Charting the Development of Portsmouth Harbour, Dockyard and Town in the Tudor Period

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download


  • ORI GIN AL PA PER Charting the Development of Portsmouth Harbour, Dockyard and Town in the Tudor Period Dominic Fontana Published online: 23 October 2013 � Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013 Abstract Portsmouth was crucial to the defence of Tudor England and consequently it was mapped for military planning purposes throughout the Tudor period from 1545. The resulting sequence of maps records much of the town and harbour. The maps offer opportunities for furthering our understanding of Tudor Portsmouth and its population Additionally, images of the urban landscape provided by the ‘‘Cowdray Engraving’’, which depicts the loss of Henry VIII’s warship Mary Rose on the 19th July 1545, may also be considered and compared with those presented in the early maps of the town. This paper considers the Portsmouth maps of 1545, 1552, 1584 and the chart of Portsmouth Harbour dating from between 1586 and 1620. These are examined in relation to one another and compared with evidence from the Cowdray Engraving. Keywords Portsmouth � Cowdray engraving � Mary Rose � Tudor map Introduction In 1509, when Henry VIII came to the throne, English maps were relatively rare objects, used primarily as a means of displaying encyclopaedic and historical information rather than for practical purposes. However, during Henry’s reign it was realised that they could prove extremely useful for both military and urban planning purposes as well as charting extant buildings and fortifications as a guide in planning further urban and military expansion. Portsmouth was most important to the security of England as it offered a good natural harbour along the south coast. Conversely, it was also the ideal invasion point for an enemy fleet, providing sheltered anchorage for many substantial ships, and deepwater quaysides D. Fontana (&) Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth, Buckingham Building, Lion Terrace, Portsmouth PO1 3HE, UK e-mail: 123 J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 DOI 10.1007/s11457-013-9114-4
  • upon which to disembark speedily the very large quantities of soldiers, provisions and equipment required for an invasion. In 1538, when Henry VIII and England faced great threat of invasion from the French and Spanish, immediate steps were taken to fortify the whole of the south coast and in particular the vulnerable coastline around the Solent. Surveys were undertaken, maps were made, plans developed and the building of fortifi- cations undertaken, all along the coast (Harrington 2007: 6). Indeed, the coastal survey which resulted in the magnificent map detailing the coast from Exeter to Land’s End (B.L. C.A. 1.i. 35, 36, 38, 39) made in 1539–40, was ‘‘the largest single British governmental mapping initiative before the 19th century’’ (Barber 2009: 216). Similarly, there are also the maps showing the coast from Poole to Portland and Lyme Regis (B.L. C.A. 1.i. 31, 33). Although an enormous investment in manpower and money, it has left us with a legacy of Tudor fortifications, and some of the maps and plans that were used for their planning and construction. Portsmouth itself was mapped both for Henry and his heirs. During the reigns of Edward VI and Elizabeth I, threats from abroad continued and consequently further maps were made and plans drawn up for the repair and re-fortification of the town’s defences. This paper considers the Portsmouth maps of 1545, 1552, 1584 (1545, British Library, Cotton Augustus I.i.81; 1552, British Library, Cotton Augustus I.ii.15 and 1584, British Library, Cotton Augustus I.ii.117) and the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) chart of Portsmouth Harbour dating from between 1586 and 1620 (UKHO chart D623). These are examined in relation to one another and compared with the ‘‘Cowdray Engraving’’, an engraved copy of a Tudor wall painting of the battle scene off Portsmouth on the 19th of July 1545, during the invasion attempt by Franc¸ois I of France. This action is mostly remembered for the loss of Mary Rose. Although a significant event in itself, this was only a part of the overall military and naval conflict, which occurred on the Isle of Wight, in the Solent and the English Channel. The Cowdray image has proven to be topographically accurate and contains a great deal of pictorial information about both Portsmouth and its defences (Fontana and Hildred 2011). Viewed together, the maps and the engraving pro- vide a rich source of information for the study of the defence and urban development of Tudor Portsmouth and provide an unparalleled view on aspects of Tudor life at all levels of study. It is not possible here to illustrate adequately much of the map based material discussed in this paper as there is too much to reproduce in print and it would be difficult to provide sufficient detail within printed images. However, with the exception of the 1584 map of Portsmouth, the maps from the British Library collection are available online where they are presented in colour and can be zoomed into by the user so that the detail of the maps can be explored. Consequently, the available space in this paper has been used for illus- trations from the Cowdray Engraving and the UK Hydrographic Office chart D623. The Cowdray engraving (Size: 222 3 69 in.) The Cowdray Engraving is an important historic image depicting the French attempt to invade England in July 1545 and shows the loss of King Henry VIII’s warship, Mary Rose (Fig. 1). The full title of the engraving is ‘‘The Encampment of the English forces near Portsmouth, Together with a view of the English and French fleets at commencement of the action between them on the XIXth July MDXLV’’. The engraving was published in 1778, although the original painting from which it was derived was created shortly after the events shown, probably by May 1548 (Nurse 2012). The copy consulted for this paper is in 264 J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 123
  • a private collection and by kind permission of the owner the author is in possession of a high-resolution digital scan of the image, which enables the easy viewing of the picture at close quarters. The image presents a bird’s-eye panoramic view looking from north to south across the southern part of Portsea Island towards the Solent and to the Isle of Wight beyond. On the left-hand side of the image is the French invasion fleet shown as a mass of ships in St Helen’s Roads, off Bembridge Harbour, around the eastern end of the Isle of Wight. In the central upper right-hand area of the image are the ships of the English fleet, which are occupying the anchorage of Spithead and are set ready to oppose the French invasion. The town of Portsmouth is shown in the lower right-hand side and Southsea Castle is the large building in the centre of the image. Just above Southsea Castle are the mast-tops of the recently sunken Mary Rose, surrounded by a number of small boats attempting to rescue some of her crew. This picture is just one image derived from a set of five large wall paintings which once decorated the dining hall at Cowdray house in Midhurst, Sussex. They were probably painted for Sir Anthony Browne, Master of the King’s Horse, between 