Dear Members,


As 2020 draws to a close we offer members some reading material for the winter evenings. Our theme for this issue is “The Irish”. We have a new article on the O’Neill family in Portugal and also link you to an article on the Gallwey family that was first published in 1982. Like all the articles published in past Annual Reports, it is now available on our web site. We do hope that the newsletters published during the year have been of interest and have compensated in some way for the lack of events, talks, lunches and dinners, which are the Society’s normal activities. Your suggestions for topics to cover in future newsletters are always welcome.


Members will appreciate that we cannot currently plan and organise events with any certainty that they can actually be held, due to changing COVID-19 restrictions. We are hoping to hold the Annual Lunch in the Lisbon area in March 2021 and shall endeavour to organise outdoor events. To date, the proposal to visit Mértola for a weekend trip on the 23-25 April remains in force. Further details will be communicated nearer the date.



In view of the fact that the Society was unable to offer members the normal range of activities such as visits and talks during 2020, your Council has decided to reduce subscriptions payable in 2021 to one half of normal rates. Accordingly, subscription rates for 2021 will be:


Members resident in Portugal: single €15; couples €20

Members resident in United Kingdom and elsewhere: single £10; couples £15


Members will be formally notified of these rates in the subscription reminder to be sent out early in 2021.


May I join members of the Council in wishing all members and their families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Edward Godfrey - Chairman

NEWS see more News here

NOVEMBER 29, 2020

Diário de Notícias interview with Mark Crathorne

Our Vice-Chairman talks about the popularity of the monarchy in Britain


NOVEMBER 8, 2020

Congratulations to Major Nick Hallidie

Our member, Major Nick Hallidie, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list

ARTICLES see more Articles here

An Anglo-Irish Family in Portugal (Gallwey)

Author: Ida Kingsbury


Page: 24

Year: 1982

Subject Matter: British Community and Family History


The O’Neills of Portugal

Author: Andrew Shepherd


Page: 55

Year: 2021

Subject Matter: British family history


50 Years Ago

The following article appeared in the Anglo-Portuguese News of 14 November 1970.


Queen Elizabeth’s School

35th Anniversary


The 35th anniversary of the founding of Queen Elizabeth’s School by Miss Denise Lester M.B.E was marked by a visit from Professor Marcello Caetano on Nov. 4 in his quality of personal friend of the foundress and a member of the Governing Council of the Foundation which now administers the school. The President of the Council was received by Miss Lester, H.E the British Ambassador, the Ministers of Education and Health and the Secretary of State for Labour and Insurance (a former pupil) in addition to other officials and friends.


In her speech, Miss Lester recorded her gratitude to both Great Britain and Portugal and to her good friends of both countries who have helped her so much through the years. The school which started with six pupils, now has three hundred. New premises were built and it is hoped soon to construct more classrooms, a gymnasium and a swimming pool.



The following article appeared in the Anglo-Portuguese News of 28 November 1970.


Interestingly its title was 150 Years Ago.


We are grateful to Sir Alfred Norris, the present chairman of the British Hospital in Lisbon for sending us a copy of the Regulations of the Hospital in 1820 when it was housed in what is now the Parsonage.


No patients could be admitted without a written order from the Consul General or the Treasurer. The hospital was in the charge of the Steward, presumably a man.


This Steward was allowed per patient per day the sum of 320 reis (30 centavos by modern reckoning) “to provide for maintenance of same”. The ordinary daily subsistence for each patient was 1lb of good meat, with vegetables 1 ½ lb. of good bread, and herb tea or gruel for breakfast and supper. No wine or food from outside was allowed.


The chaplain or a local priest was to be called in the event of a patient being “in immediate danger of death”.


The Steward had also to look after the church. Vigilance was exercised by a roster of “Visitors” presumably from the British Factory then still in being. One of the duties of the “Visitor” was to see that the Steward did not charge too much for his services at funerals, and a table of lawful charges is included.


In 1820 the patients in the British Hospital would have been sailors from British merchant ships and the poorer members of the British Community. The majority of people who were seriously ill would have been nursed at home by members of their own family, or by nuns.

Every Quarter you will find in your BHSP Newsletter a selection of key events that happened 50 years ago or more. If you know of upcoming anniversaries related to Anglo-Portuguese relations please send the information in good time to the BHSP Librarian at

The British in Portugal

Denise Lester founded the bilingual Queen Elizabeth’s School in Lisbon. Born in 1909, Denise inherited a rare blood disease from her mother. After boarding school at Abingdon, she became an au pair with an English family in Madeira. She then worked as governess of the children of the British Consul. With his transfer, she stayed in Madeira, doing various jobs, and still finding time to start the first Girl Guides group for Portuguese girls, receiving a visit from Baden-Powell in 1931. 


After a brief visit to the south of France for the Girl Guide movement, she was sent by the Guides to Lisbon. After working as an English teacher in a private home, Lester opened the Queen Elizabeth's School (QES) in November 1935 with just 6 students, using a borrowed room and the garden at the home of Sophia and Fortunato Abecassis. Together with the official Portuguese curriculum, the children were taught English. As numbers increased the school moved twice in three years but during World War II the numbers dropped, causing financial difficulties. Lester worked every night at the British Council to cover the school’s costs.


She also helped raise funds for charities, and the school both served as a centre to help refugees and admitted refugee children. Between 1935 and 1945, children of 27 different nationalities attended the school. In April 1943 she received an award from the Red Cross for this work and in 1947 she was made an MBE. Problems arose in 1949 when the Portuguese government issued a law banning mixed-sex education. Lester needed a larger school. With a donation from the British Government, she was able to take out a bank loan to build the current school, which opened in 1952. 


