Title in succession: 13th
Date created: 1728
Grant: Grand Master Manuel de Vilhena
Granted To: Isidore Viani
Rep: Bugeja Viani / Testaferrata / Scicluna
Remainder to: his descendants
in perpetuity; each holder of the title having the right
to nominate a successor;
in default in absence of a male first born or male issue to
the female first born, members of the clergy are
Present Holder: Justine Pergola
Abeyance: Passed into abeyance 1978, brought out in
1983 and in 1985 transferred inter vivos
by decree of the Committee of Privileges. In 2002 was again
vacant, was given to Corinne in 2005 and became
vacant in 2008.
In 2009 a sub-Committee setup to determine the new Title
not recognised by the Royal 1878 Commission: Baron
Testaferrata Moroni Viani
This title was contested by three claimant holders,
Baron Salvino, Falzon-Sant-Manduca
and Scicluna families.
was put to rest in 2005 by the Committee of Privileges.
On the death of Maria Ramsay in 2007, once again the title
became vacant. A legal issue ensued, where the Committee
of Privileges appointed a sub-Committee to look into the 3
claimants, namely the Testaferrata family, the Bugeja
Viani family and Christiane Ramsay Scicluna (daughter of
Maria). See note below at end of page.
There was a 'decisione secreta' of which the sub-committee
made a final request to the Committee which was accepted.
The barony of Tabria (Ta’Brija) was granted to the Barba family
in 1315, Guerardo family in 1398, the Gatto family in 1407, del
Carretto family in 1408, Landolino de Noto in 1453.
As a fief it would have either died out, due to lack of family
members and be re-granted or be sold as a fief.
The present holders of the Barony of Tabria was granted to
Isidore Viani in 1728, by the Grand Master Manuel de Vilhena
with the remainder to his descendants in perpetuity. Each holder
of the title having the right to nominate a successor , in
default of nomination, to the first born male descendant and in
the absence of male issue, to the first born female descendant.
The tower at Wied Znuber was probably built during this period
by a member of the Viani family. This tower, in the area of
Hal-Far, served as a place of refuge for this family since the
Palazzo Viani, also know as Palazzo Hal-Far, was situated in the
same district. The tower, the palace and the whole district of
Hal-Far were subsequently inherited by Baron Isidore Viani.
The entail of the 1st Baron Viani was established in favour of
the eldest son in the direct line. Failing this, it would pass
to the eldest male descendant in the female line. Failing this,
it would pass to the eldest male descendant in the female line.
This primogeniture could not be held by 'priest, deacons,
sub-deacons, nuns, monks, imbeciles and those incapable of
contracting marriage'. The holder was, however, obliged to
retain the insignia and surname of the Viani family 'in addition
to that of his own family name'. If this was ignored the holder
was to forfeit the income for one year.
