The beneficiary, João Lopes Figueira, was the Quinta da Cerca entail founder, as stated in his will, dating from 1610. It referred to the possession in “memory of my grandparents and uncles who made it” (ANTT, Inventários Orfanológicos, Letra D, nr 79, fl. 155), indicating its existence down in time.
The profile of the Quinta was solemnly heightened in João Lopes Figueira’s will, in that it explicitly mentioned that the “kings of this kingdom” had stayed at the Cerca. The terms in which the entail was registered in that solemn document, marking the origin of the entailment among João’s descendants, express the social importance which the founder, already a wealthy man, further attained from the fact that he was close to the monarch.
“(…) [the] farm and dwelling place called Cerca, in Almada, where I now live, which is a noble abode in which the kings of this kingdom have been; and to which they will always return, if the occasion arises; and in memory of my grandparents and uncles who have created it, and to honour this abode as also that of the rulers of this kingdom” (ANTT, Inventários Orfanológicos, Letra D, nr 79, fl. 155).
Other contemporary documents confirm that at least one other royal visit took place in a historically meaningful context. The description of the military expedition led by King Filipe I (r. 1581-1598) to Portugal in 1581, authored by Mestre Afonso Guerreiro, tells us that, after disembarking in Cacilhas, “he [the king] went to his apartment, which was located in the houses belonging to João Lobo”, adding that he stayed there for a fortnight (GUERREIRO, 1581, p. 16 apud VIEIRA, 1995, p. 30). In a letter of 26 June, addressed to the royal infantas, the monarch tells them that in “a high-raised room, from where I write, there is a window looking over the whole of Lisbon” (BOUZA, 1998, p. 43-44). Decades later, his son and heir, Filipe II (r. 1598-1621), also stayed at the property, as he settled in Almada with his entourage between 26 May and 5 June 1619 (SILVA, 1987, pp. 286-287).