"Libro d'Oro di Melita"
"The Baronies of DJAR-IL-BNIET E BUQANA"
The decree of the fief of Djar-il-Bniet creation of 1351 was “Chicco Gacto suisque heredibus, eius de corporis legitime e naturale descendentibus” though generally most of the feudal grants carried the right of hereditary succession, provided always that the heirs of the feudatory were legitimate and natural descendants. This was categorically sipulated in order to avoid illegal possession of feudal lands.
An example where similar grant was given to the Inguanez, where the natural descendant succeeded it. Archdeacon Lancia Inguanez who had inherited Ghariexem e Tabia from his father, granted the fief to his illegitimate son Antonio.
On Christmas day 1760, Baron Inguanez died without issue. He illegally nominated his third cousin, Gio Francesco d’Amico, as his successor of the two fiefs. The legality of this nomination could have been challenged, since these fiefs had been bequeathed to the Inguanez family by Francesco Gatto who had stipulated that if the main branch of this family became extinct, his entire estate would pass firstly to his nearest natural descendants then to the church.
Nominations were totally illegal with respect to the titles of Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana. To strengthen their claim age, Gio Francesco d’Amico immediately adopted the Inguanez surname. But the Grand Master reclaimed the fiefs and instructed his secreto, Count Preziosi, and the Uditori, to inquire into the claim of d’Amico-Inguanez.
The heirs of Francesco Inguanez, natural son of 13th Baron di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana placed a claim that it was theirs for inheritance, not some distant cousin such as the d’Amicos.
The Grand Master several times looked upon granting the natural descendants succession, but the direct line also about to died out in the Inguanez name and succession choice end up becoming a personal choice as per will of Lancia Gatto.
The Grand Master granted the d’Amico-Inguanez family succession to the ancient titles. Though the descendants of the 13th Baron di Djar-il-Bniet continued to style themselves De Jure Baron/Baroness di Djar-il-Bniet without hindrances from the d’Amico descendants.
Its claimed upon the choice of the successor, a friend and supporter of the Tanti-Inguanez placed a spell upon the title holders of Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana of the descendants of the d’Amico family installing them unable to provide long term heirs or unable to produce heirs legitimately.
Though the source of this “spell” became quite know, as there were many whom died unmarried or childless. Upon hearing such spell the Grand Master realised his mistake, but was too late, dying shortly afterwards
The Most Senior and Oldest surviving Maltese Titles today. The Barony of
Djar-il-Bniet was granted by Feudal tenure in perpetuity to Milite Cicco
Gatto, Keeper of the Royal Castle in Malta, Commander of the Royal
galleries by King Louis of Sicily on the 4th of January, 1350 at Messina,
1st Baron of Djar-il-Bniet, Cicco Gatto, died in 1372 and was succeeded by
his son ,
Francesco or Cicco Gatto the first of his name recorded in Malta, was
governor or keeper of its castle in 1350, for four years, with power to
appoint a Judge, and is spoken of as miles or chevalier Gatto, councillor
He quelled a rebellion in the island of Gozo, and induced the inhabitants to
submit to the illustrious House of Aragon.
The Noble fief of Djar-il-Bniet having fallen to the crown of Aragon through
the extinction of the Bava family, during the reign of king Louis
(Ludovico) in 1350, was by him conferred on Francesco (Cicco) Gatto, and his
legitimate heirs and descendants for ever.
The original grant, which is still in the possession of the present holders
of the fief..
On the same day he conferred the fief of Djar-il-Bniet, King Louis also
granted to Francesco Lanza his son, and to his heirs in perpetuity,
exemption from payment of dues to the Royal Court, thereby placing them on a
footing with the citizens of Messina.
King Frederick of Sicily subsequently confirmed this privilege, at
the request of Lanza, when this king was visiting Malta.
On the death of Lanza, Francesco his son susseeded, Feb. 14th, 1397, and was
invested by King Martin of Sicily and Aragon. in the Barony of Djar il
2nd Baron of Djar-il-Bniet Lanza Gatto. Baron Lanza was a Chief Justice of
Malta and Regio Proposito of Malta as well. Was confirmed as a Baron.
Baron Cicco’s son Francesco Gatto , the Third Baron married in 1397 to an
Heiress of the Barony of Buqana.
The Barony of Buqana was created to Guglielmo Murina in 1372. Guglielmo was a Governor and Keeper of the Castle in Malta, the Title was Granted as a
Noble fief under Conditions of military service.
