129. George Oliver 1854


The Reverend George Oliver, Catholic minister and Exeter historian, was born at Newington, Surrey in 1781. He was promoted to holy orders in 1806 and moved to Exeter to the mission of the Society of Jesus at St. Nicholas in 1807. He served the mission for 44 years and continued to live in the priory until his death in 1861. He wrote numerous works concerning the history of Devon, especially with regard to the church and the catholic faith in the west. His most important works included Collections Illustrating the History of the Catholic Religion in the Counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wilts, and Gloucestershire (1847), History of the City of Exeter published in Exeter in 1821, Ecclesiastical Antiquities in Devon issued in three volumes 1839-42, and the Lives of the Bishops of Exeter and a History of the Cathedral 1861. He also wrote many articles for the Exeter Flying Post, the Catholic Herald and the Catholic Magazine as well as editing other publications such as Thomas Westcote’s View of Devonshire.

His Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis, being a Collection of Records and Instruments Illustrating the Ancient Conventual, Collegiate, and Elemosynary Foundations in the Counties of Cornwall and Devon, a work on the state of the church in the Bishopric of Exeter which included the four arch-deaconries of Barnstaple, Exeter and Totnes and Cornwall, was first published by P A Hanaford in Exeter and Longman, Brown of London in 1846. This contained illustrations of initials printed in gold and tinted plates of monastic seals but no maps.

Aaron Arrowsmith had engraved a map of Devon and Cornwall in 1814 (80A). This map, DIOC’ EXON’ was copied in 1854 for the expanded edition of Oliver’s work. Slightly smaller than the original this map shows the deaneries, principal towns, rivers and sites of religious houses, i.e. including much of the earlier information but fewer towns. The two panels in the original map have been omitted but an inset map of the Scillies, Insule de Sully, has been added. The title remains the same. It was drawn to accompany a supplement to the Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis. The work was reissued in 1889, this time with the addition of an Index nominum, locorum er rerum written by J S Attwood. This time the map had the addition of an engraver’s signature: W Spreat, who had lithographed a number of maps of the area.

Size: 340 x 477 mm.                                                                                                                                             No scale [Scale 1M = 2.5 mm].

DIOC’ EXON’. Graticulated border with degree lines. Explanation (Ee). Inset map of INSULE DE SULLY.

1.  1854  Additional Supplement to the Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis  
    Exeter: A Holden. London: Nattali and Bond. 1854. BL, GUL, DevA.
2. 1889 Printer’s signature: W SPREAT, LITH, EXETER (CeOS).  
    Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis with Additional Supplement and Index by J S Attwood  
    Exeter: J G Commin. London: Elkin Mathews. 1889. KB.