Long title: Hereford-shire with the true plot of the citie of Hereford as also the armes of thos Nobles as have been entitled with that dignitye. Copper engraving with later hand colouring. Overall size : 53.8 cms.x 41.4cms. Image size : 550mm.x 381mm. Title in cartouche, town plan of Hereford. 8 cms of strengthening bottom of centrefold and three slivers of old tape top and bottom margin edge and sides on verso else very good condition. Speed says on the verso: ‘Hereford-Shire (formerly accounted within the limits of Wales) .... he states that ‘this counties climate is most healthful and temperate, and soyle so fertile for Corn and Cattle that no place in England yeeldeth more or better conditioned:: sweet Rivers running as veynes in the body, doe make the corne bearing grounds in some of her parts rightly to be termed the Gilden Vale: and for Waters, Wooll, and Wheat, doth contend with Nilus, Colchos and Egypt ..’ In Speed’s day 28 castles with their feudal appendages survived intact and were occupied as homes by their owners. Like other marcher counties, there were anomalies in the extent of Herefordshire, it had outliers in three adjoining counties and itself incorporated a part of Monmouthshire. Several further oddities had been ironed out at the Union of England with Wales in 1536, but those remaining were largely resolved by Herefordshire falling within the jurisdiction of the Council in the Marches of Wales, which had its headquarters just across the Shropshire border at Ludlow. (See The Counties of Britain A Tudor Atlas by John Speed A Hawkyard). The battle of Mortimer’s Cross is depicted on the right, a very important battle in the Wars of the Roses. The parhelion or sun dog is shown in the sky A blog describes the battle and the brave death of Owen Tudor:
The list of armorials contains a high number of errors. Bottom right and left are two surveyors or mathematicians, the right hand one encompassing the scale of distance is believed to be a depiction of John Speed himself. Chief Archivist of Hereford Records office, Elizabeth Semper O'Keefe, said in 2016:
'Speed's map (the town plan) is so remarkable because it provides a mixture of the familiar and the forgotten.".. "So we have the on the one hand the Cathedral and on the other St Owen's Church that was destroyed in the Civil War. It is a snapshot of a city almost on the eve of violent change.'
Very attractively coloured and in very good condition (flaws noted above) this is a delightful example of a map of our home county
Until his late thirties, John Speed was a tailor by trade but his passion for history and map-making led him to gain a patron in Sir Fulke Greville, the poet and statesman, who found him a post in the customs and helped subsidize his map-making, giving him “full liberty to express the inclination of my mind”. He became aquainted with the publisher William Camden, whose descriptive text was used by Speed for most of the maps in his atlas “The Theatre of Empire of Great Britain” published most probably in 1612 although it bears the date 1611 on the main title page. The maps were engraved in Amsterdam by Jodocus Hondius, one of the foremost engravers of his time. Speed’s maps are unique historical documents of their time and the town plans featured on the maps are in most cases the first information we have of their early appearance. Their artistry has guaranteed the collectability of these maps in the centuries that have followed.
Please fill in the information below