In 1728, the Baron of Tabria, Isidore Viani, had been ennobled
by the Grand Master Vilhena for 'service rendered'. Less than
six years later, the Baron was accused of embezzling, from the
Universita of Valletta, the large sum of 60,000 scudi. He was
tried, found guilty, and then imprisioned in the Castle of St
Elmo. All his gold, silver, furniture and paintings were
confiscated, and most of his property, excluding that which had
entitled by his father, was subsequently auctioned. Viani's
three houses in Valletta were sold for 4,100 scudi, of which
Grand Master Vilhena, who paid half for the family casa in
Strada Stretta. The Baron was subsequently sentenced to death,
but was later reprieved by Grand Master Vilhena, who accepted to
disentail the family primogeniture. Thus part of the money was
refunded. The effect of this misappropriation fell heavily on
the family. Many of their properties were sold by the
Universita, others which had a high income, were retained and
their rents deposited in the treasury. In 1775, these properties
were again entailed, this time, by the Baron's son and daughters
but 'in order to repay the debt of their father' the income was
still channeled into the Unversita. The entail consisted of five
groups of houses at Zurrieq, Cospicua, and Vittoriosa, the
Palace and territories of Hal-Far and the cow-stalls, pig-sties,
pigeon houses, stables, coach-houses and gardens, the tower,
hunting lodges, as well as all the citrus trees of Benhisa. In
addition, there were twenty one fields. The family residence at
Paola, Palazzo Viani, which had been built in the eighteen
century was not entailed
Isidore Viani of Italian Descent was succeeded by his son Gio
Batta, who left two daughters as Heiress. The eldest daughter
died without children, and the younger married the 2nd Marquis “
Giovanni Battista Viani, Baron di Tabria, died without any male
issue, and deciding which of his two daughter should inherit his
title. Under the terms of the original patent, the eldest
daughter, Francesca, should have received the title. But her
sister Anna, who married to Marquis Mario Testaferrata,
contested the claim on the pretext that her sister was not of
sound mind. When the unfortunate Francesca had recovered from
her illness, she was persuaded to renounce her title in favour
of her nephew, Guiseppe, Anna's son. In 1784, Francesca's
petition to this effect was approved by Grand Master de Rohan
who invested Giuseppe Testaferrata Viani with the Barony di
Tabria on the 22 October of that same year.
The younger Heiress’s eldest son Guiseppe Testaferrata-Viani
succeed to the Barony of Tabria as the 4th Barony. He was also
the Capitano della Verga of Malta, married the daughter of the
5th Baron of San Marciano, siring several children, dying in
The Marquis Mario Testaferrata had three sons, two of whom,
Lorenzo and Filippo, did nothing to enhance the family name.
Lorenzo, a cleric, fathered 'several children' by Angela Attard,
the daughter of the family coachman. Filippo, also a cleric, had
'bastard sons' by one of the family maids, Vincenza Falanca.
Eventually both brothers married the mothers of their children,
this nearly drove their father completely mad. Fortunately for
these noble cadets, as Lorenzo and Filippo are described, the
Marquis who was 'feeble-minded and scarcely capable of managing
his own affairs, was on even worse terms with his eldest son,
Giuseppe the Baron di Tabria. Resulting from all the bad
feelings towards the eldest son, Lorenzo was granted the
prerogative of the family benefices and also allowed, by his
father, to buy the family palazzo in Valletta, together with all
its contents. On the other hand, Filippo was their heir to the
Castelletti entail. These actions appear rather strange in view
of the Marquis's former attitude towards his younger sons, and
would appear to bear out the above statement on his mental
state. This is even more astonishing since Mario, in his will,
had excluded all bastards, even though they may have been
legitimised at law. He appears, however to have, possible
inadvertently, left a loophole by withdrawing the exclusion in
the case of those bastards legitimized by subsequent marriage,
provided that the marriage was not contracted with an ignoble
His son succeeded as the 5th Baron, Gilberto also
sometime Capitano della Verga, and his successor was Guiseppe,
who became the 6th Baron, but died without issue.
The next successor was by nomination to Giuseppe's sister’s
younger son Rosario Luigi Testaferrata-Moroni-Viani.
Rosario was a member of the council of Government of Malta, and
died in 1935, succeeded by his daughter .
Maria Violet succeeded as the 7th Baroness, and married
the Marquis John Scicluna (Papal Creation) and sired several
children, Maria Violet dying in 1955, succeeding by her younger
son by act of nomination.
Patrick Scicluna succeeded as the 8th Baron, who died
without issue in 1978, where the title was succeeded by his
brother the Marquis Joe Scicluna, as the 9th Baron of Tabria
after the title was called out of abeyance in 1983.
In 1978, Patrick Scicluna, 8th. Baron of Tabria died.
The Baron was unmarried and before his death he had failed to
nominate a successor.
The title therefore passed into abeyance for 5 years.
During this period of abeyance, the Committee of Privileges
considered various claims to the title.
The Committee eventually decided in favour of the Baron’s elder
brother, Joseph Scicluna (Marquis Scicluna) who succeeded to the
title on the 29th. September 1983.
