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Old fortified house in 141, Main Street (currently No. 147), Siġġiewi

This building was used as the village Capitania since it housed the Capitano (Master of Arms) and as a place for the storage of weapons for the local militia. In fact it was popularly known as l’Armeria. During times of danger from Muslim corsairs, weapons were distributed to the local militiamen. The Capitano was also responsible for ensuring the supply of arms and the recruitment and training of militiamen.

He also had to organise a roster to ensure that the inhabitants performed guard duties.

The façade of this building is one of the best examples of Maltese fortified dwellings, built to serve as a defence post in the event of a raid.

The ground floor of the building has no windows for security and battered walls for greater solidity and to keep aggressors within the range of the drop boxes at roof level. The central panel is of interest as it has interesting architectural decorations. The central arched doorway supports two decorated corbels which are three courses high supporting an open balcony. There is an ‘oculus’ window between these two corbels to provide some form of internal lighting to compensate for the lack of apertures at ground floor level.

Additionally, the windows at first floor are decorated with heavily moulded sills and lintels reminiscent of the earlier buildings of Valletta, but of utmost interest are the corbels at roof level which once supported drop boxes from which assailants were showered with projectiles or boiling liquids.

The old fortified house No. 141, (currently No. 147), Main Street, Siggiewi was included in the Antiquities Protection List of 1932 and was scheduled by MEPA as a Grade 1 national monument as Government Notice number 1082/09 in the Government Gazette dated December 22, 2009.

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