Shropshyre Described, the Situation of Shrowesbury Shewed… 1611

Speed map of Shropshire


the sittuation of Shrowesbury shewed, with the Armes of thos Earles, and other Memorable things


Cartographer: John SPEED
Size: map 135 mm x 130 mm; key an extra 80 mm x 60 mm. Scale: 1 inch = 200 paces (3 inches = 8 miles)
SA ref: CM/2/2
Cowling ‘Printed Maps of Shropshire’ 19

Published as part of an atlas, Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain, it was reprinted in five separate editions in the next 20 years. Speed was a historian and map-maker working in London in the early 17C. He moved in learned circles and this provided new historical sources, enabling him to add additional features to Saxton’s maps, although his work was generally to copy, adapt and compile. One of his most important contributions was the inclusion of town plans in one corner of his county maps, with a key to numbered streets and major buildings; for many towns they were the first visual record to be published. Another major addition was a small panel of historical text, in our case with a small picture of the Battle of Shrewsbury.

The maps were published in black and white and were then hand-coloured. The Shropshire map has an elaborate cartouche, compass rose and scale bar in vibrant colours and the hundreds are shaded in pastel colours. The primary purpose of Speed‘s maps was administration, both central and local. The county boundary is a fine dotted line, with the adjacent counties named. The Hundreds are added, clearly outlined and labelled in block letters. Hills and hillocks are drawn in profile, shaded yellow, with shadows to the east; continuous features, such as Wenlock Edge, are difficult to discern. Rivers are shown as black lines of varying thickness and named. Settlements are shown as a dot in a circle. A row of buildings is added to depict size and market towns are shaded in red. All are named in lower case in two sizes for villages and market towns. Castles, beacons, windmills and bridges are all shown. Deer parks have a boundary of paling fence and forests are depicted by groups of trees. There are no roads on this map.

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