Map Fair | Introduction | Contents | Chapter 16

Chapter 15


When considering the work of English map makers we tend, perhaps, to think too much in terms of county maps, dominated by the names of Saxton and Speed, but we should not underrate the contribution to the sum of geographical knowledge made in other spheres, such as the sea charts of Edward Wright, Robert Dudley and Greenvile Collins, the discoveries of James Cook, the road maps of Ogilby and Cary, the meteorological and magnetic charts compiled by Edmund Halley, to mention only a few among the many whose work is covered in this chapter.


We have written elsewhere of the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century maps of Matthew Paris, chronicler and historian, of St Albans, of the Hereford Cathedral Mappa Mundi by Richard of Haldingham and of the Gough Map in the Bodleian Library. Coming to the sixteenth century the first separately printed map of the British Isles was published by Sebastian Munster in 1540 and the first such map by an Englishman was that of George Lily, a Catholic exile at the Papal Court. This map, first issued in Rome in 1546 (with later editions up to 1589) was probably based on the Gough map, on Munster's map of 1540 and no doubt on the numerous estate maps then available. Few other maps of the time can approach it for clarity and elegance, and the compiler's use of conventional signs and symbols to show forests, hills, county towns, castles and episcopal sees was an innovation subsequently followed very closely by map makers for centuries.

In 1558 Queen Elizabeth came to the throne in the midst of a fast changing world. To a great extent England and Wales had been fortunate to escape the violent upheavals which afflicted so many European countries at the time. Despite the dissolution of the monasteries and the religious persecution and doctrinal ferment of the middle years of the century, the country up to about 1540 and from 1570 onwards enjoyed long periods of comparative stability with consequent prosperity and a widening of intellectual attainments.

The break up and redistribution of monastic lands, which passed by royal favour to a new 'landed gentry', created a need for re-surveying and mapping on almost a countrywide scale and the times, therefore, seemed propitious for mapping the whole country in a uniform manner. In 1563 a nineteen sheet map, copies of which survive only in manuscript form, was completed by Laurence Nowell, and no doubt, the issue of Mercator's large-scale map of the British Isles in 1564 had an important influence on the thought of the period. A few years later a national survey was commissioned privately, although probably at the instigation of Lord Burghley, the Lord Treasurer, but subsequently was completed with royal encouragement. The outcome was Christopher Saxton's Atlas of EngIand and Wales, started about 1570 and published in 1579 - the first printed set of county maps and the first countrywide atlas on such a splendid scale produced anywhere. It was immediately recognized as a work of national and, indeed, international importance and formed the basis on which nearly all county maps of England and Wales were produced until the mid eighteenth century, when Bowen, Kitchin and others carried out large-scale surveys for their new atlases. In later years, in 1583, Saxton published a large-scale map of England and Wales of which only two copies are known, although there were many later issues with considerable alterations including the addition of roads, town plans and other features.

Until the end of the century Saxton's maps faced little competition. In the 1590s John Norden planned a new set of county maps on the lines of Saxton's but including roads, grid references and a wider range of information; in the event his project failed through lack of support and only five maps were published in his lifetime. A Welsh antiquarian, Humphrey Lhuyd, was more successful and, even before Saxton's survey was complete, he had produced fine manuscript maps of England and Wales and of Wales separately which were used by Ortelius in editions of his Atlas from 1573 onwards. In the same period, in 1572, the first map engraved on copper in England was published. This was a map of Palestine by Humphrey Cole, a goldsmith and instrument maker. Town plans, also, were being drawn: of Norwich by William Cunningham in 1559, of London in 1560 by a Flemish artist and of Cambridge by Richard Lyne in 1572.

In the wider sphere, the English explorers, Drake, Chancellor, Frobisher, Hawkins, Raleigh, Davis and others were adding to the detailed knowledge of the geography of the world in spite of the lack of any satisfactory system of navigation. In an effort to solve their problems Edward Wright published in 1599 his treatise Certaine Errors of Navigation which enabled navigators to make fuller use of the charts drawn on Mercator's new projection. Wright's world map, published in the following year, set a pattern for ocean charts which in essence is still used today.


 The seventeenth century opened with a spate of new publications based largely on the original work of Saxton and Norden. Indeed, for much of the century, publishers, not least the Dutch, rather than cartographers, were to dominate the scene and many maps appeared in numerous editions with comparatively minor alterations to the maps themselves. The earliest maps of the new century, attributed to William Smith of the College of Heralds, covered only twelve counties based on Saxton/Norden and were presumably intended to be part of a complete new atlas. They were printed in the Low Countries in 1602-3 and were soon followed by maps for the Latin edition of Camden's Britannia dated 1607. In this series for the first time each county was shown on a separate sheet, being engraved by William Kip and William Hole on a reduced scale measuring about 355 x 255 mm. There is some evidence that the maps by Pieter van den Keere produced for a miniature atlas of the British Isles (subsequently known as 'Miniature Speeds') were first engraved in 1599, but more likely they were issued in the period 1605-10. One authority, however, concludes that they were only issued in proof form until the issue by Blaeu in 1617. In 1610-11 the first edition of John Speed's famous county Atlas was published and immediately replaced Saxton's in popular appeal, an appeal which has remained to the present day. Speed, horn in Cheshire in 1552, the son of a tailor, turned his life-long interest in history and antiquities to good account and soon after the year 1600 began the preparation of a national History and Atlas which was published in 1611 as The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine. The History left little mark hut the Atlas which formed the appendix to the work brought him lasting fame!

Although Speed assembled much of his material from the earlier works of Saxton, Norden and others, a considerable part of the up-to-date information, especially relating to the inset town plans depicted on his maps, was obtained first hand; as he says in the preface to the Theatre 'by my owne travels through every province of England and Wales' . The maps undoubtedly owed much of their popularity to the splendid engravings of high quality made in the workshops in Amsterdam of Jodocus Hondius to whom Speed sent his manuscripts, the plates subsequently being returned to London for printing.

The issue of Speed's atlases continued through many editions into the next century but in the period we are considering here there were several other interesting publications. In 1612-13 Michael Drayton, an Elizabethan poet, published a book of poems with the title Poly-Olbion or Chorographical Description of all the Tracts, Rivers, Mountains) Forests and other parts of the Renowned Isle of Great Britain, containing i8 illustrative maps with a second part and 12 extra maps in 1622. A miniature atlas, based on Saxton, by John Bill, entitled The Abridgment of Camden's Britania with the Maps of the Several Shires of England and Wales was published in 1626. The engraver is not known but the latitude and longitude used is based on the island of St Michael's in the Azores following Mercator's custom. Only one edition was printed and the maps are, therefore, exceedingly rare.

In 1645, Volume IV of the famous Blaeu World Atlas covering the counties of England and Wales was published in Amsterdam, although, in fact, Jansson had produced some earlier County maps. The maps of both these publishers have always been esteemed as superb examples of engraving and design, the calligraphy being particularly splendid, but nevertheless they were nearly all based on Saxton and Speed and added little to geographical knowledge. In general appearance Jansson's maps are very similar to those of Blaeu and, indeed, were often copied from them but they tend to be more flamboyant and, some argue, more decorative.

Not until the latter part of the century do we find an English map maker of originality with the capacity to put new ideas into practice. John Ogilby, one of the more colourful figures associated with cartography, started life as a dancing master and finished as King's Cosmographer and Geographic Printer. After publishing a small number of county maps, somewhat on the lines of Norden, incorporating roads and extending the use of explanatory symbols, he issued in 1675 the Britannia, the first practical series of detailed maps of the post roads of England and Wales on a standard scale of 1,760 yards to the mile. These were copied extensively and, after Ogilby's time, roads were incorporated in practically all county maps, although due to the lack of detail, it is often difficult to trace accurately precise routes. Up to the end of the century and beyond, reprints and revisions of Saxton's and Speed's atlases continued to appear and the only other noteworthy county maps were Richard Blome's Britannia (1673), John Overton's Atlas (c. 1670) and Robert Morden's maps for an English translation of Camden's Britannia published in 1695.