This gentleman, therefore, became the 9th. Baron of
On 14th. January, 1985, the 9th. Baron renounced his title and
by means of an act of nomination inter vivos, nominated a
kinswoman, (the late) Lilianina Falzon Sant Manduca (married
name, Bugeja) to succeed him.
The Committee of Privileges, having by now already ratified two
acts of nomination inter vivos, that is of Count Sant
to his son John and Marquis Jerome Depiro (at the time President
of the Committee of Privileges) in favour of his son Nicholas
and Marquis Depiro. Despite of course lacking the legal power to
do so, the Committee of Privileges could hardly fail to ratify a
This especially since the then President of the Committee
(Francis Sant Cassia) had himself signed a similar act of
nomination inter vivos a few weeks earlier in favour of his
The Committee on 25th July 1985, not surprisingly, ratified the
act of nomination inter vivos and (the late) Lilianina
Bugeja succeeded as the 10th Baroness of Tabria.
The 9th. Baron, Joseph Scicluna (Marquis Scicluna) died on the
6th. June 1995.
We understand that he confirmed the late Lilianina Bugeja as his
successor in his last will and testament; if this information is
correct then the late Lilianina Bugeja was undoubtedly the 10th
Baroness of Tabria.
If he did not nominate her to succeed him in his last will and
testament, the succession to the Barony of Tabria would be
thrown wide open. The earlier instrument of nomination, an act
of nomination inter vivos, lacked the Sovereign’s
specific consent and was consequently totally null and
However, forgetting for the moment the 9th Baron’s last will and
testament, her succession could not legally have taken place
until the Baron’s death.
As we have seen above, even a straightforward succession
normally takes about one year.
Thus, the very earliest date upon on which the late Lilianina
Bugeja could have succeeded was June 1996
For a number of years, during the period 1985-1996, the late
Lilianina Bugeja, served on the Committee of Privileges, passing
judgment on matters of nobility, including the succession to
The marquis , then nominate a distant cousin, his kinswoman, as
his heir to the Barony and renounced the title in her favour in
The renunciation and nomination was ratified by the committee of
Privileges on the 25th July , 1985.
Lilianina Falzon-Sant-Manduca (1940-2000), succeeded as the
10th Baroness of Tabria, and is a descendant of the 2nd
Baron of Tabria, through the Marquisate Cassar-Desain.
The Baroness married to a John Bugeja and had several children,
died 13 March 2000, succeeded by her son,
The 10th Baroness was very active for a number of years on
the Committee of Privileges until her sad and untimely death
on 13th March 2000. Her son should have presumably been the
Contestant's Philip Falzon Sant Manduca, Baron Salvino
Testaferrata and Corinne Ramsay Scicluna all bid for the title
of the Baron della Tabria.
In 2005 the Committee of Privileges voted in favour of Marie
Corinne Ramsay Scicluna.
11th Baroness of Tabria, The Noble Marie Corinne Ramsay
Scicluna (1923-2007) Baroness decided in October 2007
Once again the following person placed their bid for the title:
which is to date Vacant (June 2008)
Philip Bugeja Falzon Sant Manduca, Martin Testaferrata in the
name of Baron Salvino Testaferrata and Christiane Ramsay
Scicluna. Who is going to be the next Baron or Baroness of
Tabria, is anyone's guess?.When so many inter vivos
transfers have been made, it simply does not make matters
easier. But after a two year legal issue, it was finally
12th Baroness of Tabria, The Noble Christiane Ramsay
Scicluna, decided February 2010, with issue.
