The Burleigh Map of Shrewsbury



Cartographer: unknown. Size: 470 mm x 360 mm. Scale: not given, but approx, 1 cm = 33 m.
Shropshire Archives ref: X8611/TP17/2

Shrewsbury is fortunate to have a town plan of such an early date, covering the major part of the built-up area, only the furthest extremities of the suburban tentacles (Frankwell, Castle Foregate and Abbey Foregate) being omitted. It is a vibrant and clear map tinted in red, green, white and ochre.

It gives a bird’s eye view of the town, looking from the east. The four town centre churches are shown in detail and the roads are lined with individually drawn houses coloured white with red roofs. Open spaces around the churches and castle are shaded green, trees are depicted realistically and a special symbol is used for gardens. The large scale allows the road layout within the river loop to be clearly depicted, though none of the streets is named. However, the street layout has changed little over the centuries so that it is possible to make easy comparisons with modern maps. The castle and the town wall, with its extensions, towers and postern gates, are shown in detail, as are the fortified bridges over the River Severn and the two gates in the neck of the meander. Two of the three dissolved friaries outside the town wall are shown as partial ruins. The use of the river for navigation is accentuated by pictures of rowing boats, trows, bow haulers and quays. There are three pairs of swans on the river, not much different from today.

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