St. Martin's Chapel - Baħrija

The chapel of St. Martin dates back to the 16th century and was built by nobleman Cumbo Navarra. It was deconsecrated by Bishop Cagliaris in 1615 but the chapel was re-consecrated again later. The beneficiary of the chapel was founded in 1643 by Rev. D. Giacomo Muscat. The chapel was one of those rural chapels whereby its ecclesiastic immunity was removed in June 1762.The Chapel is rectangular in shape with barrel vault consisting of arches with stone slabs (xriek) spanning between the arches. The floor is in patterned cement tiles.

In 1906, a number of rooms were added on the left hand side of the chapel in order to provide accommodation for the priest who would come down from Rabat to attend to the needs of the families that lived in the area of Bahrija. This accommodation consists of a long room directly accessible from the chapel, as well as a small corridor leading to a lavatory and also to the parvis. The chapel has been scheduled as a Grade 1 Listed Building by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority in 1998 and the area is deemed to be an Area of Archaeological Importance.

The exterior of the chapel was in a relatively good state of conservation with a few open joints. While most of the joints are in a good state, there are some metal inserts that have resulted in the cracking of the stone blocks. At low level the facade of the chapel and the adjoining rooms had been plastered and painted. From closer inspection it seemed that at least some of these areas have been rendered with a cement/sand mix, prior to being painted. The main concern with the state of conservation of this chapel was the reported water ingress due to rainwater surface runoff from the adjacent countryside. Addressing the partly demolished room at the back of the chapel was also a priority due to possible further collapse and also due to the possibility of more water infiltration into the chapel through the walls of this room. The bell cot also needed attention and the rusting beams and the flaking of the masonry were also attended to. There were also other necessary works undertaken such as the repair of the roof, the removal of any metal inserts and the re-pointing of open joints.  ​