Guglielmo Murina was Governor of the Island in 1372, and is the first of
this name mentioned in Abela's History of Malta.
During his administration, he instituted the practice of obliging all officials of each indiction on appointment, to make their oath by placing their hands in those of the Governor, as pledge of fealty.
Guglielmo Murina was also Keeper of the castle on the sea, as St Angelo was
formerly called, and King Frederick of Sicily and Aragon, during his stay in
Malta, confirmed on him the fief and Barony di Buqana.
Guglielmo died without male issue, but left an only daughter, heiress to the
fief and Barony of Buqana, who married Manfredo, a Member of the Noble
Sicilian family of de Castelli, a scion of the Spanish Royal House of Castile.
The only descendants of this marriage was Paola, who married the Baron
Francesco Gatto, and they became the parents of Imperia, the wife of Antonio
Francesco Gatto succeeded as the 3rd Baron of Djar-il-Bniet and Buqana,
created Baron of Budaq and received the Lordships (Signors) of Hemsija and
Zabbaria by King Martin I of Sicily on the year of 1397.
Francesco was a Governor of Malta and also Regio Proposito, died in 1442,
succeeded by his daughter Imperia Gatto, who married a Spanish Baron Antonio Inguanez, closely related to the Royal Aragona Family of Sicily.
The same day, the fief of Chemisia was granted to him 'Jure Francorum',
confirming a former grant of this fief, made by Don Guglielmo Raimondo di
Moncado, at the time when this same Raimondo was in Possession of Malta.
Francesco stated that his ancestors had formerly been in possession of this
fief, but had lost the original title deeds, which, with other property, had
been wrested from them by Count Artale d'Alagona, and carried away to the
Castello, now know as the Castle of St Angelo, and there retained by
d'Alagona, who was at this time a rebel to the crown of Aragon.
This new concession and investiture, is said to have been given to him out
of gratitude, for the good and acceptable services rendered to their
The remainder may be read in the original privilege, dated Feb 14, 1397.
Francesco Gatto also enjoyed the honour of being in the service of his Royal
master as Captain of the Galleys, which were then being equipped at Malta,
in the name, and at the expense of King Martin. This office was granted to
him for life in 1397, when he was made Commander in chief of the Royal
Francesco Gatto was also made Regio Prposito, and Governor of Malta on the 16 Oct. 1403, for five years, with power to swear in the Judges and other
Officials and assigned 18 Golden Ounces yearly on the Vice Segrezia of
Malta., as Castellano, or keeper of the Castle.
Having no issue, but an only daughter, he obtained permission by Royal
letter 1404, that in default of heirs, he might dispose of his fiefs in favour of the nearest kin.
Francesco died in the year 1442, when his only daughter, by name of Imperia
and the last respresentative of the ancient Gatto family, became the sole
heiress of the fiefs.
Baron Antonio Inguanez, was created and also inherited the following titles
Baron di Ghariexem , Signor di Saccaja, Mugiarro and San Giorgio, and
This union of Baron Antonio and Baroness Imperia, produced not only
descendants to most of the Maltese ,Sicilian, Roman, Neapolitan Nobility,
but also Royalty such as H.M. Queen Paola of Belgian, the Orleans-Bourbons,
Austria-Estes and so-forth.
The House of Inguanez were almost Hereditary Capitano della Verga from Baron Antonio Inguanez, his son the 4th Baron down to the 15th Baron in the late 18th Century.
The family of Inguanez, settled in Malta, had been a noble and powerful
family in the Province of Catalonia, where its members are know to have held
high offices, and to have possessed the fief of Ortigos, and many others.
Angeraldo Inguanez accompanied by his son Antonio, who subsequently became the husband of Imperia Gatto.
Angeraldo held the office of Governor of Malta and Gozo during the space of
three years, when having settled the affairs of the two islands, and handed
over the governorship to his trusted friend, Francesco Gatto. On October 16,
1403, he was on the eve of departing from Spain, when he was seized with a
sudden illness which terminated fatally.
Before his death, Angeraldo had intrusted to his friend Francesco Gatto, the
guardianship of his only son, the young Antonio, and as in those days a
journey to Sapin was by no means an easy means undertaking. The orphan
Antonio settled in Malta and married his guardian's only daughter, Imperia
Gatto, who brought in dowry a house in the town of Notabile, with several
fiefs and other property.
Antonio Inguanez accompanied King Alfonso of Sicily and Aragon as his vassal to the wars and was after the seige of barbary appointed despotic governor of the Islands of Malta and Gozo, as successor to his father in law
During the reign of King Alfonso, Antonio Inguanez continued in high favour
and many were the honours and privileges granted to him and his descendants.
