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Article contents

Interpreting Maps of the Rural Landscape: An Example from Late Sixteenth-Century Buckinghamshire

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 October 2008

Sarah Bendall
Affiliation:
Emmanuel College, Cambridge, UK.

Extract

To deconstruct a map, said Brian Harley, it is necessary to read between the lines and to place the cartographic facts within a specific cultural perspective. He used the ideas of literary critics to make historians of cartography aware that there is more to maps than initially meets the eye and that ‘facts’ are rarely what they first appear to be. By viewing a map as a product of a particular society, one can begin to understand why a map was made in the way it was, how it was used and valued, and its role in representing and transforming contemporary attitudes and perspectives. To search for the wider meaning of local maps, it is usually necessary to make inferences based on research into their backgrounds; one rarely finds documents giving explicit directions on how, and why, a map was to be drawn and decorated. If, as in many past studies in the history of cartography, maps are taken at face value, they can leave many of their secrets unrevealed and, indeed, can easily be misinterpreted.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1993

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References

1. Harley, J.B., ‘Deconstructing the map,’ Cartographica, 26, 1989, 3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar I should like to thank Dr Catherine Delano Smith for her helpful comments on drafts of this paper. The following conventions have been adopted in transcription: xxx, editorial insertions; <xxx> material deleted in manuscript; (xxx) parenthesis in manuscript.

2. I am most grateful to László Gróf for drawing these maps to my attention and for all his help in my research upon them. Mrs Caroline Dalton, archivist at New College, has also been of great assistance.

3. Harvey, P.D.A., ‘Boarstall, Buckinghamshire,’ in Local Maps and Plans from Medieval England, ed. Skelton, R.A. and Harvey, P.D.A. (Oxford, 1986), pp. 211–19.Google Scholar

4. New College Archives (NCA) 5671.

5. NCA 2413 and 3251.

6. Brown, J.H., A Short History of Thame School of the Foundation of Sir John Williams, Knight, Lord Williams of Thame (London, 1927), pp. 1725.Google Scholar

7. Victoria History of the Counties of England. Buckinghamshire, Vol. 4, ed. Page, William (London, 1927), p. 84.Google Scholar

8. Public Record Office PROB.11/43; Brown, p. 29.

9. NCA 3262; NCA 3284 (27th January 1574/5).

10. NCA 3259–61, 3266, 3285(10).

11. NCA 3253. I am indebted to László Gróf for this reference.

12. NCA 3270, 3277.

13. NCA 3251. Durdent is identified in NCA 3267.

14. Edward Harris, the first schoolmaster of Thame school (Brown, p. 52).

15. NCA 3251.

16. Their claim was correct: see Camden, William, Britannia, sive Florentissimorvm Regnorvm, Angliae, Scotiae, Hiberniae, et Insvlarvm Adiacentium ex Intima Antiquitate Chorographica Descriptio (London: Ralph Newberry, 1586), p. 212.Google Scholar

17. NCA 3270(6).

18. Yates, E.M., ‘Map of Over Haddon and Meadowplace, near Bakewell, Derbyshire, c.1528’, Agricultural History Reviezv, 12, 1964, 121Google Scholar; Evans, I.M. and Lawrence, Heather, Christopher Saxton: Elizabethan Map-Maker (Wakefield and London, 1979).Google Scholar

19. Tyacke, Sarah, ‘Introduction,’ in English Map-Making 1500–1650: Historical Essays, ed. Tyacke, S. (London, 1983), pp. 1617.Google Scholar

20. Brooks, C.W., Pettyfoggers and Vipers of the Commonwealth: The ‘Lower Branch’ of the Legal Profession in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 1986), p. 200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

21. Helgerson, Richard, ‘The land speaks: cartography, chorography and subversion in Renaissance England’, Representations 16 (1986), 5185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

22. NCA 7574; NCA ‘Registrum custodium, sociorum, et scholarium, Collegii Novi,’ f. 143.

23. Willis, Browne, The History and Antiquities of the Town, Hundred and Deanry of Buckingham (London: for the Author, 1755), pp. 315–17Google Scholar; Victoria County History, p. 251.

24. Bendall, A.S., Maps, Land and Society: A History, with a Carto-Bibliography of Cambridgeshire Estate Maps c. 1600–1836 (Cambridge, 1992)Google Scholar, especially pp. 82, 114 and 141–2.

25. Eden, Peter, ‘Three Elizabethan estate surveyors: Peter Kempe, Thomas Clerke and Thomas Langdon,’ in Tyacke, (ed.), English Map-Making, pp. 6884.Google Scholar

26. Christ Church Archives, Oxford St George 1; Wadham College Archives, 35/15; Bendall, A.S. (ed.), Peter Eden's Dictionary of Land Surveyors (London, forthcoming).Google Scholar

27. Magdalen College Archives, Maps 1.9,24,77.

28. Merton College Archives, maps of Chessington and Maiden, Surrey.

29. Eden, , ‘Three Elizabethan estate surveyors’, pp. 70–2.Google Scholar

30. Woolgar, C.M., ‘Some draft estate maps of the early seventeenth century,’ Cartographic Journal, 22 (1985) 136–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

31. St John's College Cambridge Archives, MPS71–2.

32. King's College Cambridge Archives K 13.

33. Public Record Office PROB.11/111; Leedham-Green, E.S., Books in Cambridge Inventories: Book-Lists from Vice-Chancellor's Court Probate Inventories in the Tudor and Stuart Periods. Vol. 2 (Cambridge, 1986).Google Scholar

34. Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 25 (London, 1891), p. 281.

35. He does not, for instance, appear in the first edition of Eden's, PeterDictionary of Land Surveyors of Great Britain and Ireland 1550–1850 (Folkestone, 1979)Google Scholar and his entry in the forthcoming second edition (by A.S. Bendall, London) is based solely on the maps discussed here.

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