1545 and 1548. The identity of the artist is unknown. Browne inherited Cowdray from his half-brother in 1543 and it remained one of his principal residences until his death in 1548. Sir Anthony is shown prominently in the centre of the Portsmouth image riding a white horse following immediately behind King Henry VIII, who is also mounted. Next to Browne is Sir Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, commanding the English land forces at Portsmouth (Ayloffe 1775). The image, as we have it today, is in the form of a printed reproduction from hand- engraved copper printing plates. These were commissioned by the Society of Antiquaries of London in the 1770 s. Although it has been reduced to about one-third of the size of the original wall painting, the reproduction is still very large at over 2 m wide and, as a result it had to be engraved onto two separate copperplates which were, in turn, printed onto two sheets of extra large paper called ‘‘Antiquarian’’ (Nurse 2007: 144). The reproduction of such a large and detailed image required the creation of special paper by James Whatman who specifically invented equipment to manufacture sheets of the required size (Nurse 2007: 155). The engravings themselves were made by James Basire of Great Queen Street, London. Basire specialised in antiquarian subjects and used a painstaking, carefully drawn and, even for the time, ‘‘rather old fashioned’’ style of engraving (Ackroyd 1995: 35). Although there is no direct documentary evidence, William Blake, painter and poet, is Fig. 1 The whole of the Cowdray Engraving showing the battle in the Solent off Portsmouth on 19th July 1545. The ships on the left are the French fleet with the English ships in the centre and to the right of the picture. The land in the top of the image is the Isle of Wight and the southern shore of Portsmouth is at the bottom. The sea in the middle is Spithead and the Solent (private collection, used by permission) J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 265 123
  • likely to have been involved in the engraving of the image. He was apprenticed as an engraver to Basire in 1772, living in Basire’s household until 1778, the year in which the engraving was completed and published. The engraving of the image was a major com- mission and took 2 years to complete, causing some difficulties for the Society of Anti- quaries because of the expense involved (Nurse 2007:156). However, it is fortuitous that the Antiquaries continued with the reproduction of the pictures because on the 24th September, 1793, Cowdray House was largely destroyed by fire (Hope 1919) and the original wall paintings were lost. The Antiquaries distributed black-and-white copies of the engraving to members of the Society and a number of these copies still survive. The copy used for this project has been coloured by hand, probably using watercolour paints, and it is likely that this colouring was done shortly after the initial distribution of the prints to the members of the Society in the late 1770 s. It is not known if the colours used were chosen with reference to the original wall painting, but this seems unlikely. There is one other coloured copy of the engraving still known to exist, also in private hands. The colours used in the second known version of the engraving are significantly different to the copy used here and are somewhat brighter. A written description of the original painting was made by Sir Joseph Ayloffe (Ayloffe 1775). Ayloffe considered the painting to be an accurate representation of the scene and was fulsome in his praise. ‘‘…is evidently handled with the greatest attention to truth; all is regular, circumstantial, and intelligible, nothing misrepresented, disguised, or confused.’’ He also made a few notes about the colours that had been used in the original painting. Therefore, the image content remains available to us in the form of the engraving although the colouring of the copy used for this study must be treated with some care as it is unlikely to have been derived from the original wall painting. Within the illustration, there is considerable amount of identifiable topographical detail evident. Several English ships are shown passing through Portsmouth Harbour’s narrow entrance on their way to join the rest of the English fleet at Spithead. Some of the English ships are using the Swashway, a shallow channel which cuts southward across Spitbank adjacent to the harbour entrance, providing a slightly shorter route to Spithead. This underwater landscape feature is very clearly depicted in the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office chart D623. Consequently, we can be reasonably certain of the late Tudor seabed topography and from the map discern that it was very similar to the modern configuration. The shape of Spitbank has a significant effect on the tidal currents which, in turn, directly affect the navigational access to Portsmouth Harbour. Today, the Isle of Wight ferries, with their relatively shallow draught, use this route across the Solent at almost all states of the tide as they ply between the island and Portsmouth. These vessels are equipped with modern engines and steering systems, so they are more able to cope with the powerful tidal currents running through the harbour entrance caused by the ebb and flow of the tidal cycle. Sailing vessels without motor power are severely constrained by these currents and must adhere to tightly defined tidal time windows to enter or leave Portsmouth Harbour. This natural phenomenon is crucial in the planning and development of effective harbour defences. The location of the underwater sandbanks and navigable channel ensured all vessels entering the harbour would need to sail close to the southern shore of Portsea Island, from Southsea Castle to the Round Tower and consequently, the defence of the harbour required that enough guns of sufficient range and destructive capability were positioned in batteries along the shore and on either side of the harbour’s entrance and this is exactly the situation depicted in the Cowdray Engraving with guns mounted at Southsea Castle and along Portsmouth’s defensive walls from the Greene Bulwark at the southeast corner of the town to the Round Tower by the harbour entrance. 266 J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 123
