SAINT THOMAS TOWER (Maltese : Torri ta' San Tumas), also known as
FORT SAINT THOMAS (Maltese : Forti San Tumas), is a large bastioned
Saint Thomas Tower
* 1 History * 2 Present day * 3 In popular culture * 4 Further reading * 5 References * 6 External links
Saint Thomas Tower
The tower's architect is unknown. There are claims that it was designed by Vittorio Cassar , but these are disputed since Cassar was probably dead when work on the tower began. Façade of Saint Thomas Tower
The tower has very thick walls and has four pentagonal bastioned turrets projecting outwards on each corner. The tower's entrance was through a vaulted doorway with a wooden drawbridge. The drawbridge is still partially intact and it is the only original one to have survived in Malta. The tower is surrounded by a rock-hewn ditch.
After the De Redin towers were built, St Thomas had Żonqor and Xrobb l-Għaġin Towers in its line of sight, but these are now either in ruins or completely demolished.
In 1715, St Thomas Tower was reinforced by the addition of a battery on the seaward face. Construction of the battery cost a total of 382 scudi, 8 tarì, 11 grani and 1 piccolo, which was less than the cost of construction of other batteries around the coast.
During the French blockade of 1798–1800 , the tower was stormed and
captured by Maltese insurgents. Painting of St Thomas Bay in
World War I
The tower remained in use by the British until the 19th century. The British did not make any major alterations to the tower (like they did in Saint Lucian Tower ), and only some minor changes to the structure were made. At some point, the tower was also used as a prison.
The "restored" battery, with the Jerma Palace Hotel in the background
Today, the town of
Meanwhile, the tower itself now forms the centerpiece of a plaza around its shoreward face. For some time, it was used as a restaurant and pizzeria . In 2008, it was handed over to Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna, a heritage foundation. A couple of weeks after it was handed over, the tower was cleaned of debris, and some modern structures which had been added when it was a restaurant were removed. Further restoration work was undertaken by the Restoration Unit. Plans were made to open the tower as a museum about piracy in the Mediterranean, but it has not opened yet.
The battery's gun platform was also restored, and its parapet and embrasures were rebuilt to a design on modern interpretative lines.
In 2014, the
IN POPULAR CULTURE
* The tower is featured in the fiction book Il-Misteru tat-Torri San Tumas (The Mystery of Saint Thomas Tower) by Charles Zarb published in 2004.
* Draw-bridge at Fort St. Thomas studied
* ^ Schiavone, Michael J. (2009). Dictionary of Maltese Biographies
Vol. 1 A-F. Pietà : Pubblikazzjonijiet Indipendenza. p. 534. ISBN
* ^ Spiteri, Stephen C. (2013). "In Defence of the Coast (I) - The
Bastioned Towers". Arx - International Journal of Military
Architecture and Fortification (3): 34–43. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
* ^ Stroud, John. "The Maltese Army of 1798". On Parade: 38.
Archived from the original on July 26, 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
CS1 maint: Unfit url (link )
* ^ Spiteri, Stephen C. (18 October 2010). "St. Thomas Tower and
Battery". MilitaryArchitecture.com. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
* ^ Zahra, Angelo (12 April 2007). "The
Jerma Palace Hotel saga".