The Gough Map

Our earliest historical glimpse of the town of Nottingham and Sherwood Forest can be seen on what is known as the Gough Map. It is now held in the Bodleian Library in Oxford and is the oldest road map of Great Britain. Very little is known about its origins. It was part of a collection of maps and drawings owned by the antiquarian Richard Gough (1735-1809), who bought the map for half a crown (12 ½ pence) in a sale in 1774. He later donated his whole collection of books and manuscripts (including this map) to Oxford University Library, under the terms of his will in 1809.

The map measures 115 x 56 cm and is made of two skins of vellum. The unknown map-maker used pen and ink washes to depict the towns and villages, with the roads marked in red. The distance between each town is also included in Roman numerals.

Clues to the date of the creation of the map can only be found by analyzing the handwriting and the historical changes to some of the place names inscribed by its mysterious artist. Therefore it is generally put at about 1360.

The medieval artist has depicted the Royal Forest of Sherwood as two intertwined trees and just above can be seen the walled town of Nottingham.

1 comment:

Clement of the Glen said...

The Gough Map
Sherwood Forest