Wignacourt Tower

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This article is about the tower in St. Paul's Bay. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_0

For the group of towers built by Alof de Wignacourt, see Wignacourt towers. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_1

Wignacourt Tower_table_infobox_0

Wignacourt Tower & BatteryWignacourt Tower_header_cell_0_0_0
CoordinatesWignacourt Tower_header_cell_0_1_0 Wignacourt Tower_cell_0_1_1
TypeWignacourt Tower_header_cell_0_2_0 Bastioned coastal watchtower

Artillery batteryWignacourt Tower_cell_0_2_1

AreaWignacourt Tower_header_cell_0_3_0 196 m (2,110 sq ft)Wignacourt Tower_cell_0_3_1
Site informationWignacourt Tower_header_cell_0_4_0
OwnerWignacourt Tower_header_cell_0_5_0 Government of MaltaWignacourt Tower_cell_0_5_1
Controlled byWignacourt Tower_header_cell_0_6_0 Din l-Art ĦelwaWignacourt Tower_cell_0_6_1
Open to

the publicWignacourt Tower_header_cell_0_7_0

YesWignacourt Tower_cell_0_7_1
ConditionWignacourt Tower_header_cell_0_8_0 IntactWignacourt Tower_cell_0_8_1
Site historyWignacourt Tower_header_cell_0_9_0
BuiltWignacourt Tower_header_cell_0_10_0 1610 (tower)

1715 (battery)Wignacourt Tower_cell_0_10_1

Built byWignacourt Tower_header_cell_0_11_0 Order of Saint JohnWignacourt Tower_cell_0_11_1
MaterialsWignacourt Tower_header_cell_0_12_0 LimestoneWignacourt Tower_cell_0_12_1

Wignacourt Tower (Maltese: Torri ta' Wignacourt), also known as Saint Paul's Bay Tower (Maltese: Torri ta' San Pawl il-Baħar), is a bastioned watchtower in St. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_2 Paul's Bay, Malta. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_3

It was the first of six Wignacourt towers to be built, and it was completed in 1610. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_4

It replaced the role of Ta' Tabibu farmhouse which was previously known as Dejma Tower. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_5

An artillery battery was added a century later in 1715. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_6

Today the tower is a museum. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_7

Wignacourt Tower was the second tower to be built in the Maltese islands, after Garzes Tower on Gozo. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_8

It was also the first tower to be built on the main island. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_9

As Garzes Tower was demolished in 1848, Wignacourt Tower is now the oldest surviving watchtower in Malta. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_10

History Wignacourt Tower_section_0

Further information: Wignacourt towers § Background, construction and history Wignacourt Tower_sentence_11

By the end of the 16th century, Malta's harbour area was extensively fortified. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_12

However, the rest of the islands was virtually undefended, and the coastline was open to attacks by Ottomans or Barbary corsairs. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_13

This began to change in the early 17th century, when Martin Garzez, Grand Master of the Order of Saint John, allocated funds for the building of Garzes Tower on Gozo. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_14

Garzes' successor, Alof de Wignacourt, set out to build a series of towers around the coastline, which were personally funded by him and came to be known as the Wignacourt towers. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_15

The first tower was built to protect St. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_16 Paul's Bay, and was called Wignacourt Tower after the Grand Master. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_17

On 7 November 1609, plans and a model of the tower were presented to the Order's council. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_18

The first stone of was blessed and laid on 10 February 1610, and the accompanying ceremony was personally attended by Wignacourt himself. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_19

The tower cost 6748 scudi, 7 tari and 10 grani to build. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_20

Although there are claims that the tower was designed by Vittorio Cassar, he disappears from the Order's military records in around 1603. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_21

Cassar died in around June 1609, before work on the tower began. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_22

The architect of Wignacourt Tower was probably an unknown Maltese capomastro. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_23

The tower was the only major fortification in the north of Malta until the construction of Saint Agatha's Tower in 1649. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_24

It had Qawra Tower (built 1638), Buġibba Battery (built 1715) and Mistra Battery (built 1761) in its line of sight. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_25

A coastal battery was added to the tower in 1715 to house two 18-pounder guns. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_26

Buttressing was added to the lower half of the structure in around 1761. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_27

After Malta fell under British rule, the tower began to be used as a police station. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_28

A postal agency was located within the police station between 1891 and 1921, and during this period a postmark reading "St. Paul's Bay" was used. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_29

The police station closed in 1931, and from 1937 to 1963 the tower was occupied by the Post and Telephone Department. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_30

The tower's original entrance was on the first floor, and it was approached by a drawbridge from a flight of stone steps. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_31

The steps were removed in the 1950s when the road in front of the tower was widened. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_32

An entrance was added on the ground floor. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_33

The wheel of the drawbridge still exists, as well as the door and its key of the main entrance. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_34

Present day Wignacourt Tower_section_1

In 1967 the government issued a call for tenders for the lease of the tower, and it was leased to Din l-Art Ħelwa in 1970. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_35

It was restored between 1973 and 1976. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_36

During restoration, the tower's turrets were completely rebuilt. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_37

A marble plaque with the following inscription was installed above the ground floor entrance: Wignacourt Tower_sentence_38

Since 1998, the tower has been a museum, and its exhibits include models of various fortifications found in the Maltese islands, reproductions of items used by the tower's occupants in the 17th and 18th centuries, old photos and a restored cannon. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_39

In 2010, the 400th anniversary of the tower was celebrated by the St. Paul's Bay Local Council, the Festa Committee and Din l-Art Ħelwa by a series of events including re-enactments, tours, discussions and traditional Maltese folklore. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_40

The tower was restored and cleaned once again in 2015. Wignacourt Tower_sentence_41

In popular culture Wignacourt Tower_section_2

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  • The tower was depicted on a postage stamp issued by MaltaPost in 2006.Wignacourt Tower_item_0_0


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wignacourt Tower.