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Mosteiro de Santo André de Ancede  
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  • Name: Monastery of Saint Andrew of Ancede
  • Typology: Monastery
  • Classification: Public Interest Monument, by Decree 225/2013, DR 72, of 12th April 2013
  • Municipality: Baião
  • Patron Saint´s Day: Saint Andrew - 30th November 
  • Worship Hours: Sunday - 11 am 
  • Visiting Hours: Church: by appointment. Monastery: Thursday to Sunday: 9 am-1 pm (last entry: 12 am) and 2 pm-5 pm (last entry: 4 pm); other days: by appointment 
  • Support Services:
  • Telephone : 255 810 706 / 918 116 488   
  • Fax: 255 810 709   
  • E-Mail:    
  • Web:  
  • Location:
    Lugar do Mosteiro, Ancede, Baião, Porto.
  • Geographic Coordinates: 41° 6' 7.26" N / 8° 3' 25.05" O 

Monastery of Ancede (Photo: © SIPA – IHRU)Built on a slope facing the Douro river, the Church dedicated to the Apostle Saint Andrew, in Ancede, was the leading figure of an extensive religious, spiritual and economic heritage.

The charter of privileges, from 1141, defined the boundaries of a considerable area of influence from which the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine ran an important humanisation work.

But their area of influence was established way beyond the monastic fence and the "couto" [place with privileges] itself. Adding up the acquisition of real estate assets and of certain rights along the Douro valley, the monks knew, early on, how to take advantage of the exploitation of natural resources and, especially, of the handling of techniques to create an important trading post based on the production and export of wine and on the administration of the leases that were owed to them due to the ownership of a considerable number of properties to the north and south of the Douro.

Maybe this is the reason why the legend behind the explanation of the name "Ancede" and the hypothetical transfer of the monastic core - which would have initially been installed in Ermelo -, seem even less likely. The vox populi says that D. Afonso Henriques, first king of Portugal, authorised the relocation of the monks based on a complaint they filed themselves: "they were thirsty" [sede] because the place of Ermelo was scarce in waters.

So "if you are thirsty," said the monarch, "move". That was not the case, and even if it were, the techniques and monastic knowledge would have solved that and other issues, such as in the case of the current location of the Church and monastic complex, which underwent deep changes since the Middle Ages and is well served by canals and aqueducts that are able to ensure the supply of water to its inhabitants.

The traces left by the Medieval Period are scarce. The most significant elements are the late Romanesque rose window, which is preserved on the back wall of the Church's chancel, and a wall section from the chevet's north side elevation.

All the remaining ecclesial body, monastery and monastic premises are already the result of the artistic movements that marked the 16th to the 19th centuries.

Despite the fact that almost since its foundation until its extinction, in 1834, the Monastery of Ancede built a prosperous institution, there are two particularly remarkable periods in the building's history: the turn of the Middle Ages to the Modern Period (15th and 16th centuries) and the 18th century.

The first shows the approximation of the priors to the city of Porto, taking advantage of the fact that the city was closely located to sell out the wine and other products through Ancede. In the second moment - despite having been integrated into the heritage of the Convent of Saint Dominic of Lisbon in 1559 - there was the construction of a new Church after 1689, merging the monastic and parish temples, and the construction or reconstruction of various buildings around the Monastery.

Of all these works, the most important one was the construction of the Chapel of Our Lord of Good Deliverance, raised in the wide churchyard, adjoining the wall that supports the wine cellars area and other agricultural buildings.

This is a small temple, with an octangular plan, built in 1731, which expresses the somewhat extravagant Baroque artistic programme with scenes from the life of Mary, Christ's Childhood and the Passion of Christ; these are mostly related to the mysteries contained in the Rosary, being scenes that are much to the taste of the Dominican order that was responsible for all the iconographic programme of the Chapel.

Returning to the Church, we should highlight the 14th-century processional cross; the sculpture of Saint Lucy and the triptych of Saint Bartholomew, a couple of pieces of Flemish origin from the early 16th century; the series of paintings invoking the Way to the Cross and the Passion of Christ, all works from the second half of the 17th century; as well as the sculptural collection scattered across the Church and sacristy, with a Baroque matrix and manufactured between the mid-17th and the late 18th centuries.

We should also highlight the Holy Head of Ancede. A silver casing, without any ornaments, conceals part of a human skull, supposedly belonging to an ancient canon regular of Ermelo who, during his life, cured rabies; after his death, his relics maintained their miraculous reputation.

The monastic ensemble was emptied of its human capital in 1834, being acquired in the following year by José Henriques Soares - who later became the Baron of Ancede -, an important tradesman and Liberal politician.

Legends and Curiosities

The Glutton Friar
In the time of King João III, there was a friar living in the Convent of Ancede who was always willing to eat, but not so willing to pray. He was always the first one to head for the canteen but the last one to arrive at the choir.

When these superiors reproached him, he would answer: - A lot of eating, a little praying and never sinning leads the soul to a good place!

One day, his conventual colleagues decided to prepare a feast and have a picnic in Oliveira, but they feared the Glutton Friar's excessive consumption and said nothing to him about their plans. However, with his fairly refined sixth sense for delicacies, he found out about his brothers' cunning plan and, getting ahead of them, went off to the location where the picnic would take place.

When he came close to the river, he saw that he had no boat to take him to the other bank. But his appetite was such that he soon had an idea: he took off the monastic cloak, laid it out on the river and sailed to the other bank on it.

When the other friars arrived in Oliveira, they were disappointed: there he was, the Glutton Friar, savouring that disappointment as an appetizer, while repeating with his usual coolness: - A lot of eating, a little praying and never sinning leads the soul to a good place!


