15th Century map of Scotland drawn by an English spy goes on public display

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An early map of Scotland which was drawn by an English spy, has gone on public display.

The first map of detailing the ‘Kingdom of the Scots’ has been loaned to the University of St Andrews' Wardlaw Museum by British Library in London

The 15th Century Hardyng Map was drawn in the 1400s and includes a colourful depiction of St Andrews, showing the now ruined St Rule's Church.

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It is thought the map was drawn from knowledge of Scotland gained by English chronicler John Hardyng on a secret mission to Scotland on the secret orders of King Henry V.

The  Hardyng Map of ScotlandThe  Hardyng Map of Scotland
The Hardyng Map of Scotland

Hardyng included the map in his later chronicle, telling the history of England and its neighbours and it is thought to have been studied by the king’s military tacticians.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Sally Mapstone, an expert in medieval and Renaissance Scottish literature, said: "Hardyng's map provides important context to the dynamic relationship between Scotland and England throughout the ages.

"It has broad appeal not only to those studying here in St Andrews, but also to anyone interested in the ways in which Scotland's geographical, political and cultural conditions have changed over centuries.

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"Every map tells a story and I look forward to the discussion, debate and reflection that will be sparked at this critical juncture in Scotland's future while the map is on display at the Wardlaw Museum."

Dr Claire Breay, Head of Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts at the British Library, said: "We are thrilled to be loaning the Hardyng Map of Scotland to the Wardlaw Museum.

"It depicts many Scottish cities and towns and was used by Hardyng to accompany his historical chronicle.

"The British Library's collections are for everyone and we hope this map, which is going on alongside other works connected with medieval St Andrews, will inspire new audiences, young and old.

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"This loan is part of our Treasures on Tour programme and enables us to open up the Library's collections to serve our communities better across the UK."

The map exhibition is part of an escape room experience accompanying the map, in which participants will be asked to crack clues that will help them capture John Hardyng on his Scottish reconnaissance mission, before he escapes to England.

Cult, Church, City: Medieval St Andrews is an exhibition created by Professor Michael Brown and Dr Bess Rhodes, world experts in the town during this period. On display will be items that have never before been seen together, including a brightly coloured bishop’s robe, on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Treasures on Tour: John Hardyng’s Map of Scotland and Cult, Church, City: Medieval St Andrews will be at the Wardlaw Museum from Sunday February 20 until Sunday July 3, 2022. Entry is free and a full programme of events will be offered. Details can be found on the University Museum web page.

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John Hardyng’s Map of Scotland is part of the British Library’s Treasures on Tour programme and is generously supported by the Helen Hamlyn Trust.

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