A Genealogical Account of the Barons di Tabria
Gio Battista Viani, 2nd Baron di Tabria, married 1733 to Maria
1. Francesca Viani, De Jure Baroness di Tabria, dunm.
2. Anna Viani, married 1762 to Mario Testaferrata Castelletti,
2nd Marquis Testaferrata
2.1. Giuseppe Testaferrata Viani (1767-1837), 3rd Baron di
Tabria, married 1791 to Rosa Maria Galea Feriol
2.1.1. Gilberto Testaferrata Viani (1801-??), 4th Baron di
Tabria, married 1826 to Aloisea dei Conti Sceberras Bologna
220.127.116.11. Giuseppe Testaferrata Viani (1837-92), 5th Baron di
Tabria, married 1875 to Carmela dei Baroni Galea Feriol, and
18.104.22.168. Maria Angelica Testaferrata Viani (1830-67), married Dr
Pietro Testaferrata Abela Moroni, LL.D
22.214.171.124.1. Salvatore Testaferrata Moroni Abela (c 1866-1911)
Baroncino della Tabria, married to Caroline Barbaro Sant
126.96.36.199.1.1. Pietro Paolo Testaferrata Moroni Viani (died 1954)
Barone Testaferrata, married 1922 to Carmela Cremona
188.8.131.52.1.1.1. Barone Salvino Testaferrata Moroni Viani ,
Marquis Testaferrata Moroni Viani (cr:1986), married 1962 to
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11. Christopher Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1964-
Baroncino Testaferrata, married 1962 to Daniela Vinci
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1. Stephen Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1994-
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52. Dr Martin Testaferrata Moroni Viani LLD, (c
1969- Marquis Testaferrata Moroni Viani (cr: 1993-
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11. Carmen Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1963-67)
18.104.22.168.1.1.2. Mario Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1932-, married
1957 to Jane Borg Hampton
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199. Peter Paul Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1960- ,
married Theresa Vincenti-Kind
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1. Sarah Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1986-
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.2. Mark Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1988-
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.3. Peter Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1994-
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206. Paul Stephen Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c
1965-, married Clara Galea
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1. Luke Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1994-
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199. Caroline Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1958-,
married Gerald Zammit
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1. Matthew Zammit
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.2. Amanda Zammit
22.214.171.124.1.1.3. Beatrice Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1927-
126.96.36.199.1.1.4. Maria Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c1923-, married
1948 to Lino Testaferrata Bonici, 7th Barone della Qlejgha (for
descendants see TABLE 4)
188.8.131.52.1.2. Guiseppe Testaferrata Moroni Abela (c 1870-), dunm
184.108.40.206.1.3. Riccardo Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1868-) dunm
220.127.116.11.1.4. Rosario Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1871-1935),
6th Barone della Tabria, married 1895 to Maria Mizzi
18.104.22.168.1.4.1. Mary Violet Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c
1897-1955), 7th Baroness di Tabria, married 1921 to Marquis John
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199. Joseph Scicluna, (c 1925-, 4th Marquis
Scicluna, 9th Barone della Tabria (renounced to distant cousin)
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206. Patrick Scicluna (c 1927-78), 8th Barone della
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168. Marie Corinne Scicluna (c 1923-, Baronessina
della Tabria, married 1947 to Lt Cmdr R.A. Ramsay de Miniac DSO,
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1. Marie Christine Ramsay de Miniac (c 1948-,
married 1974 to Umberto Pergola
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1.1. Justine Corinne Pergola (c 1979-
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168. Maria Angela Scicluna (c 1924-, married Alan
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1. Marcus Scicluna Marshall (c 1956-, de Jure
