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Author Topic: What would 'rural' buildings look like on Malta in the 1500s?  (Read 1026 times)

Offline TheBlackCrane

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Possibly a bit specific or a bit niche, but anyone able to point me at imagery of buildings for Malta in the C16th?

Specifically, I'd like to get an idea of what 'rural' buildings may have looked like. There are lots of images from 1565, of varying levels of accuracy, but generally focused on the Great Siege; what I'm after is farmhouses/outbuildings, that sort of thing...

Any thoughts/pointers much welcomed.



Offline bluewillow

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Re: What would 'rural' buildings look like on Malta in the 1500s?
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2022, 09:42:07 AM »
From what I have seen, square exposed stone with flat roof made of linen reed or flat roofs, also some round ones

some examples
https://www.markedbyteachers.com/gcse/geography/traditional-buildings-in-the-maltese-countryside.html

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Offline has.been

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Re: What would 'rural' buildings look like on Malta in the 1500s?
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2022, 09:43:56 AM »
I too would be interested in this.
When Honeymooning on Malta I picked up a tiny model
of a 'traditional farm building' I have no idea if it goes
far enough back for what you want, but it is at least
Maltese.

I had an idea of making a 28mm scale version, & using
it for a Napoleonic period skirmish, French against Maltese
resistance with some Royal Navy mucking in.
We recently celebrated our Silver Wedding anniversary.
Still not started it.  :-[

Offline Vanvlak

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Re: What would 'rural' buildings look like on Malta in the 1500s?
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2022, 06:33:44 PM »
If you can wait until later in the week I might be able to help.
Not easy to find, but if farm buildings is what you're after, they haven't really changed until after the 19th century.

Some stuff from c. 1770 by painter Jean Houel:
Not a typical farm! Punic remains of a complex, predating the 16th century of course, and still surviving today.


Again not typical - view of Tas-Silg Punic sanctuary remains, but a nice country scene. Most of the ashlar blocks are no longer there.


Cave dwellings in a cliff face, and at last a farmhouse, 16th century farms would not have been too different. Unfortunately it's a small detail of the painting.

Offline TheBlackCrane

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Re: What would 'rural' buildings look like on Malta in the 1500s?
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2022, 07:13:13 AM »
Thanks all, and yes I can certainly wait for more help!  :D

I've found a few descriptions of buildings, but imagery harder to come by and without points of reference I can't judge accuracy of decriptions.

Once I have enough info/imagery then I'm going to try to pull together some concept sketches, but at the moment I think I'd come up with the horse designed by committee  lol

Offline has.been

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Re: What would 'rural' buildings look like on Malta in the 1500s?
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2022, 08:42:12 AM »
Quote
I think I'd come up with the horse designed by committee  lol
Giraffe.
Sticking your neck out there I feel.  lol lol lol

Offline Vanvlak

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Re: What would 'rural' buildings look like on Malta in the 1500s?
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2022, 09:53:18 AM »
One more to the mix - medieval chapels - a few survive. This one is typical:

(By Continentaleurope - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58636111)

Offline Vanvlak

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Re: What would 'rural' buildings look like on Malta in the 1500s?
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2022, 05:57:56 AM »
I'll agree it's not easy to get accessible images!
I found a couple of open-access (I hope!) papers and articles:

This one suggests ideas for adopting Mediterranean (but he means Maltese) architecture to modern buildings, but there are a couple of useful illustrations:
https://www.um.edu.mt/library/oar/bitstream/123456789/17582/1/Rural%20and%20Urban%20Vernacula.pdf

17th century, so a bit later than what you want, but if you keep it simple and a little smaller you're ok:
https://www.um.edu.mt/library/oar/bitstream/123456789/70615/1/Seventeenth_century_building_engineering_in_the_central_Mediterranean.pdf

This article from a magazine is in Maltese, and only the first (poor quality) pic is really of use - although the front wall in the last pic is probably ok too:
https://www.um.edu.mt/library/oar/bitstream/123456789/75367/1/IR-RAZZETT.pdf

