa Martins after her return from a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in the retinue of Dom Dinis, her father-in-law.

St Clare's Convent
The sepulchres of her and her husband can be found in a chapel of the adjacent church. They constitute some of the finest Manueline sculpture in Northern Portugal.

The Convent building that today overlooks the River Ave, dominating the town of Vila do Conde, was constructed between 1778 and 1832. Work on it was interrupted several times by shortage of funds and the vicissitudes through which the country passed.

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Arriving in Oporto to select a port wine for his college, Englishman Horace Grimpil soon finds himself embroiled in the conflicting interests of the British and Portuguese communities, where he is an ignorant outsider.

This Portuguese city - a turbulent place of ambition and defiance fought over by the French and British during the Napoleonic wars - is emerging from political turmoil that left the city and its people with their wealth and society destroyed.

Mr Grimpil, however, is about to experience personal turmoil of his own. Little does he know how the passions aroused during his journey of discovery will affect his own character, or how his presence will bring to a conclusion the relentless pursuit of a political revenge spanning generations.

Read more about the book here

Grimpil's Retrogress © 2010

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