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Simon Webb

MA work

Dissertation: York’s City Walls: A Century of Design Appropriation and Utilisation, c.1560–1610 & 1660–1710

This dissertation explores the utilisation and appropriation of York’s city walls during the latter halves of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It seeks to consider the phenomenon of city walls as integral to, rather than isolated from, the urban communities they encircled, and the endurance of their practical and civic relevance.

In terms of scale and design, the previous study of English fortifications has unfavourably compared them to their European counterparts, as stylistically underdeveloped and inferior militarily. Through primary research from York City Archive, and the work of other scholars, it is possible to observe that York’s defensive walls were in fact integral to how the city was administered and viewed itself. The walls were only utilised twice for military purposes from 1560 to 1710. Following the Civil War, the continentally inspired defensive additions were demolished, while the medieval and militarily obsolete walls were retained. If they were not retained for military purposes then their survival signifies a continued importance and one that is still apparent to this day. It is through a study of their utilisation, removed from solely the military remit, which allows for the longevity of the walls’ unchanging design to be appreciated.

Control of the walls also represented a physical demarcation of jurisdictional authority, which could be appropriated for the utilisation of vying authorities, materially, politically, socially and spatially. Within these contestable issues, this dissertation reflects upon the under-appreciated correlation between the city walls and the events occurring within and without them.

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2010

  • Dissertation: York’s City Walls: A Century of Design Appropriation and Utilisation, c.1560–1610 & 1660–1710

    This dissertation explores the utilisation and appropriation of York’s city walls during the latter halves of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It seeks to consider the phenomenon of city walls as integral to, rather than isolated from, the urban communities they encircled, and the endurance of their practical and civic relevance.

    In terms of scale and design, the previous study of English fortifications has unfavourably compared them to their European counterparts, as stylistically underdeveloped and inferior militarily. Through primary research from York City Archive, and the work of other scholars, it is possible to observe that York’s defensive walls were in fact integral to how the city was administered and viewed itself. The walls were only utilised twice for military purposes from 1560 to 1710. Following the Civil War, the continentally inspired defensive additions were demolished, while the medieval and militarily obsolete walls were retained. If they were not retained for military purposes then their survival signifies a continued importance and one that is still apparent to this day. It is through a study of their utilisation, removed from solely the military remit, which allows for the longevity of the walls’ unchanging design to be appreciated.

    Control of the walls also represented a physical demarcation of jurisdictional authority, which could be appropriated for the utilisation of vying authorities, materially, politically, socially and spatially. Within these contestable issues, this dissertation reflects upon the under-appreciated correlation between the city walls and the events occurring within and without them.

  • Degrees

  • BA Joint Honours, History/History of Art, University of Nottingham, 2008
  • Experience

  • Research assistant Internship, Victoria and Albert Museum: Medieval and Renaissance Galleries, London, 2009