"Libro d'Oro di Melita"

"The Baronies of DJAR-IL-BNIET E BUQANA"

All Corrections/Additions are Welcome

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

and Algozino.

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

several others.

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

Francesco Gatto.

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

settle elsewhere.

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 and Buqana,
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. Giacobina Tanti, De Jure "16th" Baroness di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana married 1746 to Paolo Spiteri, with issue Margherita Spiteri, De Jure "17th" Baroness di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana married 1773 to Chev. Gio Batta Farrugia. Kt.
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) Angelo Ciangura, De Jure "19th" Baron di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana married 1857 to Marguerite Aguis Dun. Giuseppe Ciangura S.J. (1861-1888), De Jure "20th" Baroness di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana Mary Ciangura, De Jure "21st" Baroness di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana married 1889 to Ambrose Bugeja, 27th Barone di Ghajn Rihani 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. 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 Count Ambrose Bugeja, 30th Barone di Ghajn Rihani,
De Jure "24th" Baron di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana (c 1922-46), dunm. 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 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) Principe Giuseppe Said (1949-, De Jure "27th" Baron di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana, married 1970 to Mary-Doris Vassallo dei Baroni di Bauvso. Charles Said-Vassallo, (1971- De Jure Baroncino di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana.

3. (Illegitimate) Lorenza Inguanez, married 1687 to Gregorio Portelli.




Corrections and updating.