  • The Cowdray image also shows many identifiable features of the built environment of Portsmouth, Gosport and the Isle of Wight. On the Portsmouth side of the harbour entrance is the Round Tower, a circular stone structure dating from the 1530–40 s which probably replaced an earlier tower on the same site. On the Gosport shore opposite the Round Tower is Fort Blockhouse. Adjacent to the Round Tower is the capstan for raising a defensive boom chain, which could be drawn across the harbour entrance suspended beneath a series of small boats roped together. This would close the harbour to shipping, or at the very least significantly hinder entry for enemy vessels delaying them in a location close to the defending guns mounted in the Round Tower and at Fort Blockhouse. The chain is also shown on the 1584 map of Portsmouth fortifications and referred to in John Leland’s Itinerary (written c. 1535–43). Williams (1979: 11) suggests that the chain was not available for the 1545 battle, which could explain why the capstan is shown in the Cowdray Engraving, but the chain itself is not and that the figure standing next to the capstan is making an almost forlorn gesture towards it. Also identifiable are the Square Tower, originating as a wood and earth structure around c. 1495 and rebuilt of stone during Henry VIII’s reign. Other structures clearly shown in the picture include in the southeast corner of Portsmouth the Saluting Platform, Long Curtain and what was then known as the Greene Bulwark and this still extant structure is now called the King’s Bastion. Further east along the Southsea shoreline the smaller defences of what were later to become Lumps Fort and Eastney Fort are also clearly shown. The half-timbered building in the lower left-hand side of the picture is Eastney Farm which was the only substantial building in that part of Portsea Island at the time and survived until the 1920 s. Eastney Farm (marked as ‘‘Easto Ferm’’) is one of just five places shown on Portsea Island in John Norden’s 1595 County map of Hampshire. Within Portsmouth’s town walls there is also considerable detail shown which can be compared with the 1584 map (Fig. 2). The four brewhouses are labelled on the 1584 map with their names; The dragon, The Lyon, The White Hart and The Rose, and are clearly shown as being located around a pond, probably a freshwater spring providing the sig- nificant quantities of water essential for brewing. The four brewhouses were established in 1515 by Henry VIII to provide beer for his ships. They produced considerable quantities, making 500 barrels per day in 1515 (Eley 1988). Provisioning of Henry’s fleet and shore forts was an enormous task requiring significant organisation and by 1547 naval victualling was regularly accounted to the Exchequer (Knighton and Loades 2014). The engraving shows the brewhouses as timber framed buildings located almost as though they were mounted on stilts above a pond which extends underneath and around the buildings. Evidence for the brewhouses is also provided in the maps of 1545 and 1552. In the 1545 map they are shown as four rectangular buildings with a small square extension added to one side of each building, with the four brewhouses being grouped around a square pond. In the 1552 map the buildings are presented in bird’s-eye view as a group of low buildings with pitched roofs set around an irregularly shaped pond. On the right-hand side of the image, Portsmouth’s defences adjacent to the narrow entrance to Portsmouth Harbour are depicted. The engraving shows a wall with a gate separating the Round Tower with its associated buildings and palisade from the main part of the town. Adjacent to this gate and wall are two buildings, one of which is shown as being constructed on stilts extending over the water of the Camber. This is probably the Swane bakery, which is named on the 1584 map. Shown alongside the brewhouses in the engraving are the buildings of the mediaeval hospice, Domus Dei, surrounded by the precinct wall, separating it from the town. The western side of the wall is breached by a gateway located in what is now Penny Street, and J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 267 123
  • provides the entrance to the site. The north facing precinct wall is pierced by four windows and the Great Hall is shown as having two windows with stone tracery and a large chimney placed in between them. Archaeological excavation undertaken in May 2009 for the Channel Four television Time Team programme (Series 17, Episode Nine) has provided archaeological confirmation of the location of the eastern precinct wall of the Domus Dei (Wessex Archaeology 2010, Trench 2, Paragraph 4.3.12: 12) and this concurs with the site as shown in the 1545, 1552 and 1584 maps. In the extreme lower right of the picture can be seen Town Quay in the Camber Dock (Fig. 3) with what appear to be stone quaysides on either side, forming a small rectangular inlet. This shape is also recorded in the 1545 map and is echoed in the bird’s-eye view depiction on the 1552 map, although the lengths of the projections appear unequal, con- trasting with their presentation in the 1545 map. To the left of Town Quay there is a small vessel either loading or unloading barrels, alongside a small crane or derrick. In front of this scene there are a line of four gabions (wicker baskets containing earth or sand, used to provide temporary fortifications) and behind these are four guns facing outwards towards the Camber. These appear to be mounted on part of the town wall embankment, which is topped with a crenellated wall. This is truncated on either side, forming a gap between the sections of the wall. On the 1545 map this position is filled with a circular bastion placed on top of an earth mound which projects northwards from the walls. The depiction in the Cowdray Engraving suggests that this bastion had not been completed at the time of the battle in July 1545, although, implied by the gap in the wall, space had been reserved for its future construction. The 1552 map shows a pentagonal shaped bastion projecting out from the wall in place of the circular bastion depicted in the 1545 map. The 1584 map shows a semicircular bastion, which is open on the side facing into the town with its parapet walls joining the general run of the parapet around the town. From this sequence of map and pictorial evidence, it seems likely that the 1584 map depiction most closely reflects the bastion that was eventually constructed. As it is shown in the Cowdray Engraving the line of the crenellated wall westward of the gap merges into some trees, which suggests that the wall itself did not completely encircle the town at this time. On the 1545 map an almost square bastion is drawn as Fig. 2 Detail from the Cowdray Engraving showing the four brewhouses located above a pond in the left of this picture and the buildings of the mediaeval hospice Domus Dei surrounded by its precinct wall. The arched entrance from Penny Street into the enclosed Domus Dei site can be seen in the right hand of the image (private collection, used by permission) 268 J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 123
  • forming the northwestern most part of the defences of the town. As shown in the 1545 map, it appears to be equipped with a doorway adjacent to the parapet of the Town Walls giving entry to an L- shaped space from which a staircase transits to a second, possibly higher level. The 1552 map displays a largely similar square bastion structure although no internal walls or staircases have been defined. The entrance doorway is in a similar position to that shown in the 1545 map. The 1584 map also shows a square bastion which has been labelled ye square bastion. Internally, there is an L-shaped structure shown but it is not in the same position as depicted in the 1545 map. The entrance to the interior of the bastion is via a narrow passage between the right-angled corner of the town wall parapet and the inner corner of the bastion itself. The sequence suggests that this bastion was planned, but not built by the time of the 1545 battle. In the engraving, just above the crenellated Town Wall parapet, a long storehouse can be seen. In the 1545 map the long storehouse is clearly shown with an entrance doorway close to Town Quay and another one halfway along its eastern side, which