A Multitude of Maps

on Wednesday, 20 November 2013. Posted in Archives

We hold an amazing array of maps here at the History Centre and I ‘plan’ to take you on a tour to discover which may prove to be the most useful for your research, whether it be the history of your family, house or parish.

Tithe Map
One of the most widely known of the maps that we hold here. These awards were drawn up between 1836 and 1852. Once ordered up by parish name, you will be presented with a map and schedule which includes the name of the landowner, the name of the tenant, acreage, rent paid and details of the makeup of the land, eg. if there is a garden, orchard etc. The schedule gives a number for each property which can be used to locate it on the map. These are great source for those interested in locating a property, getting details of ownership and also the study of property/field names.

Enclosure Award
Open fields, common and waste land were systematically ‘enclosed’ from 1750 onwards by Acts of Parliament. Commissioners drew up an award showing how the land was to be redistributed. As is the nature of these awards, the focus is on rural areas rather than towns or villages.

Andrews’ and Dury’s maps of 1773 are worth a look at. They are small in scale and so won’t show individual properties but do give an idea of how a settlement looked in the late 18th century. You can view them on our Wiltshire Community History website.

1910 Inland Revenue Evaluation Books
This evaluation was done in readiness for a tax which was never levied! They are very useful to us, however, as they provide a description of the property, rent paid and the names of the owner and tenant. The maps which are produced with the books are the 25” OS versions which have been annotated.

Ordnance Survey Maps
Britain’s national mapping agency completed its first national survey in 1873. They can be found in many scales; the larger scaled are more detailed. They can be used to locate a property, discover how it and/or the surrounding areas change through time. We hold:

2.5”      1947-1983
6”     c. 1875-1890
25”       1880-c. 1940

1:500 Town Maps 

    Bradford on Avon 1887
    Bulford   1903
    Chippenham  1886
    Devizes  1886
    Salisbury  1880
    Swindon  1886
    Trowbridge  1887
    Warminster  1887

1:2,500 1953-1993


Estate maps
We hold a great number of estate maps, completed to show a landowner’s holdings. They can be found under each Wiltshire parish.

Subject maps
We have a few regional geology maps dating from 1857 and land use maps from 1931. There are also the Goad Town Plans dating from 1948 which show town centre development. The Military Revision maps date from the 1940s and are scaled 25” to 1 mile. There is also a ‘Popular Edition Wartime Series’ of 1” to 1 mile.

The GWR produced plans in the 19th century in the form of a bound set of 2.5” OS maps for its proposed routes. They include details of properties found to be near the site of the track. These are housed at the History Centre and may be of use if your property is situated close to a railway line or you know that the land was a proposed route which was subsequently discarded.

Printed Maps
The ‘Old Series’ of OS maps for England and Wales (Ref AAA.912) can be found in the scale of 1” to 1 mile. The editions date from 1809 up to 1869 depending on the area. ‘John Speed’s England’, 1611 (1953/4 editions) is split up into counties. We hold Parts 1-4 (Ref 942). We also hold the Phillimore’s Atlas and Index of Parish Registers, great for determining the county of those tricky border hugging parishes. It also gives the ecclesiastical jurisdictions for each county. Incidentally we also have a map of the county which gives every parish boundary, available to view here or to purchase from our shop at £1.50.

Other maps available to purchase are the Godfrey edition maps of Wiltshire towns, 1889/1900, priced at £2.50-£3.50 and reprints of Saxton’s 1576 and Bleau’s 1648 maps of Wiltshire priced at £3.50 (on offer at the moment, buy one get one free!)  Please contact the helpdesk on 01249 705500 if you would like to know more.

I should also mention our online resources for maps. At our Wiltshire Community History site you will find scanned images of Andrews’ and Dury’s 1773 and 1810 editions, plus the OS 1897 revised edition of the 1” to one mile map. They are cropped to parish level and can be viewed in detail when you click on them. Details of the OS editions we hold for each parish can be found under the ‘Maps’ section on the search bar list. If you are interested in house history, you may also wish to view our online guide ‘Sources for House History: A Beginner’s Guide’.

The Victoria County History of Wiltshire contains maps showing parish boundaries and tithing boundaries. Volumes 3-17 are available at www.british-history.ac.uk. Other sites you may be interested in are A Vision of Britain through Time which provides geographical information. Genmaps is another collection of historical maps, hosted by rootsweb. Old-maps have digital images of the 6” OS maps for sale. They cover England, Scotland and Wales.
There ends the whistle-stop tour! I’m sure it’s not a comprehensive list; if anyone can suggest any others I should include, please let me know...

Julie Davis
Local Studies Assistant


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