Cartographers (or map-makers) were a critical element of the whole Plantation scheme: without their work, going out into the landscape, the undertakers as well as the London Companies would not have been able to have enough knowledge of the resources under their control.
We do know a bit about several of the map-makers who were involved in the Ulster Plantation. Of course thereís Bartlett who may have paid the ultimate price for his map-making skills with his life; but we also have Thomas Raven. Thomas Raven is best known for depicting the London Company villages in 1622 but he also did some private work, most notably for Sir James Hamilton on the Clandeboye Estate in north-Down.
On the cover of Thomas Ravenís map-book, you really get a sense that he was quite proud of his skills and that he certainly was a professional. We see reference on the cover to Ďarithmeticí, to Ďgeometryí, which refers to the mathematics that a good surveyor had to know to do his job correctly. We also get a little bit of a sense of Thomas Raven, the artist, in his use of colour and the figures that he depicts by the columns.
Thereís a great deal that we can learn from Thomas Ravenís maps - not just about the landscape of the 17th century, but also about the process of map-making itself. Much of what Raven needed to do was to be able to show the resources that were present on the land as well as the settlements. So, in this map of Clay Lakes, we can see areas of forest depicted, and showing the forest was quite important because timber was one of Ulsterís major marketable commodities. We also get a few glimpses into the late-medieval Irish landscape when we look at this map: as we focus on the centre of the map, we can see three small houses, sub-rectangular in shape; and these dwellings that we can see on Ravenís map here, appear to be vernacular Irish dwellings - just giving us a hint of the landscape and settlement that was here before the English and Scottish planters left their own mark on the landscape.
As we carry on looking at some of Thomas Ravenís maps, we of course get his depictions of the English and Scottish settlements. And in this one, which is of the village of New Comber, we can see how the lots have been laid out, and houses have been built along a main street plan. Now, itís always a bit difficult to know, when youíre looking at some of these maps of villages, how much was actually depicting intention versus reality; because the village of New Comber no longer exists. Like many of the Londonderry Plantation villages, it did not survive - perhaps because of the economic and other hardships of the 17th century.
And finally, this map of Mullagh, we get maybe a little bit of insight into Thomas Raven, the man, and it seems like he probably did enjoy his work. Maybe he made this map on a nice sunny day, because he clEarly spent a great deal of time in his depictions of the deer down in the left-hand-corner. And of course the purpose of showing deer was to point out that they were available for hunting as yet another resource: but the care that he took with the rendering suggests that he was doing it as an artist as much as a surveyor. Up in the right-hand corner, we can also see the cartouche, and just the wonderful colours that Raven used there as well as very exact rendering, points out again that this was a science and that he also took delight as an artist.