Middlesex Olima Trinobantibus habitata Johannes Norden, descripsit


John Norden (c.1547-1625) planned, but did not complete a series of county maps and accompanying county histories of England, to be published as Speculum Britanniae (The Mirror of Britain). Only the first two of these counties were published: Middlesex in 1593 and Hertfordshire in 1598. Dedicating his work to William Cecil, Lord Burghley, chief advisor to Elizabeth I, who had encouraged other map makers, Norden was “forced to struggle against want,” living in “my poore house neere Fulham.” Born in Somerset, Norden also wrote devotional works, and in 1609 was appointed Surveyor of His Majesty’s Woods. He was one of the first to work as a professional surveyor. His maps were to include roads, town plans, boundaries of the Hundreds (an administrative area), a gazetteer (index of street names) and grid references, all innovations at the time, but he failed to complete his great project. He was one of the first to use triangular tables showing distances between towns in each county. This map is based on the 1593 survey, though the actual map used was published a few years later within William Camden’s Britannia.


Acknowledgement: From the collections at London Metropolitan Archive, City of London through the image website Collage: the London Picture Archive

Artwork and maps