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John Speed: Northamtonshire

Map: NHANTS262
Cartographer: John Speed
Title: Northamtonshire
Date: 1611
Published: London
Width: 21 inches / 54 cm
Height: 16 inches / 41 cm
Map ref: NHANTS262
Fine map of Northamptonshire from the first edition of Speed's seminal atlas, 'The Theatre of Great Britaine'. Inset maps of Northampton and Peterborough.

Despite it being one of the smaller English counties, Speed makes Northamptonshire one of his more elaborate maps. This is due to the inclusion of two town plans, Peterborough and Northampton as well as a vignette and descriptive panel illustrating and describing the Battle of Edgecote Moor in 1469. This was one of the more important battles of the War of the Roses and ultimately led to the capitulation of Edward IV.

Speed was known to have travelled to Northamptonshire as well as Northampton. He claims the survey of this map for himself on the lower left of the map and Jodocus Hondius signs his name as the engraver on the lower centre. The upper left contains the plan of Northampton with a panel in the shape of a book just below. This panel narrates a short but eventful history of the town. Just below that is a small royal coat of arms.

The lower right shows a city plan of Peterborough. Today, this town is in Cambridgeshire but at this time, it was in Northamptonshire, the borders being moved in the late 19th century. Above Peterborough is a series of armorial shields belonging to the Earls of Northamptonshire. The title cartouche is quite simple and sits on the upper centre.

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