In Chapter 6 we have written of another noted cartographer of the day, Captain Greenvile Collins, and of his work in surveying the coasts of Great Britain culminating in the issue in 1693 of the Great Britain's Coasting Pilot. There, too, will be found details of the earlier Dell' Arcano del Mare by Robert Dudley, published in Florence, and of the numerous sea charts of John Seller. Apart from these charts, English cartographers published during the century a number of world atlases, though it must be admitted that they fell short in quantity and quality of those coming from the Dutch publishing houses. Speed was the first Englishman to produce a world atlas with the issue in 1627 of his A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World, which was combined with the edition of county maps in that year. Other atlases appeared later in the century by Peter Heylin, John Seller, William Berry, Moses Pitt and Richard Blome, whilst Ogilby found time to issue maps of Africa, America and Asia. Far more important, from the purely scientific point of view, was the work of Edmund Halley, Astronomer Royal, who compiled and issued meteorological and magnetic charts in 1688 and 1701 respectively.


At the beginning of the eighteenth century the Dutch map trade was finally in decline, the French in the ascendant and the English to a great extent still dominated by Saxton and Speed except, as we have shown, in the spheres of sea charts and road maps. Plagiarism was rife and until 1734 there were no laws of copyright; in 1710 Herman Moll on his map Roads of the South Part of Great Britain could write plaintively that 'this map has been copied four times very confused and scandalously' . New editions of Robert Morden's maps appeared; there were atlases by John Senex, the Bowles family, Emanuel and Thomas Bowen, Thomas Badeslade and the unique bird's-eye perspective views of the counties, The British Monarchy by George Bickham. In 1750-60 Bowen and Kitchin's The Large English Atlas containing maps on a rather larger scale than hitherto was published, the maps being annotated on the face with numerous highly entertaining descriptive notes.

About the time this atlas was issued the idea of preparing maps of the counties on a uniform scale of 1 in. to 1 mile was mooted, maybe inspired by Henry Beighton's splendid map of Warwickshire drawn in 1728. As a result, in 1759 the Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce offered an award of £1oo for the best original surveys on this scale and by the end of the century about thirty counties had been re-surveyed, of which a dozen or more were granted the award. These maps, many of which formed, in later years, the basis for the first issues of county maps by the Ordnance Survey Office were not only decorative but a tremendous improvement geographically on earlier local maps. In fact, they were symptomatic of the new approach to cartography engendered by the events of the times - the rise of Britain to naval and commercial supremacy as a world power, the expansion of the East India Company, the discoveries in the Pacific by James Cook, the colonizing of Canada and Australia and other parts of the world, the sea charts by Alexander Dalrymple and J. F. W. des Barres and, not least, the invention of the new Harrison chronometers which at last solved the major problem of accurate navigation at sea. Just as in the early 1600s Amsterdam had supplied the world of its time with maps and charts, so after 1750 London publishers and engravers were called on to provide every kind of map and chart for the vast new territories being opened up overseas. As a consequence, the skills and expertise of the new-style cartographers soon enabled them to cover the world as well as the domestic market. Thomas Jefferys was such a man; he was responsible for a number of the new 1 in. to 1 mile county surveys and he issued an edition of Saxton's much battered zoo-year-old plates of the county maps, but he is better known for many fine maps of North America and the West Indies. After his death in 1771 his work was continued on the same lines by William Faden, trading as Faden and Jefferys. Other publishers such as Sayer and Bennett and their successors Laurie and Whittle published a prodigious range of maps, charts and atlases in the second half of the century. A major influence at this time was John Cary who, apart from organizing the first re-survey of post roads since Ogilby and subsequently printing the noted Travellers' Companion, was a prolific publisher of atlases and maps of every kind of all parts of the world. After starting work with Cary, and taking part in the new road survey, Aaron Arrowsmith set up in his own business and went on to issue splendid large-scale maps of many parts of the world. Both Cary's and Arrowsmith's plates were used by other publishers until far into the next century and, in turn, their work was taken up and developed by James Wyld (Elder and Younger) and Tallis and Co.

We have written in another chapter of the formation of the Ordnance Survey in 1791 and of the gradual decline during the first half of the nineteenth century in private map making, at least in so far as county maps were concerned, but a number of publishers fought a long rearguard action against the Board of Ordnance. The best known maps were by Henry Teesdale (1829-30), Christopher and John Greenwood, surveyors, who issued a very decorative atlas in 1834, Thomas Moule, a writer on heraldry and antiques (1830-36) and John Walker (1837) but by about the middle of the century few small-scale publishers survived and their business passed into the hands of large commercial concerns such as Bartholomews of Edinburgh and Philips of London who continue to this day.


GEORGE LILY fl. 1528-59

George Lily, a Catholic exile living in Italy in the service of Cardinal Pole, is generally acknowledged to have been the author of the first map of the British Isles printed from a copperplate engraving. It was first issued in 1546 in Rome with an edition in London in 1555 when Lily, no doubt, returned to England after the accession of Queen Mary. In the following years, up to 1589, various derivatives appeared in Rome and Venice but all are extremely rare, some being known by only one copy.

HUMPHREY COLE c. 1530-91

Goldsmith and instrument maker employed in the Royal Mint. Humphrey Cole is credited with producing the first map engraved in England, published in Archbishop Parker's Bishop's Bible, a notable edition of the day.


Humphrey Lhuyd graduated at Oxford and, after studying medicine, became private physician to Lord Arundel, at that time a patron of learning and the arts. This position gave Lhuyd access to geographical publications of the period and, apart from publishing works on a wide range of other subjects, he undertook the compilation of up-to-date maps of Wales and the British Isles. Eventually his name was brought to the attention of Ortelius in Antwerp, who used information which Lhuyd passed to him in early editions of the Theatrum. Lhuyd unfortunately died before completing his major work but his notes and maps were sent to Ortelius who included the maps in the 1573 edition of his Atlas and in subsequent editions 

Plate: HUMPHREY LHUYO Cambriae Typas Wales Antwerp 1587. The first printed map of Wales was published by Ortelius in the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum in 1573; there were many variants in the later editions.

CHRISTOPHER SAXTON c. 1543-c. 1610

Saxton, a Yorkshireman, was probably born in Dewsbury although he grew up in the nearby village of Dunningley to which he often makes reference. Certainly the Saxton family had a strong connection with Dewsbury, whose vicar, John Rudd, was an enthusiastic and skilled cartographer. At one stage Rudd evidently planned to carry out a countrywide survey as a preliminary to the production of a map of England and records show that Saxton, as a young man, travelled with him as an assistant. Saxton is thought to have studied surveying at Cambridge but, whether that was so or not, he was fortunate enough to come into contact with a Thomas Seckford, a wealthy and influential lawyer and Court official who was himself in the employ of Lord Burghley, the Lord Treasurer.

Working under Seckford's patronage, Saxton began a survey of England and Wales sometime after 1570 and the first maps are dated 15 74. In the early stages, after running into financial difficulties, he was granted by Queen Elizabeth a ten-year licence to make and market maps. The Privy Council order granting him this privilege instructed all Mayors and Justices of the Peace to 'See him conducted into any towre castle higher place or hill to view the country and that he mav be accompanied with one or two honest men such as do best know the countrey'. Little is known of Saxton's methods of survey but much of the work must have been based on earlier manuscript estate maps and probably on larger maps, such as the Gough map, long since lost, and of course on the results of John Rudd's surveys, the extent of which cannot be judged as none of his work has survived. Boundaries of 'hundreds' were not outlined, nor was there any indication of roads, although river bridges were shown. On completion of each county survey the maps were printed and sold separately (at fourpence each!), the complete atlas which eventually appeared in 1579 being the first printed set of county maps and one of the first national atlases produced anywhere. It was soon recognized as a work of major importance and formed, for the next two centuries, the basis on which practically all county maps of England and Wales were produced until the completion of the individual county surveys in the second half of the eighteenth century.

