Gough Map


Gough Map

The Gough Map or Bodleian Map Cite web | title = The Gough Map | url = http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/users/nnj/goughmap.htm | publisher = "Bodleian Library" | year = 2005 | accessdate = 2008-02-01 ] is a map of the island of Great Britain, dating between 1355 and 1366, and is the oldest surviving road map of Great Britain.Cite web | title = Britain's first road map | url = http://www.oxfordtoday.ox.ac.uk/2005-06/v18n2/08.shtml | publisher = "Oxford Today" | year = 2006 | accessdate = 2008-02-01 ] Its precise date of production and authorship are unknown. It is named after Richard Gough, who donated the map to the Bodleian Library in 1809. He is believed to have acquired the map from the collection of the late antiquarian "Honest Tom" Martin in 1774. Numerous copies of it have been made, with an interactive online version created at Queen's University, Belfast. [ Cite web | title = Mapping the Realm | url= http://www.qub.ac.uk/urban_mapping/gough_map/ | publisher = "Queen's University, Belfast" | year = 2006 | accessdate = 2008-02-01 ]

Dating of the map has been undertaken based on historical changes of place names and sizes. Gough believed the map to date from the reign of Edward III, but 19th-century scholarship suggested that it dated from c. 1300, during the reign of Edward I. Cite web | title = The Gough Map | url= http://www.jstor.org/view/00167398/ap020481/02a00040/0?frame=noframe&userID=81ea040a@dur.ac.uk/01c0a83474005076ac2&dpi=3&config=jstor | author = Pelham, R.A. | publisher = "The Geographical Journal" | year = 1933 | accessdate = 2008-02-01 Subscription required ] The map is now generally believed to have been made within an eleven-year window, due to the ability to date some of its features. The earliest given date is deduced by the depiction of a city wall around Coventry, which was first constructed in 1355. The latter date is usually given as 1366, the year in which the town marked on the map as "Sheppey" was renamed Queenborough. Lexicographic evidence also suggests that it dates from the latter half of the 14th century. It is, however, believed that the map is based on an earlier version, made around 1280.

The map's authorship is also unknown. It is thought that much of the information about the map was gained from either one or more men who travelled around Great Britain as part of Edward I's military expeditions into Wales and Scotland. The areas of the map's fringe with the most accurate detail often correspond with those areas in which Edward's troops were present. The accuracy of the map in the South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire areas suggest that the author could be from this region. Cite web | title = Earliest British map is cock of the north | url= http://www.metro.co.uk/weird/article.html?in_article_id=91228&in_page_id=2 | author = Tom Phillips | publisher = Metro.co.uk | year = 2008 | accessdate = 2008-02-01 ] However, it is also possible that the map was constructed based upon the collation of various people's local knowledge. For example, the cartographic accuracy in Oxfordshire could be explained by the fact that William Rede, Fellow of Merton College, had successfully calculated the geographic coordinates for Oxford in 1340.

The Gough Map is important due to its break with previous theologically-based mapping. It was the first to show the road network of England, though there are some notable and confusing omissions, such as large sections of Watling Street. The use of numerals to indicate road distances in leagues is unique in comparison to all other pre-17th century maps of Britain. It was also the first map to depict a recognizably accurate picture of Britain's coast, although the accuracy is much greater in England than in Scotland, at the time part of another kingdom. Towns are shown in some detail, with London and York written in gold lettering and other principal settlements illustrated in detail. Despite its accuracy, the map does contain a number of other errors. Notably, islands and lakes such as Anglesey and Windermere are oversized, whilst the strategic importance of rivers is shown by their emphasis. Well known but geographically small features such as the Peninsula in Durham are also overly-prominent. The map contains numerous references to mythology as if they were geographical fact, as illustrated by comments about Brutus' mythical landings in Devon. Nevertheless, it remains the most accurate map of Britain prior to the 16th century.

Footnotes

References

*Millea, Nick. "The Gough

External links

* [http://143.117.30.60/website/GoughMap/viewer.htm Interactive Gough Map] at GEOID website
* [http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/users/nnj/goughmap.htm The Gough Map of Great Britain] from the Bodleian Library Map Room website


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