The Kings Court - António, Prior of Crato
According to family history, D. António 'Prior of Crato' hid at Paço de Lanheses when he was fleeing the Castilians and trying to form an allied army against Philip II of Spain.
This episode took place before he fled to exile and after the defeat of the Portuguese army that supported him by the Duke of Alba, in the succession to the throne, in Lisbon on 25th August 1580.
It is supposed that the title of "paço" (royal residence) might have been assigned to this noble country house after this event.
However, whether this story is true or not, what is certain is that there are neighbouring manor houses, including the one in Ribeira-Lima, which competes for such an historical and patriotic honour. D. António stayed for about six months in northern Portugal and spent the night in several stately homes.
Paço, perhaps derived from palatium, existed long before these events, and this distinction was awarded for its architectural grandeur, denoting the power of the noble family that owned it. The presence of archaeological remains, found in Paço de Lanheses, dating back to ancient times is just a coincidence.