Having completed the County Atlas in 1579 it must have been only a short step to the publication in 1583 of the 20-sheet wall map of England and Wales of which only two copies are known, although there were later issues - details are given below. Thereafter, Saxton seems to have devoted himself to estate mapping, of which many manuscript records, but no printed maps, survive.

ROBERT ADAMS fl. 1588-90

An architect and surveyor who, apart from drawing a number of town plans, prepared famous charts showing the engagements day by day between the Spanish Armada and the English fleets. Subsequently the charts were used as the basis for the design of tapestries made for the House of Lords, but these, unhappily, were destroyed by fire in 1834. The charts are now best known from a 1739 publication by John Pine.

JOHN NORDEN 1548-1626

About the year 1590 Norden set out to prepare maps as part of a series of guidebooks for each county. His intention was to include roads, town plans, boundaries of hundreds, a gazetteer and grid references, all of which were lacking on Saxton's maps. In the event he was unfortunate in not getting adequate backing to cover so large a project and only two volumes of his work were published in his lifetime. Undeterred, he went on to draw a number of larger maps but again only three of these were printed. Even though so few of his maps reached publication, his techniques and methods of presentation made a lasting impression and later cartographers and publishers chose his work in preference to others whenever possible. Apart from maps Norden published a work entitled England: an Intended Guyde for English Travailers in which were included triangular tables showing distances between towns in each county. These were much copied and were used on the maps in A Direction for the English Traviller published by Matthew Simmons (1635).


EDWARD WRIGHT c. 1558-1615

After studying mathematics at Cambridge Edward Wright took part in a voyage to the Azores during which problems of navigation arising from the use of the old plane charts led him to make a study of Mercator's new method of map projection. As a result, he wrote a treatise Certaine Errors of Navigation which provided mathematical tables enabling comparatively unskilled navigators to make full use of Mercator's ideas. Wright was dubious of the efficacy of his system but on finding that Hondius and others were claiming his formulae as their own he published his book in 1599 and followed it almost immediately with a world chart. In effect, charts now in general use are drawn on the projection laid down by Wright.

GABRIEL TATTON fl. c. 1600-21

Produced important maps of America which were magnificently engraved by Benjamin Wright, one of the earliest English engravers, who later worked in Italy on Giovanni Magni's Atlas of Italy. Apart from his printed maps, Tatton also compiled a number of manuscript charts in portulan form of the Mediterranean (c.1600), the East Indies and the North Atlantic (c. 1602).

WILLIAM SMITH c. 1550-1618

Following the publication of Saxton's maps in the last quarter of the sixteenth century, other cartographers planned atlases on the same lines. Among these was William Smith, an antiquarian and Rouge Dragon at the College of Heralds, to whom the 12 maps noted below are now firmly attributed. Until comparatively recently their authorship was in some doubt and they were known as the 'Anonymous Maps'. The series, probably engraved in Amsterdam, was clearly intended to be an improvement on Saxton and Norden but presumably was not thought good enough to compete with Speed's maps then being prepared.


See Chapter 13.


Camden, historian and antiquarian, first published his Britannia, a description and history of Britain, in 1 86. Written in Latin, the book contained only a general map of the country but it had a wide circulation and eventually in 1607 an edition (the sixth) was published with a series of county maps with Latin text on the reverse. Further editions in English were published in i6io and 1637 but without text. The maps, mostly engraved by Wm Kip and Wm Hole, were based mainly on those of Saxton, but six were copied from Norden. The map of Pembroke is by George Owen and the general maps of England/Wales, Scotland and Ireland were probably taken from Mercator. Although not as decorative as Saxton's maps they are nevertheless very attractive with pleasing titles and ornament, but it should be noted that they are much smaller than Saxton's original maps.

Quite apart from containing these well-known maps, Camden's Britannia had a wide influence in its day on the work of other cartographers, not least in Holland. Miniature abridged versions were issued by W. J. Blaeu in 1617 and Joan Blaeu in 1639. Joan Blaeu also used the Latin text on the maps in his Atlas of Scotland issued in 1654. Later still, fresh translations appeared with new maps as far ahead as 1806.

Plate: WILLIAM CAMDEN Hertfordiae comitatus London (1607) 1610. Map of Hertfordshire, engraved by William Kip, published in Camden's Britannia. This map was one of the half dozen based on the work of John Norden; most of the remainder were taken from Saxton's atlas of 1579.

JOHN SPEED 1552-1629

To all those interested in cartography the name of John Speed is synonymous with early county maps of Great Britain. The reasons why this should be so are not far to seek - his predecessors, Saxton, Norden and one or two lesser figures had laid the groundwork for the first mapping of England and Wales in the expansive days of Queen Elizabeth but by the end of the sixteenth century the rate of development was accelerating, increasing overseas trade was linking ports with inland towns, travel was becoming more commonplace and in consequence a need arose to replace the then outdated maps prepared thirty or forty years before. Speed's maps, with their detailed town plans, boundaries of 'hundreds' and descriptive texts filled the needs of the time and quickly replaced the Saxton atlases generally in use until then. Not only were they more up to date but undoubtedly the beauty of the engraving, the fine lettering and the elaborate ornamentation appealed to the original buyers as much as they do to us today. The popularity of the new maps was immediate and fresh editions appeared throughout the i 6oos and, indeed, until about 1770 when the first moves towards a general 'Ordnance Survey' were being made.

John Speed was born at Farndon in Cheshire in 1552 and followed his father's trade as a tailor until about the age of fifty. He lived in London (probably in Moor-fields) and his wife Susanna bore him twelve sons and six daughters! His passion in life, however was not tailoring; from his early years he was a keen amateur historian and map maker, producing maps for the Queen and the Merchant Tailors Company, of which he was a Freeman. He joined the Society of Antiquaries and his interests came to the attention of Sir Fulke Greville, who subsequently made Speed an allowance to enable him to devote his whole attention to his research. As a reward for his earlier efforts, Queen Elizabeth granted him the use of a room in the Custom House.

Although Speed assembled much of his material from the earlier works of Saxton, Norden and others, a considerable part of the up-to-date information especially relating to the inset town plans depicted in his maps was first-hand. He must have wasted little time in his preparatory work for the first individual maps engraved for the Atlas were printed in i6o~-o6 and were on sale between then and i6io-i I, when the Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine and the History which it accompanied, appeared in complete form. This seems all the more remarkable when it is remembered that all Speed's draft material was taken to Amsterdam, there to be engraved by Jodocus Hondius, the plates subsequently being returned to London for printing.

In 1627, just before he died, Speed published A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World which, combined with the 1627 edition of the Theatre, became the first World Atlas produced by an Englishman.


A member and subsequently leader of the first successful party of English settlers in New England, Capt. Smith prepared accurate and very decorative maps of Virginia and New England which became the prototypes for numerous maps of the Colonies by Hondius, Jansson, Blaeu and others for more than half a century.

Editions of John Speed's Atlases

Published by

Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine

A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World

Miniature* 'Speed Atlas' (Peter Van Den Keere)

Miniature 'Prospect'

J. Sudbury and G. Humble

1611 (1st edition), 1614, 1616 Latin




George Humble

1623, 1627, 1631-32

1627 (1st edition), 1631-32

1627 (1st edition), 1631-32


William Humble

1646, 1650-51-52-53-54

1646, 1650-52-53-54


1646 (1st edition)

Roger Rea





Bassett & Chiswell





Christopher Browne

c. 1690-95




John & Henry Overton

c. 1710-43




C. Dicey & Co.

c. 1770





1. As the maps were dated 'i6io' for many years after the first edition, the publisher's imprint and the different settings of the text on the reverse are a useful guide to the date of issue; at least the imprint narrows the field. But once an atlas has been split it is often very difficult indeed to date a single map with any certaintv and in cases where accuracy is important we suggest reference to a specialist work containing map collations.

