The chapel founded by Isidro or Isidoro de Almeida (c.1526-1574) by will dated 30 August 1572 deserves mentioning, above all, for its founder and the particular context of its institution.
Isidro de Almeida, son of a licentiate and Lisbon citizen named Gaspar Lopes de Almeida and his wife, Catarina de Gouveia, stood out for his war achievements as a military expert. He was also the author of works on the subject. According to Sousa Viterbo, if Isidro “was not a military architect, he was at least an artillery engineer, an expert in the defence of squares. Moreover, he was also an expert in metal-related matters, perhaps a mining engineer, in the double sense of the word, both in fortification mines and metallic mines” (VITERBO, 1988, p. 7). In this capacity and as a noble knight of the king’s household, he received in 1559 the office of metal purveyor and foreman (ANTT, Chancelaria de D. Sebastião e D. Henrique, lv. 2, fl. 324). Three years later, he was with the Portuguese forces at the siege of Mazagão. His deeds and explosive devices are mentioned in Agostinho Gavy de Mendonça’s chronicle about the battle in 1607 (MENDONÇA, 1890, pp. 76, 84-85, 90, 103-104, 122, 128, 137 and 143). At one point, the chronicler describes a mine “extremely difficult to make” leading to the impressive explosion of seven barrels of gunpowder so that “the living were amazed” (idem, pp. 103-104).
These and other military deeds inside and outside the Portuguese territory (FEIO, 2014; SOUSA, 2013) gave Isidro de Almeida the privilege of being close to the royal court and household. Such proximity is clear from his will: he addresses the queen directly, reminding her of a conversation they had. He also addresses the counts of Vimioso, asking them to protect Isidro’s wife and children after his death.