The museum displays an enlarged copy, and touch screen operated interpretation of a wonderful picture map of Malmesbury in the Civil War. The original is owned by the Warden and Freemen of Malmesbury and the museum gratefully acknowledges their permissions.
This bird’s eye view of the town is the only aerial view of the defences of any small town in the civil war. It illustrates the town defences from a point looking to the south-west as they were on 23rd October 1646. This was the day work started to demolish the town walls under the order made by Parliament. The painting is remarkable in its detail, and shows the earliest view of Malmesbury by many years.
The map has key features marked and descriptions of them given; eg, “Gibett and Horse for ye souldiers correction”! The touchscreen enables all to be identified and read, with some additional explanations for modern readers.
As a taster, this is the overall description at the top of the map:
“The description of Malmesbury or firstlie Maedalfsbury a borough
of north Wiltshire both ancient and famous now in the possession
& sole jurisdiction of a familie of Antiquitie and Honours viz Sr John
Davers of Dansie House kanight a member of the house of Comones
this Parliament 1647, wch place is not only Renowned for its
naturall streinth Seated on a step hill, unclimbable by reason of the
manie Rockes extending unto or containing not more ground than
what it standith on and (within lesse than pistol shotte) surrounded
with unfordable Rivers.
But Also for its unquonquered streinth and victorie obtained against
the Danes for a long Sedge for Athelstane, a Saxon King (shut
up with in it): Manifest by his Charter, extant there, whoe for its
Services and fidelitie bestowed beside severall other priveileges
and immunities veriy faire Landes which to this day it enjojeth and
where likewise in testimonie of his affection to soe great a favoure
his bodie (at his desire) was Intombed: This shewes the direct figure
of that Borough or Garison as it stode fortified the 23 of Octobre
1646: the day it was demolished by the Parliaments order (the
whole Kingdom being a little before Redused) when it had stode a
firme Garison for the Pariament of England (under the Command of
Collonell Nicholas Deveraux) 2 years, four monthes, and odd weakes: wch Description or draght as proper unto the said Sr John Davers
(the sole Lord and ouner of it) together with the Cotte of Armes
of his familie, the said Cotte presented in acknowledgement of his many noble favours this 10th Aprill 1648”