St Thomas Tower
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. This 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 Ġlormu, 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.
A few years later, that is in 1657, the Mamo family built Mamo Tower at Tar-Rumi, on the road leading to Żejtun. It’s not as big and as strong as St Thomas, but it’s of average size, is built on a plan of St Andrew’s Cross, it has a small dry ditch around it and used to have a drawbridge. In the vicinity, the same family also built St Gaetan Church. On the inside, Mamo Tower has a big circular room in the centre, from which access is possible to three lateral smaller rooms, one on each of the cross’ arms, while a flight of stairs leads to the roof from the fourth arm. In the Second World War (1940-1945), the British built on this tower a pill-box, which was removed by Din l-Art Ħelwa, when the society acquired the lease of this tower.
Tal Buttar Tower
Tal-Buttar is a private tower, today used as a farmhouse which lies in a valley close to another private tower – Tal-Gardiel. In front of the door leading to the first floor, it used to have a flight of stairs coming to a sudden end, as this tower had a drawbridge.
De Redin Tower (Żonqor)
This tower was built by Grand Master de Redin in 1659. This Grand Master paid for the building of a number of such towers around the Maltese coast and they still bear his name. One such tower, still in existence, is the Żonqor one, built on the coast at the exact point separating the limits of Marsaskala from those of Zabbar.
The tower contains two rooms, one on top of the other, and a sentry-box on the roof. Although this tower was provided with two cannons and manned by four soldiers, its aim was only to watch out on the approach of the enemy and not to stand any long siege. Another tower built by Grand Master Perellos at the tip of Żonqor Promontary was destroyed in 1915.
This redoubt, lately used as a police station and near Marsaskala’s parish church, is one of the best preserved redoubts in the Maltese islands. It was built in 1715 at the expense of 768 skudi by the Commendatore Gio.Battista Briconet and was initially garrisoned by local militia from the Żejtun Regiment. It consists of a pentagon-shaped fortification and entrance was from the side today facing a private building. A redan, fitted with musketary loop-holes, was erected. Obviously such a small fortification was not meant to deter any potential landing, but to slow down an enemy’s movements once on land.
In the first half of the 19th century the British neglected the defence of Marsaskala and it was not before the year 1882 that they built, at the cost of 6,000 pounds sterling, a five sided Żonqor Battery. It was surrounded by a dry ditch and was fitted with seven-inched RML cannons, but it proved to be unsuitable for Marsaskala’s defences, as from the site chosen for its construction, the defending soldiers could not train their guns properly on an invading force. It contains a rock-hewn magazine, which was used for the storage of explosives during the Second World War, while the soldiers resided in neighbouring Fort St Leonard. Today the battery is used for the rearing of animals and agricultural purposes.