A system to control the linked assets can be identified in about thirty clauses in the foundation document. This was to guarantee their security ad aeternum. Observing “examples from each day”, the founders mention that “houses that had been wealthy once suffered major setbacks” owing to weak administration, “consuming what their ancestors laboriously had put together, thus laying their legacy waste” (id., liv. 21, fol. 187). In this sense, it was required that an iron chest be placed in the Carmo Convent, containing the terças and legítimas of the entail (ibid., fol. 188) — having three keys, split between the administrator, the prior of the convent, and a judge (ibid., fol. 191v). Future administrators were obliged to write an inventory of the goods and report to the Provedor das Capelas in Lisbon (ibid., fol. 192v). Disputes were to be taken before the court of Mesa da Consciência e Ordens, the assets being immediately seized, and the case handed over to the younger judge, deemed less susceptible to corruption (ibid., fl. 192).
This strategy produced extensive documentation, including the register of the chapel’s accounts, with over 200 years of suffrage prayers noted (ANTT, Hospital de São José, escrivão Botelho, mç. 38, nr 1, cx. 594) and the properties inventories. Today, they are very useful to research on this entail (ANTT, Feitos Findos, Juízo dos Órfãos de Lisboa, mç. 107, nr 7).
The foundation deed decreed that “to this said morgadio and morgadios shall not succeed a natural or spurious son or daughter, nor the descendants of friars and nuns, nor any religious people (…) expect for (…) António de Barona” (ANTT, Chancelaria de D. Filipe III, liv. 21, fol. 180v). However, António’s status as a member of the clergy gave rise to a complex legal process. António Serrão, “an official in the cabinet of Pedro Lamirantes, clerk of the Crown”, said publicly and “with the greatest scandal and outcry” (ibid., fol. 196v) that he would denounce the morgadio, mentioned above, for a churchman had been called to administer it. The dispute comes out as quite extraordinary. The founders were threatened and feared that the entail would be considered vacant after their death, its administration going to whoever claimed it before the Juízo das Capelas. The founders believed the issue to be one of “future rights” – the Crown prosecutor, Tomé Pinheiro da Veiga, regarding it as “imaginary” and “extraordinary” (ibid., fol. 197). As such, it was intended to demand the complainant immediately. In addition to António Serrão withdrawing, “because he understood that he had no action against them, either now or in the future” (ibid.), the legal decrees unanimously considered that it would be enough for the king to confirm the institution and to have all the documents produced transferred to the royal chancellery, which happened in 1630, since “there was nothing in it that offended my [the king’s] laws” (ibid.).