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The Gough Map

Today we visited Boston Stump and in a cabinet at the back of the church is a copy of The Gough Map.

The Gough Map of Great Britain (also known as The Bodleian Map) is the oldest surviving road map of Great Britain, dating from around 1369. Drawn in pen and ink and coloured washes on two skins of vellum , the map’s dimensions measure 115 x 56cm. It was donated to the Bodliean Library in Oxford by Richard Gough in 1809, along with the rest of his collection of maps, prints, books, and drawing, under the terms of his will.

Once you establish that the map shows east at the top. (I have rotated the map to make it easier to understand) the outline of Great Britain quickly becomes familiar. Rivers are given strategic importance. Other physical features are identified by symbols, for example a tree locates the New Forest.

Scotland assumes an unfamiliar shape, but the Clyde andForth are easily identifiable, as is Edinburgh. Throughout, town, are shown in some detail, the lettering for London and York coloured gold, while other principal medical settlements such as Bristol, Chester, Gloucester, Lincoln, Norwich, Salisbury and Winchester are lavishly illustrated. You can clearly see the stump although building must still have been in progress at this time.

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Extract of the map showing Spalding


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