Albocàsser is an archetypal example of a Mallorcan country house, or possessió, where history, heritage and farming sit comfortably together. The estate originally dates from the period of Moorish domination (ad 902-1229) when it was given its present-day name of Albocàsser – from the word Albu-Kasi, meaning “father of Kasi”. After the Catalan-Aragonese conquest of the island, the area fell into the hands of the Count of Roussillon. From this point on, the estate had several owners including the Andreu family from Manacor, who were the proprietors from the 15th to the 16th century. This family also owned other possesions including Son Pere Andreu, Son Jaume Andreu, Son Perot Andreu, Es Pou Nou, Es Bessons, L’Hort dels Magallons and Alqueria Diana amongst others.
As is the case with many Mallorcan possessions, ownership passed from local people to the capital’s noble classes. In this way, Albocàsser became property of the Despuig family and then the Verí family. The first were responsible for the construction of the renaissance chapel that is located in front of the house, one of the most interesting rural churches on the island. Aside from the decorative motifs that are characteristic of this period, we can also see the Despuig family’s coat of arms. Whilst the estate was property of the Verí family, it became one of the most productive working farms in the area and its winemaking activity was considerable. In this period, Albocàsser also comprised three other neighbouring estates: Son Joan Jaume, Son Ameret and Son Gener. In 1818 the estate was valued at 14,590 Catalan pounds and in 1865 it covered some 604 hectares (850 quarterades).
In the early 20th century, Albocàsser became property of the Fuster Puigdorfila family. Its subsequent owner, the financier Joan March Ordines, would be responsible for parcelling out the estate. The Oliver family, originally from Sant Joan, would pass from being the estate’s tenants to its owners for large part of the past century. In fact, the author Joan Oliver is a noteworthy member of this family who signed his literary works by the name Joan d’Albocàsser.
Historical documents highlight that the possessió was intensively farmed and tightly managed from the outset: bovine, ovine and kitchen gardens for in-house use; extensive fields for cereal crops and a profitable vineyard and wines produced on the estate itself. Groups of farmers from all over the area, not just from Manacor but from Felanitx, too, would go to the estate to cultivate the land and use the resources there.
The possessió conserves the architectural features of its far-reaching history: medieval vestiges, a renaissance chapel (one of Mallorca’s most important rural examples of which there is documentary evidence dating from the 14th century), an impressive cellar, large expanses of agricultural land, and so on.
All in all, Albocàsser is a wonderful reminder of Mallorca’s rural past and a beacon for its future.