Plan of Boulogne


This plan in the Cotton Manuscripts collection shows fortifications in Boulogne and its environs and is thought to date from 1546, when England was at war with France. It may be the work of John Rogers, a master mason employed by Henry VIII as a military engineer. It shows in detail the fortifications on both the French and English territories, which are on opposite sides of the river. Boulogne was important to Henry VIII as it was the neighbour of the English held Calais. Henry arrived in the recently taken Boulogne on September 18th and was immediately concerned with its fortification against the French as he found the defences had been weakened by the English attack and would not withstand a French attack without repair. On his return to England Henry left Lord Lisle in charge of a team which included John Rogers, who had previously been master mason at Guines and was a military engineer of great experience.

Here, English territory is on the left hand side and shows the tower known as the ‘Old Man’ with a segmental bastioned wall defending it. A bastioned wall connects this to the citadelwithin the Basse Ville. The Haute Ville is shown here adjacent to the Basse Ville. It is a walled and fortified area with towers and the castle in the top corner. Directly opposite the English fortifications are the three-sided and five-sided bastioned structures of the Fort D’Outreau and the Fort De Chatillon linked by a trench which form the focal points of the French defence system, consisting of defensive walls and enclosures. On the French side cannons are shown with projections showing their firing capacity.

Full title:
Plan of Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais) and the neighbouring countryside
second quarter of the 16th century
Ink and Tempera / Parchment / Map
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Cotton MS Augustus I ii 53

Full catalogue details

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