The village of Sacões sits on a level shelf of land high above the river Sótão. The village mainly follows a narrow street of old houses built from the round glacial boulders, probably cleared from the land around the village. Close to the houses are many individual flower gardens, giving the village a pleasant ambience. Above the village is the chapel, dedicated to St.° António - thought to be one of the oldest chapels in the freguesia. In the census of 1527, Sacões is spelt as ‘Çacom’, and was listed as having 5 substantial dwellings. But a story goes that there were once many chestnut trees here, and people came in autumn to collect big sacks (sacões) full of chestnuts, and that is how the village came by its name. Today round the village there are far fewer chestnut trees – the woods are mainly pine and eucalyptus. At the top of the village, behind the church, there are several magnificent huge-girthed eucalyptus trees, that for some reason have escaped being felled for timber. (There is also a story that in the past, the place was called ‘Lagoa de Sacões’ because of a lake that extended up to Góis, but the geographical evidence does not support this theory.)
We had the pleasure to meet Sr.Aníbal de Matos and his wife Cecília Conceição Santos who told us a lot about their village and their life:
In the past, many people lived in Sacões. In 1949 there were 49 children in the village. Some went to school in Vila Nova do Ceira, but Sra. Cecília Conceição Santos only learned to read and write when she went to work in Lisbon at 15 years old. Before that, in the village, she had to work from sunrise to sundown, but she enjoyed her life and missed Sacões when she left it for the first time. On the upper side of the village used to be small buildings (currais) covered with rye straw for housing the sheep and goats. The wool from the sheep was sold to a wool company in Foz de Arouce. In the past, the threshing floor was covered with ox manure and beaten with a flail to make the place flat and even for threshing the corn. A fungus used to grow on the rye that they collected in this village to dye the wool or clothes black. The ‘aguardente de medronhos’ (firewater from the strawberry tree) was very famous in this village. First the fruit was collected and left for about 1 – 1and 1/2 months in a bucket (caldeiro). Then every day for a month the pulp was stirred. The aguardente was made in an ‘alambique’ (still) and needed about 3 – 4 hours to be ready.
Sr. Aníbal told us a story that during the First World War his father, António de Matos, was a telegraph operator from a cave in France.. The family heard a rumour that all the Portuguese people in France had died in the war, so they went into mourning and dressed in black. But one day António de Matos, then 20 years old, arrived at the train station in Serpins and walked back to his village. When he arrived home and surprised his family everybody was overjoyed to see him alive. Soon afterwards, like so many other people from the region, António de Matos went to Lisbon to find work.
Sr. Aníbal was an active member of the Casa do Concelho de Góis for 45 years. (This is an institution in Lisbon where people originally from the Concelho of Góis meet and discuss how to support the development of the five freguesias of the region.) He did a lot of work for his home village of Sacões, and in 1962 he organized the electricity supply and also the inauguration of the public washhouse. A short time later the road was made, with help from the local people, from Conhais to Cerejal and further on to Vila Nova do Ceira. Before this, there was only the old dirt track that goes over the hill to Portal da Albergaria and to Candosa.