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Sovereign Military Order of Malta - Flag of Grandmaster Alof de Wignacourt

Grandmaster Alof de Wignacourt (1601-1622)

Last modified: 2013-06-29 by rob raeside
Keywords: sovereign and military order of malta | alof de wignacourt | wignacourt | grandmaster |
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image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 21 October 2008

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Description of flag

Flag of Grandmaster Alof de Wignacourt (1601-1622)
It is a quarterly divided rectangular flag. The 1st and 4th quarter are showing the white Greek cross in a red field of the Order of St. John. The 2nd and 3rd quarter are showing the personal arms of the grandmaster. In a silver (= white) field are three red fleur de lys in a triangular formation one above two. Above the fleur de lys is a blue label.
Note! This pattern is probably reported erroneously, for many images of the Wignacourt coat of arms show the fleur de lys in a two above one formation, for Alof and for Adrienne as well.
Source: I spotted an image of this flag in Malta National Maritime Museum on 2 October 2008.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 21 October 2008

The flag of Santa Venera shows three red fleurs-de-lys on a white central stripe, the same field and the main charges on the arms of Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt (reigned 1601-1622), "Argent three fleurs-de-lis Gules a label Azure":

According to that webpage:
"Grand Master de Wignacourt (1601-22) was respected and loved by the people. He was a man of princely tastes and his suit of armour is one of the most expensive in existence. During his rule, the Bibliotheca (National Library) was firmly established, but his name will always be connected with the aqueduct he built to bring water to Valletta whose population had increased considerably by this time. He died of apoplexy while he was out shooting."

According to this webpage:
"A more pleasant story [about Santa Venera] is told of the aqueduct that was constructed between 1610 and 1615, during Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt's rule (1601-22). The new capital of Valletta was then taking shape, but it was thirsty. (...) The idea to pipe water from the springs of the northwest, where it was plentiful, to Valletta, where it was needed, had been proposed many times. But Santa Venera's elevation had presented a major problem. Based on the technology available at the time, the only feasible solution was the construction of a series of arches so that a gradual slope could be maintained. "As grand master, Wignacourt was expected to pay a "gioja" (gift). Whereas his predecessors had donated buildings and riches, he paid for the 9-mile aqueduct. A generous portion of the colonnade still clings to a tower that was constructed to monitor the flow of the water. (...)"

According to the Maltese Ministry of Resources and Infrastructure's website:
"The Aqueduct of Wignacourt is considered to be one of the most important edifices in the history of engineering. It was way back in 1596 that the first studies were commissioned so as to find a solution for the acute water shortage in Valletta. It was consequently decided that the water would be gathered at Rabat and its surroundings and then taken towards Valletta. The actual works started in 1610 and, after numerous problems regarding both the actual design and finance, was finished in 1615. The Grand Master at the time was Adolf de Wignacourt, who paid for the construction out of his own pocket."

A photograph of Wignacourt's Aqueduct can be seen at that same website:

Actually the fleurs-de-lis on the Wignacourt arms are "couped" or "au pied nourri" i.e., lacking the bottom half, as can be seen in the third and fourth photographs in this webpage: Apparently the fleurs-de-lis on the Santa Venera flag (and arms) are regular ones, at least that is how they look on the official document: So perhaps the Wignacourt connection is not true after all.
Santiago Dotor, 16 March 2006