is depicted on the map as being closed. Interestingly, the Cowdray Engraving shows the doorway on the eastern end of the building facing away from the Town Quay and the 1545 map shows this as just a blank end wall without doorway. This location is marked in the 1584 map as an area which has been ‘‘burned’’. The storehouses were destroyed by fire on 4th August 1576 (Calendar of State Papers Domestic 1547–1580: 526). Hodson (1978: 33) cites this as evidence for the earliest possible date of the 1584 map. One of the central subjects of the Cowdray picture is the sinking of Mary Rose. Although this specific incident happened at Spithead and does not occur directly within part of Portsmouth town or the harbour, it is nonetheless an extremely useful element of the data contained within the picture. Because Mary Rose was excavated from the seabed of the Solent the exact location of her sinking is known and this fixed spot assists with the understanding of the geography of the battlefield as presented within the image. In turn, this helps to develop a fuller understanding of all of the other information presented within the picture. The appearance of the sunken Mary Rose presents what is an accurate depiction of the ship resting on the seabed with only the highest parts of two of the ship’s masts protruding Fig. 3 Detail from the extreme lower right corner of the Cowdray Engraving showing Town Quay as a rectangular shaped inlet. Notice that crossing the lower part of the image is the crenulated parapet of the town wall exhibiting a gap in wall itself, close to the four guns and gabions. To the right of this detail the long storehouse showing a doorway facing to the east unlike the 1545 map which shows the doorway facing west (private collection, used by permission) J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 269 123
  • above the surface of the sea, complete with their fighting tops. The foremast mainsail can be seen floating on the surface of the water surrounded by a number of drowned sailors. The image shows one man clinging to the underside of the fighting top of the main mast with two men on the foremast, one clinging to the mast itself and the other standing on the fighting top, waving animatedly. The depiction of the masts would suggest that Mary Rose had been proceeding in a northerly direction at the time that she sank, which accords with her excavated archaeological position, and that she was rigged with the mainsail on the foremast. Within the image there is no suggestion of the mainsail on the main mast, which may imply that this was reefed at the time of the sinking. Consequently, it is probable that Mary Rose had a similar sail configuration set for her final passage to a number of the other English vessels depicted in the engraving. which are shown with bowsprit sails and lateen sails set. The action between the vanguard of the English ships and the French is clearly shown in the centre of the image where an advance party of four French galleys is seen exchanging fire with the largest of the English ships, Henri Grace a¯ Dieu. Towards the front of the French main fleet is a galley flying a flag bearing the crossed keys of St Peter and just behind it there is another galley which appears to be partially submerged. This may well be the vessel referred to in the letter by John, Lord Russell to Sir William Pagett. Written on the 23rd July he states ‘‘…at the writing of your letters, 17 of the [French] galleys came in the order of battle to the fight, of the which one was sunk’’ (Knighton and Loades 2002). To the left of the sunken galley a large ship may be seen with its masts sloping markedly towards the left. It is possible that this represents the second French flagship mentioned in Martin Du Bellay’s account of the battle written after 1546 (Martin Du Bellay, 1495/8–1559). He was a French nobleman who accompanied the French invasion fleet in July 1545 (Stone 1907). He recounts that this vessel is said to have run aground shortly after leaving harbour in France and as a result was reported to have damaged its keel which could have caused displacement of its masts. On the Isle of Wight, French troops are depicted as making landings on the southern side of Bembridge Harbour and in Sandown Bay and the village of Bembridge itself is shown as being on fire (Fig. 4). The illustration of these incidents concur with the written account provided by Martin Du Bellay (Stone 1907) within which he suggested that it was the French tactic of ‘‘wasting and burning his [Henry VIII’s] country in his sight’’ such that Henry would be forced to send rashly his fleet from the safety of Spithead to attack the French fleet, thereby bringing on a more general open engagement much to the advantage of the French. In another interesting little vignette within the picture, the bridge at Yarbridge on the Isle of Wight, connecting Bembridge with the main part of the Isle of Wight across a muddy intertidal area, is shown as being defended by the English with two cannons. Part of the bridge structure has been demolished as a defensive measure to keep the French constrained to the isolated eastern end of the Island. This incident is also recounted in Du Bellay’s account (Stone 1907): ‘‘…put the enemy to flight, and forced them to retreat inland to a stream which they crossed by a bridge, cutting it behind them for fear of our pursuit, and there made a stand awaiting reinforcement.’’ Considered on its own therefore, the Cowdray Engraving is an image containing a considerable amount of data. Much of this can be compared, contrasted and in many cases confirmed, with archaeological, documentary and the map-based spatial information. It is however, most important that such an image is considered en toto and in conjunction with these other sources of data, rather than just selecting occasional details or vignettes. Such an inclusive, cross-disciplinary approach will provide a more comprehensive 270 J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 123
  • understanding of the way in which the picture conveys and presents its stories. The image can be examined on a number of levels and for a variety of subjects including topo- graphical, architectural, social, military and logistical aspects of Tudor life and conse- quently the engraving deserves further detailed analysis by an interdisciplinary team. Plan of Portsmouth 1545: British Library, Cotton Augustus I.i.81 (Size: 22.8 3 30.7 in.; Scale: 1:1200) The first of the Portsmouth maps dates from 1545 and was produced for Henry VIII. It is the earliest known scale plan of any town in England and is noteworthy for its accuracy and detail. It was made to show proposals for improvements to the defences of Portsmouth, probably after the French invasion attempt of July 1545. There is a note written on the right-hand side of the map which reads ‘‘This plat is in every inch C foote’’, meaning that the map has been made at an intended scale of 1 inch to 100 feet. The map was very carefully drawn and the circular lines defining the bastions of the town’s wall have been made using a compass. Indeed, the holes in the paper made by the compass points are still clearly evident. The map presents a modern style of plan with each building being described by the position of its walls rather than a ‘‘bird’s-eye’’ pictorial image, as often