Newspaper article, the building at left is the old one, again 17th cent. but close enough.
https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/environment/townscapes/74073/17th_century_buskett_structure_to_provide_educational_interpretation_centre_without_encroaching_woodlands#.Ym4d8uhBw2w

Another newspaper article on the same - the part of the structure at top right, with more neatly dressed stone, seems modern:
https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/Derelict-farmhouses-will-rise-from-the-ashes.392607

A low production quality video by current standards, with some useful ideas - for 16th century forget the veranda and the nicely finished internal doors and windows.
http://virtualmalta.weebly.com/razzett-video.html
And a pic from the same site:
http://virtualmalta.weebly.com/the-razzett-building.html

Nice pic (except for an intruding head) from a school website:
https://classroomalive.wordpress.com/img_2025/

The sad fate of Maltese farmhouses - being transformed into a villa and losing all their character - the pic in this newspaper article is probably the best so far, it also shows the typical rubble walls, gentle sloping valley sides and tiny fields:
https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/era-council-fight-plans-to-turn-disused-birguma-farm-into-villa.750106

The devil's farmhouse - Ir-Razzett tax-Xitan - a famous farmhouse from the 18th century, ignore the multiple arches for stabling horses, the side of the building, seen facing the camera here, is very similar to older architeture:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ir-Razzett_tax-Xitan.jpeg

Wikipedia article on the same: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil%27s_Farmhouse

'Razzett' (the double 'zz' is pronounces 'tsts') means farmhouse, in most cases smaller than the last example, and could be a useful search term.






Offline Vanvlak

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Re: What would 'rural' buildings look like on Malta in the 1500s?
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2022, 06:04:26 AM »
PS - I forgot about windmills!
These appeared in Malta in the 16th century, and would be post mills, as opposed to the tower mills from the 17th and later centuries.

There's a couple in the image seen here - this would be one of the 'three cities', L-Isla, today. They would have been official affairs, almost certainly to have been found in towns, rater than in open country.

This is from the Matteo Perez d'Aleccio frescoes showing the great siege - By Matteo Perez d'Aleccio - http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/11747, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62923991

Offline TheBlackCrane

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Re: What would 'rural' buildings look like on Malta in the 1500s?
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2022, 05:05:07 PM »
Sorry it's taken me so long to reply to say thanks for this, really useful stuff. Trying to find the time to make some sketches to plan some buildings, this has helped a lot though, cheers!

Online Cubs

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Re: What would 'rural' buildings look like on Malta in the 1500s?
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2022, 06:29:21 PM »
When I visited Gozo (the island next to Malta) they had a windmill there with the grinding stone at the top of the tower - the bags of wheat were hauled up to be ground. The reason for this was the shortage of wood on Gozo (and Malta) with only small trees and shrubs growing there (and not many of those - all sizable amounts of timber has to be imported, which is expensive) and thus there was no central pillar as you'd see in a mainland Europe windmill. I would imagine the same lack of wood would influence how any dwellings for normal folk would be built.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2022, 08:10:13 PM by Cubs »
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Online zrunelord

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Re: What would 'rural' buildings look like on Malta in the 1500s?
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2022, 05:41:43 PM »
If I remember my history lessons correctly , when the knights came to Malta one of the reasons they weren't too happy was the lack of hunting grounds ( especially woods or forests ), what they did comment favourably on was that the Maltese were able seamen & good stonemasons.

As the adage goes , if you have lemons you make lemonade, limestone was abundant so Maltese houses used stone exclusively. Roofs were built of (normally) flat stone slabs ( xriek - plural xorok ) around 6.5' x 1' x 4", some also had walls sloping inward to reduce ceiling width. Arches & columns were used but more for larger buildings like churches & the wealthy. There are quite a number of examples of rural buildings from that time ( though most are converted for modern living, the shell remains the same )

This should give you an idea ( though written in Maltese )
https://www.ilmiklem.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/xulliel.jpg

Z





« Last Edit: May 29, 2022, 01:42:41 PM by zrunelord »
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Offline TheBlackCrane

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Re: What would 'rural' buildings look like on Malta in the 1500s?
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2022, 11:18:15 AM »
Great! Thank you, all helpful stuff! As ever small project idea begins to spiral!  :D

 

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