121. F P Becker / Henry Besley – Route Map 1845


Very few county maps of Devonshire were produced by local publishers, but the maps of Henry Besley are among the few which were produced in Exeter. The Besleys were important local printers, stationers and publishers of almanacks, guide books and directories which often included maps.

Henry Besley commissioned a number of maps for his series of Guide Books; both county maps on one or more sheets (see 122, 128 and 134) and this Route Map besides maps of regions, two maps of Dartmoor and town plans. The first map associated with his name is a map of Exeter which had already appeared in The British Atlas and The Beauties of England and Wales published by Vernor, Hood and Sharp et al, from 1805 (see 67). The Exeter map was considerably redrawn before it appeared in the Exeter Itinerary And General Directory in June 1828. This was published by T and H Besley. Henry´s guide, The Route Book Of Devon, was first published c.1845 with a Second Edition appearing approximately a year later. The next issue was the New Edition published c.1850. There were (at least) three separate issues of the New Edition on the evidence of dates contained in the text, engravings and adverts. The issues of 1850 and 1854 have the same text.

The Route Map was a folding map which included suggested touring routes: fourteen routes all emanating from Exeter, beginning in a clockwise direction starting with Exeter to Crediton. The map appeared in early issues of the Route Book to c.1856. It was lithographed by F P Becker who had already printed a map of Devon for Fisher (see previous entry).

Size: 235 x 285 mm.                                                                                                                                             No scale [Scale 1M = 3 mm].

ROUTE MAP of the ROADS OF DEVON. TO ACCOMPANY ROUTE BOOK OF DEVON. Protected by Provisions of Act of Parliament 5 and 6 Victoria. Cap 45. PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY HENRY BESLEY, DIRECTORY OFFICE, SOUTH ST. EXETER. (Ee) Signature: Engraved by the Omnigraph F P Becker & Co. Patentees. (AeOS) 12, Paternoster Row. (EeOS). The Exeter & Bristol Railway is dotted through Somerset, then drawn full to Exeter. From there it is dotted to Plymouth, presumably planned. There is no scale or compass and the map extends into the border north and south.                                                                               

1. 1845 The Route Book Of Devon: A Guide For The Stranger And Tourist  
    Exeter. H Besley. 1845.1 BL, E, KB.
    The Route Book Of Devon ... Second Edition  
    Exeter. H Besley. (18462).  BL, RGS, E, KB.
    The Route Book Of Devon... A New Edition  
    Exeter. H Besley. (18503), (18544), (18565).  E, T6, KB; E, KB; E, RGS, KB.

[1] Preface – actually Advertisement – is dated May, 1845 in which the publisher regrets an unavoidable delay in publication due to severe domestic affliction occurring in the family. The work was advertised as Shortly will be published in Henry Besley's West of England, Or, Improved Almanack, 1845.

[2] Date of publication uncertain. Text is reset and one footnote (p.23) refers to a work published in 1845. One copy of the Route Book has an advert for works sold by G Biggs successor to Leigh and Co. pasted in. As Biggs took over circa 1845, this would infer a date about 1845-1848. Next text changes indicate rewriting in circa 1850.

[3] Last date in text relates to expected completion of a basin and lock at Devonport in 1851 (p. 313).

[4] There may have been two issues about this time: the author has two identical copies but with differing advert sections. Last dates in text as above but engravings are dated 1853 and 1854.

[5] There may have been two issues about this time: the last dates in text are as above but an advert in the Exeter and RGS copies relates to Queen Victoria’s visit to the county in 1856. A third copy has an advert for the Second Edition of Rowe’s Perambulations of Dartmoor which was published 1856.

[6] Lacking the county map (see Besley 122).