Hartlepool, Old Walls
Shelfmark: Additional MS 15539
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.
Hartlepool served as an important supply base for the English army in the wars with Scotland during the 14th century. This, and the fact that it formerly belonged to the family of their own Robert the Bruce (de Brus), singled Hartlepool out as a target for particularly frequent attack by the Scots.
In 1315, James Douglas is said to have torched the town while its hapless inhabitants took to the sea for safety and watched from boats as their homes burned to the ground. Shortly afterwards, the town walls were built.
Grimm’s sketch shows the western walls reinforced with earthwork defences in front, perhaps a result of repair and re-fortification made by a Scottish garrison during the Civil War in the 1640s. Sadly, everything in this view was demolished in the 19th century.