Heraldic Tour of Malta (4)
Maltese HeraldryThere was a local nobility in Malta before the knights arrived, mostly of Sicilian or Spanish origin. The main city of the island was Mdina, which is inland. The knights settled first in the port of Birgu, then built their city of Valletta on a promontory nearby. On the whole, the local nobility remained in Mdina, though some settled in Valletta. The Grand Masters created a number of titles of nobility, from baron to marquis, of which about three dozen are still extant. Maltese residents also received titles from foreign powers, such as the king of Two Sicilies or the king of Spain.
Arms of the marquises of Piro, Casa Rocca Piccola, Valletta. The
family held the title of barons of Budaq (created by Grand Master Perellos
in 1716, who also added the pears in the tree above) and that of marquis
of Piro in Spain (created in 1742). The two titles have gone separate
Arms on the façade of the palazzo Bonici which now serves as
lobby to the Teatro Manoel.
A rare example of heraldry predating the arrival of the Knights: façade of a 15th c. house in Mdina. Note the archaic shape of the shield.
Other Heraldry (non-Order related)
Arms of the Dominican Order, on the ceiling of the stairway in the Grand Inquisitor's Palace, Birgu (Vittoriosa). Probably 18th c. A room in the same palace contains the coats of arms of the 63 Grand Inquisitors of Malta from 1575 to 1798.
Arms of viscount Mountbatten (later Earl Mountbatten of Burma) from
1946 or 1947, above the offices of APS Bank Ltd, Republic Street, Valletta.
He bears a differenced version of the arms of Battenberg (1 and 4 azure
a lion rampant double-queud barry of ten argent and gules crowned
or within a bordure compony of the second and third for differenced
Hesse, 2 and 3 argent two pallets sable for Battenberg, the whole charged
in honour point with the Royal arms bearing a label of 3 points argent,
the center point charged with a rose gules and the others with an ermine
spot sable; supporters two lions double-queued and crowned all or, motto:
"in honour bound", viscount's coronet and helms and crests of Hesse
and Battenberg). He was appointed knight of
the Garter on Dec. 3, 1946 and created an earl on October 28, 1947.
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