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ACM: Early maps of Cardiganshire

Acc. 3392

Ref: ACM

Reference: [GB 0212] ACM
Title: Early printed maps of Cardiganshire
Date(s): 1578-1885
Level: Fonds
Extent: 87 items

Scope and Content:

County maps of Cardiganshire, regional maps including the county and some more detailed maps and charts, from Christopher Saxton's 1578 map of South Wales (ACM/1-2) to Edward Stanford's 1885 map of Cardigan and Carmarthenshire (ACM/79). The chief source for these is M.G. Lewis' 'The Printed Maps of Cardiganshire, 1578-1900, in the National Library of Wales: a descriptive list with a tabular index', in Ceredigion II.4 (1955), 244-76.

The maps have been arranged according to surveys, beginning with Saxton's, from which John Speed's better known county map of 1610 is derived (ACM/12-21) and was not superseded until Bowen survey, which first appeared in 1729 (see ACM/52). A quite separate survey, using a 'wheel dimensurator', had been undertaken by Ogilby, who published a road book in 1675 (ACM/43-49). Maps based on Speed's were published in Holland from the middle years of the seventeenth-century for an international market, with descriptive texts in Dutch, French, Latin and Spanish (ACM/22-34). Bowen's rather eccentric depiction of the coast was corrected by a shadowy later survey, manifest only in pocket maps from 1809-1818 (ACM/64-68), that show a large island off Penbryn. This could have been informed by maritime charts that followed a different survey tradition (ACM/80-87). From around 1830 the influence of the Ordnance Survey began to make itself felt as it surveyed the county from south to north in 1810-1833 (published 1819-1837). County maps continued to be produced through the nineteenth-century and a Welsh language example from 1872 (ACM/77) is the first of this collection to show railways.

Saxton's maps owed much to the map of Wales contributed by Humprey Lhuyd to Ortelius' Theatre Orbis Terrarum, published at Antwerp in 1570, which bears a resemblance to medieval maps such as the Gough Map of 1360 that may in turn have derived, albeit distantly, from a Roman cartographic tradition. Saxton's methods are laid out in an open letter addressed to Justices of the Peace (10 July 1576):

That the said Justices shall be aiding and assisting unto him to see him conducted unto any towre Castle highe place or hill to view that countrey, and that he may be accompanied with ij or iij honest men such as do best know the countrey for the better accomplishment of that service, and that at his departure from any towne or place that he hath taken the view of the said towne do set forth a horseman that can speke both welshe and englishe to safe conduct him to the next market Towne, etc.

For detailed listing please follow the links below:

ACM/ 1-11: Surveys by Saxton, Drayton, Keer, and Kipp

ACM/12-21: Speed's survey

ACM/22-34: Blaeu's survey

ACM/35-42: 'Reduced Speed': small maps based on Speed's survey

ACM/43-51: Ogilby's ribbon maps

ACM/52-63: Bowen's survey

ACM/64-68: A new survey?

ACM/69-79: Maps based on the Ordnance Survey

ACM/80-87: Maritime maps and charts

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