Mapping Our Town exhibition coming to Barnstaple
27 October 2022
A new exhibition exploring 17th century Barnstaple is coming to the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon next month.
Mapping Our Town, which opens on Saturday 12 November, accompanies the publication of a new book edited by Todd Gray, highlighting the recent discovery of a detailed map of Barnstaple in the Bodleian Library. The map was produced by Richard Newcourt during 1650, 200 years earlier than any known map of the area.
Returning to Barnstaple, this map, together with items from our own and South West Heritage Trust collections, including paintings, the Abbott family sketchbook, architectural fragments, cannon balls and documents aims to create a picture of Barnstaple in 1650.
The exhibition will also be looking at how the town has changed to the present day and residents are encouraged to take part and create a 17th century model of Barnstaple by making individual buildings in one of the drop-in workshop sessions on offer.
A number of talks will also accompany the exhibition:
- Thursday 24 November Dr Todd Gray, 'Barnstaple from 1640 to 1670'
- Thursday 15 December Dr Todd Gray, 'Barnstaple’s Plasterwork in the early 1600s'
- Thursday 12 January Collette Hall, 'Barnstaple’s Almshouses'
- Thursday 26 January John Allan, 'The continuing study of the North Devon Potteries'
Museum Manager, Alison Mills says: "We are thrilled to be welcoming this fascinating exhibition to the Museum. This special map adds another layer to this town's rich history and will appeal to people with a connection to or interest in Barnstaple, wherever they live."
Nick Millea, Map Curator at The Bodleian says: "It is most appropriate that over 350 years since its creation, this map can now be viewed in the town it so strikingly depicts. The map is bound to fascinate those who view it, whether they are locals, or visitors to Barnstaple. Comparisons can be easily made between the object itself, and the townscape visible beyond the walls of the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.
"It is fitting that an opportunity has presented itself for this splendid map to be viewed far beyond the confines of its host library in Oxford, but for the duration of this exhibition it sits proudly within the landscape it so graphically showcases. We are frequently reminded that “Everybody loves a map”, and I suspect this cartographic jewel will prove no exception."
The exhibition is open until 18 February 2023 and entry is free. More information and tickets to the workshops can be found online.