Marquis Scicluna, married 1975 to Marion La Pira
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1.1. Marcus Scicluna Marshall Marquis [see
Foreign title Holders]
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1.2. Mathew Scicluna Marshall
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1.3. Luke Scicluna Marshall (c 1985-
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.2. Romina Marshall (c 1959-, married 1985 to
220.127.116.11.1.4.2. Beatrice Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1888-
18.104.22.168.1.4.3. Clovina Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1890-
22.214.171.124.1.4.4. Mary Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1899-
126.96.36.199.1.5. Laura Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1864-
188.8.131.52.2. (third marriage) Francesco Testaferrata Abela , 6th
Barone di Gomerino, dunm
184.108.40.206.3. Ettore Testaferrata Abela, married Maria Anderson,
220.127.116.11.4. Augusto Testaferrata Abela (c 1823-85), 7th Barone
della Gomerino, married 1850 to Angelica dei Conti Tagliaferro
(See Barony di Gomerino)
2.2. Lorenzo Testaferrata (1770-??), married Angela Attard, with
2.3. Filippo Testaferrata, (1774-1821), 3rd Marquis
'Testaferrata', married 1807 to Vincenza Falanca
2.3.1.Lorenzo Antonio Testaferrata (1805-51), 4th Marquis
'Testaferrata', married 1822 to Maria Teresa Cassar Desain
18.104.22.168. Filippo Giacomo Testaferrata (Later change surname to
Cassar Desain), 5th Marquis 'Testaferrata' (1826-66), married
1848 to Veneranda dei Marchesi de Piro
22.214.171.124.1. Lorenzo Antonio Cassar de Sain (1851-1886), 7th
Marquis Cassar de Sain, married 1872 to Camilla Slythe
126.96.36.199.1.1. Richard George Cassar de Sain (1880-1927), 9th
Marquis Cassar de Sain, married 1905 to Mary Alexandra Turnbull
188.8.131.52.1.1.1. James George Cassar de Sain (1907-58), 10th
Marquis Cassar de Sain, married with issue (See Cassar de Sain)
184.108.40.206.1.1.2. Mary dei Marchesi Cassar de Sain (1916- , married
1939 to Albert Falzon Sant Manduca
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168. Alfred Falzon Sant Manduca (1943-
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199. Lilianina Falzon Sant Manduca (1940-2000), 10th
Baroness di Tabria, married 1963 to John Bugeja
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1. Philip Bugeja Viani (1964-, 11th Baron di
Tabria, married Margaret Gatt
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.2. James Bugeja Viani (1967- , married Lara dei
Conti Strickland Bologna
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.3. Mary Anne Bugeja Viani (1974-
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206. Alberta Falzon Sant Manduca (1945-, married
1970 to Joseph Camilleri
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1. Christian Camilleri (1971-
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.2. Rachel Camilleri (1973-
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.3. Lisa Camilleri (1983-
This is the information regarding the Scicluna family and
current holders of the Tabria Title:
John A. Scicluna, (1903-70), 2nd Marquis Scicluna, 3rd Marchese
Scicluna of the Holy Roman Empire married
1921 to Mary
Violet Testaferrata Moroni Viani, Baroness of Tabria,
1. Joseph Scicluna, (1925-1995), 3rd
Scicluna, (1927-1978), Baron of Tabria-
(Tabria nomination) *1.
Corinne Scicluna, (1923-2007), Baroness of Tabria,
married 1947 to Lt. Cmdr Robert Ramsay de Miniac, R.N.
Christine Ramsay de Miniac, (1948 - 2021, Baroness of Tabria,
married 1974 to Umberto Pergola), with issue.
3.1.1. Justine Corinne Melita Pergola, (1979 Baronessina of
4. Maria Angela Scicluna (1924-, married Alan Marshall, with
Scicluna Marshall, 4th Marquis Scicluna, married 1975
to Marion Lapira, with issue
4.1.1. Marcus Scicluna Marshall. (1975-,Marchesino Scicluna
Foreign Title re-grant by the Pope.
4.1.2. Matthew Marshall, (1978-
4.1.3. Luke Marshall, (1985-
4.2. Romina Marshall, (1959-, married 1985 (Div) to Charles
Note *1: Patrick Scicluna is noted as having
been ‘nominated’ in the title of Baron of Tabria (last
invested in the family of Testaferrata Viani in 1784).
(IF THERE ARE ANY UPDATES TO ANY TREES, PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL
TO '[email protected]
or [email protected]
' stating site you seen the genealogical tree and updates.)
References: 1) Gauci,C.A.," The Genealogy and Heraldry of the
Noble Families of Malta", Gulf Publishing Ltd, Malta, 1981.