2. Normally, the earlier the edition, the more brilliant the impression, although a good impression mav still have been obtained from an old retouched plate.

3. Minor alterations and additions to place names were made from time to time.

4. The text in English, except for the i6i6 edition, was frequently re-set with different decorative 'woodcut' initials. (see Skelton, R. A., County Atlases of the British Isles !J79-1703)

5 Maps from the 1676 edition may be found without text and there is no text on issues after that date.

6. Roads were added to the 1743 edition.

* The purist may object to showing van den Keere's 'Miniature Speed' maps in this chart but the authors feel that their inclusion here sets them in context for those looking for all editions of Speed. A detailed history of these maps is given in Chapter 13 under Pieter van den Keere.

+ As late as the 1662 editions maps still bore the imprint of John Sudbury and George Humble.

++ Included new maps of Canaan, East Indies, Russia, Carolina, New England, Virginia, Jamaica/Barbados.

+ Apart from 4 editions of the Atlas published between the years c. 1710 and 1743 (all extremely rare) Henry Overton also issued Speed's maps in other composite atlases.

Plate: JOHN SPEED The Countie Westmorland London 1611 (1676) - First published in Speed's Theatre of ihe Empire of Grea iBritaine. This copy is from the 1676 edition by Bassett and Chiswell.


In 1612-13 Drayton, an Elizabethan poet and friend of Shakespeare, published his life's work, a book of songs called Poly-Olbion or Chorographical Description of all the Tracts, Rivers, Mountains, Forests and other parts of the Renowned Isle of Great Britain containing 18 illustrative maps; a second part bringing the number up to 30 followed in 1622. These regional maps, believed to be engraved by William Hole, are allegorical in nature and few geographical features are precisely shown. The whole emphasis is on the rivers of Britain from which nymphs and deities spring; in the countryside shepherds and huntsmen disport themselves. Here and there a few towns and cities are included symbolized by figures crowned with castles and spires. Although they are quite the most curious maps of the counties ever issued and have little geographical value they are very decorative and charmingly illustrate the romantic side of the Elizabethan age.


SAMUEL PURCHAS c. 1575-1626

Samuel Purchas wrote very popular accounts, accompanied by maps, of the travels and voyages of the early navigators and explorers based largely on the writings of his predecessors, Gian. Ramusio and Richard Hakluyt. His Purchas his Pilgrimes contained a Treatise of the North West passage to the South Sea through the Continent of Virginia by Henry Briggs (fl. 1625) a noted. scholar of the time. This was illustrated by a map, The North part of America, dated 1625, engraved by R. Elstracke which was famous as one of the first maps to show California as an island.

Plate: MICHAEL DRAYTON Yorkshire. This was one of the additional maps included in the 2nd edition of Drayton's Poly-Olbion published in 1622.


Heylin was a lecturer in geography who later became a churchman and chaplain to the King. His Cosmographie was a popular work issued in several editions.

JOHN BILL fl. 1591-1630

John Bill was a publisher and bookseller who worked in London from around 1591 until his death in 1630. He was apprenticed to John Norton who was three times Master of the Stationers Company. Born in Shropshire, Bill was commissioned by Sir Thomas Bodley (the founder of the Bodleian Library, Oxford) to travel abroad and purchase books. A frequent visitor to the Frankfurt Book Fair, he became a shareholder in the King's Printing House in about 1617, being succeeded by his son, also John Bill, at the time of his death on 5 May 1630.

The only two publications containing maps with which he seems to have been associated after establishing himself as a publisher in 1604, were the English text version of the Ortelius Atlas in 16066 (with John Norton) and The Abridgement of Camden's Britania in 1626. The maps in the latter book, based on the surveys of Christopher Saxton, are the first English and Welsh County maps to show latitude and longitude based on a prime meridian running through the island of St Michael's in the Azores following Mercator's custom. Although similar in size to the Pieter van den Keere County maps the engraver is not known; their scarcity is accounted for by the fact that the book was never re-published after its first appearance in 1626.


Printer and bookseller, notable for the publication of A Directionfor the English Traviller, the earliest English road book with maps, which were engraved by Jacob van Langeren. The book contained 37 thumbnail maps, copied from the set of playing cards issued in 1590, combined with triangular tables showing distances between towns in each county, taken from Norden's An Intended Guyde for English Travailers (1625). Rivers form the main feature of the maps and in the first three editions towns were indicated only by initial letters. There were later editions on a larger scale from 1643 onwards by Thomas Jenner and John Garrett (fl. 1667-1718)


Born in Prague, Hollar spent some time in Frankfurt, where he was taught engraving by Matthaus Merian, before coming to England in 1636. In London, under the patronage of the Earl of Arundel, he became sufficiently well known to be appointed 'Iconographer' to the King and produced an enormous number of engravings on every kind of subject. In the field of cartography he is best known for the adaptation of Saxton's large map of England and Wales (1583) which he re-engraved on 6 sheets, published by Thomas Jenner in 1644 and known as the 'Quartermaster 5 Map'. Apart from this, he engraved plans of London before and after the Great Fire, and many maps for Blome, Stent, Overton, Ogilby and others, a few of which are detailed below.

THOMAS JENNER fl. 1618-73

Printer and publisher, is well known for two cartographic works, the re-issue of Matthew Simmons' A Direction for the English Traviller and a map of England and Wales known as the Quartermaster's Map. The first he issued in 1643, having re-worked the plates used by Simmons in 1635-36, the maps being redrawn on double the original scale with place names shown in full. It seems likely that these maps were hurriedly issued to meet the demands of the armies in the Civil War: certainly the Quartermaster's Map was. This was based on Saxton's very large-scale map of 15 83, reduced to six sheets, 'portable for every man's pocket', engraved by Wenceslaus Hollar.


JAMES MOXON (the Elder) & JAMES MOXON (the Younger) fl. 1646-1701

The Moxon family were active as engravers over a long period and produced globes as well as maps. Joseph was known especially for his work A Tutor to Astronomy and Geography published in 1659 which went through several editions.

JOAN BLAEU 1596-1673

See Chapter 13 and Appendix B.


Even by the standards of his time, Sir Robert Dudley was a remarkable character, whether as adventurer, scientist, mathematician, naval architect or navigator. He was the illegitimate son of one of Queen Elizabeth's favourites, the Earl of Leicester, who was eventually induced to acknowledge Dudley as heir. Dudley claimed the titles of Duke of Northumberland and Earl of Warwick and was known by them throughout his years in Italy.

At the age of twenty-one he voyaged to the West Indies with an expedition in the Earwig and the Bear, which combined harassment of Spanish shipping with exploration of the coast of Guiana. On return to England he took a prominent part in the Earl of Essex's raid on Cadiz in 1596 and received a knighthood for his services but, soon afterwards, matrimonial problems led to loss of favour at Court and to self-imposed exile. He spent the next few years travelling in Italy and finally, in 1 6o ~, settled in Florence where his skills soon brought him fame and the patronage of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. In their service he spent the following thirty years compiling his monumental sea atlas Dell' Arcano del Mare (Secrets of the Sea), a 6-volume work including 2 volumes of maps and charts and 4 volumes covering the whole field of navigation, astronomical tables, shipbuilding and kindred subjects. Although produced in Italy it was the first sea atlas by an Englishman and the first in which all the charts were drawn on Mercator's projection. Material for so splendid a work must have been drawn from many sources; in addition to his own experience, it is known that he had at his disposal the logs kept by his brother-in-law, Thomas Cavendish, the circumnavigator, and other information on the latest discoveries provided by John Davis and Abraham Kendal, famous explorers of the time.

His charts were severely but beautifully engraved by Antonio Lucini who stated that he spent twelve years on the task and used 5,000 lb. of copper in the process.

JAN JANSSON 1588-1664

See Chapter 13 and Appendix B.

