Welcome to The Victorian Maps of Devon.
In 2000 Francis Bennett and myself published our second book on the maps of Devon and listed all known maps printed between 1838 and 1901 showing the whole of the county of Devon on either one or two sheets. Although we omitted Ordnance Survey sheets and atlas maps on a sheet basis, we were still able to list 70 different maps along with their sources and provide informIation on the people behind them.
This site is the internet version of the revised Second Edition of The Victorian Maps of Devon.
Since the original work was published (a few copies are available from the authors) more maps have come to light and new information discovered, furthermore, as the authors are no longer restricted to the A4 format, we have been able to include extra information on many of these issues.
Interested users of this site are invited to contribute new information and new states or even new maps. Moreover, in the course of our researches we may have omitted something, overlooked a source or falsely interpreted our notes. We apologise for any errors and welcome correspondence and corrections from fellow enthusiasts and collectors.
The Printed Maps of Devon – covering maps from 1575-1837 is already on-line. It is also planned to add further sites in the future: e.g. the work of John Cooke of Plymouth and The Printed Maps of Exeter. So watch this space!
I am very sad to learn that Francis Bennett has died. Francis had been ill for some time but passed away peacefully surrounded by his family this week.
At the end of the 1980s as a budding map collector I contacted a dealer who had some maps of Devon for sale. Unfortunately the maps had already been sold to “another Devon collector”. I asked that my name and address be forwarded to said buyer and some months later received a message from Francis Bennett. At the time I had naively set out to compile a “Stanley Gibbons” of Devon maps and had used my PC skills to produce a mock-up including information (gleaned from other’s work) on roughly 80 maps of Devon.
The letter from Francis was business-like but not exactly encouraging. Nevertheless I persevered and forced a meeting on the poor man. When I showed him what I had produced so far he was immediately supportive and from that moment I had a friend as well as a contact. Although I visited Newton Ferrers too infrequently I was warmly welcomed and I had many hours when I was able to enjoy his company.
Everyone who knew Francis will have their own story to tell: mine is of a very expensive Devon cream tea. I intended writing a story about the little island off Bigbury with its St Michael’s Chapel. Having arranged to meet the then owner of the famous hotel on Burgh Island, Francis and Joan together with myself and my family proceeded to have what I expected to be a free cream tea on the lawn. As we started to leave I was handed a bill for the teas; at £6 each they were probably double the amount charged anywhere else in Devon at the time and fifteen years later it is still the most expensive cream tea I have ever had.
His picture is pinned to the wall above my desk in my map room; Francis interviewed by the Evening Herald after the publication of the first of our two books on Devon maps. In many ways this is how I will always remember him; sat in his study surrounded by maps and books, eyes alert but friendly, and wearing the omnipresent baggy pullover.
The books and the two websites Printed Maps and Victorian Maps would not have been possible without Francis’ tireless legwork. While I sat in front of my PC (in the beginning an old Amstrad!), Francis would visit all the institutions in Great Britain searching for maps of Devon. However, he soon taught himself computer skills, bought a PC and we would exchange 3 ¼” disks through the post. He was the methodical, analytical brain and I was the fast and furious text writer; consequently errors would appear – all of my making.
Nevertheless, I am sure that Francis was immensely proud of our two books, as he rightly should have been. They still represent the only county bibliography covering the complete period from 1575 to 1901 which is fully illustrated. He then proceeded to write two books of his own that he might never have attempted without this impetus.
This and its sister website are in many ways his legacy. I am very grateful that I met him and my life has been richer as a consequence.
Illustration copyright Evening Herald - April 2nd 1996.
After completing six books / monographs on Devon mapping I am beginning to sell off my collection. If you see any map or atlas with "KB" as the source (extreme right of listing) then I have this in my collection. If you are interested in buying, let me know!
In addition I have a new site where I will list maps from my collection for sale.
for a short list of maps currently on sale. If you can see from my two web sites - Printed Maps of Devon and Victorian Maps of Devon that I may have a map of interest to you, feel free to send me an enquiry or to make me an offer.
Warning concerning Ebay
Please note that some sellers on Ebay are not describing articles as they should.
Thanetxxxx described a map was dated 1820 (79 Neele/Cundee). When it arrived it was dated 1818. The seller was extremely unhelpful and did not accept a return. There was a problem on my side due to the fact that the map went to an English address before it came to Germany, however, the simple fact of the matter is that the map was not as described and the seller unwilling to refund the purchase price.
[In this example the 1820 date would have been a "previously unrecorded"!]
The large Morden is often offered on Ebay (entry 21). Some examples have Lundy (Island) placed within the border lines. This is definitely a later facsimile. Although this was pointed out to one seller in particular (Shiftyxxxx), he or she does not add this to the description and leads a potential seller to think it is old.
The Printed Maps of Exeter
Our latest publication is The Printed Maps of Exeter. This is only available from Devon County Council and is sold through the Devon Heritage Site. Only 500 copies of this book were published so it is quite scarce. And at only ten pounds it is very affordable.
To order view the web site at: http://www.devon.gov.uk/the_printed_maps_of_exeter_city_maps.htm.
The aim has been to include every printed map of Exeter published on one sheet in the period up to 1901. The maps catalogued here mean that every Exonian interested in mapping of any sort should find something of interest. These 62 maps include the first printed map by John Hooker of 1587 plus two other maps executed by him but not actually printed until the 1890s. These are early plans attempting to show how the city looked even before Hooker's time and plans of the castle and precincts. Each map is described and illustrated and an attempt has been made to put it in its historical context.
New maps of Devon found since publication of The Victorian Maps of Devon:
1. Added to the Second Edition published in 2010:
117A Pigot & Co. - formerly listed in The Printed Maps of Devon but now dated to 1839.
118A Archer / Smith - map from the British Magazine.
129A William Wood - map published in Devon.
138A G F Cruchley - another large map combining John Cary sheets.
154A Stanford reissue of sheets published by Arrowsmith.
2. Maps never before listed:
151A Stanford's map for G J Symons' work on British Rainfall.
165A G W Bacon's map for a guide to North Cornwall.
170A Edward Weller produced three small sketch maps for a book on the Civil War.
174A A geological map of Devon published in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society.
177A James Jervis' map of the Torrington Railway copied by a local printer.
The Westcountry Studies Library is now the Devon Heritage Centre
Remember, the Westcountry Studies Library in Castle Street, Exeter has now ben closed and the new Devon Heritage Centre, combining the materials of the WSL and of the Devon Record Office is opening at Great Moor House in Sowton Business Park. See a full article on our References page.
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