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John Speed: Cumberland and the Ancient Citie Carlile Described with Many Memorable Antiquities Therein Found Observed

Map: CUMB265
 
Cartographer: John Speed
Title: Cumberland and the Ancient Citie Carlile Described with Many Memorable Antiquities Therein Found Observed
Date: 1627
Published: London
Width: 21 inches / 54 cm
Height: 16 inches / 41 cm
Map ref: CUMB265
Description:
There is an extraordinary amount of decoration on this map bearing in mind that it is one of the most northern counties of the country and as remote as it was possible to be from London in the 17th century. However, Speed was fascinated with antiquity and the classics and he had a major interest in surveying Hadrian’s Wall. Its westernmost section from the city of Carlisle is marked on this map as “The Picts Wall” and shown as continuing through Northumberland.

Geographically, as was so often the case, the map is based on Saxton. A little more unusually, the city plan of Carlisle on the lower right has been traced to a manuscript in the collection of Sir Robert Cotton, a noted antiquary and known friend of Speed. This piece is now in the British Library. There is also a fine ship and a sea monster lurking off the shore.

However, the map is dominated by two medallions, one on the left announcing the title of the map and mentioning its antiquities while another on the right narrating a detailed description of what was then known of Hadrian’s Wall. Simultaneously, there are prominent vignettes of various reliefs and tombstones found along the monument. Finally, there is one armorial shield on the lower left of the map, showing the arms of the Clifford family, hereditary Earls of Cumberland.

English text on verso. Image available on request. Coloured.

[CUMB265]