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Elizabethan Tynemouth Map (1580s)


This Elizabethan map of Penbal Crag started to be reproduced around 1830, based on an original from 1580s.

What we’re seeing in this map, albeit in derivative and revival form, is the second oldest depiction of the headland (behind the Scala Map drawn for Henry VIII). As such, there are some very interesting labels on it:

Ye Olde Fish Poundes (now a olde dyke) — on the Howl Ings (the Howlings), providing salmon for the Priory. Harriet Martineau wrote about these ponds, probably after viewing this map, and apparently they had sluice gates into the river and into the Haven. [1]

This broad gully, sometimes called Prior’s Dene, but more commonly, the Howlings, below Collingwood Hill (rarely known as Galley Hill) was, a very long time ago at the end of the Ice Age, a northern outlet of the Tyne, evidenced by its propensity to become heavily waterlogged today (Ings is an Old English word for ‘marsh’). [2][3]

There’s also a curious Draw Brydge on this map. We can only guess where precisely this crossed the moat onto what is now a much banked-up Pier Road. Perhaps the drawbridge led onto the lane behind Pickering House just north of Prior’s Park. Or maybe it was a bit below that point, judging by the location on the map of the bottom row of the incipient Tyne mouthe towne.

Ye Otter Porte seems to be a gate from the moat onto the Haven, at the site of the permanently-locked gate in the fence on the south bank today. Alternatively, it may indicate the sluice from the fish ponds to the Haven. It must have been very boggy ground and probably home to a thriving colony of otters.


  1. These salmon weirs came under the auspices of the Prior of Tynemouth’s burgeoning fishing industry around the Black Middens, North Shields and further up river at junctures like Jarrow, Benwell and Wylam (adjoining the Prior’s manors in these last two locations). This later evolved into the Low Lights Fishery, whose nets continued to cause consternation to the skippers and coal barons who relied upon the river. Incidentally, the old Salmon Bailiff’s Cottage is perched right above the Howlings gully and at the same time overlooks the Middens and the entire harbour. Originally, the Salmon Bailiff was the Duke’s fisheries officer, but the wooden house has for a long time been called Brigade Cottage and attached to the TVLB Watch House.
  2. The mouth of the Tyne once formed a delta, with the southern channel being the Branin River in South Shields (from Mill Dam to Ocean Road). Both the Branin and the Howlings channels filled up (the Branin in early-modern times), while the main channel itself was known to become perilously shallow for shipping, particularly at the inner and outer Bars. Without the work of the Tyne Improvement Commission and the strict regulation of ballast dumping, the Tyne would have completely silted up in industrial times.
  3. The northern bank of the Howlings gully forms the ridge or ‘Fosse’ on which sits Front Street and Manor Road up to the dip that was once Kenner’s Dene, along which the metro line runs today. This ridge is known in geological terms as the Tynemouth Dyke and forms part of a longer geographical feature.


SKU: MAP-ELIZ Category:

Wood frame has a 13mm face width. Printed on fine art paper and shipped ready to hang.

Artwork is printed to a size of 116 x 139mm, with matt texture.

Iced white top mount has a border of 5cm. Glazing is an exceptional grade acrylic.

Overall Dimensions (W x H): 222 x 245mm.


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