Old Hampshire Mapped


Speed's Hampshire 1611
described and devided.

These notes are made from a copy of John Speed's map of Hampshire published 1611. The item used is in the Map Collection of Hampshire CC Museums Service, item HMCMS:KD1996.16.

This study concentrates upon what can be seen from the map; studies of the background of county mapping in England, and map makers have been published elsewhere.

John Speed's atlas, Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine, was compiled between 1596 and 1610:-
The / Theatre / of the Empire / of Great / Britaine: / Presenting / An Exact Geography / of the Kingdomes of England, / Scotland, Ireland, / and the Iles adioyning: / with / The Shires, Hundreds, Cities and / Shire-townes, within ye Kingdome / of England, divided and / described / By / Iohn Speed. / Imprinted at London / Anno / Cum Privilegio / 1611 / and are to be solde by Iohn Sudbury & Georg / Humble in Popes-head alley at ye signe of ye white Horse.
Sudbury and Humble were the first english firm to specialise as map and print sellers, and were necessary to Speed to undertake the task of making his ideas a reality.

Speed refers to:-
... mine owne travels through every province of England ...

... my many additions, and dimensions of the Shire-townes and Cities true platformes ...
but openly admits:-
I have put my sickle into other mens corne ...

Little of Speed's maps is original; he has copied, adapted, compiled. His mapping is not entirely copying, the content is revised, though errors are perpetuated. Historical notes were added, perhaps taken from Camden's Britannia. Decoration is added, coats of arms of nobility for example with advice from William Smith on heraldry. The deer and hounds in the New Forest of Hampshire are a pretty extra. Speed sent his maps to be engraved by the best hands, most by Jodocus Hondius the elder in the Netherlands to whom Speed was introduced by Camden; the results are a pleasure to view.

Speed adds hundreds where these were missing from his source; or the equivalent areas:-
The Shires divisions, into Lathes, Hundreds, Wapentakes and cantreds ... I have separated
If not available on earlier maps the information came from the Parlament Rowles or failing there, the Nomina Villarum, in their Sheriffes booke.

The maps have inset maps, town plans:-
... some have bene performed by others, without scale annexed, the rest by mine owne travels, and unto them for distinction sake, the scale of paces.
Hampshire's map has a town plan of Winchester, with a scale of pases, ie performed by John Speed himself. Speed's atlas is the first comprehensive collection of town plans for the country.

Descriptive text about counties is printed on the reverse of the county maps with a list of hundreds and an index of parishes showing what hundred they are in.

John Speed

John Speed was, perhaps, born at Farndon, Cheshire, 1552. He was admitted to the the Merchant Taylors Company, 1580; following his father's profession. He married, 1582, and probably lived in Moor Fields, London, in premises leased from the Company. His real interest lay in history and cartography; from 1598 he had encouragement and help from Sir Fulke Greville enabling full time application to his researches; Speed acknowledges him:-
Whose merits to me-ward I do acknowledge in setting this hand free from the daily imployments of a manuall Trade, and giving it his liberty thus to express the inclination of my mind.
Speed was introduced by Greville to the Society of Antiquaries where he came into contact with scholars like William Camden, Robert Cotton, and William Smith. Speed's
... very rare and ingenious capacitie in drawing and setting forthe of mappes and genealogies ...
was commended by the Merchant Taylor' Company in 1660.

References Arlot, John (ed): 1953: John Speede's England: Phoenix House (London):: facsimile in 5 vols; NLS Map.fac.b.C17.b(1676)

Bendall, Sarah: 2002: Draft Town Maps for John Speed's Theatre of the Empire: Imago Mundi: vol.54: pp.30-45

Box, E G: 1932=1935: Hampshire in Early Maps and early Roadbooks: Hampshire Field Club: XII: pp221-235

Eden, P (ed):: Dictionary of Land Surveyors and Local Cartographers of Great Britain and Ireland, 1550-1850

Hodges, C W: 1949: John Speed's Theatre: Theatre Notebook: 3: pp28-31

Hodgkiss, A G: 1981 (4th edn): Discovering Antique maps: Shire Publications (Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire):: ISBN 0 85263 581 8; an inexpensive and approachable introduction to old maps

Lawrence, Heather: 1982: Permission to Survey: Map Collector: no.19: pp.16-20

Penfold, Alastair J: 1994: Introduction to the Printed Maps of Hampshire: Hampshire CC Museums Service

Potter, Johnathon: 1991: Theatre of Empire of Great Britain: Drayton Manor Publishing:: ISBN 0 9511577 3 6; facsimile

Skelton, R A: 1952: Tudor Town Plans in John Speed's Theatre: Archaeological J: 108: pp109-120

Skelton, R A: 1970: County Atlases of the British Isles 1579-1850: Carta Press (London)

Tooley, Ronald V: 1977: John Speed, a Personal View; Map Collector: no.1: pp.4-9

Speed's Hampshire 1611, contents
General index
Old Hampshire Mapped

Map HMCMS:FA1999.58