encountered with maps of the period. Interestingly, the map even shows the positions of the doorways opening onto the street as well as the interior ones; however, the rear doorways to the houses are not recorded. The doorposts for each doorway are marked as small circles on the ends of the lines, representing the doorframes and walls, leaving a gap to denote the doorway itself. This is a tremendous level of detail and it must have taken the surveyors a considerable time to gather the information. Fig. 4 Detail from the Cowdray Engraving. French troops, having landed on the eastern end of the Isle of Wight have set fire to the village of Bembridge and, according to Martin Du Bellay (Stone 1907), with the intention of enraging the English such that they would rashly send their fleet out of the safety of Solent to attack the French ships anchored at St Helen’s Road. English troops have built a fortification, equipped with two guns, at the western end of Yarbridge and have breached the final arches of the bridge itself in an attempt to deny a dry crossing point to the French whereby they could advance their attack into the heart of the Isle of Wight (private collection, used by permission) J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 271 123
  • When compared with the 1552 map, the 1545 map may be considered to appear rather plain and technical in its presentation of the built environment of the town. The 1552 map contains pictorial drawings of the buildings. There is a considerable coincidence of information presented by the two maps and this adds confidence in the accuracy of their depiction of the town. As with any historic map, the data as presented need to be inter- preted and understood by the map user in the light of their own research questions rather than simply being accepted purely at face value. The combined use of several data sources enhances this understanding. In the case of Tudor Portsmouth, the availability of several maps as well as the Cowdray image and some archaeologically derived data further enhances this process (Fig. 5). The 1545 map depicts the four brewhouses shown in the Cowdray Engraving. There are also other features clearly evident in the 1545 map; the church of St Thomas, the former mediaeval hospice Domus Dei in the southeastern quadrant of the town, and its precinct wall, and the town’s two bakeries, the Swane near the Camber, and the Anker to the north of St Thomas’s Church. Again, considerable care has been taken by the surveyors to gather detailed information, and plan representations of the bread ovens have been drawn into these bakeries the Swane has two ovens and the Anker four (Fig. 6). The names of the bakeries are recorded in the 1584 map. Interestingly, although the hospice of the Domus Dei had been closed as an ecclesiastical site by 1540 and was being used as an armoury in 1545, the survey recorded two further bread ovens within one of its smaller buildings, giving the town of Portsmouth a total of eight potentially available bread ovens. Unfor- tunately, during the Time Team excavations of May 2009, it was not possible to excavate that specific location. A trench (Trench 2, Wessex Archaeology 2010:12) opened just to the south of this location revealed a flagged floor, parts of which may have been used in the original mediaeval hall although much repair and reuse had clearly taken place during the conversion of the Domus Dei into the Governor’s House in the 1580s. Another interesting detail in the 1545 map is the inclusion of a small rectangular building located on the Camber quayside in Oyster Street. This depicts two forges, com- plete with their bellows to provide an additional supply of oxygen to the fires and the two anvils. The hearths are set at either end of the building alongside doorways with the bellows arranged between the two fires facing outwards from the centre of the building. The anvils are located right by the doorways, presumably to allow the smith to work in better daylight and cooler air. Clearly the smithy was considered an important facility and, as such, has been duly recorded in the 1545 map. Intriguingly it does not appear at all in the 1552 map or the 1584 map. This seems an important omission and raises the question of whether this might have been a temporary smithy or simply a proposal for one in the 1545 map. A quayside location would have been convenient as the wood or charcoal for the forge could easily be supplied from the Forest of Bere to the north and transported by boat from either Fareham or Portchester. The town must have had a smithy throughout its history as any town or village would certainly need the services of a blacksmith. The map also shows the important defensive structures of the town including the Round Tower at the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour, the Square Tower and its adjacent gun platform and the town walls themselves, which include a number of bastions. There is also a transverse rampart and ditch which cuts off the northeast section of the walled area separating it from the rest of the town. This is very clearly shown in the Cowdray Engraving as a raised area of ground contained within a small crenellated wall running the length of the diagonal which directly meets with the Town Wall. This structure is also recorded in the 1552 map of Portsmouth as a wall and bank, however it differs from the Cowdray and the 1545 map’s depiction as it terminates in a small Square Tower (which 272 J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 123
  • was not built) at the southeastern end close to the four brewhouses. The addition of an angle-bastion of contemporary Italian type to the southeast rampart is indicated in pencil on the 1545 map. Therefore, this map shows the extant defences and urban development, as well as proposals for major defensive modifications which were never constructed. This mixture of existing and proposed information presented within the single map sheet can Fig. 5 Detail from the Cowdray Engraving showing the defences from the Greene Bulwark in the southeastern corner (left), where there are four guns mounted, along the walls facing towards the navigable channel into Portsmouth Harbour, with one gun shown, followed by the Saluting Platform (beneath the large flag), which mounts seven guns, adjacent to the Square Tower at the right-hand end of this detail (private collection, used by permission) Fig. 6 The Round Tower is shown in the Cowdray Engraving as being separated from the town by a palisade along the centre of the peninsula at the south side of the Camber. At the eastern end of this palisade there appears to be a gate giving access from the town to the area outside the palisade and closed gate nearby giving access to the inside of the palisade area and the Round Tower itself. These gates are located close to the site of what later became King James’s gate (1687). The timber-framed building built on piles over the water in the Camber dock is probably the Swane bakery (private collection, used by permission) J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 273 123