The Governorship of Malta and Gozo became almost hereditary in his family,
it having been mortgaged to him and to his son, by King Alfonso in the year
1437 and confirmed by the same King in 1441.
Antonio Inguanez was Governor of Malta in 1427, and for several other years,
holding the governorship in pledge from the King, until the city of Malta
redeemed it with its own money.
He was also appointed commander in Chief, with power to parden or punish as he might determine.
In the year 1432, King Alfonso visited Malta, on his triumphant return from
Babery, withered Antonio had accompanied him as his faithful vassal and
during his stay in the Islands, he was the guest of Francesco Gatto and
Antonio Inguanez at the family house in Mdina, which is still in the
possession of their descendants.
The leather canopy and dais, erected in one of the rooms he occupied on this
occasion, has not since crumbled to dust, as the late Baroness Maria
Teresa D'Amico Inguanez, who died in 1880, remembered to have seen it when a child.
As a reward for services to King Alfonso during the war in Barbery, the
estate and garden of Saccajja near Mdina, was confirmed on Antonio free from all obligations. This grant is dated Oct. 25, 1442.
The united arms of Gatto and Inguanez were placed over the Castle of St
Angelo by King Alfonso, as a mark of gratitude, and as a testimony for the
services to the House of Aragon, by Francesco Gatto and Antonio Inguanez.
Antonio Inguanez was very devout, and founded four benefices which exist to
the present day. By his wife Imperia, he had sired many children, which
caused a great division of his properties.
He died in 1458, when his first-born son became invested with the Noble
fiefs of Djar il Bniet, Buqana, and Budaq.
Angeraldo Gatto Inguaez, Antonio's son was Consigliere Regio in 1439 and
Governor of Malta in 1469. Nothing more is know of him, but that had
married and had an only son.
Antonio Angerao Inguanez, son of Angeraldo, received his investiture from
Palermo dated 1472.
On the year 1487, the wife of Antonio Angerao received on behalf of her son
the investiture of the fiefs, at the time Giacomo Angerao was a minor.
Giacomo Angerao Inguanez was an Ambassador extraordinary to the University,
on the same business concerning public government, and a letter still exists,
proving his having received all necessary assistance for his service to the
Giacomo Angerao also obtain from his most serene Majesty King Charles V,
Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, King of Castile and Aragon, an authorities letter to the Grand Master of the Holy Order of St John of Jerusalem, and Prince of this Island, giving him and his kindred full permission to sell their property and fiefs in the events of their wishing to leave Malta, and
Besides the two Baronies of Buqana and Djar il Bniet, Giacomo possessed the
estates of Budaq as appears from several deeds of leases, and also from his
codicil, found among the acts of the Notary Matteo Surdo, dated 13 August,
Antonio, second son of Marco Angerao Inguanez, succeeded his brother in the
investiture of the fiefs of Buqana and Djar il Bniet in 1589. He was also
lord of the estates of Budaq, which he sold, as appeared from a deed of
sale. Also Antonio was Capitano della Verga from 1597-99.
Antonio nominated as his heir, his eldest son Alessandro Inguanez,
Alessandro, at the time of his father's death was living abroad and his
whereabouts was quite unknown.
In spite of his father's will, which made ample provisions for his eldest
son's succession. Marco his brother, took advantage of his absence, and
owing to the uncertainty respecting his existence, usurped the Baronies in
1608, and held them till his death, which occurred in 1612
Baron Alessandro Inguanez, in 1608 was the eldest son of the deceased Baron
Inguanez, was denounced before the local Tribunal on several charges of
heresy. The case was particularly interesting since the title of Baron of
Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana legally belonged to the accused, but his father had
nominated Alessandro's brother as the universal heir, perhaps in view of the
circumstances of the case. In 1606, at the age of eighteen, Alessandro
embarked on a privateer, on a Levant expedition. About eight months later he
and his companion disembarked near Alesandretta, in search of fruit and
water. Alessandro was ambushed and captured by some fifteen Turks. He became a slave in the Household of Bascia de Rey, where, after nearly two months, he was persuaded to convert to Islam with the help, so he claimed, of three hundred bastinados. Morato (Alessandro's assumed Mohammedian name) managed to escape and boarded a flemish vessel in harbour, but he was recaptured when the Turks threatened to burn the ship. The Young Maltese nobleman was nearly executed for his audacity, but was given another chance to repent.