PETER STENT ft. 1642-65

Print and map seller, Stent made a notable contribution to map history by acquiring and preserving a considerable stock of old map plates including many prepared for William Smith (the 'Anonymous' series of county maps), Speed, van den Keere and others, as well as Symonson's Kent, Norden's Hamshire and engravings by William Hollar. Although he himself published comparatively few of them, his stock passed, after his death, to John Overton and formed the basis of the Overton Atlases which continued in use until the middle of the eighteenth century.

Plate: JOHN BILL The Bishoprick of Durham. A county map published in i626 in Bill's The Abridgement of Camden's Britania with the Maps of the severall Shires of England and Wales.


An officer in the service of the Virginia Company for many years, Farrer published a famous map of Virginia giving much new, although not very accurate, detail. The map is especially notable for its portrait of Sir Francis Drake set against the Pacific coast and the comment that the 'Indian Sea' could be reached 'in 10 days march with 50 foote and 30 hors-men from the head of Jeames River' .


Printer, print and map seller, Walton was one of the first publishers to produce sheet maps of England and Wales showing the road system, even before the appearance of Ogilby's Britannia. Although he published comparatively few maps, his stock of plates was considerable and may have included those of Speed's county maps.

Plate: PIETER VAN DEN KEERE Lancaster: Pembrokeshire London. Examples of the small county maps known as 'Miniature Speeds', originally compiled by van den Keere and subsequently published between 1627 and 1676 in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland described and abridged from a farr Larger Voloume done by John Speed.


SAMUEL THORNTON (brother) fl. 1703-39

As a map engraver and hydrographer, Thornton was one of the best-known figures of his time, being appointed Hydrographer to the Hudson Bay Company and to the East India Company. He worked closely for many years with John Seller, William Fisher (fl. 1669-91), Richard Mount, Robert Morden and Philip Lea in preparing and publishing a number of well-known atlases and charts. In particular, when John Seller was beset by difficulties in completing the later volumes of the English Pilot, Thornton took over and subsequently published Book III (1703) and Book IV (1689), the latter in conjunction with William Fisher. He also assisted with the issue of Seller's Atlas Maritimus (c. 1675) and later issued an atlas of his own under the same title.

JOHN OVERTON 1640-1713

HENRY OVERTON ft. 1707-51

From about 1670 John Overton published a number of atlases without title made up from old and revised plates of maps by William Smith (the 'Anonymous Maps'), Blaeu, Jansson and some copies of Speed's maps. Later he acquired all the Speed plates then in existence and from these his son, to whom the business passed in 1707, produced several editions between about 1710 and 1743.


Ogilby, one of the more colourful figures associated with cartography, started life as a dancing master and finished as the King's Cosmographer and Geographic Printer. In the course of an eventful life he built a theatre in Dublin, became the Deputy Master of Revels in Ireland, translated various Greek and Latin works and built up a book publishing business: in the process he twice lost all he possessed, first in a shipwreck during the Civil Wars and then in the Great Fire. Even this disaster he turned to advantage by being appointed to the Commission of Survey following the fire. Finally he turned to printing again and in a few short years organized a survey of all the main post roads in the country and published the first practical road Atlas, the Britannia, which was to have far-reaching effects on future map making (see also Chapter ~). The maps, engraved in strip form, give details of the roads themselves and descriptive notes of the country on either side, each strip having a compass rose to indicate changes in direction. He was the first to use the standard mile of 1,760 yards.

The Britannia was to have been part of a much larger project in 5 or 6 volumes, covering maps of all the counties, a survey of London and various town plans as well as maps of other parts of the world, but this proved too great a task and only the works detailed below were issued.

JOHN SELLER ft. 1660-97

John Seller, appointed Hydrographer to Charles II in 1671, was a maker of mathematical instruments and globes as well as a publisher of marine and terrestrial atlases. His output was considerable and wide-ranging, covering individual charts and maps and complete atlases, but throughout his life he was beset with financial problems which limited the scope of his bigger projects. Of these, the English Pilot, the first part of which was published in 1671, was the most successful, but he was able to complete only the first volume without assistance. The details of issue of the later volumes and their subsequent editions are too complicated to be covered here; suffice to say that the work was continued in one form or another for over a century, being issued under many different names including John and Samuel Thornton, W. Fisher, C. Price, Richard and William Mount, Thomas Page and Davidson. Although the English Pilot was a popular work, Seller used Dutch sources and often actual Dutch copper plates which he adapted for the market by the use of English titles and details. As many of these plates were up to fifty years old their accuracy left much to be desired, a fact which directly inspired the call for a new coastal survey subsequently completed by Captain Greenvile Collins. Later, in 1695, Seller published an Atlas of County Maps, the Anglia Contracta.

English Pilot

RICHARD BLOME fl. 1669-1705

Heraldic writer and cartographer, Blome flourished in the latter half of the seventeenth century. He was a prolific, but not at all an original, worker and indeed was frequently accused of plagiarism although it must be said for him that usually he made no attempt to hide his sources. His maps were attractive and quaintly designed and they still retain their charm.

His first series of county maps, the Britannia, based on the latest editions of Speed, was published in 1673 but was not a success; it was followed in i68i by an issue of smaller maps entitled Speed's Maps Epitomiz'd. These, mostly engraved by Wenceslaus Hollar and Richard Palmer (fl. 1680-1700), are embellished with dedications to county dignitaries which were amended or sometimes erased in later editions.

Plate: THOMAS JENNER Huntingdonshire. Map from A Direction for the English Traviller first published in 1643 using enlarged re-engraved maps originally issued in 1635-36 by Matthew Simmons.

ROBERT MORDEN fl. 1668-1703

Morden occupied premises in New Cheapside and Combill where he carried on business under the sign of The Atlas' as a map and book seller and maker of instruments and globes. It cannot be claimed that he was an outstanding cartographer and his work was often much criticized but he produced interesting sets of geographical playing cards (see Chapter 9), maps of various parts of the world and the county maps for Camden's Britannia, for which he is best remembered. These were issued in 1695 as part of a new translation of the Britannia by Dr Edmund Gibson and subsequently were re-issued a number of times up to 1772.


A publisher and seller of maps and globes who is known to have been in business at a number of London addresses between about 1671 and 1700. The son of a Warwickshire baker, his earliest known work was a book on Astronomy published in 1669 in conjunction with Robert Morden with whom he later published and sold the famous playing card maps. In his own right he became renowned as the publisher of a series of two-sheet maps based on the originals by the eminent French cartographer, Nicolas Sanson. He is also known for a very rare copy of a large road map (620 x 790 mm) of England and Wales by Wenceslaus Hollar which has been tentatively dated between 1669 and 1676.

JOHN ADAMS fl. 1670-96

Within two or three years of the publication of Ogilby's Britannia, John Adams compiled a 12-sheet road map showing distances between cities and market towns in England and Wales, which was based on Saxton's large-scale map of 1583. This was published between 1677 and 1679 and was followed by his Index Villaris, a gazetteer providing supplementary detail. Soon afterwards, no doubt influenced by the scientific projects of Jean Dominique Cassini and Jean Picard in France, Adams conceived the idea of carrying out a geodetic survey of England and Wales but, in spite of receiving encouragement from the Royal Society, he failed to obtain financial backing. However, in 1685, as a result of further surveying, he did issue a 2-sheet map, bordered with distance tables, which was much more manageable and accurate than the original 12-sheet map. His maps were important in their day and were used by Henry Overton and Philip Lea among others.


Dr Plot, an Oxford historian, planned to write A Natural History of England but only the volumes for Oxfordshire and Staffordshire were completed; both include very decorative maps of the counties.

Plate: ROBERT MORDEN Monmouth London 1695 . County map included in a new version of William Camden's Britannia published in several editions between 1695 and 1772.

