Sheldon Tapestry Map of Warwickshire

Contributed by Warwickshire Museum Service

Sheldon Tapestry Map of Warwickshire, c1580 - 1590, copyright Warwickshire Museum Service

The tapestry was one of a set of four tapestry maps made in the 1580s. They were commissioned by Ralph Sheldon to hang in his new house at Weston in Warwickshire. The other maps showed Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire. They would have hung together to create a panoramic view of England from London to the Bristol Channel.
The maps were made at the Sheldon tapestry works at Barcheston, set up by Ralph's father, and where local men trained to become weavers.
This is the only surviving map. It is important because it's a rare example of an English tapestry, and possibly unique as a tapestry
map. It is a pictorial record of Elizabethan Warwickshire, showing hills, rivers, open fields and forests, towns, villages and the great houses of the gentry.
It shows the Warwickshire of William Shakespeare, born at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564 - the landscape which inspired the physical world of many of his plays.

Comments are closed for this object


  • 1 comment
  • 1. At 11:18 on 10 May 2010, Carder500 wrote:

    I have some concerns about your text for this fascinating item. I have done a great deal of research on the topic - published (try a google on Sheldon map tapestries)
    1. The text states that the tapestry is one of four - it cannot therefore later be described as unique.

    2. The Warwickshire tapestry is the only complete Elizabethan tapestry. The other three are damaged.

    3. There is not, and never was, any evidence that the tapestries were woven at Barcheston. It was an assumption by antiquarians in the only previous research, done in the 1920s. I appreciate that the subject is complex, but statements without facts are not of great value.
    How about correcting this to something like

    Despite absence of information, it is widely said that the tapestries were woven at...
    The tapestries may have been woven at Barcheston...


    Complain about this comment

Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC or the British Museum. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site’s House Rules please Flag This Object.

About this object

Click a button to explore other objects in the timeline


1580 - 1590


View more objects from people in Coventry.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.