1141 - Awarding of the charter of privileges to the "honra" [territory] of Ancede by King D. Afonso Henriques, first king of Portugal;

1144 - The Church of Gove (Baião) is annexed to the Monastery's assets;

1258 - The Monastery's prior was Dom Diogo, who was unaware of its origin;

1294 - The Church of Saint Michael of Oliveira do Douro (Cinfães) was annexed to the Monastery's assets;

1320 - The Church of Ancede paid a tax of 550 Portuguese libras [former Portuguese currency unit] to support the Crusades;

1366 - There was a fire in the Church of Saint Andrew;

1391 - The patronage of the Church of Saint Michael of Oliveira do Douro was added to the previous donation;

1559 - The Monastery of Ancede and all its properties, privileges and incomes are integrated into the assets of the Convent of Saint Dominic of Lisbon;

17th-18th centuries - Large investments in the monastic space (fence and churches);

1689 - The new Church is blessed and consecrated in this year's Christmas celebrations;

1745 - The existing bell tower had not been built yet;

1864 - The Church of Ancede was well preserved, being just in need of a coat of paint;

2001-2003 - Conservation and restoration of the barn, cellar and wine presses and creation of sanitary infrastructure;

2002 - Archaeological surveys within the scope of the sanitary infrastructure works;

2004-2005 - Recovery of the eaves, the threshing floor and of the house of the lads, then called the caretaker’s house;

2005 - Archaeological surveys in the scope of the project designed for the remodelling and reconstruction or the caretaker’s house and the eaves;

2007 - Opening of the Interpretive Centre of the Vine and Wine;

2010 - The Monastery of Ancede integrates the Route of the Romanesque;

2010-2011 - Consolidation and maintenance of the main wings of the Monastery and conservation and restoration of the Chapel of the Lord of Good Delivery, including part of its artistic heritage;

2013 - Archaeological surveys in the old buildings of the guest house and the house of the lads (servants);

2013 - The Monastery of Ancede is classified as Public Interest Monument;

2014-2015 - Archaeological surveys within the religious space, the surrounding area of the main wings of the Monastery and the area of the farm.


In Ancede we find a Church with a large-sized chevet and three long naves with Mannerist characteristics. On the outside, the ornamental elements, with a classicist matrix, are concentrated around the Church's lateral portal that opens towards the churchyard.

The most significant remaining medieval element is the late Romanesque rose window, which is still preserved today on the chancel's back wall. The way in which its stonework grille develops itself in circles and its "modénature", which reminds us of an intertwined corded element, has been compared with the rose window that surmounts the chancel arch of the parish Church of Águas Santas (Maia) or with the one on the main façade of the Church of Saint James of Antas (Vila Nova de Famalicão).

Besides this element, a section of the medieval wall on the chevet's north side elevation and on the south side elevation are also preserved, in an area that corresponds to the Church's first bays.
Plan of the Monastery of Ancede

Based on these data and on an analysis of the few traces from the Middle Ages that still remain in this building, at least the visible ones, we may consider that these are the result of a campaign undertaken already in the late 13th century.

Therefore, little or nothing is known about the structure of the Romanesque Church. The large scale of the existing chevet, surely designed to accommodate the main altarpiece in its monumentality and exuberance during the 17th-century campaign, allows us to take very few conclusions about how the Church would have looked like in the Romanesque period.

However, taking into account the known examples of monastic churches from this period, we may suggest that the primitive chevet would surely have a smaller size or, at best, it would not be so high.
Construction works would have been a constant in this Church, as we can verify through an analysis of the ashlars, which show different shades.

The main façade is partly concealed by a 19th-century bell tower.

On the Church's south side there is currently a sacristy, but its layout and architecture draw our attention to the fact that, in the past, this space might have had a different function; it features a few burial sites - as demonstrated by the lids on the pavement - and the three niches on the eastern wall suggest that this space would certainly be a facility that was connected to an older cloister than the existing one.


Four areas belonging to the space of the old buildings of the Inn and the House of the Lads of the Monastery of Ancede will be subject to archaeological works, in a total intervention area of 36 m2.

The purpose of these archaeological surveys is to clarify the extent and the deployment area of the aforementioned buildings (plan, volumetrics, diachrony), as well as to analyse the preserved traces, which are important for the development of the architectural project planned for those spaces.

Restoration and Enhancement

As a result of the process of extinction of the religious orders in 1834, the Monastery of Ancede is sold at public auction, becoming a property of the Viscount of Vilarinho de São Romão. Later, in 1932, the Church and Chapel are transferred to the parish of Ancede.

The valorisation of the Chapel of the Lord of Good Deliverance took place on November 29th, 1982, under the proposal for its classification drawn up by the Baião City Council, the entity that becomes the rightful owner the Monastery through its purchase in 1985, turning that monument into public property.

On February 26th, 1999, the legal document regarding the order for the opening of the procedure for the classification of the ensemble comprising the Church and Monastery of Saint Andrew of Ancede, the Monastery Farmhouse and the Chapel of the Lord of Good Deliverance is published.

On June 26th, 2003, the first work phase of the refurbishment and remodelling of the Monastery is inaugurated; it included interventions in the barn, wine cellar and press, plaster and painting improvements, the construction and installation of roof structures, the installation of water and sewage networks.

On July 1st, 2011, the Direção Regional de Cultura do Norte [Northern Regional Directorate for Culture] submits a proposal for the classification of the ensemble comprising the Church and Monastery of Ancede, the Chapel of the Lord of Good Deliverance and Front Churchyard as a Public Interest Ensemble, and, in that same year, on December 5th, the report of the Secção do Património Arquitetónico e Arqueológico do Conselho Nacional de Cultura [Department of Architectural and Archaeological Heritage of the National Council for Culture] is published, proposing its classification as a National Monument and defining its corresponding special protection zone.

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