Grand Master Alof Wignacourt began building Fort St Thomas in the exact location where the enemy had landed in 1614, on a plot of land bought previously by the same Grand Master.
The St Thomas Tower was the third tower for whose building Wignacourt himself paid the expenses. It is a much bigger tower than the ones usually seen on the coast, for it was intended to defend the bay and to store arms in it, not just as a look-out on the enemy.
It is believed that the plan of the tower was drawn by Vittorio Cassar, son of the illustrious Glormu, designer of the most celebrated buildings in Valletta. The tower, which cost the Grand Master 12,000 skudi, contains one high storey, divided into two big halls reaching an altitude of eighteen metres. There are four small bastions, one in every corner. The rooms are roofed over by a ceiling vault and their walls are five metres thick. A wide dry ditch runs all round the tower. The basement had a small window looking on the front battery which was armed with cannons and faced the sea. There were also rooms for watchmen on the roof. Entry into the tower was possible only over a drawbridge.
The tower was named after the small chapel of St Thomas which had existed in olden times at the bay with the same name.
St Thomas Tower is in heavy need for restoration. It has been passed on to Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna, the Malta Heritage Trust. Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna, is funded by revenue generated from membership, visitors to their historic sites, and sponsorships. Donations and support from the private sector are needed to enable them to continue fulfilling our mission of safeguarding our heritage for present and future genrations to enjoy.
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