Denise Lester had numerous operations due to her blood-circulation problem. These culminated in April 1964 when she had both legs amputated. Feeling that she did not have long to live, she established the Denise Lester Foundation, to ensure the continuity of the school. The draft statutes were discussed with many people, including Marcelo Caetano, a personal friend, who was on the Board of Directors until his exile. In the statutes, it was specified that Queen Elizabeth’s School would be a British School for Portuguese children, would have six British teachers, and would be allowed to raise both flags and sing both national anthems.


In 1971, Portugal made Lester an Officer of the Order of Public Instruction and in 1972 she was awarded the OBE. Denise Lester died in Lisbon, on 18 June 1982. In 1985, when celebrating the school’s 50th anniversary, the school published her autobiography, Look up – There's always a star.


For more information, see the website of the school and foundation at:


The above is the first of a new series about the contribution of the British to Portugal. If you have any suggestions about people who could be covered in future issues, please write to




Which famous British playwright and Oscar winner, who was knighted in 2019, was born in Horta in the Azores?

The answer to the quiz can be found at the end of the Members' News section

Did you know?

Did you know that marmalade, much-loved by the British, probably has its origins in Portugal? Marmalade first appeared in the English language in 1480, borrowed from French marmelade which, in turn, came from the Portuguese, marmelada, from marmelo, or quince. According to José Pedro Machado's Dicionário Etimológico da Língua Portuguesa, the oldest known document where this word is to be found in Portuguese is Gil Vicente's play, Comédia de Rubena, written in 1521:

Temos tanta marmelada

Que a minha mãe vai me dar um pouco



In 1524, Henry VIII received a "box of marmalade" from a Mr Hull of Exeter. As it was in a box, this was probably marmelada, a solid quince paste from Portugal, still made and sold here. Its Portuguese origins can be detected in letters to Lord Lisle, from William Grett in 1534, stating that "I have sent to your lordship a box of marmaladoo, and another unto my good lady your wife" and from Richard Lee in 1536, "He most heartily thanketh her Ladyship for her marmalado". It was a favourite treat of Anne Boleyn and her ladies in waiting.


The Scots are credited with developing marmalade as a spread, with Scottish recipes in the 18th century using more water to produce a less solid preserve. The first printed recipe for orange marmalade was in Mary Kettilby's 1714 cookery book, A Collection of above Three Hundred Receipts. She used whole oranges, lemon juice and sugar, with the acid in the lemon juice helping to create the pectin set of marmalade, by boiling the lemon and orange juice with the pulp. Kettilby then directs: "boil the whole pretty fast 'till it will jelly", the first known use of the word "jelly" in marmalade making. Kettilby then instructs that the mixture is then poured into glasses, covered and left until set. As the acid would create a jelly, this meant that the mixture could be pulled from the heat before it had turned to a paste, keeping the marmalade much brighter and the appearance more translucent, as in modern-day marmalade


Members' News

The Society offers its heartfelt condolences to Fiona Ramsay, whose husband and fellow Member of the Society sadly passed away peacefully on the 9th of December at their home in Monte Estoril. James William “Hamish” Ramsay was born in Cascais, and educated at St. Julian’s School, followed by boarding school at Glenalmond College in Scotland and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where studied Modern Languages. He worked for the Guardian Royal Exchange insurance company (now AXA) for 30 years as an expatriate, starting in Nigeria and Venezuela and then over 20 years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was in Rio that he met Fiona in 1997, when both had been recently widowed (his first wife was from Portugal and was the daughter of Julia Nairn, whom more longstanding Members may well remember).


Hamish and Fiona lived for many years in São Paulo, Brazil, before retiring to Portugal in 2016. Hamish was a faithful member of the Anglican Church and acted as a licenced lay reader at St. Paul’s Church, São Paulo, where he not only assisted Bishop Roger Bird in officiating at weddings and funerals, but also preached often and served on the Church Council. His calm and dignified presence will be missed on Society-organised outings and also at St. Paul’s Church, Estoril.



We would be delighted to hear about items of news from members, however insignificant they may seem. Of especial interest is news about books or articles that have been published by Members, or visits to historical sites or exhibitions of interest.


When sorting through your attics and/or cupboards, you might come across letters or diaries or articles or postcards or stamps that you think would be of interest to the BHSP and its Members. Please contact our Librarian to discuss the matter further on All objects handed over to the BHSP Library will be logged either for further reference by researchers, for recovery at a later date or to be listed as a permanent donation (with the relevant documents) to the BHSP.


Answer to quiz


Sir Christopher Hampton was born in 1946 in Horta on Faial Island to Dorothy Patience (née Herrington) and Bernard Patrick Hampton. His father was a marine telecommunications engineer for Cable & Wireless. They did not stay there long, though, as his father’s job then led him to Aden, Alexandria, Hong Kong and Zambia. Hampton returned to Faial for the first time in 2016 to attend the Azores Fringe arts festival.



The privacy policy of the British Historical Society of Portugal can be found on
We use technical and organisational security measures to keep your information secure. This site uses specialist third party services to distribute this newsletter.
The British Historical Society of Portugal holds no responsibility for the factual authenticity of the content of this newsletter and has made every effort to respect copyright law and personal privacy.

Carcavelos, September, 2018


© 2023, British Historical Society of Portugal, all rights reserved.