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The Spanish title of de Piro.

 

Footnote: The title of “Marchese” conferred in 1742 by King Philip V, King of Spain on the Maltese Citizen, the Barone Gio Pio De Piro did not originate in Malta but in Spain. At Maltese Law it is only a foreign title and, as such, it can be considered for the purposes of precedence if registration or Magistral recognition has been achieved. inaccordance with the rules of 1739 and 1795 as enacted by Grand Masters Despuig and Rohan.

In this case, the grant relative to “Marquis De Piro” appears to have been duly registered in the Cancelleria of the Order. It is noteworthy that in the past years this title had to be revived by the Kingdom of Spain. At the time of the Royal Commission, this title was revived in 1870.

VALUE OF REGISTRATION/MAGISTRAL RECOGNITION From the records of the Cancelleria it appeared that the titles so granted were registered in virtue of a rescript from the Grand Master, on an application by the party concerned. The Royal Commissioners of 1878 remarked that they were prone to believe that the Grand Master would not have given his assent to registration without any investigation. From the start, however, the Commissioners pointed out that the Despuig/Rohan Rules on the matter did not deny nobility to a Titolato  who failed to duly register his title, but only assigned him no place insofar as precedence was concerned. See:- “Correspondence and Report of the Commission appointed to enquire into the claims and grievances of the Maltese Nobility”, May 1878, presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty (C.-2033.) (See Report Paras. 101-102). It is also noteworthy that the Commissioners did not consider all the titles which were registered in the Cancelleria: For example the title of Conte granted to Baldassare Fenech Bonnici on the 11 June 1798 by Pope Benedict XIV, which was duly registered under Archives of the Order of Malta (554, f. 176) as well as the Archives of the Inquisition of Malta (102m f. 32) was not considered by the Report. It appears that no descendant of this grantee made any claim to the Commissioners. 

In regard to the title of “Marchese” granted to Gio Pio De Piro, this title could only have been conferred if the grantee was already in possession of a title of Count and Viscount. It appears that the grantor the King - solved this technicality by granting De Piro both these titles and suppressing them immediately.(See:- “Correspondence and Report of the Commission appointed to enquire into the claims and grievances of the Maltese Nobility”, May 1878, presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty (C.-2033.) (See Report Paras. 199-204).

The actual report says the following:

“In the list forwarded by the Committee, the title of Marchese in the Kingdom of Castile, and of Viscount de Cartely, together with another title of Conte, are reported to have been conferred by Philip V, King of Spain, by a patent of the 6th November 1742, on the BaroneGio Pio De Piro.  The following are extracts from the patent of creation (Translation from the Spanish):- ‘Wherefore you having selected the title of Marchese De Piro, and in order that your person and family be further honoured and ennobled, it is my will that you the aforesaid Barone Don Gio Pio De Piro, your heirs and successors, for the time being, in perpetuum  and for ever, may name and style yourself, and be named and styled, as I do hereby create you Marchese De Piro. And whereas under the Ordinance of His Majesty Phlip IV, whom God may receive into heaven, any person who is to be raised to the dignity of Marquis or Count must be previously created Viscount, which title is to be subsequently suppressed: wherefore we by letters patent bearing the same date as these presents, have granted unto you the title of Viscount of Cartely, which in accordance with the said Ordinance must be suppressed and cancelled in my Secretairerie of Grace and Justice of the Kingdom of Castille’.

From the said patent of which the above-quoted is the most important part, it appears that Barone Gio Pio De Piro was actually ennobled by the King of Spain with the title of Marquis in Castille; but that the title of Viscount of Carteley for the reasons more explicitly stated in the patent itself, was suppressed and cancelled. We may add that no evidence has been produced before us showing that the King has ever granted the title of Conte to Gio Pio De Piro, or to any other of the claimants ancestors, and that the aforesaid patent is duly registered in the books of the Cancelleria and of the Court of the Castellania .”

The three titles of Marquis, Count and Viscount are claimed by Saverio De Piro; but no notice should in our opinion be taken of that of Count, which was never conferred by the Kings of Spain, and that of Viscount of Carteley, of which Gio Pio De Piro was divested on his promotion to a superior dignity.

The title of Marquis was recently revived in favour of the said Saverio De Piro, by a letter of the Under Secretary of the Spanish Ministry of Grace and Justice, existing in the Financial Secretary’s Department of the War Office, of which letter the following is a translation: -

Ministry of Grace and Justice

His Excellency the Minister of Grace and Justice makes known to his Excellency the Minister of Finance as follows: As it appears from the record of the proceedings entered in this office at the instance and request of D. Xavier De Piro, who begs that the title of Marquis De Pirolately possessed by his predecesors should be revived in his favour; the Regent of the Kingdom, having seen the Royal Decree of the 4th December 1864, and in conformity with the resolution of the section of Grace and Justice of the Conseil d’Etat, has thought it advisable to order that the above-named dignity of Marquis De Piro should be revived in favour of the said D. Xavier De Piro, without prejudice to the rights which third parties may have acquired by a more favourable decree: provided, however, the said De Piro should pay the special duty and the other charges imposed on the said title, and which must be liquidated in favour of the Treasury, as stated in the decree of the 12th February 1826, in which it was declared that the payment of that duty had been suspended. By His Highness’s orders I forward these presents to you for your information and for all intents and purposes. May God preserve you for many years. The Under Secretary  - Madrid, September 28, 1870 (signed) URAN C.Z. MONSAN

The foregoing letter was accompanied with a communication from the War Office, dated the 20th October 1870, to the following effect:- “I am directed by Mr. Secretary Cardwell to enclose herewith a letter which has been received for you, through the Foreign Office, from the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, informing you of the revival of the Marquisate De Piro; I am at the same time to add that the necessary alteration has been made in the Army List.”

Under these circumstances it is unnecessary for us to consider in what manner the present title descended from the grantee to the other ancestors of the “Marchese De Piro”, especially because no one has appeared to dispute his claim. 

In view of the above, the position in Malta is that one can only use the title of “Marchese/Marques De Piro” if he/she has first obtained permission from the Kingdom of Spain. It appears that this title was last revived in the Kingdom of Spain in favour of Marquis Anthony Buttigieg de Piro, on the 16 November 1987.