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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted -  02/09/2011  :  12:05
A wonderful map of Great Britain dating from the late 1300s has recently been digitised and made available to view for free on the Internet. The `Gough Map of Great Britain' is regarded as the earliest geographical map of this country, earlier maps having been primarily religious in nature. I had a look at the map web site this morning and found it fascinating. You can put in a modern British place name and the appropriate part of the map appears. Of course the amount of detail is restricted and towns are denoted by church symbols. It focuses in on the symbol but then you can click the +/- icons to toggle out to get a larger view of the area. The first thing you have to understand is that the map is of `Britain lying on its left side'! The East coast is at the top of the screen, rather than Scotland, as we now expect.

I tried putting Barnoldswick in the search box but nothing came up so then I put in Clitheroe and got success. I toggled out in order to see more of the area and found the River Ribble where it should be (just to the left - north - of Clitheroe), the  Irish Sea at the bottom, York at the top, Chester and the rivers Mersey and Dee to the right. I've made a screenshot of the map and annotated it with these place names to give you a better idea of what it offers. Old place names on the map are few and difficult if not impossible for someone like me to read. The way I've identified places once I'd seen the relevant part of the map was to put my guess at the modern place name in the search box and see if it comes up with the same spot. So, after the Clitheroe map I put in York and it came up with the spot on the map that I had thought must be York.

The link to the web site is here and I'll add the map image below it:
http://www.goughmap.org/

Click the picture for a larger image

The Gough Map


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belle
VIP Member


6502 Posts
Posted - 02/09/2011 : 12:32
Can't seem to use the search engine on the site that came up on th link..but thanks for the info, will try it direct. What's immediately obvious from your copy above is that they got around by water!


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panbiker
Senior Member


2301 Posts
Posted - 02/09/2011 : 17:16
The search feature will not work for me either Belle. The various layers that can be enabled via the sidebar seem to work though. You can find places by enabling "Settlements" and then clicking on the circles that are overlayed on the map, a small pop up box then gives relative details of the settlement.

Fascinating map thoug Tiz, thanks for the link although it will not load at all at the moment.


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wendyf
Senior Member


1439 Posts
Posted - 02/09/2011 : 18:06
Looking at all those rivers heading for the Humber brought back memories from school geography when we were taught the mnemonic SUNWACD. Swale, Ure, Nidd, Wharf, Aire, Calder & Don. Never forgotton it, but did I get it right?


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 03/09/2011 : 07:02
The Queen's University site seems to be either very slow or having difficulties. Parhaps they will get their act together shortly?


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 03/09/2011 : 11:49
The map was only put on the Web in the last day or so and is getting its first promotion to the public so I think there may be overload. I can't get it now either. Give it time. At least you've got `your bit' here!

Don't forget when looking at this map that it was made long before the big world exploration voyages and at a time when few people, even sailors, ventured very far. In Britain a few folk might have had a very primitive pivoting needle compass but not much more. There was no previous map to copy from. Yet the Gough map shows a shape that we can recognise as being Britain. How did they manage it? There wasn't another such map for the next 200 years.

Belle, your comment about water is interesting. The map shows rivers but no roads, the latter wouldn't be worth showing, being only tracks. But the rivers are the motorways at this time.  There are some red lines joining places but these indicate distances - another marvellous idea, probably the first map to do this in Britain.


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panbiker
Senior Member


2301 Posts
Posted - 03/09/2011 : 14:03
No doubt about it Peter the map is a marvellous achievement for the resources that would have been available at the time. Overall coastline is very accurate for England and Wales, not so much for Scotland but that I suppose is to be expected with how the Isle was politically at the time. North of the border would still be regarded as somewhat of an unknown quantity for the southerners. Like you say it was another couple of hundred years until technology improved and anything better could be produced. Early days on the web and I agree that the site will probably improve as they iron the minor bugs out.


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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 04/09/2011 : 11:55
They said on the radio that the `building' symbols show windows and doors in England but not in Scotland. I wonder what was behind that decision in the 1370s!


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panbiker
Senior Member


2301 Posts
Posted - 04/09/2011 : 12:50
Would that be something to do with taxes Peter? Or was that introduced later. I know Henry VIII had his slice if you had windows. Not sure about when window taxes started though.

Had a google and I am way out it would seem:

William III 1696:

Wiki Article Here

Also the origin of the phrase "Daylight Robbery" very apt.

So even more intriguing why there are no windows in the dwellings north of the border, unless of course the mapmaker never went up there and had to guess. The details are very sparse for the whole of scotland although some of the outer isles are shown. Could it be that these areas were just included from third party sources whereas the south and Wales were actually surveyed?

Edited by - panbiker on 04/09/2011 13:04:20


Ian Go to Top of Page
Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 04/09/2011 : 16:33
No reason was mentioned on the radio except for a hint that it might have been conveying the idea that the English were civilised and the Scots were not. If those who created the Gough map were English perhaps they were getting their own back for the successes of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce at the beginning of the 14th Century (LINK), i.e. propaganda! The Daylight Robbery web page is very good but, reading to the end, it looks like the phrase has nothing to do with window tax and is simply robbery in broad daylight.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 05/09/2011 : 06:55
Broadly speaking the further North you went the colder it got and window size decreased. Remember they had no glass, they were draught holes! Tiz is right about Scots being seen as barbarians.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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