British Community and Family History
It is difficult to be intirely prosaic about Monserrate. The romantic haunt of a siuccession of Englishmen from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, from Gerard DeVisme to the great grandson of Sir Francis Cook the textile millionaire and art collector with a spell of William Beckford in between, encloses the story of an Anglo-Portuguese connection in Sintra which lasted for over a century and a half and has now been totally eclipsed. Sir Francis Cook brought the achievement to its zenith as he incorporated the surrounding lands and several historic landmarks into a kind of caliphate dominating the countryside and vieing with Dom Fernando de Saxe-Coburg Gotha at the Pena Palace in the art of beautiful gardening and botanical expertise. An account of this period of Sintra history is worth putting on record before the memories on which much of the material depends fade into the mists of the past. The present writer during a long residence in Sintra, partly at Monserrate itself, has over the years been able to ascertain and set down some of the connecting links with the Monserrate of Sir Francis Cook and his family.
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