Convento de Santo António
History of the Convento
The Convento de Santo António was founded in 1634 by Frei Jerónimo de Jesus and Frei Cristóvão de São José. Building work began in July 1635 and was completed some years later. The Convento, belonging to the Santo António branch of the Order of the Frades Menores, included a pretty church with a belfry, a cloister, workshops, a water well and an ample library.
The friars of the Convento lived mainly from the alms they collected whilst preaching and giving sermons in the parishes of Sertã, and from donations given by various benefactors. The Grão-Priorado (Priorship) do Crato also bestowed a significant sum for their living costs.
The friars played a fundamental role in the education of many of the Sertã municipality´s young people. In 1772 lessons in Latin were given in the building, and seven years later Queen D. Maria I decreed that a school of "reading, writing and arithmetic" be created here.
With the dissolution of the religious orders in 1834, the Convento was secularized and handed to Carlos António Mascarenhas Pimenta as a recognition of his services whilst employed as the Governor of Santarém.
The Convento was subsequently bequeathed to Simão José de Mascarenhas, Romão Luís de Mascarenhas and finally to Maria Clementina Relvas, who lived here in the years 1891and 1892.
In the 1920´s the building was acquired by Sertã Municipal Council, who used it as a police headquarters and local prison. In following years the building also served as a primary school.
In 2013 the building was restored and transformed into the Convento da Sertã Hotel.