  • cause some difficulty for a researcher interpreting the information as presented. However, despite this difficulty, these proposals are important as they provide evidence of the earliest design for fortifying an English town using an Italian style fully flanked bastion system (British Library 2012). Plan of Portsmouth 1552: British Library Cotton Augustus I.ii.15 (Size: 21.5 3 29.5 in.; Scale: 1:2400) This map shows both the old town of Portsmouth itself and the settlement of Gosport on the western side of Portsmouth Harbour. Clearly shown is the narrow harbour entrance, complete with the defensive structures of the Square Tower and the Round Tower on the Portsmouth side and Fort Blockhouse on the Gosport side. A second, larger fort is shown on the Gosport peninsula. This consists of a circular keep within a circular perimeter wall, and represents Lymden’s Bulwark. The map has been partly drawn in plan view and partly in bird’s-eye view. Features such as the streets, town walls, bastions and land parcels are shown as outlines in their plan position. The bird’s-eye approach provides sketches of buildings and some major fortifications. This provides much illustrative detail of the buildings and fortifications within Portsmouth town, but not very much is shown on the Gosport side. There are no text annotations to the map, which is unusual. This may suggest that the map was intended to provide illustrative support for discussions between people who knew Portsmouth well and who would not have required labels or annotations naming the particular locations. Dating of this map is not exact, as it could have been produced at any time between 1545 when works on the defensive walls began, and 1563, by which time the configuration of the Town Quay in the Camber had been significantly altered. It seems likely that the map was produced in 1552, because in that year John Rogers was ordered to survey the town. It was also visited by the 14 year-old King Edward VI on the 9th August 1552, when he expressed some dissatisfaction at the state of the defences (Williams 1979:10). The Round Tower is shown as being connected to the town by a palisade along the centre of the peninsula surrounding the Camber. At the eastern end of this palisade is a second one, which crosses the peninsula laterally and is fitted with what appear to be gates giving access from the town to either side of the longitudinal palisade. This is located at the site of what later became King James’s Gate and is situated just behind the Swane bakery, which is also clearly shown on both the 1545 and 1584 maps of Portsmouth. This pre- sentation of information also bears some comparison with the depiction of the structures within the Cowdray Engraving. Both the Round Tower and St Thomas’s Church are shown with signal braziers mounted on their roofs, and the one on the church tower is also clearly visible in the Cowdray Engraving (see Fig. 6). The Town Gate Bastion is shown in some detail at the north-eastern end of the High Street and it is possible to see the arrangements for controlled access into the town (Fig. 7). This is achieved through an entrance on the western side of the bastion by crossing a small bridge over a moat into what appears to be an enclosed courtyard. This was probably fitted with gates at either end, providing a mechanism with which to control tightly entry to, and exit from, the town. Again, the Town Gate Bastion the guardhouse to the right of the gate as well as the guideposts on the bridge by which one enters the town are shown. 274 J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 123
  • Portsmouth 1584: British Library, Cotton MS Augustus I.ii.117 (Size: 27.2 3 26 in.) This is also a remarkable map of Portsmouth which contains considerable information about the land use and development of the town. It is also particularly notable because it includes overlays specifically designed to show the intended positions of proposed new defensive structures to strengthen the town’s defences in preparation for the expected Spanish attacks. One of these overlays shows plans for the replacement of the wall between the Saluting Platform and the Square Tower combined with the construction of a new wall between the Square Tower and the Round Tower. The other shows the potential con- struction of a moat along the line of Penny Street. This moat then extends south-eastwards to join the existing ditch behind the King’s Bastion. Hodson (1978:33) suggests that this modification would have reduced the town’s area and removed the ‘‘vulnerable southeast corner’’. Although this would have been the case, it must be recognised that this would also have increased the length of the town’s perimeter wall and left the Domus Dei outside of their protection. It is possible that had these modifications to the town’s walls been made, the entirety of the Domus Dei would have been demolished. The result would leave a clear field to the front of the new town walls, denying areas of cover and refuge to any attacking soldiers and ensuring that they could be seen by defenders of the town. Demolition of the Domus Dei would also have provided a free and on-site source of building stone for the new walls. However, the decision was taken to convert some of the buildings of the Domus Dei into a suitable residence for the Governor of Portsmouth instead. Interestingly, Wright (1873:17–18) provides useful information about specific room sizes within a number of the buildings of the Domus Dei complex derived from building repair estimates of 1581 and 1582 ‘‘for converting God’s House and other buildings into a residence for a Governor’’. The Domus Dei was converted into the Governor’s house in the early 1580 s and the town walls remained in their original position. The map’s concentration on matters of defence is further reinforced by the drawing of the boom chain at the harbour entrance adjacent to the Round Tower. Most of the streets within the town walls have been included, although the map does not show internal field divisions or individual plots. Many of the buildings have been drawn and these are marked with their function and the names of their owners or tenants. The four Fig. 7 Town Gate Bastion in the Cowdray Engraving. It is possible to identify the guardhouse to the right of the gate as well as the guideposts on the bridge by which one enters the town (private collection, used by permission) J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 275 123
