Malmesbury - An Aerial View

Birds eye view of Malmesbury in 1646We have an enlarged reproduction of a Birdís eye view of Malmesbury donated by the Warden and Freemen of Malmesbury dated April 1646. This illustrates the town defences from a hypothetical point to the south west and several hundred feet up as they were on 23rd October 1646. This was the day work started to slight (demolish) the town walls under an order made in parliament dated 4th August 1646.

This painting is the only aerial view of the defences of any small town in the civil war and is remarkable for its detail. For example the section flags flown at various points are known to be correct and the cannon are colour coded. Look out for those on the Abbey roof.

Various points are labelled and a key given. Among them are:-
  • The river 10 or 12 foot dept, & in most places 18 fette over
  • The Shambles; called Kerfox
  • Mr Ivies house, the governours quarters
  • The Gibbett & Horse for the souldiers correction
And many others.

It is accompanied by a photograph taken from a light aircraft to echo the painting and it is remarkable how little the town has changed.