Hartlepool, old cottages
Shelfmark: Additional MS 15539
Though Grimm did not give this drawing a title, the view through the passageway gives a glimpse of what looks like the base of the southern tower of the harbour entrance. This suggests it might be one of the old cottages on Southgate that were converted from the ruins of earlier buildings. These were probably once the houses of merchants, dating from the first years of the town’s prosperity in the 13th or early-14th century. The three-arched facade looks like the typical arrangement of the passage end of a medieval hall: two lower openings giving access to the buttery and pantry usually flanked a taller opening leading down the long passage that kept the kitchen - and its fire risk - at a safe distance.
The origins of Hartlepool can be traced back to 647 AD when the Irish monk St Bega founded a monastery here - one of the first sites of Christendom to be established in the North East. In 1201 King John granted the town a Royal Charter, which granted the population certain rights and nominally freed them from servitude.
Due to its coastal position and its proximity to Scotland the town was often subject to military seiges, occupations and naval bombardments.