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A pece of a wall of Barwyke

A pece of a wall of Barwyke

Cartographer: Von Haschenperg, Stephen

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1541

Shelfmark: Cotton Augustus I.ii.f.16

Length: 320

Width: 715

Scale: Millimetres

Genre: Manuscript Map

This is a plan showing a section of wall at Berwick upon Tweed. The wall is heavily fortified with buttresses and a square tower. The plan is annotated with notes of measurements in feet. In the foreground are rows of large round baskets known as ‘maunds’. These were filled with earth and were used to protect gun crews in the field. The plan is signed by the military engineer Stephen von Haschenperg who in early January 1541 went to Berwick with the Duke of Norfolk. Norfolk had assessed the towns defences in 1539 and found them to be ‘so weke’ and reported that ‘withoute I had seen it with myne eyen, I wold not have beleved it had been so ill’.
Berwick was taken by the English from the Scots in 1482 and as such it was a new conquest. Anxiety was felt about the security of the town and a regular garrison was maintained there, along with armies to defend against Scottish invasion. It is likely that this plan was drawn during the building programme of 1539-42 which was initiated after Francis I of France and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain signed a peace treaty in 1538, making an invasion of England by their combined forces probable. England and France were ancient enemies and the catholic Charles V, nephew of Catherine of Aragon, was angered by Henry VIII’s decision to divorce her. Henry’s dissolution of the monasteries provided him with enormous wealth with which he was able to commission surveys of the vulnerable coastline and build defence fortifications.

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