2) Gauci,C.A.," The Genealogy and Heraldry of the Noble
Families of Malta, Volume Two", Publishers Enterprises Group
(PEG) Ltd, 1992.
3) Gauci,C.A and Mallet, P.,"The Palaeologos Family- A
Genealogical Review" ,Publishers Enterprises Group (PEG) Ltd,
4) Gauci, C.A.," A Guide to the Maltese Nobility", Publishers
Enterprise Group (PEG) Ltd, Malta, 1986.
5) Montalto, J., "The Nobles of Malta-1530-1800", Midsea Books
Ltd, Malta, 1980.
6) De Piro, N., "Casa Rocco Piccola", The Conde' Nast
Publications 1999.' Http://www.vol.net.mt/casarocca '
7) Giles Ash, S., "The Nobility of Malta", Publishers
Enterprises Group (PEG) Ltd, 1988.
8) Said Vassallo, C.M., Unpublished research papers.
9) Said Vassallo, C.M., Maltagenealogy.com Research site.
Giuseppe Testaferrata Viani (senior) was the third and
last person to have been formally invested in the 1728
title of Baron Viani of Tabria.
1784 investiture, and order of primogeniture, succession is
reckoned as follows: Isidoro Viani, (1st Baron),
Gio Batta Viani (2nd), Giuseppe Testaferrata
Viani (3rd), Gilberto Testaferrata Viani (4th),
Giuseppe Testaferrata Viani (5th), Salvatore
Testaferrata Moroni Viani (6th), Pietro Paolo
Testaferrata Moroni Viani (7th), Salvino
Testaferrata Moroni Viani (8th).
that the Marchese Giuseppe (3rd)
“donated” the title of Tabria to his younger son Mario (4th,
succeeding by ‘donation’) by virtue of a deed in the acts of
Notary Lorenzo Antonio Azzopardi of the 16th June
1834. Published sources do not make any reference to this
transaction:- this is probably because of the principle that
private transactions regarding titles of nobility are null
and void (See notes above).
other hand, Giuseppe Testaferrata Viani (5th) is
noted as having ‘nominated’ this title to his younger nephew
Rosario Testaferrata Moroni Viani (6th Baron,
succeeding ‘by nomination’). This private transaction was
upheld as valid by a judgment dated 4 October 1894 (Testaferrata
Moroni Viani vs Testaferrata Moroni Viani).
private transaction, supplemented by the aforesaid judgment
enumeration is as follows: Mary Violet Scicluna (7th,
following a ‘nomination’ in favour of Rosario), Patrick
Scicluna (8th Baron, younger son of Mary Violet
Patrick Scicluna is also noted as having died in 1978
without nominating a successor and that in 1983 this title
was ‘brought out of abeyance’ in favour of his elder brother
Joseph Scicluna (9th Baron, ‘brought out of
abeyance’), who in turn passed the title by means of
a deed made in the acts of Notary Jeanette Laferla Saliba of
the 14 January 1985 n to a kinswoman Lilianina Bugeja nee
Falzon Sant Manduca (‘by a transfer inter vivos, and
ratification”) and that this transaction was
‘ratified’ by the Committee of Privileges 25th July 1985.
According to Maltese media reports, Bugeja died, also
without having made a nomination, and the title was
‘awarded’ to the Sciclunas’ sister Corinne Ramsay. Some
court cases were instigated both by Bugeja’s son Philip as
well as Ramsay and her daughter Christianne. ( Judgment
link - courtcase
link this is a link to Maltagenealogy ).
the court cases it resulted that Joseph Scicluna had also
made a will in favour of Lilianina Bugeja. However, in each
case the Maltese Courts declared themselves to have no
jurisdiction to hear such matters because Malta had
legislated in 1975 (Act XXIX of 1975) against recognition of
nobiliary titles in any form whatsoever.
Charles Said Vassallo - Maltagenealogy