After serving his master faithfully, Morato was adopted by Bascia de Rys and
married an Eleven year Mohammedian called Fatama. But apparently, he still
felt an alien in the Moslem environment and, eventually, managed to escape
with the aid of two missionaries, a French consul, and a number of Handsome
Back in Malta, Alessandro was denounced and brought before the Inquisition.
In spite of the fact that he belonged to one of the principal local
families, he was charged with having apostatised, and having actually
practiced the Moslem religion. It was only the special circumstances of the
case that enable Inguanez to receive a relatively mid penalty. He was fined
only 30 scudi, had to confess and receive communion at least six times
annually, and was made to fast every Friday on bread and water whilst
reciting the psalms
The direct Line of Inguanez, became extinct with the Marc’Antonio 14th Baron
, Who died childless after two marriages Marc’Antonio, Had a Brother (Francesco), who was born illegitimate by his father with an heiress of the Ghariexem (Junior branch of the Inguanez Family).
Maria dei Baroni Inguanez was unsuccessful in claiming the Estates and
Feudal titles from the Grand Master.
The Estate went to a distant cousin and next of Kin (Legitimate).
Marc'Antonio Inguanez,(died 1682) 13th Baron of Djar-il-Bniet
Married Firstly to Monica Cassia, and dsp., Married Secondly to Eugenia Galea, with issue.
Had Children from his Mistress, Isabella dei Baroni Inguanez.
1. (Second Marriage) Marc'Antonio Inguanez, (died 1760), 14th Baron of Djar-il-Bniet and Buqana,
Married firstly to Diane Testaferrata dei Baroni di Gomerino and dsp.
Married Secondly to Maria Galea Feriol dei Baroni di San Marciano, and dsp.
2. (Illegitimate) Francesco Inguanez, married 1662 to
Contessa Brigida Inguanez
2.1. Conte Publio Inguanez, married 1687 to Marietta Cutajar
2.1.1. Contessa Maria Inguanez, De Jure "15th" Baroness di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana, Married 1720 to Pedro Tanti.
22.214.171.124. Giacobina Tanti, De Jure "16th" Baroness
di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana married 1746 to Paolo Spiteri, with issue
126.96.36.199.1. Margherita Spiteri, De Jure "17th" Baroness di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana married 1773 to Chev. Gio Batta Farrugia. Kt.
188.8.131.52.1.1. Anne Farrugia, De Jure "18th" Baroness di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana married 1809 to Joseph Ciangura (A descendant of Marc'Antonio Inguanez, 13th Baron of Djar-il-Bniet and Buqana)
184.108.40.206.1.1.1. Angelo Ciangura, De Jure "19th" Baron di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana married 1857 to Marguerite Aguis
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168. Dun. Giuseppe Ciangura S.J. (1861-1888), De
Jure "20th" Baroness di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199. Mary Ciangura, De Jure "21st" Baroness di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana married 1889 to Ambrose Bugeja, 27th Barone di Ghajn Rihani
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1. Angelo Bugeja, 28th Barone di Ghajn Rihani (c 1891-1942)
16th Signor di Mugiarro, De
Jure "22nd" Baron di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana dsp.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1.2. Count Guisepe Bugeja, 29th Barone di Ghajn Rihani, De Jure "23rd" Baron di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana (c 1895-1944), married 1920 to Anne Gauci
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1.2.1. Count Ambrose Bugeja, 30th Barone di Ghajn Rihani, De Jure "24th" Baron di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana (c 1922-46), dunm.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1.3. Countess Maria Bugeja (c1896-1973), 17th Signorina di Mugiarro, 31st Baroness di di Ghajn Rihani, and De Jure "25th" Baroness di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana married 1916 to Guiseppe Vassallo dei Baroni Bauvso, with issue
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1.3.1. Maria Vassallo (c 1926-91) 32nd Baroness di Ghajn Rihani, 17th Signornina di Mugiarro and De Jure "26th" Baroness di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana married 1947 to Principe Carmelo Said Testaferrata. (A descendant of Marc'Antonio Inguanez, 13th Baron of Djar-il-Bniet and Buqana several times)
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52. Principe Giuseppe Said (1949-, De Jure "27th" Baron di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana, married 1970 to Mary-Doris Vassallo dei Baroni di Bauvso.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1. Charles Said-Vassallo, (1971- De Jure Baroncino di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana.
3. (Illegitimate) Lorenza Inguanez, married 1687 to Gregorio Portelli.