MOSES PITY fl. I654-96

A London bookseller who planned, in association with Job. van Waesbergen, a large world atlas in 1 2 volumes on the basis of the Blaeu/Jansson atlases but in the event the task proved too costly and only 4 volumes with maps were completed; indeed, the undertaking ruined him and he was imprisoned for two years for debt. The only map by Pitt himself is of the Arctic regions, entitled A Descriphon 'fPlaces next to the North Pole.

FRANCIS LAMB fl. 1670-I 700

Lamb was an engraver working in Newgate Street in the City, employed by most of the map publishers of his time, including Blome, Ogilby, Seller and Morden. His most important work, the pocket atlas of Ireland, published by him in conjunction with Robert Morden and William Berry, was a straightforward reduction, with minor alterations, of Sir William Petty's atlas of 1685 . It was as popular as the original work and further editions were issued until 1732.

WILLIAM HACK c. 1656-1708

Following a conventional apprenticeship as a map maker to a member of the Drapers' Guild, William Hack moved to a more adventurous life and is thought by some to have sailed with a notorious privateer, Bartholomew Sharpe. Whether this was so or not, Hack later made manuscript copies of a Spanish book of rutters - sailing instructions, sea charts and maps - covering South America, captured by Sharpe from the Spanish in the course of an expedition raiding the West Coast of South America. The Atlas was presented to Charles II and was subsequently of great value to English navigators. Apart from these copies, Hack also compiled a very large number of other manuscript charts and maps of America, the Indian Ocean and the Far East bound in 'atlas' form, possibly about 1,600 altogether, but none was engraved or printed.

PHILIP LEA fl. 1683-1700

A cartographer and map publisher with premises in Cheapside, particularly well known for his re-issue of Saxton's Atlas of England and Wales. Apart from this, Lea built up a very considerable business working in conjunction with his contemporaries, Robert Morden, John Overton, John Seller and others revising and re-engraving older maps as well as producing many new maps of his own.


One of the great names in the history of astronomy and cartography. A celebrated mathematician, Fellow of the Royal Society, Astronomer Royal in succession to Flamsteed, his name is perpetuated in the name of the comet, the orbit of which he calculated. As a young man he spent two years in St Helena taking observations and in the years 1698-1700 took part in voyages in the North and South Atlantic studying meteorology, magnetic variations and ocean currents. The charts he issued as a result of his studies were widely used and reproduced.


Captain Collins was an officer in the Royal Navy and during his service he took part in an expedition with Sir John Narborough to the Straits of Magellan and along the Chilean coast. He was master of the frigate Charles from 1676 to 1679 and saw service in the wars with Algiers, later being promoted to Commander. Although little more is known about him he must have been an outstanding personality for even before his great survey he was appointed 'Hydrographer to the King' and made a Younger Brother of Trinity House.

We have written in Chapter 6 of the events in the period from i66o to i68o when it became evident that a complete new survey of the coasts of great Britain was required and consequently in i68i Charles II issued a proclamation appointing 'Captain Collins Commander of the Merlin Yacht to make a survey of the sea coasts of the Kingdom by measuring all the sea coasts with a chain and taking all the bearings of the Headlands' . This formidable and costly project, the first systematic survey of British coastal waters, was completed in about eight years and the resulting Great Britain's Coasting Pilot containing 48 charts was published in 1693 arid finally replaced the old Dutch charts on which the English had relied for so long.

RICHARD MOUNT fl. 1684-1722



The ramifications of the families and successors of Richard Mount and Thomas Page are too involved to concern us here; we need only say that the business founded by Richard Mount had a long history of chart publishing, first under his own name and later under the joint names of Mount and Page, continuing through the younger members of their families well into the nineteenth century. Richard Mount published the early editions of the Great Britain's Coasting Pilot (Greenvile Collins) and he and his successors were involved in the issue of many editions of the English Pilot (John Seller).

EDWARD WELLS 1667-1727

A mathematician and teacher of geography, Wells issued in 1700 A New Sett of Maps dedicated to William, Duke of Gloucester, who was then a student of geography at Oxford; unfortunately the Duke died, aged eleven, in July of the same year. The maps, highly regarded when issued for their accuracy, were bold and colourful but show comparatively little detail. His map of North America was one of the last to show California as an island.

HERMAN MOLL fl. 1678-1732

A Dutch ιmigrι who came to London about 1680 and worked there as an engraver, later setting up his own business and becoming, after the turn of the century, the foremost map publisher in England. His prolific output covered a wide range of loose maps of all parts of the world, varying from miniatures to very decorative large maps as well as atlases. His work enjoyed a high reputation and much of it was copied by other publishers, a fact of which he was always very conscious.

Plate: EDWARD WELLS A New Map of the Terraqueous Globe according to the Ancient Discoveries. World map from A New Selt of Maps published in 1700 dedicated to thc young Duke of Gloucester who died in the same year. The vignette at the bottom right depicts the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford where the Atlas was printed.

JOHN HARRIS fl. 1686-1746

CHARLES PRICE c. 1665-1733

Price, a land surveyor and cartographer, seems to have had an unsettled career and he is known more by his association with other cartographers and publishers than for his own output. For a time he worked in association with John Senex, then in partnership with Jeremiah Seller and, later, for a short period with George Willdey. With all these he published a number of very decorative, and now quite rare, maps.

GEORGE WILLDEY fl. c. 1695-1733

Map seller and publisher about whom comparatively little is known. Apart from publishing a number of maps and atlases at his premises known as 'The Great Toy Shop next to the Dogg Tavern, the corner of Ludgate Street near St Paul's', he also sold there globes, spectacles, snuff and 'other useful Curiosities'. For a time he was in association with Charles Price, a number of whose maps he used in his atlases. He is best known for the re-issue of Saxton's Atlas of England and Wales, the maps bearing his imprint. It is thought that this edition was intended primarily for travelling purposes, which may account for its extreme rarity.


JOHN SENEX fl. 1690-1740

Publisher and engraver, John Senex was a contemporary of Herman Moll and no doubt, to some extent, a rival, though his output was rather smaller. In conjunction with Charles Price and James Maxwell ("". 1708-14) he produced some fine maps of the world and the continents as well as loose maps of various countries. Apart from these he seems to have had a particular interest in road maps and in 1719 he issued a corrected edition of Ogilby's Britannia in miniature form which went through many editions.

THOMAS BOWLES fl. c. 1714-c. 1763 JOHN BOWLES 1701-79


BOWLES and CARVER fl. 1794-1832

The members of the Bowles family were publishers and map sellers rather than cartographers, their considerable output over a century or more covering many of the works of their contemporaries. A completely comprehensive list of these is beyond the scope of this volume but their best-known publications are listed below.


1714-67 THOMAS BOWEN ft. 1767-90

Emanuel Bowen, map and print seller, was engraver to George II and to Louis XV of France and worked in London from about 1714 onwards producing some of the best and most attractive maps of the century. He had plans for completing a major County Atlas but, finding the task beyond his means, joined with Thomas Kitchin to publish The Large English Atlas. Many of the maps were issued individually from 1749 onwards and the whole atlas was not finally completed until 1760. With one or two exceptions they were the largest maps of the counties to appear up to that time (690 x 510mm) and are unusual in that the blank areas round each map are filled with historical and topographical detail which makes fascinating and amusing reading. The atlas was re-issued later in reduced size. Apart from his county maps and atlases of different parts of the world he also issued (with John Owen fl. 1720) a book of road maps based, as was usual at that time, on Ogilby but again incorporating his own style of historical and heraldic detail.

In spite of his royal appointments and apparent prosperity he died in poverty and his son, who carried on the business, was no more fortunate and died in a Clerkenwell workhouse in 1790.

THOMAS TAYLOR fl. 1670-1721

Plate: EMANUEL BOWEN Rutlandshire London 1756. County map published in the Universal Magazine. 




HENRY POPPLE fl. 1732-33

Produced the best map up to that date (1733) of the North American continent, consisting of a key map and 20 individual sheets.