  • brewhouses are named, as are the two bakeries, ‘‘ye Swane’’, near Oyster Street and ‘‘The Q Barkhouse called ye Anker’’ on St Thomas’s Street. Also named is ‘‘Whight House a prison’’ just to the east of the High Street and set back behind the main run of houses. Adjacent to this is the ‘‘T. playhouse’’ (Town Playhouse) and further south along the High Street the position of the ‘‘Toune house’’ (Town Hall) is shown in the centre of the High Street close to St Thomas’s Church. The church itself is drawn as a long, low, pitched roof building. It has a tower on its eastern side, three windows and an arched door on its western elevation and a single one on the north side. There is no signalling brazier shown on the tower roof. A path connects the eastern side of the church’s nave to the High Street, which passes between two houses. There is no date recorded on this map although it is known that the storehouses next to the Town Quay were destroyed by fire on the 4th August 1576. These are shown on this map as ‘‘burned’’, thereby providing an earliest date for its compilation. Hodson (1978:33) places the latest date as 1584 when Spicer’s Wall was commenced as this is not shown in the map. However, given the repair estimates of 1581 and 1582 for converting the Domus Dei into the Governor’s residence, it would seem likely that the map and its overlays were compiled before this reuse of the Domus Dei was decided. Consequently, its date may be around 1580 or 1581. Chart of Portsmouth Harbour, Between 1586 and 1620: Admiralty UK Hydrographic Office D623 (Size: 29.7 3 48.5 in.; Scale: 1:10560) This is a large, attractive and extremely well produced manuscript map of the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour. It is the earliest known chart in the UK Hydrographic Office’s archive (Fig. 8). It shows the deep-water areas and mudflats within the harbour as well as the settlements and defensive features of the surrounding landscape. It has been accurately surveyed, and, most notably for such an early map, includes a realistic representation of the seabed topography covering the approach to Portsmouth Harbour’s entrance, even recording the presence of the Swashway channel across Spitbank (marked ‘‘The Swach’’). The map is oriented with West-South-West to the top and is intended to be viewed in a landscape position, as the majority of the labels have been written with this viewpoint in mind. The map has annotations marking the beaches along the shoreline, and prominently displays all the defensive positions as well as the offshore water depths. It is possible that this combination of features on the map was intended to provide a map suitable for planning defensive operations around Portsmouth Harbour. The map’s orientation encourages the viewer to consider potential shipping approaches towards the harbour entrance and makes the positions of the defensive fortifications and the locations of the potential landing beaches remarkably clear. After the French invasion attempt of 1545 in which Mary Rose was lost, the next serious invasion threat was from the Spanish Armada in 1588 and the English continued to expect further attempts to be made in the years following. The date of this map is difficult to determine and there have been a number of sug- gestions made, including as late as 1665 by Hodson (1978) and around 1620 by the National Maritime Museum. Internal evidence from the map itself however provides some indication of an earlier date. The walls of Portsmouth town are drawn in their later Elizabethan configuration, with the Four Houses Bulwark (named after the nearby four brewhouses) shown in the centre of the long curtain wall on the eastern side of the town. 276 J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 123
  • This structure was built around 1584 to 1586 when Portsmouth’s defences were remodelled by Popinjay and Pearse (English Heritage 2012). This was the first bastion to be built on the site and was remodelled by de Gomme in 1677–85. This bastion is not shown in the Cowdray engraving as the engraving predates this construction by around 40 years. Evidence for an earlier date is suggested by Hasleworth Castle, which is shown as being still extant on the Gosport peninsula (Figs. 9, 10) Hasleworth was said to have been destroyed on the order of King Philip, and there is a story that when he sailed into Southampton in 1554 to marry Queen Mary at Winchester, all of the forts around the Solent and along Southampton Water fired salutes except Hasleworth, which was demolished as a consequence (Williams 1979:14). Alternatively, Williams suggests that Hasleworth Castle was ‘‘scrapped as a result of a review of coastal fortifications by the Marquis of Winchester under instructions dated 1556’’ (Williams 1979:14; Colvin 1982). Hasleworth Castle is shown in a miniature architectural sketch in the Burghley atlas map of the Isle of Wight (British Library, Royal 18 D iii, f. 18), dating to around 1570. This suggests that Hasleworth Castle was still standing at the time. Interestingly, on Daniel Favreau de la Fabvolliere’s 1665 Portsmouth map (British Library, Add. MS. 16371a.), Hasleworth Castle is marked as ‘‘beaten downe by King Philip’’. Norden’s 1595 county map of Hampshire records ‘‘Riames ofy Haselworth Castle’’ (Remains of Hasleworth Castle) at this location. The evidence therefore suggests that this map dates from around 1620 at the latest, and it is quite possible that it may be as early as the mid-1580 s, although an earliest date is more likely to be 1590. The compass rose outside the harbour mouth on Chart D623 (Fig. 11) has a pencil line running north and extending through the tower of St Thomas’s Church. This is not a navigation mark. To follow it when steering a ship would run the ship aground on the shallow water of the Spit. Intriguingly, the fleur-de-lis of the compass rose lies Fig. 8 Chart D623 is the earliest chart in the UK Hydrographic Office collection. The chart shows the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour with Portsea Island in the lower left of the image and the Gosport peninsula in the upper right. There is considerable, and accurate, detail provided of the seabed topography and the mudflats and channels within Portsmouth harbour (UK Hydrographic Office J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 277 123
  • immediately on top of the wreck site of Mary Rose. Is this an intentional feature of this chart, perhaps providing a means of locating the wreck or is it merely a coincidence? Furthermore, the central point of the compass rose can be fixed by lines of sight to Nettlestone Fort on the Isle of Wight, Cowes Castle, Pagham church tower on the Selsey peninsula in West Sussex and the tower of St Thomas’s church in Old Portsmouth. From this central point it is exactly 750 yards along the sight line to St Thomas’s church tower to arrive at the wreck site of Mary Rose. Also of considerable interest is the representation of ‘‘The Dock’’ which is the Royal Dockyard, set apart from and to the north of the town. It is depicted as being surrounded by a wall (Figs. 12, 13). The Dock is outside of the extents of the 1545, 1552 and 1584 maps Fig. 9 Detail from the Cowdray Engraving showing the Gosport peninsula with the three forts (L–R): Haselworth Castle, Lymden’s Bulwark and Fort Blockhouse. The inlet on the right-hand of this detail is Haslar Creek (private collection, used by permission) Fig. 10 Detail from UK Hydrographic Office chart D623 showing Haselworth Castle on the Gosport peninsula (UK Hydrographic Office 278 J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 123
  • of Portsmouth and is also outside the field of view of the Cowdray Engraving. Conse- quently it is not illustrated in any of the other sources examined here. There are six buildings shown within the Dock. Also clearly indicated is the position of the entrance to Fig. 11 Detail from UK Hydrographic Office chart D623 showing the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour and Spitbank extending from the Gosport shoreline alongside the main navigational channel into Portsmouth harbour (UK Hydrographic Office Fig. 12 Detail from UK Hydrographic Office chart D623 showing the town of Portsmouth. The town walls and the arrow-shaped bastions are clearly shown, as is St Thomas’s church and two pitched roof buildings which represent the tidal mill next to the mill pond. Town key is marked. Note that its shape is not the same as the representation in the 1545 map or the Cowdray Engraving as it appears to have been filled in (UK Hydrographic Office J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 279 123
