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Wiltshire Community History

Printed Maps Introduction

Printed county maps exist for Wiltshire from 1576 when Christopher Saxton's map was first published. The county maps produced over the next 200 years are often very attractive but do not provide a great deal of information for the local historian. The first large scale accurate county map was published in 1773 and is known as Andrews' and Dury's Map of Wiltshire. The scale is 2 inches to one mile and there are 18 sheets with key maps, often bound into one volume. This is a splendid map showing towns, villages, hamlets, hills, barrows, downs, parks, ponds, mansions (with names of occupiers), rivers, mills and bridges. It has been reprinted in facsimile by the Wiltshire Record Society. A second edition was published in 1810 which included canals, some turnpiked roads alterations, changes in mansion occupiers and additional archaeological information.

In 1808 the Ordnance Survey began surveying Wiltshire at the scale of 2 inches to one mile and their drawings on microfiche are available at many local studies libraries. Maps at one inch to the mile from these drawings were published in 1811, 1817 and 1828. In 1820 a fine county map was published by Christopher Greenwood at the scale of one inch to one mile. This distinguished towns, villages and hamlets by different type of employment.

Local historians need large scale maps and will use the first editions of Ordnance Survey 6 inches and 25 inches to one mile maps which were published for Wiltshire from 1878 to 1890. Other editions followed in 1900/01, 1925/6 and 1939/40. The sheet numbers are listed under Ordnance Survey 6 inch and Ordnance Survey 25 inch for these editions. After the Second World War a new grid system was introduced (National Grid) and every place now has a unique 6 or 8 figure National Grid Reference (NGR). The 6 figure reference for the centre of each community is listed. From the 1950s large scale Ordnance Survey maps have been given a national grid reference number and this is listed for the 1:10,000 and 1:2,500 sheets. Ordnance Survey Explorer (1:25,000) and Landranger (1:50,000) are also listed for each community, while the number of the Geological Survey Sheet is also given. Large scale maps and geological sheets will be found mainly in libraries and record offices.

The Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre has a large collection of historical manuscript maps ranging in date from the late 16th century to the 20th century, although coverage for each community varies. They include parish maps such as the tithe apportionment maps, c.1840, enclosure award maps, late 18th - early 19th century, inland revenue valuation maps, 1910, as well as maps of estates and the routes of railways, canals and roads. They are easily accessible by appointment at the History Centre.



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