Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Barony of Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana
- Titled: Dr Carmelo Apap Bologna MD, as the 23rd Baron.
- Heir: (his son) Francesco Apap Bologna, as the Baroncino
The Barony of Djar il-Bniet e Buqana is the most senior and oldest surviving title of Maltese nobility 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 4 January 1350 at Messina, Sicily.
The 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 the 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. This privilege was subsequently confirmed by King Frederick of Sicily, at the request of Lanza, when this king was visiting Malta.
On the death of Lanza, Francesco his son succeeded the title on Feb. 14th, 1397, and was invested by King Martin of Sicily and Aragon in the Barony of Djar il Bniet.
The 2nd Baron of Djar-il-Bniet was Lanza Gatto. Baron Lanza was a Chief Justice of Malta and Regio Proposito of Malta as well.
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 appoitment, 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 Inguanez.
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 Majesties. 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 Gallery.
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, Neapolitian 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 Babery, 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 Unversity, on the same business concering public government, and a letter still exists, proving his having receievd all necessay assistance for his service to the crown.
Giacomo Angerao also obtain from his most serene Majesty King Charles V, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, King of Castile and Aragon, an authorative 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, 1542.
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 unknow.
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 bribes.
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 apostatized, 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). 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. (Note that the d’Amicos were from an illegitimate descendants of a lady from Sicilian nobility).
To note that the present claimant is Principe Giuseppe Said (1949-, De Jure "27th" Baron di Djar-il-Bniet e Buqana 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. (Bibliography: Spells and inquisitions in Malta, research study of John Mary Vassallo, 1956, Malta.)
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
Francesco dei Baroni Ingunaez 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).
Gio Francesco d’Amico succeeded as the 15th Baron also sometime Capitano della Verga (c1764-75). Gio Francesco had one son who died unmarried in 1782.
The Estate, then succeeded by the Last holder’s uncle who assumed the surname of Inguanez and married a member of the Bonici Family, who were holders of the Ghariexem e Tabia Barony.
Their eldest son, Vincenzo d’Amico-Inguanez, succeeded as the 18th Baron, and died unmarried in 1850 and was succeeded by his sister, Maria Teresa, who in turn died unmarried as well in 1880.
The title went to Maria Teresa sister’s Grand-daughter. Francesca Sceberras-d’Amico-Inguanez, Baroness di Djar-il-Bniet, also Baroness di Castel Cicciano.
Maria Francesca Represented the Maltese Nobility at the Coronation of King Edward VII in 1903, King George V in 1911, and King George VI in 1937. She married Coloniel Alexander Chalmers McKean C.M.G, but failed to produce an heir, dying in 1947.
The titles yet again, was succeeded by Maria Francesca sister’s eldest son, Alexander Chesney-Sceberras d’Amico-Inguanez, as the Premier Baron of Malta. Alexander represented the Maltese Nobility at the coronation of Queen Elisabeth II in 1953, also was a Major in the Worcestershire Regiment and was awarded the M.C and the Belgium Criox de Guerre for service in World War.
Alexander died unmarried in 1960, and succeeded by his sister Frances.
1960 to present
Frances succeeded as the 22nd Baroness of Djar-il-Bniet and the 18th Baroness di Castel Cicciano. Frances, also died unmarried in 1981, which brought the title yet again in abeyance.
In 1983, the Title of Barony of Djar-Il-Bniet and Buqana, was called out of abeyance to be succeeded by the next living heir. Dr. Carmelo Apap-Bologna Sceberras d’Amico-Inguanez M.D as the Premier Title Holder of Malta and 23rd Baron.
The present Baron is a descendant of the 17th Baron di Djar-il-Bniet, and is third cousin, twice removed to Frances Chesney, 22nd Baroness.
Baron, Dr Carmelo Apap-Bologna Sceberras-d’Amico-Inguanez MD. is a member of the Marquisate of Gnien-is-Sultan family and is closely related to most of the Maltese Nobility.
Dr Carmelo Apap Bologna, invain tried to gain the Barony of Ghariexem e Tabia from a distant ancestor, whom he suggested was senior heiress to the actually successor. Though after an extensive research carried out by historians and lawyers (i.e: Ganado), it was noted upon the will of the late Baron that the titles were to be split up between two daughters and there were to be no recourse as each received individual lists of extensive estates in Malta and in Sicily. Dr Carmelo Apap Bologna was denied his claim as it was flawless and biased to the descendants of the Barony of Ghariexem e Tabia. Dr Carmelo Apap Bologna was senior heir to the Barony of Djar il-Bniet from the D’Amico succession, and to Barony of Castel Cicciano, but the title of Castel Cicciano went to another branch, sharing the titles amongst descendants. The Sicilian title of Montagno di Marza went to the next male descendant of the Sceberras family, whom still carries the title today.
Lastly, Baron Carmelo has two sons, and two daughters which will carry the Baronies on to another generation securing it within the Apap-Bologna family as the jewel of Malta.
- 1) Said Vassallo, C.M., Unpublished research papers.
- 2) Said Vassallo, C.M.,[Charles Said-Vassallo's Research site] and[Maltese Nobility web site].
This research was done by Charles Said-Vassallo
(Text originally based on that of a website by Charles Said Vassallo, by permission.)
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