|Artist||Skelton, Joseph after Wood, Anthony|
|Published||Published as the act directs June 1st, 1817 By J.Skelton, St Aldates, Oxford.|
|Dimensions||230 x 300 mm|
An early plan of Oxford with title cartouche and engraved key to the left side and bottom, that purports to show the military defences as they existed in 1648. Originally published in 'Historia et Antiquitates Universitatis Oxoniensis' by Anthony Wood in Oxford 1674, this is a later facsimile engraved by Joseph Skelton. The fortifications illustrated in this map were intended to be built during the English Civil War. During the war the Royalists withdrew from London to Oxford. Charles I based himself and his military in the city from October 1642. The King was at Christ Church and the Queen at Merton.
The map represents a pure flight of fancy on someone's part and is typical of the graphical representations of fortified towns of the period. However whoever drew it certainly had some knowledge of the works constructed around the city, as there are sufficient similarities for it not to be dismissed out of hand. The fortifications of ditch, rampart, palisade and gates with drawbridges were built from St. Giles Church in the north to Folly Bridge in the south and from Magdalen Bridge in the east to St. Thomas's Church in the west. Barriers were built in the Thames, whose waters, as well as those of the Cherwell were made to flood the surrounding meadows. To expedite these works, in the summer of 1643 all members of the University between the ages of 16 and 60 were recruited as labourers for one day a week or fined 1s. Women were also called upon to help and were liable to fines if they did not appear or send a substitute.