  • the dry dock, which was established by Henry VII in 1496. Also on the site were a storehouse, forge and smithy (Riley 2002:9). The circular feature between the Dock and the town is what is now known as the ‘‘Mast Pond’’ and still exists within the Royal Naval Base at Portsmouth. This pond was filled with seawater and was used to season timber especially selected for making ships’ masts; the process ensured that the timber was springy and supple thereby creating pliable but strong ships’ masts that could transmit the force of the wind through the vessel without breaking. Conclusion Between 1545 and, at the absolute latest 1620, we have a remarkable set of documents. Each individually records considerable detail about the town of Portsmouth, its situation and its defensive capability. These cover a 75-year period at most and may possibly represent a more tightly defined period of just over 40 years. In order to extract the data contained within, they need to be examined and then interpreted. When considered together these documents present a rich source of information which can be used to develop a better understanding of Tudor approaches to the defence of both Portsmouth and the realm. The images also assist in developing an understanding of the sequence of development within the urban landscape of Portsmouth. However, it remains difficult to make absolute assertions about specific locations. Visual sources of data such as maps and pictures can be difficult to interpret, analyse and then present the results from that research. Research based on such data requires a multidisciplinary range of skills and knowledge to fully utilise the potential information available within the sources. Consequently, this present research can but merely scratch the surface of what may be understood if the research were to be undertaken by a team of researchers assembled with such a range of expertise in mind. Acknowledgments Thanks are due to Peter Barber and Andrea Clarke at the British Library and Phillip Clayton-Gore and Guy Hannaford of the UK Hydrographic Office, for their considerable assistance in Fig. 13 Detail from UK Hydrographic Office chart D623 showing the Royal Dockyard at Portsmouth. Note the channel and entry into ‘‘The Dock’’. The circular feature to the left of the Dock is what is now known as the ‘‘Mast Pond’’ (UK Hydrographic Office 280 J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 123
  • assembling an exhibition of historic maps of Portsmouth, which was held at the Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth, in the summer of 2010. Also, very many thanks to all the staff at the Mary Rose Trust and in particular, John Lippiett and Alexzandra Hildred for their continuing support and enthusiasm. Kester Keighley for his most generous provision of the high resolution scan of the Cowdray engraving. Thanks are also due to C.J. Sansom for providing an excellent reason to extend my understanding of Tudor Portsmouth during the writing of his historical novel Heartstone. References Ackroyd P (1995) Blake. Vintage, Random House Ayloffe Sir J (1775) An account of some ancient English historical paintings at Cowdry, in Sussex. Archaeologia 3:239–272 Barber, Peter (2009) Henry VIII man and Monarch, catalogue edited by Susan Doran, British library, London. 23 April–6 September 2009 British Library (2012) Plan of Portsmouth from 1545, available online at: – onlineex/unvbrit/p/001cotaugi00001u00081000.html. Accessed 22 Nov. 2012 Calendar of State Papers, Domestic 1547–1580, p 526 Colvin, H.M. (ed.) (1982) The history of the King’s Works, volume 4: 1485–1660 (Part 2), Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, pp 512–4 Eley Philip (1988) Portsmouth breweries 1492–1847, The Portsmouth papers, 51. Portsmouth City Council, Portsmouth English Heritage (2012), Pembroke Bastion, Pastscape, available online at: hob.aspx?hob_id=893109&sort=2&type=&typeselect=c&rational=a&class1=None&period= None&county=1292697&district=None&parish=None&place=Four%20Houses%20Bulwark% 20&recordsperpage=10&source=text&rtype=&rnumber. Accessed 22 Nov. 2012 Fontana D, Hildred A (2011) The theatre of the war, Geographical evidence from the Cowdray Engraving and GIS. In: Gardiner J (ed) Weapons of Warre: the armaments of the Mary Rose. The Mary Rose Trust, Portsmouth, pp 871–886 Harrington Peter (2007) The castles of Henry VIII. Osprey, Oxford, p 6 Hodson D (1978) Maps of Portsmouth before 1801. Portsmouth Record Series, City of Portsmouth Hope Sir William Henry St John (1919) Cowdray and Easebourne Priory in the County of Sussex. Country life, London Knighton C.S. and Loades D (2002) Letters from the Mary Rose, Sutton Publishing Ltd. Letter 61, pp117–118 Knighton C.S. and Loades, D. (eds.) (2014) More Documents for the Last Campaign of The Mary Rose, Navy Records Society, forthcoming Nurse B (2007) Making history: Antiquaries in Britain, 1707–2007. Royal Academy of Arts, London p144 Nurse B (2012) The Sherwin Brothers’ copy of the lost mary rose wall painting at cowdray house. Anti- quaries J 92:371–384 Riley R (2002) Portsmouth Ships. Tempus Publishing, Stroud, Gloucestershire, Dockyard and Town Stone, Percy G (1907) Two Accounts of The French Descent on The Isle of Wight Under Claude D’an- nebault, July, 1545. Extracted from the memoirs of Martin Du Bellay, 1513-46, and from the Mss. of Sir John Oglander, 1585—1655, With a digest of the two accounts., The Isle of Wight County Press, Newport, Isle of Wight Wessex Archaeology (2010) Governor’s Green, Portsmouth, Hampshire, Archaeological Evaluation Report, Report reference: 71502.01, Available at Time-Team-Governors-Green.pdf. Accessed 12 Nov. 2012 Williams, G. H. (1979) The western defences of Portsmouth Harbour 1400-1800. The Portsmouth Papers; 30, Portsmouth City Council, Portsmouth Wright, H. P. (1873) The story of the Domus Dei of Portsmouth, James Parker and Co. London, pp17–18 Online Maps Portsmouth 1545 is available online from the British Library at: unvbrit/p/001cotaugi00001u00081000.html . Accessed Oct. 2013 Portsmouth 1552 is available online from the British Library at: unvbrit/t/001cotaugi00002u00015000.html . Accessed Oct. 2013 J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 281 123
  • Norden’s map of Hampshire, 1595 is available online from Old Hampshire Mapped at: http://www.geog. Accessed Oct. 2013 Detail of Portsmouth from Norden’s map of Hampshire, 1595 is available at: webmap/hantsmap/hantsmap/norden5/nd5sz69f.htm. Accessed Oct. 2013 282 J Mari Arch (2013) 8:263–282 123 Charting the Development of Portsmouth Harbour, Dockyard and Town in the Tudor Period Abstract Introduction The Cowdray engraving (Size: 222 x 69 in.) Plan of Portsmouth 1545: British Library, Cotton Augustus I.i.81 (Size: 22.8 x 30.7 in.; Scale: 1:1200) Plan of Portsmouth 1552: British Library Cotton Augustus I.ii.15 (Size: 21.5 x 29.5 in.; Scale: 1:2400) Portsmouth 1584: British Library, Cotton MS Augustus I.ii.117 (Size: 27.2 x 26 in.) Chart of Portsmouth Harbour, Between 1586 and 1620: Admiralty UK Hydrographic Office D623 (Size: 29.7 x 48.5 in.; Scale: 1:10560) Conclusion Acknowledgments References


View more >