Plate: THOMAS BADESLADE Cumberland. From a series of small county maps engraved by W. H. Toms issued in 1741-42 entitled Chorographia Britannica, said to have been produced for an intended royal tour by George II


Surveyor and engineer who prepared the maps for Chorographia Britannica, a series of small county maps produced for George II for an intended royal tour of England and Wales. Each map, engraved by W. H. Toms, has a column of historical and topical notes of great local interest.

GEORGE BICKHAM (Senior) 1684-1758

GEORGE BICKHAM (Junior) 1735-67

George Bickham (Senior) was a noted author and engraver of many works on penmanship including The Universal Penman, claimed to be the finest English book on calligraphy. His son was equally well known as an engraver and publisher and between them they published, in '743, a very beautifully produced volume, The British Monarchy, consisting of descriptive text and historical notes illustrated with 5 rather sketchy 'maps' . The better known bird's-eye perspective views were engraved by George Bickham (Junior) between the years 1750 and 1754.



JOHN COWLEY fl. 1733-44


JOHN ROCQUE c. 1704-62

Little is known of John Rocque's early life except that he was of Huguenot extraction and was living and working in London as an engraver from about 1734. His early experience in preparing plans of great houses and gardens for the nobility led him to take up large-scale surveying for which he developed a distinctive and effective style involving new ways of indicating land use and hill contours. He is best known for a very large-scale plan of London published in 1746 and for a pocket set of county maps, The English Traveller, issued in the same year. He spent some years in Ireland surveying for estate maps and in 1756 he published a well-known Exact Survey of the City of Dublin.

THOMAS JEFFERYS c. 1695-1771

An outstanding cartographer and publisher whose productions ranged from 1 in. to 1 mile county maps to some of the finest maps of the tiine of North America and the West Indies. These are regarded as his most important works although unfortunately many of them were only published after his death by Sayer and Bennett or by his business successor, William Faden. He was appointed Geographer to the Prince of Wales and to George III but, as so often happened in the eighteenth century, Jefferys enjoyed a very high reputation for his work and yet failed to obtain much material reward and, indeed, was bailed out of bankruptcy at one stage during the production of his American atlases


Working at premises at The Star in London's Holborn as an engraver and publisher, Kitchin produced a very wide range of books on many subjects as well as topographical work. For many years he worked in conjunction with Emanuel Bowen and Thomas Jefferys and apart from the atlases he published with them, he produced maps of every sort for magazines and books on history and the antiquities.

T. OSBORNE fl. 1748

LEWIS MORRIS fl. 1737-48


Plate: LEWIS MORRIS Coast near Aulford Haven, Pembrokeshire. A chart from Plans of harbonrs, bars, bays and roads in St George's Channel published in 1748. This work was revised and re-issued by Morris's son, William, in 1801.

ISAAC TAYLOR 1730-1807

JOHN GIBSON ft. 1750-92


Born in Virginia, John Mitchell studied medicine at Edinburgh, later returning to his birthplace where he practised as a physician, becoming well known not only as a doctor but also as a botanist and surveyor. About 1746 ill health forced him to return to England, where he compiled a map of the Colonies which, with official support, later became the famous Map 'f/he British and French Dominions in North America. The map, showing the British and French Colonies, was used in the peace negotiations between Britain and the American colonies in 1782-83 and later in discussions on the boundary settlement between the USA and Canada. Even as late as 1843 it was still accepted as an accurate and reliable map.


JOHN BENNETT fl. 1770-84

From premises in Fleet Street, Robert Sayer traded as a print seller and map publisher either under his own name between the years 1751 and 1770 and 1784 and 1794, or in partnership with John Bennett as Sayer and Bennett in the intervening years. During his long business life he published a large number of maps by his contemporaries, Kitchin, Jefferys, Bellin, d'Anville and others as well as a re-issue of Saxton's Britannia of 1583. On his death his stock was taken over by Laurie and Whittle who re-issued his material in many varied editions .

G. ROLLOS fl. 1754-89

W. RIDER fl. 1764


In 1759 the Royal Society of Arts, then known as the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, offered an award of £100 for the best original 1 in. to 1 mile county surveys. Donn was the first successful applicant with a 12-sheet map of Devonshire, engraved by Thos Jefferys, published in 1765.

JOHN ELLIS fl. 1750-96


JOHN ANDREWS fl. 1766-1809


As hydrographer to the East India Company from 1779 to '795 and then to the Admiralty, Dalrymple produced something like 1,000 maps and charts of the lands bordering the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. He was obsessed with the idea of the existence of a great southern continent and many of his charts reflected his determination to prove his case, even long after Captain Cook had shown that inhabited lands did not exist in the far south. It would not be practicable to attempt to list here all his work but the following are some of his more important collections of charts; many others were bound to meet special requirements.

P. RUSSELL fl. 1769

C. DICET AND Co. fl. 1770



This is not the place to enlarge on the life of the greatest British navigator, but no list of cartographers would be complete without including details of his Pacific charts.

SAMUEL DUNN fl. 1774-94


Following the death of Thomas Jefferys in 1771 William Faden took over and continued the business, trading as Faden and Jefferys and producing excellent maps well into the nineteenth century. He was particularly interested in the mapping of North America for which he was as well known as his predecessor. In addition to the atlases mentioned below, he issued many special collections of large-scale and regional maps prepared for customers' individual requirements. All his work was of splendid quality and he was chosen to print the four sheets of the first Ordnance Survey map - of Kent - which was published in 1801. His business was taken over by James Wyld who re-issued many of his maps.


As the first Surveyor General of Bengal from 1767 to 1777 Rennell directed a comprehensive survey of the East India Company's lands and subsequently published maps of Bengal and other provinces followed by The Bengal Atlas in 1779. Considering the vastness of the areas covered, the difficulties encountered, and the speed with which it was accomplished, Rennell's mapping in India was a remarkable achievement and stood the test of time well into the next century. Indeed, he should be counted among our most able cartographers and, although ill health made it impossible for him to continue his practical survey work after 1777, he left his mark as adviser to the Indian Survey Office for something like half a century.


Of Swiss extraction, des Barres became a British subject early in life and trained as a military engineer, subsequently serving with the British Army at the Seige of Quebec where he came to the attention of General Wolfe. After the fall of Quebec he surveyed parts of the coasts of Nova Scotia and the principal harbours in Newfoundland and then, on Admiralty orders, undertook a ten-year survey of the coasts of New England as well as Nova Scotia. Returning to England in 1773 he supervised the engraving and publication of his work which was issued about 1784 as The Atlantic Neptune, now recognized as one of the finest collections of charts and coloured views ever published. Copies vary very greatly in content from edition to edition. In later life des Barres was appointed Lieut. Governor of Cape Breton Province and Governor of Prince Edward Island. He died at the age of 103 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

JOHN HARRISON fl. 1784-91


ALEXANDER HOGG fl. 1778-1805

Published many works on antiquities which included re-issues of maps by Thomas Kitchin, Thomas Conder and others.

ROBERT WILKINSON fl. 1785-1825

THOMAS CONDER fl. 1775-1801

An engraver whose work is found in a number of historical works, particularly Henry Boswell's Antiquities of England and Wales (1786). He also engraved maps in Walpoole's The New British Traveller (1784).

JOHN CART c. 1754-1835

Many writers regard John Cary as one of the finest of English cartographers. His maps, of course, are not decorative in the seventeenth-century sense but he came on the scene at a time when the large-scale county maps had recently become available, roads were being used as never before and accurate geographical information from distant countries was being received in greater and greater detail. His fine craftsmanship and ability as an engraver enabled him to make the fullest use of these sources and from them he produced a wide range of maps of great accuracy and clarity. His work covered not only county maps but world atlases, road maps, town and canal plans, sea charts and terrestrial and celestial globes. His business was eventually taken over by G. F. Cruchley ~. 1822-75) who continued to use Cary's engravings throughout his life and it is believed that some plates were still in use in the present century. In this work we can give only a summary of his more important publications.

