|Spode's personal "Theatre Map"|
Friday, 20 January 2017
The Spode "Theatre Map"
An interesting exhibition of de-classified enemy artefacts is now to be found in the foyer of the Ludlow Theatre, reports a special edition of the "Ludlow Leader". Amongst the helmets, Mauser K98 rifles, tattered black shorts and other detritus abandoned in retreat by Spode and his Royalist allies on the field of the Battle of Brimfield, a "theatre map" liberated from Spode's own (overrun) command tent is of particular interest:
Spode's "Theatre Map" may be helpfully contrasted with the "Situation Maps" previously published in the "Ludlow Leader" and analysed in detail in previous broadcasts : see here and here. Ross on Wye, the historic centre of Anglican resistance in Herefordshire (under the command of the charismatic General Jermingham) is helpfully illustrated, as is Pontrilas and Abbey Dore, the home of the Golden Valley Invincibles, commanded by Sir Gilbert Hill. The County of Herefordshire is put in its geographical context, with large areas of neighbouring Monmouthshire (Monmouth, Raglan and Chepstow) being shown, as well as parts of Gloucestershire (the Forest of Dean). The River Severn, scene of the famous Severn Valley campaign, traces its way west to east along the bottom of the Theater Map. It's tributary, the River Wye, ascends south to north.
But wait ! Why does the "Theatre Map" not feature the north and west of the County? Where is Hay on Wye, Leominster, Mortimer Country, the Malverns, Brimfield, indeed Ludlow itself? Some suggest that the Theatre Map was to guide Spode on a southward march in the event of a coup against the Royalist Governor of the Marches, Lord de Braose, to be mounted by none other than the notorious Captain Arrowsmith and his Three Counties Legion. Others (and this is the majority opinion) suggest a less conspiratorial explanation : Spode simply has no idea where he is.