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John Speed: Glamorgan Shyre

Map: WCTS1366
 
Cartographer: John Speed
Title: Glamorgan Shyre
Date: 1614
Published: London
Width: 21 inches / 54 cm
Height: 15 inches / 39 cm
Map ref: WCTS1366
Description:
Situated on the south coast, Glamorganshire is the most populous and prosperous county in Wales. Its northern regions consist of high ground with numerous valleys; in fact, it was from this region that the famous Welsh Valleys originated from. These areas proved very suitable for livestock farming, namely cattle, horses and sheep. The areas closer to the coast lent themselves to agriculture and fishing.

This is beautifully illustrated on Speed’s map, with his characteristic “sugar mountains” prominent on the upper part of the shire. Not surprisingly, it is the southern section which bears the largest population centres. The original survey as again credited to Saxton, who was in fact the first to use these distinctive features to indicate mountains or hills.

The two urban illustrations concentrate on Llandaf and Cardiff. The former was an important settlement, which is separate on this map but it was amalgamated into Cardiff in the early 20th century. Cardiff is the capital of Wales and its largest city. The town is dominated by its famous Castle but it also has a Shire Hall clearly indicated. This was the equivalent of a Town Hall.

Speed has two small panels indicating East and West on this map. They are unusually elaborate. The sea off the southern coast is embellished with a ship as well as figure riding a sea lion, carrying a flag of the United Kingdom. Interestingly, the body of water to the South is labelled as the Severn Sea, after the River Severn which refers to its proximity to the Severn Estuary which flows into the Bristol Channel.

English text on verso. Image available on request.

[WCTS1366]