Plate: JOHN CARY Cambridgeshire London 1787. An example of the beautifully engraved maps in Gary's New and Correct English Atlas which was issued in many editions.

ROBERT LAURIE c. 1755-1836



Trading as:



R. H. LAURIE 1818-c. 1903

Carried on business from about 1790, taking over the stock of Robert Sayer's publishing house in 1792-93. Their prolific output covered maritime atlases and charts as well as general atlases and sheet maps, including many revisions of works by Kitchin, Jefferys, Faden, Sayer and Bennett, and others.


AARON ARROWSMITH (son) ft. 1820-30


JOHN ARROWSMITH (nephew) 1790-1873

Aaron Arrowsmith was the founder of one of the leading London map publishing houses in the early part of the nineteenth century. He came to London about 1770 from Durham, his birthplace, and worked as a surveyor for John Cary for whom he carried out some of the road surveys which subsequently appeared in Cari's Travellers' Companion in 1790. In that year he set up his own business in Long Acre and soon established an international reputation as a specialist in compiling maps recording the latest discoveries in all parts of the world. He produced, and constantly revised, a great number of large-scale maps, many issued singly as well as in atlas form. After his death the business passed to his sons, Aaron and Samuel, and later to his nephew John who maintained his uncle's reputation, becoming a founder member of the Royal Geographical Society. In all, the Arrowsmiths issued over 700 maps and it is possible, therefore, to quote only a few of their major works. Their maps of Australia and New Zealand were particularly noteworthy.

BENJAMIN BAKER fl. 1766-1824


WILLIAM HEATHER fl. 1765-1812

For nearly fifty years from 1765 William Heather was a noted publisher and dealer in charts at a time when London had become the most important centre of map production. Charles Dickens wrote in Dombey and Son of the 'Navigation Warehouse' and 'Naval Academy', under which names Heather's business address in Leadenhall St was known. The business was eventually taken over by J. W. None and continued to prosper until late in the nineteenth centurv.

JOHN LODGE fl. 1754-96



JOSIAH NEELE (son) fl. 1826-45

JOHN LUFEMAN fl. 1776-1820

CHARLES SNITH (and Son) fl. 1800-52

G. COLE and J. ROPER fl. 1801-10

EDWARD MOGG fl. 1804-48

A publisher and engraver who specialized in maps for guides of London and its surroundings. He also issued road maps of England and Wales.

ROBERT MILLER fl. 1810-21

JAMES WALLIS fl. 1810-20


JOHN THOMSON (and Co.) fl. 1814-69

ROBERT ROWE C. 1775-1843


In association with the explorer, George Bass (d. 1812 Flinders surveyed the coasts of New South Wales and was the first to circumnavigate Australia. His remarkably accurate surveys still form the basis of many Australian coastal charts.



None, the most celebrated mathematician and hydrographer of his day, carried on business in Leadenhall Street, having taken over from William Heather as a publisher of naval books and dealer in maps and sea charts. The firm traded under the name of None and Wilson until about 1830 when None retired but it continued in business until the end of the century. None's books on navigation, particularly his Epitome of Practical Navigation (i 8o 5), became standard works and went through many editions.

EDWARD LANGLEY fl. 1800-35


JOHN GREENWOOD fl. 1821-40

The Greenwoods were among the notable firms of publishers in the period 1820-50 who attempted to produce large-scale maps of the counties in competition with the Ordnance Survey Office. In the long run their efforts were unsuccessful but before giving up the struggle they published between the years 1817 and 1830 a series of splendid large-scale folding maps of most of the counties based on their own surveys. Unfortunately, they were unable to complete the series and instead, in 1834, published an Atlas of the Counties of England, a very handsome work, often hand coloured, each map having a vignette of an important building in the county.


G. ELLIS fl. 1819

JAMES WYLD (the Elder) 1790-I 836

JAMES WYLD (the Younger) 1812-87

The Wylds, father and son, were highly successful map publishers in London for well over half a century. The Elder succeeded to William Faden's business, taking over his stock in 1823, and from then onwards he, and later his son, issued a large number of atlases and maps, including re-issues of Faden's maps - all noted for their excellence. In turn they both held the appointment of Geographer Royal, and the Elder was also a founder member of the Royal Geographical Society.

Plate: ORDNANCE SURVEY Isle of Wight and part of Hampshire Detail from the Ordnance Survey Map issued on 1 June I810 by Lt.-Col. Mudge, Tower.

WILLIAM LEWIS fl. 1819 36

SAMUEL LEIGH fl. 1820 42

WILLIAM DARTON fl. 1810-37

W. H. REID fl. 1820

THOMAS MOULE Oxfordshire. Title page dated 1830 from a part of Moules English Counties Delineated, one of the most popular atlases of the day.

A BRYANT fl. 1822-35

JOHN WALKERfi. 1759-1830


JAMES DUNCAN ft. 1826-33

HENRY TEESDALE (and Co.) fl. 1828-45

JAMES PIGOT AND CO. fl. 1829-35


(SDUK) 1829-c. 1876

SYDNEY HALL fl. 1818-60

THOMAS MOULE 1784-1851

Thomas Moule was a writer on heraldry and antiquities born in 1784 at St Marylebone in London. He carried on business as a bookseller in Duke Street, Grosvenor Square, from about 1816 until 1823, when he became Inspector of 'blind' letters in the General Post Office, his principal duties being the deciphering of such addresses as were illegible to the ordinary clerks. He also held, for many years, the office of Chamber-keeper in the Lord Chamberlain's Department which entitled him to an official residence in the Stable Yard of St James's Palace, where he died on 14 January 1851.

The well-known series of County Maps which are known as 'Moules' were first published in separate sections for each county in 1830-32 and they were then published in collected form in a two-volume work: The English Counties Deleneated: or a Topographical Description of England: Illustrated by a Complete Series of County Maps by Thomas Moule: London: Published by George Virtue 1836. Further editions were brought out by Virtue (some with original hand-colouring of the maps) until about 1839. In 1841 the maps appeared in a publication entitled Barclays Complete and Universal English Dictionari with additions to the original plates showing the railways which had been constructed. Normally maps which come from this work are very close trimmed, often into the printed surface, as the format of the dictionary was slightly smaller than the original publication. They are the last series of decorative county maps to be published and are an elegant addition to any collection of maps.

THOMAS DUGDALE fl. 1835-60

A FULLARTON AND CO. fl. 1840-70

TALLIS AND CO.fl. I838-51

London map publishers who traded under various names: L. Talus, Talus and Co., John Talus, John Talus and Co. (London and New York) between 1838 and 1851: after about I850-51 their maps were published by The London Printing and Publishing Co., London and New York.



Specialist References

BOOTH, J., Antique Maps of Wales

CHUBB, T., The Printed Maps in the Atlases of Great Britain and Ireland

In spite of its age still one of the first books to turn to for details of county maps

EVANS, I. M. and LAWRENCE, H., Christopher Saxton: Elizabethan Mapmaker The definitive work on the life of Christopher Saxton

EVANS, 0. C., Maps of Wales and Welsh Cartographers

SHIRLEY, R . W., Early Printed Maps of the British Isles 1477-1650 The definitive work on maps of the period

SKELTON, R . A., County Atlases of the British Isles 1579-1703 The best work available on county maps in the period covered


Speed: A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World, 1627

Ogilby: Britannia, 1675

Seller, Fisher and Thornton: English Pilot, 4th book, 1689

Seller, Price: English Pilot, Part V, 1701

Seller, Thornton: English Pilot, 3rd book, 1703

Jefferys: American Atlas, 1775-76 Reproduction of complete atlases

TOOLEY, R. V., Maps and Map Makers Apart from descriptive text contains listings of English Marine charts and county atlases issued up to about 1850

TYACKE, S., London Mapsellers 1660-1720

Map Fair | Introduction | Contents | Chapter 16